From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Thu Oct 13 16:04:19 2016
YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE
(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,