Tipped to be the biggest boys brand for Back to School 2016, YO-KAI WATCH – managed by VIZ Media Europe and represented in the UK by Bulldog Licensing – follows an average boy, Nate, who gets a special watch empowering him to discover mysterious beings called “Yo-kai.” Yo-kai are everywhere, causing little nuisances in our daily lives. Nate’s ongoing quest is to discover the reason for the Yo-kai’s mischievous behaviour, with hopes of talking them out of it. Each time Nate needs to solve a problem – a problem often caused by another troublesome Yo-kai – he uses his watch to call upon a friendly Yo-kai to aid him.
The anime series has already enjoyed huge success in Japan, where it dominates the television, merchandise, gaming and toy markets, generating retail sales of over €2 billion in less than two years. In the UK, Cartoon Network has snapped up the show and screens YO-KAI WATCH every weekend morning and evening.
The apparel agreements will see Cooneen producing a nightwear and underwear range, whilst Fashion UK are on board for daywear. This adds to existing deals with Kinnerton (confectionery), Centum (publishing), Hasbro (master toy), Nintendo (video games), Egmont (magazine publishing) and Panini (sticker collection).
“YO-KAI WATCH is justifying all the hype,” says Bulldog Group MD Rob Corney. “It’s absolutely massive in Japan and the UK market is proving equally receptive. It’s getting a great reception on Cartoon Network and licensees are eager to capitalise on this. We have a rapidly expanding programme and expect to be announcing more deals very soon.”