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Viz Media Adds Yo-kai Watch Manga to Perfect Square Imprint

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Viz Media Europe licenses TV anime, will present series at MIPTV this month

The ICv2 news website reported on Monday that Viz Media will release Noriyuki Konishi's Yōkai Watch manga in North America starting in September. Viz Media told ICv2 that it will coordinate the launch of the manga with the launch of the anime and a toy line "around the same time."

Viz Media plans to publish the manga under its Perfect Square imprint, and new volumes will ship every other month in print only. Konishi launched the manga in Shogakukan's Coro Coro Comics magazine in 2012. The manga won the Best Children's Manga award at both the 38th Annual Manga Awards last year, and the 60th Shogakukan Manga Awards in January.

No company has yet announced that it has licensed the anime for North America. Level-5 president Akihiro Hino announced at the December event for the franchise's first movie, Eiga Yo-kai Watch: Tanjō no Himitsu da Nyan!, that the television anime will be broadcast overseas. Hino specifically mentioned America and Europe, but said there would be other regions. Hino stated that, although many of the Yo-kai's names will be changed, Jibanyan and Whisper's will remain the same. He asked the characters' respective voice actors, Etsuko Kozakura and Tomokazu Seki, to "study English."

Viz Media Europe had announced on March 30 that it acquired the Yōkai Watch anime franchise. The company has TV, home entertainment, VOD, and licensing and merchandising rights for the anime franchise in Europe, Russia, and Africa. Viz Media Europe will present the series to broadcasters at the MIPTV 2015 event in Cannes later this month.

The story of the games and anime begins when Keita discovers an old capsule toy vending machine in the forest. Keita receives a mysterious watch and meets a ghost named Whisper. Whisper tells Keita that the watch allows him to see supernatural creatures — both good and evil — that he could not see before in everyday life. With Whisper and the feline companion Jibanyan, Keita explores his town for other ghosts to battle or befriend.

Dentsu Entertainment USA began looking for broadcast and merchandise partners for the franchise in the Americas last year.

Dentsu Entertainment USA and TV Tokyo announced in February that they are partnering with Hasbro to launch a toy line based on the Yōkai Watch game and anime franchise next year.

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 the anime premiered in January 2014. The latest game in the franchise, a third version of Yōkai Watch 2, shipped in December. Bandai sells Yōkai Watch toys and game tie-in medals in Japan.

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