Youkai Watch, Level-5's quirky ghost capturing game, may be coming westward in 2015 according to a translated interview with Akihiro Hino via Zakzak.co.kp. Level-5's CEO and believes that the west will get caught up in the same "whirlwind" of excitement that Japan is currently experiencing. The franchise is in line to become Japan's next Pokemon-level phenomena, finding success in games, manga, toys, television shows and even a movie.
Similar to Pokemon in all the right ways, Youkai Watch is about a young boy who cleanses and collects monsters and spirits with his special watch. He, and no one else, can see these spirits. The boy will have to use his new-found powers to battle angry spirits and help keep his town and friends safe.
The most difficult part of bringing Youkai Watch, often referred to as Ghost Watch, to the west would of course be manufacturing the toys that go hand in hand with the game. Imagine a bulky watch-shaped toy in which small collectible discs representing different ghosts can be kept. It wasn't the game that launched Youkai Watch into the spotlight, it was these toys in tandem with the cartoon.
Have no worries, prospective youkai collectors, because Akihiro Hino also confirmed that an agreement has already been made with a western toy manufacturer. This means that the west won't be seeing a limp, Capcom-esque digital-only release of Youkai Watch. Rather, expect a full blown culture invasion of game, toy, and one would imagine cartoon as well.
Level-5 is well known for their Professor Layton games and movies, their Inazuma Eleven soccer games, and an assortment of other titles that gamers hold dear to their hearts. It's Youkai Watch and none of those other properties that threaten to make Level-5 the next major competitor in Japan's gaming industry. Expect more information, hopefully including an official announcement rather than a loose translation, in the months to come.