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Yo-Kai Watch anime to premiere ahead of game launch

Yo-Kai Watch, Level-5's 3DS Ghostbusters-meets-Pokémon battler, will hit the small screen before making its way to American consoles this fall.

The anime based on the titular game series debuts on Disney XD next month. Starting Oct. 5, the show will premiere a new episode each day at 5 p.m. Afterward, it will air weekly in the same time slot. The series' American YouTube channel uploaded a trailer that introduces the story and the dub to those already familiar with the anime.

The animated Yo-Kai Watch follows Nathan Adams who joins up with the friendly Yo-Kai Whisper, to find and catch the ghosts and goblins hiding around the world using his trusty watch. After capture, he can summon them at will.

It's a synopsis that will sound familiar to Pokémon fans, and the games follow a similar storyline. Just like Nintendo's kid-friendly role-playing game, Yo-Kai Watch has become an enormous franchise in its home country and is angling to do so abroad, as well.

The Disney XD premiere will be American audiences' first exposure to the breakout Japanese hit. The franchise has sold more than 7 million copies since it first launched in 2013.

Hasbro will also work with Dentsu Entertainment and TV Tokyo, who produce the television series, to bring toys to the West next year, such as the hero's spirit-capturing watch. The official website also promises comics, DVDs and other "consumer goods" to entice consumers.

American fans of the anime will have their chance to try out Yo-Kai summoning for themselves when the first game in the series launches this holiday season. Japanese gamers will receive the newest Yo-Kai Watch installment sometime next year, which is, interestingly enough, set abroad.

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