Pokémon is a long-running global megalith: a multi-platform media franchise like no other. Millions of kids grew up watching the anime, wearing the T-shirt, and of course playing the games. Here in Japan, Pokémon characters are everywhere – and none more so than Pikachu. Go to the mall and there’s a giant fluffy Pikachu to meet and cuddle. At school lunch, chances are a bunch of kids’ mums have made their onigiri into Pikachu’s face for them. And a whole city was recently invaded by scores of our favourite yellow friend for an entire Pikachu festival.
There’s a new kid on the “collect-all-the-monsters” block, though, and it looks to be pushing Pokémon by the wayside. Yo-kai Watch hasn’t been released internationally yet, but in Japan the 3DS game, anime and its characters have quickly gained a ubiquitous popularity that looks like it could even overtake Pokémon. Have Pikachu and friends really had their day? Or is Yo-kai Watch merely a flash in the pan?