Jibanyan is nyat so popular anymore.
It was only a few years ago that the Nintendo DS game Yo-kai Watch was the highlight of every conversation with a Japanese child. It was even thought that the mascot character Jibanyan was poised to usurp Pikachu as one of the most popular video game characters from Japan.
But it seems that Pikachu and all the rest of the Pokémon can rest easy, as the sales for Yo-kai Watch are rapidly falling.
▼ You’re making Jibanyan cry….
Bandai Namco Holdings, Japan’s largest toy manufacturer in charge of toys and figures for multiple series, released the financial highlights for their intellectual properties for the past year on May 10.
The big winner of the group was Mobile Suit Gundam, which managed to rake in an impressive 74.3 billion yen (US$653 million). With Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans just recently wrapping up its anime run, and new exclusive web series Mobile Suit Gundam: Twilight AXIS beginning in June, there is plenty of robotic toy action to be sold throughout 2017.
「たかがメインカメラをやられただけだ」 お台場 ガンダム 解体中。 ダイバーシティ東京 。 https://t.co/OJV4Slvr3k—
有明な生活。ariake.tokyo (@Ariake_Tokyo) March 14, 2017
But unfortunately for Yo-kai Watch fans, the IP has seen a significant decrease in earnings from the previous year and only accounted for 10.4 billion yen ($90.9 million) this time around. Bandai Namco Holdings only expects 6.3 billion yen from them in 2017, a far cry from the 55.2 billion yen Yo-kai Watch earned back during its peak popularity in 2014.
The series seems rife with toy possibilities, but perhaps the marketing ploy of targeting five to eight-year-olds is simply not sustainable, making it difficult to capture new audiences and retain them as they grow older.
▼ Take a listen to the English version of the Yo-kai Exercise song,
for old times’ sake, since we might not hear it for much longer.
However, just because one part of the puzzle is struggling, that doesn’t mean everything is crumbling. Dragon Ball, One Piece, Kamen Rider, Anpanman, and Pretty Cure are all either growing or have sustained their earnings from the previous year.
There must be some way for Yo-kai Watch to soar back into the hearts and minds of children all over Japan, but at the moment Bandai Namco hasn’t yet figured out a viable strategy. If they don’t, then perhaps that may bring an unfortunate end to Japanese citizens across the country showing off their Yo-kai Taoso dance moves.