Growing up as an only child with a single parent, I had a lot of time to myself. Most days I was home alone from the time school ended (usually around 2:30-3:00pm) until around 7:00pm when my mom would get home from work. Saturday mornings were more of the same, as my mom would sleep in and recover from a long week.
Like most kids, my free time was filled with video games, comic books, and playing outside with my friends. But, the thing I loved to do the most was watch cartoons.
Cartoons were my escape. I loved to get lost in the adventures in far away places, some even completely made up. But most of all, I loved the lessons behind the episodes; the moral of the story if you will. Sadly, that’s something I feel is missing from cartoons these days.
Those animated adventures helped me with a lot of questions and feelings growing up, especially at time where I didn’t have anyone around to ask. Now, as father, it’s up to me to help my son work through those same feelings, and I love that we can share the experience of watching cartoons and learning together.
This is why I am super-pumped to partner with Hasbro for their brand new Yo-Kai Watch campaign. Hasbro was awesome enough to send me a big box of Yo-Kai goodies:
Ferris couldn’t wait to break into every pack in the box and play with all the toys. Ok, so maybe I was excited too. But how many times does a 38 year-old man get to act like his 4yo son when a new toy arrives?!? Hasbro also sent along the first 4 episodes for us to watch. So what better way to spend my Sunday afternoon than with some cartoon-filled fun alongside my favorite little dude?!?
The really cool thing was neither of us had ever seen Yo-Kai before, so we were both experiencing this cartoon for the first time, together. My 4yo and I were literally feeling the same way, at the same time – a rare moment indeed as a parent.
If you’re like me and you’ve never seen or heard of Yo-Kai, here is a quick rundown of the story:
One day, while searching for bugs in the woods, a boy named Nate comes across a peculiar capsule machine next to a sacred tree. When he opens one of the capsules up, it brings forth the Yo-Kai Whisper, who gives Nate a device known as the Yo-Kai Watch. Using this, Nate is able to identify and see various different Yo-Kai that are haunting people and causing mischief. Joined by the cat Yo-Kai Jibanyan, Nate and Whisper start befriending all sorts of Yo-Kai, which Nate can summon to battle against more ill-intentioned Yo-Kai that happen to live in his town, causing terrible trouble.
At this point you might be wondering what all this has to do with how I opened this whole story; emotions and all that. Well, much of the Yo-Kai story line has to do with with how people are feeling or acting. Basically, the cartoon shows that when people are acting out of sorts, or different from usual, a Yo-Kai spirit is most likely responsible. For example, in the very first episode, Nate’s parents are arguing over something trivial, leaving Nate to wonder why, as his parents are usually very loving and supportive; only to find a Yo-Kai spirit is messing with them.
Now, I am in no way teaching my son that when he’s having a bad day it’s because an unseen spirit is haunting him, because let’s face it, I need him to still go to sleep at night. But, this was a perfect opportunity to show my son that emotions can be all over the place, and sometimes we can’t always explain why we feel the way we do.
All the sensitive stuff aside, Ferris had a great time during our little viewing party. He laughed along with the cartoon, even at jokes I didn’t get. All the while he played along with the Yo-Kai Watch toy and discs…and I might have played with the toys a fair amount too.
If you’re interested in learning about the Yo-Kai series, check out the first episode below:
Be sure to check out more episodes on Disney X D every Monday at 5:00pm EST.
I was compensated both financially and in product by Hasbro for the #YokaiWatch campaign. All opinions mentioned above and below are 100% my own.