Yo-kai Watch Franchise's Last Retail Store Closes on February 24
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
The official website for the Yōkai Watch franchise's retail store chain Yorozu Mart announced on February 1 that the lead store in Fukuoka, the chain's last remaining location, will close on February 24.
The chain once had more than 10 stores in locations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Sapporo. However, a wave of store closures began in April 2018.
The J-Cast website noted that Bandai Namco Holdings' sales related to intellectual property peaked at 55.2 billion yen in fiscal year 2014 (April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015), during the height of the Yōkai Watch franchise's popularity. The company produces toys related to the franchise. The company's intellectual property sales decreased in subsequent years after the "Yo-kai Boom" tapered off. The website also noted that the franchise ranked at #3 in Bandai's 2017 poll asking about children's favorite characters. The franchise did not appear in the same ranking the following year.
Level 5 announced the Yōkai Watch franchise in 2011 with a game, manga, and anime already planned. The first game launched in July 2013 and the first anime launched in January 2014. The franchise is Level 5's third cross-media project after Inazuma Eleven and Little Battlers eXperience.
Yōkai Watch 3 launched for Nintendo 3DS in two versions — Yōkai Watch 3: Sushi and Yōkai Watch 3: Tempura — in July 2016. The company later released a Yōkai Watch 3: Sukiyaki version in December 2016. Yōkai Watch 3 launched in Europe on December 7, and launched North America on February 8. The Yōkai Watch 4 Nintendo Switch game (pictured left) was originally slated to launch in winter 2018, but Level 5 delayed the game to this spring to further improve its quality.
The franchise's fifth anime film, Eiga Yōkai Watch: Forever Friends, opened in Japan on December 14. The film ranked at #4 at the Japanese box office for its opening weekend. The film earned 37% less in its opening weekend compared to 2017's Yo-kai Watch Shadowside: Oni-ō no Fukkatsu film, which earned 399 million yen (about US$3.6 million) in its opening weekend.