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Yo-kai Watch Has Highest Opening of Any Japanese Film Since 2000

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Anime film's weekend box office tops record-holder Howl's Moving Castle

The Yōkai Watch: Tanjō no Himitsu da Nyan! (Yo-kai Watch: The Movie: It's the Secret of Birth, Meow!) anime film had the highest-grossing opening weekend of any Japanese film since at least the year 2000. With an opening weekend of 1,628,893,000 yen (about US$13.58 million), it has surpassed the previous record-holder, Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle (1.48 billion yen, or US$13.5 million at 2004's yen-dollar conversion rate). The year 2000 is when Japan's movie-tracking firm Kōgyō Tsūshinsha changed its method of calculating box office receipts.

The first Yōkai Watch flm also beat Disney's Big Hero 6 at the Japanese box office this past weekend, despite opening on only 408 screens, compared to Big Hero 6's 540.

One Piece Film Z opened with 1,372,050,000 yen (US$16.4 million at the time) to have the highest opening weekend of 2012 in Japan.

Yōkai Watch: Tanjō no Himitsu da Nyan!'s story revolves around Keita when he returns to his grandmother's village to discover clues behind his missing Yōkai Watch which allows him to see supernatural creatures — both good and evil — that he could not see before in everyday life. The search sends Keita back in time 60 years to save his grandfather, Keizo.

The film stars Haruka Tomatsu as Keita Amano, Tomokazu Seki as Whisper, Etsuko Kozakura as Jibanyan, and Yuuki Kaji as Fuyunyan. Other cast members include Tohru Nara as KUMA, Aya Endo as Fumika Kodama, and Chie Satou as Kanchi Imada. Guest stars include AKB48 member Haruka Shimazaki as Yukippe, kabuki actor Ainosuke Kataoka as Ubaune, and actor and comedian Ken Shimura as Master Nyaada. Yoichi Kato provided the script for the film, while Ken'ichirō Saigō composed the soundtrack. Oriental Light and Magic animated the film.

Game developer Level-5 announced the Yōkai Watch franchise in 2011 with a game, manga, and anime already planned. The franchise's first game for the Nintendo 3DS debuted in Japan in July 2013, and two versions of the Yo-kai Watch 2 3DS game shipped in July. A third version titled Yo-kai Watch 2: Shinuchi (Yo-kai Watch 2: Headliner) shipped on December 13, andties in to the film. The anime premiered this past January. The manga has four volumes that have sold 1.5 million copies.

The franchise's related books, toys, and other products are top sellers in Japan this year.

Dentsu Entertainment USA is offering the anime to broadcast and merchandising partners in the Americas. Level-5 president Akihiro Hino announced on Saturday that the series will be broadcast overseas.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web

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