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'Yokai Watch' rivals Pokemon in Japan

TOKYO -- Yokai Watch has become something of a social phenomenon in Japan. The franchise has a game, TV series and comic that has adults and children hooked. It has been dubbed Pokemon Part 2.

Shoppers line up in July for the new Yokai Watch game.

     The animated series is about a boy who possesses a watch that allows him to see yokai -- supernatural creatures. The stories revolve around problems caused by these creatures, whom the boy befriends. The anime originally appeared as a serialized manga in the Coro Coro Comic magazine for boys, published by Shogakukan in 2012. In July 2013, the first Yokai Watch video game was released on the Nintendo 3DS.

     Twitter has been abuzz with tweets about the series since it first aired in January. The tweets spiked during the week of April 15, when developer Level-5 in Fukuoka Prefecture announced the release of two new software titles.

     The software sold 1.28 million units in the four days after its July 10 release. The number of tweets about the series swelled a few days before the release and peaked on July 21.

     In Yokai Watch, as in Pokemon, the protagonist goes about town collecting creatures, some of which appear infrequently and are difficult to find.

     Yokai Watch and Jinmen-ken (Human-faced Dog) were the most frequently tweeted words connected with the franchise. Jinmen-ken is one of Yokai Watch's most popular characters.

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