Japan doesn’t have the hectic Christmas shopping season of adults head-locking and price-gouging each other for the season’s hot toy. Still, every once in a while an item gets so huge that a sudden rush can break out at any time of the year.
This time it’s Yo-Kai Watches from the manga/game/anime series Yo-Kai Watch that are flying off the shelves. These watches don’t tell time unless it just happens to be 2:53 when you look at them, but that isn’t stopping people from lining up by the hundreds and shops from charging exorbitant prices for one. However, when the going gets tough, the tough get creative and fashion their own Yo-Kai Watches out of whatever is available.
Unless you’re a Japanese elementary school student, you’re probably wondering what a Yo-Kai Watch is. In the series by the same name, this watch grants the wearer the ability to see yokai which are monsters and ghosts who appear in traditional Japanese folk tales. In addition to that you can collect Yo-Kai Medals which can be inserted into the watch to summon the corresponding yokai to do battle for you.
In the case of a real life Yo-Kai Watch, inserting a Yo-Kai Medal will cause the watch to make a “GASSSHAN!” sound. After that the watch will say something like, “Whoa! I’m ready to be summoned.” The regular price for this highest noisy version of Yo-Kai Watch – The DX Yo-Kai Watch Type 0 – regularly sold for around 3,456 yen (US$34) but as of this writing sells for between 12,000 and 30,000 yen ($117-294) depending on the seller,
The amazon page also comes with a warning that the price has been jacked up, about 101 one-star ratings, and 158 comments scolding Amazon for their pricing, which was reported as 29,998 yen ($294) at one point. Meanwhile, on Twitter parents have been sharing how they’ve been coping with the Yo-Kai Watch drought and their kids chomping at the bit for some supernatural wrist wear. Many suggested their children make their own: a challenge that they happily accepted.
“My five-year-old son wanted a Yo-Kai Watch so bad he finally made his own.”
“I think that’s a Yo-Kai Watch…(T▽T) Oh, and that’s a plastic bottle mouth. (lol)”
“Our son’s homemade Yo-Kai Medals are rapidly increasing.”
“My son, who got into Yo-Kai Watch the week before last, made a Yo-Kai Watch and Medals using a tissue box and some cardboard. And I didn’t have to buy any toys. Nice.”
Other kids relied on the craftsmanship of their parents to create a Yo-Kai Watch. First, here’s dad showing that anything is possible with a beer and a hammer. By the way, the logo of Kirin beer is a kirin: a mythical Chinese dragon-like creature that is also used among Japanese yokai.
“My kid asked me to make a Yo-Kai Watch.”
“My son asked me to make a Yo-Kai Watch in origami.”
“I couldn’t buy a Yo-Kai Watch, so in the end I made one myself.”
This mother shows just how easy it can be making a DX Yo-Kai Watch from only items found in the 100 yen store.
Here’s is the real DX Yo-Kai Watch as sold on Amazon for 6,500 yen ($64). It doesn’t make sounds but has a light attached.
And here’s hers for probably 324 yen ($3) light included.
Although both parents and kids showed a lot of ingenuity, it’s the ones that spent time together with their makeshift Yo-Kai Watches that truly got the most out of them.
“There was a request in the morning. In response to ‘Make me something out of paper for my birthday present’ I tried to make an all-paper Yo-Kai Watch! It’s kind of crappy but well worth it to watch how happy he is taking in and out the Yo-Kai Medals.”
“Yo-Kai Watches are hard to get. Yesterday while my daughter was making a DX Watch I was making a Type Zero. The whole time we had a lot of fun playing together.”
In response to the shortage of Yo-Kai Watches, Bandai had announced that they will be stepping up production to meet demand. This means that in a few months you’ll find these very same toys selling in discount bins all over the country. However, these particular parents and kids were able to walk away with a lot more for a lot less money.