VIZ Media will launch the Yo-Kai Watch manga in North America in September, the company is announcing today, one part of what looks to be a major global phenomenon.  The launch will be coordinated with the launch of the anime and toys "around the same time," the company said.

Hasbro announced at Toy Fair that it would produce toys based on the franchise (see "First 'Yo-Kai Watch' Products Announced for North America").

VIZ will publish the Yo-Kai Watch manga under its Perfect Square imprint, as befits its status as a kids-oriented property.  New volumes will be released every other month, exclusively in print.

The manga originally appeared in Coro Coro Comic magazine, published in Japan by Shogakukan, and won the 60th Shogakukan Manga Award in 2015 and the 38th Kodansha Manga Award in the Best Children’s Manga category in 2014.

Yo-Kai Watch emerged as a hit Nintendo 3DS video game franchise from Level 5 in mid-2013, and became a hit anime and manga series and a licensing powerhouse, with a CCG one of the most popular product lines.  The video games have sold 6.5 million units in Japan since launch.

Some compare Yo-Kai Watch to Pokemon because of its young target audience, its origin as a video game, and the popularity of the CCG based on it, which has now sold 100 million cards in its first eight months, according to Yukan Ameba News, via Anime News Network.  The CCG is released in Japan by Bandai, which has not responded to requests for comments on the status of its license for North America.

The story follows a boy who’s given a watch that allows him to see "yokai," inspired by supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore.