• Review: Yo-kai Watch: The Movie (2016)

    From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Thu Oct 13 16:04:19 2016
    (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: Fast-paced and amusing, this is a Japanese
    animated fantasy action film aimed seemingly at children
    but in Japan probably has a following of all ages. The
    film is based on a video game. The hero of the stories
    is a boy who can use a watch to see invisible spirits--
    mostly friendly--who are all around us. This appears to
    be an origin story. Nate has been given a watch that
    allows him to see the Yo-kai. When the watch is stolen
    Nate and some friends find they have to travel back in
    time sixty years where Nate's grandfather is inventing
    the magical watch because he needs it to fight off the
    wicked Yo-kai commanded by the evil woman Tokio Ubaune.
    YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE was directed by Shigeharu
    Takahashi and Shinji Ushiro from a screenplay by Yoichi
    Kato. The film is really too fast-paced to follow, but
    has lots of humor, particularly in its jabs at STAR WARS.
    Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

    This film is my first contact with the "Yo-kai Watch" franchise,
    though I am familiar with Yo-kai in Japanese folklore. The concept
    is that there are invisible spirits, the Yo-kai, all around us.
    Most just benign, but as this film proves, not all are. In this
    film they have bizarre shapes like balloons and mammoth floating
    cats. They watch us behind their cloak of invisibility and
    sometimes take part in human affairs. Yo-kai have shown up in a
    number of fantasy films that appear now and again. My introduction
    was in the film THE GREAT YO-KAI WAR. "Yo-kai Watch" seems to be
    an animated videogame series that is popular in Japan.

    Apparently in this animated series a boy has a magic watch that
    allows him to see the Yo-kai that are everywhere. Yo-kai are
    particularly Japanese-feeling spirits, taking fearful or strange-
    looking forms. In other films one is a woman who can stretch her
    neck like a fire hose. Another is in the shape of an umbrella.
    Folklore says that Yo-kai are all around us in legions but we
    cannot see them.

    Our story is about Nate who owns a magical watch that allows him to
    see the Yo-kai where the rest of us see nothing. Nate needs to
    save the world of sixty years ago where an evil Yo-kai has plans
    for ruling the world. Nate goes back in time sixty years with two
    Yo-kai friends Whisper and Jibanyan, the first a balloon and the
    second a cat that changes size. There he joins forces with an
    unexpected ally, Nate's grandfather who at sixty years younger is
    just about Nate's age so they make a perfect pair. [Did I miss
    something? If the current world is working okay then isn't it
    obvious the world had not been stolen sixty years before? And
    don't we know that Grandfather Nathan must have live long enough to
    do what was necessary to become a grandfather?] The action is often
    funny and paced like water in a fire hose. According to Wikipedia,
    the film was the highest-grossing Japanese film at the Japanese box
    office in 2015. The film is 95 minutes long.

    This film's rapid pacing and the imaginative and strange looking
    animated creatures may appeal to some children, though others may
    have trouble getting used to what will likely be an animated view
    of a culture foreign to them. It will be an opportunity for
    children to learn that there are more cultures than what they are
    used to seeing.

    American viewers, especially adults, may find this very different
    world a little strange and confusing. Don't worry they (or you)
    will be pulled into the action soon enough. Understanding what is
    going on will come with a little time. I rate YO-KAI WATCH: THE
    MOVIE a low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10. Variations on the
    title may be "YOKAI" rather than "YO-KAI" and it may be called THE
    MOVIE EVENT. The film will get a limited release on October 15,

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying: <https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/yo_kai_watch_the_movie_event>

    Mark R. Leeper
    Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper

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