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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Yo-Kai In The Machine

Being a Star Wars fan (actually, I'm a science-fiction fan - both hard and soft), I am pumped to see the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie.

The fact that I haven't yet seen it is more due to the fact that I'm not so much of a nerd that I have to see things the first day or even week. Sorry Julien :). Look... I didn't even see the first Star Wars flick until a year after it came out.... I think I had soccer or judo or music lesson or something when my traitorous friends all decided to go see it... meaning I had no one go and see it with later.

Back then, kids didn't often go and see a movie multiple times, because being a nerd wasn't as accepted a thing as it is now. After a year of whining, I was finally able to convince a new friend (nyahhh!) to see it with me. I already knew what the movie was about, however, because I had read the comic books (six issues, as well as the two giant treasury editions) from Marvel Comics, as well as a hardcover first print of the novel with some photos of the movie as it was being shot. Yeah... I was ahead of the curve even if I wasn't.

I also have Star Wars dolls, er... action figures out the ying-yang. Okay... they were my brother's, but I have'em and am looking after them. While everything is in kid brother played in condition, I at least have two Millennium Falcon's... one in its box. Whatever... I enjoyed the movies.

In fact... I still enjoy the movies... as does my son, Hudson, who is now 10 and is playing Star Wars Battlefront on his Sony PS4 with a friend as I type this up. One more argument between them and I'll be forced to use my Vader Sith choke grip.

He and I just finished watching all six of the movies as a prep for the new movie, which we'll see sooner than the one year it took me to see Episode Four.

So... popular movie? Yup.

All across the world, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was breaking box office records for its opening weekend and week... everywhere around the world... except Japan.

How the fug can that be? They have Star Wars events at professional baseball games - years before this latest movie was even announced (though, truth be told, I knew back in 1977 that Star Wars author (yes he wrote the book) was always doing a triple trilogy of mine movies.) Japan loves Star Wars.

Yeah... only apparently they love Yo-Kai Watch the Movie 2: King Enma and the 5 Stories, Nyan!, the second animated movie in a video game series that is dominating Japan right now.
Yo-Kai Watch is #1 in Japan! Take that American capitalism! Japanese capitalism is the best!
 Yup... Star Wars: The Force Awakens was beaten at the Japanese box office by an animated flick that is a sequel movie based on a video game. Nyan. WTF is 'nyan'? The cat's 'meow' in Japanese? It is?

Well... congratulations Japan... you guys are now, officially, the biggest nerds on the planet... of every planet in this galaxy, at least.

Now... in Japan, they track movie popularity by the number of ticket sales as opposed to dollars/yen taken in... which is a more fair representation or popularity, I think.

Anyhow, in Japan, on this past weekend of Saturday and Sunday, 975,000 tickets were sold for Yo-Kai Watch (Yokai, as far as I can tell, means ghost, but it ties into animism, which is the belief that anything can have a spirit lurking inside... which means humans, your bento box, or even bicycle helmets can have a spark of supernatural life in it), while Star Wars garnered 800,000 sales.

Huh... the force is strong in Yo-Kai Watch.

Now, despite Japan being a manga (comic book) and anime (animated toon)-lovin' country, Yo-Kai Watch's audience was largely non-adult (whew!), so the cheaper tickets means Yo-Kai Watch took in US$8.71-million over those two days, while Star Wars sold more expensive adult tickets helping itself to US$10.3-million.

I suppose kids could be forgiven for not being as interested in Star Wars (yet). Perhaps they haven't been able to see all six of the previous entries and only really have the Yo-Kai Watch video games (super popular and super fun, I hear) as reference.

Yo-Kai Watch is currently the most-popular video game and merchandising thing in Japan... even beating the perennial Pokemon in the box office in 2014.

Because, Star Wars and Star Trek be damned, there is no sound in space, that sound you hear isn't a death star exploding (image at very top), but is, rather, Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrahms tongue clicking derisively.

Deus ex Star Wars machina,
Andrew Joseph


  1. Replies
    1. I find your lack of faith... disturbing.

  2. Lol. Funny. I posted something on Facebook and my friend wrote "I find your lack of grammar disturbing".