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Yo-kai Watch Vol. #02 Manga Review

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Yo-Kai Watch Volume 2 CoverMore of the same, and little of note in general

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Noriyuki Konishi
Translation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki

What They Say
Nathan Adams is just an average kid until the mysterious Whisper gives him a device that allows him to see what others cannot, Yo-kai of all shapes and forms! Now, armed with the Yo-kai Watch, Nathan, Whisper and their new invisible friends embark on an all-new supernatural adventure! Yo-kai, inspired by the yokai of Japanese folklore, are not ghosts or monsters or creatures. They can’t be seen by the human eye, but they’re everywhere, and whether they’re phantoms or everyday objects discovering their higher purpose, Yo-kai personalities are distinctly humanlike!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Once more, this volume gives us a collection of nothing but one-shots, starting off with a chapter about a rebel Yo-kai, Roughraff. The central gag here is that the Yo-kai has the ability to make people turn into (Japanese style) delinquents, complete with pompadours. It’s not anything too crazy, but it’s a fun little chapter that does a solid job of running with the idea. Next up the visual gags continue with the spaced-out Yo-kai Daiz, in a chapter that’s pretty much just having the characters make silly faces as they’re out of it. We then get a chapter on the trouble Yo-kai, Negasus, and what that means is a chapter focused on characters continually giving in to their urges. Again, nothing amazing, but the book has some fun with it and it’s probably the best one-shot in the volume.

It’s at this point that we get a chapter about the “Gym-lover” Yo-kai, Sproink, and it’s an… interesting one. The big issue here is that the localization definitely way oversteps its bounds, as a really blatant Japanese bathhouse somehow becomes a “gym jacuzzi.” I’m not sure whether the translator for this volume is at fault or if it’s something that was done to all the entries in the franchise and was thus out of their hands by the time it reached this point, but… that’s really jarring and super obvious. The other interesting thing is that it’s actually pretty much entirely about Yo-kai actually fighting one another (I believe this was a boss fight in the game), and actually doesn’t end in friendship! So really overzealous localization aside, it’s at least a decent change of pace.

Finally, the book wraps up with a sore throat Yo-kai, a cicada Yo-kai, and a samurai Jibanyan ghost/ancestor Yo-kai, all of which are limited to pretty simple yet inoffensive gags. Oh, and there’s a bonus chapter about going to the school at night, which is pretty much just another visual gag or two.

In Summary
With this second volume, we mostly get more of the same, though with a few unique wrinkles this time around. The biggest difference comes from the Sproink chapter, which shows both a nice change in pace by being battle focused, and also sports a really poor localization choice that’s kind of glaring. Outside of that, it’s pretty much business as usual, with a collection of one-shots that range from bland to kind of funny. At the very least, though, the Negasus chapter is actually worth a couple of decent chuckles, so that’s something. All in all though, much like the first volume, this isn’t the sort of thing that’s going to win people over, but fans may still be squeeze some enjoyment out of it.

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B-

Age Rating: All ages
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
MSRP: $9.99