Not long after naming licensing agents in the UK and German-speaking territories for Japanese anime franchise Yo-Kai Watch, Paris-based VIZ Media Europe has selected Swedish indie licensing agent Plus Licens to rep the IP in Nordic and CEE territories.
From its origins as a Nintendo 3DS role-play game launched in Japan in July 2013 by Level-5, the property grew quickly to spawn a full-scale consumer products program. Toy and merch sales in Japan alone now top US$1 billion and more than 7.5 million units of the game have been sold.
The IP has also inspired a popular comedy-adventure animated series. Co-produced by Level-5, Dentsu and TV Tokyo, the Yo-Kai Watch series premiered in January 2014 and is currently TV Tokyo’s top-rated animated show with kids four to 12. It follows the story of a young boy named Keito Amano, who has a magical watch that empowers him to summon the mysterious Yo-Kai, which help him solve problems in his daily life that are typically caused by other trouble-making Yo-Kai.
Yo-Kai Watch recently crossed the Pacific, blasting off in the US on Disney XD on October 5. VIZ Media launched an accompanying manga line, which was followed up by the North American Nintendo 3DS video game launch on November 6. Master toy partner Hasbro (excluding Japan), is expected to launch its toy range in the US in January, before rolling it out in Europe and other markets.
Additionally, L.A.-based MarVista Entertainment has also picked up distribution rights to Yo-Kai Watch for broadcast in Latin America, where an L&M program is also expected to take shape.