To kick off the first ever Mon Month, I thought that I would write about the popular Yo-Kai Watch series for the Nintendo 3DS. The first game as well as the anime series finally reached the U.S. last year, after originally being released in Japan back in 2011. The second games released this past September, taking a hint from Pokemon with two versions, Bony Spirits & Fleshy Souls, as well as a third updated version not yet confirmed for western release. Yo-Kai Watch doesn’t really teach lessons as much as other kids game & anime series , as it has a much sillier tone, but I think plenty of lessons can still be learned from it.
In the first game, the main character is given the titular Yo-Kai Watch, which causes them to be able to see Yo-Kai, spirits that cause all kinds of odd everyday occurrences good, bad, or just plain weird.
Like this god of flatulence, not to be confused with it’s weaker fart inducing counterpart
The difference between this game and other monster collectors is that the player does not technically capture Yo-kai, but instead befriends them and is given their medal so that they can be summoned from the Yo-kai Watch at any time. Through this, there is actually a lesson that can be learned. A lot of Yo-Kai only cause problems because they want someone to pay attention to them, but this is a rather common problem as they aren’t visible to the majority of people. This can parallel with real life situations because some people may act out only because they want a friend or just someone to listen to them. When we understand the source of a problem and why people act certain ways, we have to do our best to solve the problem or sympathize with and help these people if we are able to.
Although there are plenty of Yo-Kai & people we’d rather not befriend for certain reasons
Throughout the events of the first game as well as the first season of the anime, which parallels some of the same events, kids can be taught various life lessons along the way. The most glaringly obvious of which game wise is to obey crosswalk signals. If players disobey them a couple of times, then a rather strong yo-kai appears and attacks them. Later on in the game this isn’t as big of a deal, due to being strong enough to defeat it, but for most of the game this can get annoying if you aren’t paying attention, although it does help reinforce the idea that kids should obey crosswalk signals to avoid dangerous situations.
This guy and his counterparts can be quite annoying if you aren’t paying attention
One of the other first lessons in the game which the anime parallels involves the main characters parents fighting for seemingly no reason, a situation which I’m sure too many kids have experience with. It turns out a miserable Yo-Kai is causing the negativity and the player has to fight it so it will go away. Despite not being as direct as the crosswalk signals, I think there is still a lesson to be learned here. Sometimes people get in a bad mood for seemingly no reason which can cause them to argue with others, but if the arguing is (hopefully) not a normal thing for them, then this will only be a temporary conflict and if you just give the situation a bit of time then later they will apologize for acting up and try to explain their feelings if they can, and soon enough everything will be calm and normal again.
This negativity Yo-kai looks like an experimental version of Alolan Muk
One thing I noticed is no matter what the situation is, most of the time the main character is helping other people and yo-kai when they have absolutely no obligation to. These can be a quest to help the player progress in the main story or just a side quest that helps them gain experience. The main character does not seemed destined to wear the Yo-Kai Watch as it is just found seemingly by chance, but once they can see and talk to Yo-Kai they decide it would be best to help others with their newfound abilities. Even in many of the Pokemon games, the player character is seen as a chosen one, due to encountering a certain legendary Pokemon and/or defeating an evil organization, so it’s interesting that the player characters in Yo-Kai Watch are more chosen by random chance and just happen to get into their situation.
It all starts with this capsule machine and this ghost yo-kai
In the sequel, not only is the player helping people they don’t know, but since they can travel to a past time period, they’re helping people who may not even be alive in their own time. In any other game, doing anything that might change the timeline would be frowned upon, but in this case since the player is still helping other people and possibly improving the timeline in smaller ways, it isn’t really seen as a threat. This is especially noticeable when compared to the villains who make a huge alteration to the timeline on purpose, which the player has to go back and change.
These are just some of the positive things that I noticed in these games, but I’m sure plenty of other lessons can be learned as well.
Yo-Kai Watch is not known for the lessons it can teach, due to them being overshadowed by silliness and weirdness that it is known for, but I think people should understand that it and other similar kids games can help teach positive values despite how ridiculous the games’ concept is.