What in God's Name Is Happening in This Anime?

As a journalist who once covered the anime industry, I’ve seen some stuff. I’ve seen Tokyo destroyed countless times. I saw a piece of candy kick a demon’s ass. I watched KFC’s Col. Sanders slowly creep out of the darkness to menace a young man. I watched whatever the hell Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo was. And I still don’t know what the hell this is.

Okay, I do know it’s a clip from the Yo-kai Watch movie, which is playing Saturday, October 15. And I know that Yo-kai Watch is one of those Pokémon-esque kids’ anime series that has a major video game and toy tie-in, it’s unbelievably huge in Japan (this movie was actually the top-grossing domestic movie there last year), and the regular anime TV series airs in America on Disney XD. I even know that “yokai” is the Japanese term for “spirits,” so presumably all these creatures are ghosts and demons and so forth.

But that’s it. What is happening? Who are the flying tiny dead grandmas? What is the thing that is nothing but a hat and a pair of legs in high heels? Why does the lizard-man have a pompadour? And why are all these ghosts so devoted to making the most clichéd wordplay possible?


I just don’t know. I guess I should probably stick with anime series that make sense like FLCL, where puberty is giant robots.

Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

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All I know is: at the end, the robot cat should have said, “YOU get a rocket punch. YOU get a rocket punch. Everyone gets a rocket punch!”