Parents, Prepare Your Wallets: Yokai Watch Is The New Pokémon

In Japan, a little show called Yokai Watch is now a kiddie craze on a scale not seen since Pokémon.

The Americanized version of a little boy protected by a colorful (and collectible) cadre of “spirits” is set to premiere in 2016, Disney XD announced on Tuesday.

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Companies are betting big on Yokai Watch becoming the West’s next big Japanese animation boom. Along with Disney, both Hasbro and Nintendo have finalized deals with the shows’ three co-producers—Dentsu Entertainment USA, TV Tokyo, and Level-5—to bring Yokai Watch entertainment and toys to the United States. Nintendo’s deal with Level-5 will bring a Yokai Watch 3DS game to North America in 2016, with versions in Europe, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand to come later. Hasbro’s toy line will premiere at the same time.

Make no mistake: Yokai Watch means to capture the hearts and minds of American children (and the wallets of their parents) with an aggressive cross-platform strategy. Toys, games, TV, and likely other channels including music and graphic novels will mirror the approach these companies used with a previous, highly successful Japanese franchise, Pokémon.

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In 1998, Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back was a box office hit in the U.S. with estimated ticket sales around $85 million. It continues to be the highest grossing anime film inNorth America to date. Like all fads, Pokémon sales eventually waned, and companies again turned to the East for a replacement.

Companies could use another Pokémon, and Yokai Watch seems readily primed to be that. In Japan, the Yokai Watch franchise is booming. Toys and merchandise sales alone have already totaled $1 billion, and the franchise has only been around since 2013.

For parents who didn’t pay attention, Pokémon was about a boy and his friends who caught, trained, and battled “pocket monsters” like Pikachu, which they found around their world. Yokai Watch is based on a similar premise, starring a young boy named Keita who obtains a timepiece that allows him to interact with mischievous and mysterious spirits (known as yokai in Japanese). Keita is able to summon friendly yokai to battle those who would do him harm.

The question now is whether localization can smooth over the nuances of the Japanese mythology that inspired the show into a way North American kids can understand. Just like Satoshi became Ash Ketchum before him, Keita will become Nate in the U.S. Level-5 president Akihiro Hino has already confirmed that many of the shows’ yokai names will be changed, but that Keita’s Pikachu analog, the ghost cat Jibanyan, will retain his Japanese name in North America.

Already, Jibanyan outranks Pikachu in Japan. When a Japanese mall booked meet-and-greets with both cuddly creatures at the same time on the same day, a Twitter user observed: “You can just go up and touch Pikachu, but Jibanyan [is so popular he] needs his own queueing and ticketing system.”

Will American kids love Jibanyan the way they loved Pikachu? The argument can be made that the idea of a ghost cat—or any of its fellow spirits—is a purely Japanese one. Writing for Games Beat, Dale North notes that the localization teams have their work cut out:

“These beings… won’t mean anything to Western children, but Japanese kids are familiar with these mythical creatures and are able fully appreciate the silly, pun-based naming scheme that series’ creators went with. And it’s not just the lore that is Japan-specific: The locations, relationships, and nonplayer characters are all just as unabashedly Japanese.”

Then again, Pokémon’s pocket monsters were directly inspired by Japanese ghosts and ghouls. American Kids may not know the mythology, but that didn’t them from begging for Pokémon toys.

Perhaps Hasbro and co. envision the yokai spirits of Yokai Watch as the ghosts of Pokémon-past. They’re hoping they’ll at least make their bottom lines rise again.

TED 2 DISAPPOINTS AS JURASSIC WORLD REMAINS BOX OFFICE CHAMP

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Ted 2 was unable to dethrone the wildly successful Jurassic World at the domestic box office as the dinosaur adventure flick enjoyed its third straight week at No. 1.

Universal’s teddy bear flick was up against two formidable opponents, Jurassic World and Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, which raked in$54.2 million and $52.1 million, respectively. The comedy sequel starring Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane only managed to pull in a disappointing $32.9 million, about $15 million less than anticipated, according to Variety.

The original Ted Bear earned an impressive $54 million debut on the way to $549.4 million in global revenue. Ted 2 was expected to be this summer’s biggest comedy, but Universal cited “sequel-itis” as a major reason for the underwhelming start.

Max, a patriotic drama about a military dog, secured fourth place with $12.2 million, while Paul Feig’s Spy accrued $7.8 million for fifth.

Jurassic World(Dinosaur Mascot Costume) is now the fifth highest-grossing domestic release of all time and the fastest to reach the $500 million milestone. Although unable to stomp the monstrous box office beast, Inside Out did rack up a notable $91 million debut last week, the best for an original Pixar movie and the second-highest opening for any Pixar film.

Ted 2(Teddy Bear mascot costume) centers on Ted trying to prove he’s a person, not property. IGN called it a “an absolutely acceptable sequel” and gave it a 6.8.

Here are the weekend estimates via Rentrak:

1. Jurassic World $54.2 million

2. Inside Out $52.1 million

3. Ted 2 $32.9 million

4. Max $12.2 million

5. Spy $7.8 million

6. San Andreas $5.3 million

7. Dope $2.9 million

8. Insidious Chapter 3 $2 million

9. Mad Max: Fury Road $1.7 million

10. Avengers: Age of Ultron $1.6 million

Minions movie review: What’s it about? Is it as good as Despicable Me?

Minions movie is out on Friday June, 26, but is it worth a watch? And is it as good as Despicable Me?

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The Minions are back and this time, it’s all all about them.

Our favourite little helpers have finally got their own movie after winning over the nation in Disney’s hugely successful Despicable Me 1 and 2.

But will their spin-off film live up to expectations? Here’s everything you need to know about the new Minions movie which is out on Friday June, 26.

What’s it about?
For years, the Minions have served a variety of masters – the dinosaurs, the Ancient Egyptians, Dracula. Unfortunately, they have a habit of getting their masters killed.

Fast-forward to the 1960s and Kevin, Stuart and Bob are looking for a new master to serve. Their quest brings them to New York, where they discover the world’s first female super villain, Scarlet Overkill, and hope to be recruited by her.

It seems they’ve finally found who they are looking for, but after discovering how evil she can be, is Scarlet Overkill a step too far for the little helpers?

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Who’s in it?
It stars Pierre Coffin who is the voice of the Minions, Gravity star Sandra Bullock who is the voice of villain Scarlet Overkill and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm who plays her inventor husband Herb Overkill.

Other stars lending their voices are Batman’s Michael Keaton, Juno’s Allison Janney, The Lorax star Michael Beattie, Eastbound & Down’s Katy Mixon, Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders and Alan Partridge’s Steve Coogan.

Is it worth a watch?
The Despicable Me minions prequel has been hugely anticipated, and whilst the lovable little helpers offer plenty of belly laughs, some critics say they work better as the supporting characters rather than the main attraction.

Others have said that whilst the movie was enjoyable with the Minions‘ usual babbling and other charming traits, the producers missed out on some golden opportunities.

But generally there has been a fond approach to the film, with reviewers recognising it is an innocent, colourful, silly and funny movie, perfect for the family.

New on Video: Mo’ Ponies, Mo’ Problems in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests

Much like their Littlest Pet Shop releases, Shout! Factory is releasing My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic in a series of thrice-a-year compilations, and the tenth disc in the Pony series, Cutie Mark Quests, is being released on DVD on June 30.

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Brief background: In the show’s mythos, a Cutie Mark is the symbol on a given pony’s flank; it appears when, and only when, they discover their special talent and purpose in life. (For a show with “magic” in the title, Cutie Marks are the show’s only truly inexplicable magic.) The Cutie Mark Crusaders are a trio of young foals who don’t yet have their Marks, but are determined to make them appear by figuring out just who they are.

These kind of theme-based series are certainly nothing new; Paramount did it in the 2000s with their Star Trek: Fan Collective series, and initial VHS releases of television shows in the 1980s were often in the form of “here’s a random episodes you’ll probably like” collections. Also, Shout! Factory does eventually release each full season of Friendship Is Magic as its own set, which look pretty good on one’s shelf.

Shout! Factory tends to paint themselves in a bit of a corner with these collections, at least in terms of keeping up with a given compilation’s themes. The majority of the episodes that would have fit best in Cutie Mark Quests already appeared in the this past March’s Adventures Of The Cutie Mark Crusaders set, and Shout! Factory is good about not recycling episodes for these sets, and certainly not within the space of a few months. That said, there’s still some mystery to their selections; the Adventures Of The Cutie Mark Crusaders set included the Season 4 episode “Pinkie Pride,” in which the Crusaders don’t actually appear. (Though Weird Al Yankovic is that episode’s guest star, and Season 4 hasn’t hit video yet, so it’s no surprise they wanted to get it out there.) Besides, as modern animation goes, Friendship Is Magic has a re-watchability quotient which is matched only by Wander Over Yonder and Steven Universe, so you can’t really go wrong with any set.

Of the five episodes on Cutie Mark Quests, Season 1′s “The Show Stoppers” (in which the Crusaders decide to find out if 1980s synth-pop will earn them their Marks), would have been more appropriate on the Adventures DVD, and the premiere Season 2 premiere episodes “The Return of Harmony, Parts 1 & 2″ have nothing to do with Cutie Marks at all, though they do feature the introduction of Discord, a trickster god voiced by John DeLancie, who is not-coincidentally portrayed the similar trickster god Q on Star Trek. The final two episodes on the DVD are the Season 5 premiere “The Cutie Map, Parts 1 & 2,” which only debuted on television this past April.

And while I can quote from “The Show Stoppers” and “The Return of Harmony, Parts 1 & 2″ as circumstances require (and you’d be surprised how often they do), I can’t speak for “The Cutie Map, Parts 1 & 2,” ‘cuz I haven’t watched ‘em yet. I haven’t watched any of Season 5 even though it’s already 10 episodes in, for a simple reason: I’m currently writing a book about the show. The working title is Ponyville Confidential, but since it’s a scholarly study of both the series and the Pony franchise’s place in the media since the early 1980s, the eventual title will probably be something more academia-friendly like A History and Critical Study of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, because that’s the kind of get-to-the-point title the publisher prefers.

I’m keeping the scope of the book to the first four seasons. The manuscript is due in September, by which time Season 5 will have probably just completed, and there’d be no way to do it any kind of justice. What’s more, since I know that “The Cutie Map, Parts 1 & 2″ involves a village where the residents have given up their Cutie Marks because it says so on the back of the DVD, and a recurring theme in Ponyville Confidential is the mystery of the Cutie Marks and how they work, there’s a good chance that the episode will contradict much of what I’ve written. So, in the interest of plausible deniability, I ain’t watching it yet, which will do me a world of good when the book is finally published in 2016 or 2017, and I inevitably get a flood of angry Tweets telling me that I’m worse than Hitler for including what will by then be out-of-date analysis. I’m sure they won’t even be as classy as the Weekly’s resident reactionary trolls are in the comments here. (Hello, resident reactionary trolls! God bless you and the wonderful work you do.) I can’t even watch these clips I’ve embedded. Who is the pony with the parallel lines for a Cutie Mark? Why does Fluttershy have that same Mark on the back of the box, replacing her usual butterflies? I don’t know!

So let my future internet abuse be a cautionary tale: if you’re going to write a book about a TV series, choose one that isn’t still in production. Unless you have as much to say about it as I do about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, in which case, go for it.

See Ted 2′S Awesome Flash Gordon-Inspired Poster

Ted 2 hits theaters on Friday, but that doesn’t mean they’re donehaving fun in the pre-release media campaign yet. There’s a new poster for the upcoming comedy which will strike a chord with anybody who was a sci-fi fan in the 1980’s, especially if you’ve seen the first film.

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The poster via the Ted Facebook page, is a reproduction of the original 1980 Flash Gordon movie poster. Ted looks just as evil as Max von Sydow’s Ming the Merciless. Mark Wahlberg takes on the role of a slightly confused looking Flash Gordon, as played by Sam J. Jones, and Amanda Seyfried is in place as Melody Anderson’s character, Dale Arden. Sam J. Jones had a cameo as himself in the first Ted film as the talking bear and his best friend are big fans of the movie and jump at the chance to meet one of their heroes. We know that there are going to be more Flash Gordon references in the sequel as well, and Jones will also be returning, because who can get enough of Flash Gordon?

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While the film from the 80’s was a box office flop it has obtained a level of cult status since then, mostly due to its sheer degree of pspectacle Everything about the movie is epic, including its camp. There have been numerous attempts to reboot the franchise over the years and now it looks like we may even see a direct sequel to the Dino De Laurentiis produced opus sometime in the near future. Something we’re sure would make Ted very happy. Seriously though, we all know it was the Queen soundtrack that really made the movie amazing.

As compared with the Ted 2 poster, the original below has only had the faces changed, to protect the innocent we expect. Ted even has a nice Ming beard going on. The replica is so spot on that near the hilt of Wahlberg’s sword there’s some sort of silver-grey arch that might be part of the Flash Gordon logo from the original poster.

We’re looking forward to more Flash Gordon related shenanigans when Ted 2 is released on June 26. If the first film was any indication the follow-up should make for some hilarious comedy. Also, Sam J. Jones doesn’t get much work anymore, so it’s really sweet of these guys to keep giving him a job. He is Flash after all.

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Pokémon XY Anime: “Pikachu The Movie” One Hour Special Teaser Trailer Released

A new trailer for Pokémon XY’s one hour special, “Pikachu the Movie,” has been released. For oodles and oodles of bouncing yellow Pikachus, check out the trailer for the Pokémon XY anime’s one hour special “Pikachu the Movie” below:

Pikachu the Movie” airs on June 18. The hour-long episode of Pokémon XY is reported to center around an old man asking Ash’s Pikachu to star in a movie, when a sudden outbreak of Pikachus disrupt the situation. How will Ash and company handle an outbreak of such devastating cuteness?

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Pikachu the Movie” will be the equivalent of four episodes worth of story, and is divided as follows:

Part 1: PIkachu Becomes A Star!? Its Movie Debut

Part 2: How To Pikachu The Movie! All Right!! Action!!!

Part 3: The Thunderclap Hero! Super Pikachu!!

Part 4: Pikachu’s Thrilling Failure Award

Pokémon XY is the newest Pokémon tie-in series, meant to tie in with the release of the Pokémon X and Y games for Nintendo 3DS. The story revolves around Ash’s exploration of the new region of Kalos after his travel through the Decolora Islands. Ash is still tailed by Team Rocket, who are now following new orders from Giovanni.

Pokémon XY began in Japan on October 17th, 2013 and has been airing in North America since January 18, 2014. It is the seventeenth Pokémon anime. “Pikachu the Movie” will be its 81st episode. Meanwhile, Pokémon XY: The Movie is due for a July 18 release date in Japan, with no Western release date yet confirmed.

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In recent Pokémon news: the LA Pokémon Pop-Up Shop will enable you to buy a 14k gold Pikachu necklace, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has released a video showing new gameplay, Minecraft now has an unofficial Pokémon mod, and Pokémon Shuffle has been updated with new stages and new Pokémon added. Unfortunately, there no news yet on the much-anticipated release date of Pokémon Z.

Have you been keeping up with Pokémon XY? Excited about “Pikachu the Movie”? Feel free to share your excitement and speculation regarding Pikachu’s electrifying shenanigans in the comments below.

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2′: Will We See Bumblebee The Transformer?

Filming for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Half Shell is underway and videos have surfaced featuring a Halloween parade in full swing with Michelangelo and Bumblebee from the Transformers.

The scene was shot several days ago and shows a person dressed up as a yellow vehicle (hey, it’s a Halloween parade) rolling up to Michelangelo before transforming into Bumblebee and giving him a high five. Considering that Michael Bay is a producer, it makes sense for him to place this Easter egg in his highly lucrative franchise.

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It was just a quick peek, but will this be the only glimpse of Bumblebee in the movie or will the Autobot see more screen time with the Turtles? We can’t help but wonder if Paramount has reached the point of starting to crossing over its universes.

The first movie had a massive opening and a more-than-decent performance at the box office. That put it in the league of movies like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Transformers: Age of Extinction, prompting the development of a sequel. Critics were however hard on the film, putting pressure on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 to redeem the franchise.

But while a full-on crossover between the Turtles and Transformers may be a bit of an overkill, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 promises a lot of action, what with the assortment of characters to be introduced.

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First off, Bebop and Rocksteady – played by Gary Anthony Williams and WWE’s Sheamus – will finally make an appearance. Casey Jones will also be swinging by, with Stephen Amell under his characteristic hockey mask. Tyler Perry will portray Baxter Stockman and Brittany Ishibashi will bring life to Karai, Shredder’s daughter. And if rumors are to be believed, General Krang should also show up.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Half Shell is set to open June 3, 2016. Andrew Form and Bradley Fuller are on-board as producers while Dave Green will direct from a script written by André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum.

‘Minions’ met Scarlet Overkill and Herb in ‘Despicable Me’ prequel

The Minions, co-stars of Despicable Me minions and Despicable Me 2 take centre stage in their very own movie.

The film traces the development of the cute yellow perils as they do their very best to serve some of histories most notorious masters.

The Minions, co-stars of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 take centre stage in their very own movie.

The film traces the development of the cute yellow perils as they do their very best to serve some of histories most notorious masters.

The film is directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin.

Kyle Balda says they are more than just creatures:“I think that when we worked with the Minions we were trying to give them lots of qualities that are quite human you know, they are not just creatures, they are thinking, feeling, they are mischievous. I think there is a lot of personification that people can project themselves on to them.”

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Co-director Pierre Coffin enjoys the way they communicate:“The magic thing to them also is that they speak this weird language, but hopefully everything is understandable even though you don’t understand the proper words.”

Minion Kevin and his Minion mates Stuart and Bob go out in search of a new evil master and discover female super-crook Scarlet Overkill voiced by Sandra Bullock.

The film goes on release through June and July.

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Ted 2: The teddy bear takes a dig at Kim Kardashian’s famous ‘butt’ cover

Ted spoofs Kim Kardashian’s magazine cover pose

Los Angeles: Ted the teddy bear has made fun of Kim Kardashian’s now-famous Paper magazine cover by striking a similar pose on the cover of another magazine. It is a promotional stint for “Ted” sequel “Ted 2“.

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The spoof on Kardashian’s famous pose was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

In the hilarious photograph, the teddy bear is seen holding a bottle while balancing a cup of beer on his furry derriere just like the reality star’s pose in the photo shot by Jean-Paul Goude, reports aceshowbiz.com.

Ted is even shown making the same facial expression.

In an interview with the magazine, the movie’s creator Seth MacFarlane said that “Ted 2” would be totally different from the first movie.

“The trap that you fall into with a comedy sequel is that you’re making the same movie two times. We wanted to make sure this story was completely new,” he said.

Ted also shared in the article about his biggest fear, saying, “I have a recurring nightmare that my pot is gone. But then I wake up and it’s there, so I smoke it in celebration.”

On being asked about his dream scenario for a perfect day, Ted gushed that it included “riding around in a helicopter with rappers and dropping boxes of sneakers on people.”

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When it comes to his regular morning routine, Ted shared: “1. Go to the health store and get a green smoothie, a couple of veggie sausages, and a cinnamon grain-free chia pudding. 2. Wait outside health store. 3. Huck green smoothie, veggie sausages, and chia pudding at guy with hipster beard. 4. Go get an Irish coffee and f**king doughnuts.”

In the sequel, Ted, who marries Tami-Lynn in the movie, tries to prove that he’s a human so that he and Tami can have children.

Mark Wahlberg reprises his role as Ted‘s close friend, John Bennett.

‘DJPON3 Presents My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Remixed’ Album Preview & Tracklist

The world of Equestria in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has always been filled with music. From the inescapable theme song to bops like “Winter Wrap Up” and “Love Is in Bloom,” Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash and friends have always been all about breaking out in song.

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It didn’t take long for My Little Pony to break out of its targeted 9- to 13-year-old girl demo to the world of Bronies. For the uninitiated, bronies are adult (largely) male My Little Pony fans who latched onto the world of Equestria thanks to the show’s keen storytelling, sharp writing, stylized animation and ever-present winks at pop culture. With the brony culture, unofficial fan-created EDM remixes of Daniel Ingram’s already catchy songs have been bumping from convention halls to earbuds all across the world. Finally, Hasbro Studios is getting in on the action with the release of DJPON3 Presents My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Remixed.

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Though the album may be presented by Ponyville’s favorite musician, DJ Pon-3, the real man behind the album is producer Justin Lassen, who spoke with Music Times exclusively about the two-year long process of curating and producing this album.

“This record was extremely challenging to produce. It was like a two year process for me in working with the different artists,” Lassen said, before diving into the perculiars of making cartoon music ready for the club. “It’s like musical theater so a lot of the songs changed tempos a lot, a lot of the songs didn’t quite line up with editing software so there was a lot of mixing and tweaking and changing and even different auto tuning and things like that.

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“I wanted them to be like would little girls like it and would grown-ups like it? I found a really good compromise between those two and when you hear these tracks, you’ll know like oh my god a real DJ at a club would actually play that song even though it’s a silly song.”

The album itself ends up bringing together the world of childhood and adult music, bringing in everything from trance remixes to dubstep to wonky house music. “I wanted to make sure that I had a mix of tracks that were not just one dubstep track after another, that’s just like oh great another dubstep album. But like no, what are the different angles that we can hit EDM in a really cool fun way. I hit everything from drums bass to breakbeat to dubstep, ambient, chill I mean all kinds of stuff,” Lassen said.

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The blend of styles comes across, offering up a little something for fans of My Little Pony of every age group.

And now Music Times has a little something for fans of the show and EDM: a look at the music to come. Ahead of DJPON3 Presents My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Remixed’s June 23 release date, we have an album preview featuring snippets of all 13 tracks and the complete tracklist.