Pokémon vs. Yo-Kai: Which one should you get?

Although Yo-Kai is a more recent franchise in the gaming world, its introduction took the industry by storm. It continues to grow its popularity enough to one day match and probably even surpass Pokémon. I’ve actually come across some fans and media referring to it as “the next Pokémon”. Other fans, however, seem to think that Yo-Kai is a Pokémon rip-off.

Pokémon vs. Yo-Kai

Via Reddit

I’ve taken time to interact with Yo-Kai games and the anime, and while its shares certain similarities to Pokémon, its concept is mostly unique. But given the fact that they are both monster-centered franchises, like many fans, I was curious to see which of the two was better?🤔

So, I took time to play the Yo-Kai Watch games and watched the anime, trying to compare it to my interaction with Pokémon games and anime. Now given my experience and knowledge of both brands and their content, I’m writing this article to share with you the insights I have collected over time. If you’ve been struggling to decide which one is better, which game to get, or which anime to watch, then you’ll find your answers here 😊.

Pokémon vs. Yo-Kai – How They Compare.

Before we get into the details of how the two differentiate, below is a summarized table of how they compare:



Yo-Kai Watch


  • Set in a fictional world
  • Focuses on capturing Pocket monsters
  • Set in a fictional Japanese town
  • Focuses on befriending troublesome Yo-Kai


  • Over 1000 Pokémon
  • Wider variety of different Pokémon
  • About 100 Yo-Kai
  • Smaller variety compared to Pokémon


  • Repetitive plot
  • Popular on a global level
  • Better characterization
  • Popular in Japan

Video Game

  • More complex combat style
  • 9 generations worth of games in the series
  • More game content and complex battle style
  • Has a better storyline
  • 3 main games in the series
  • Better 3D style and graphics
  • ABetter storyline, with more humor

What are the differences between Pokémon and Yo-Kai?

Pokémon vs. Yo-Kai- Which one should you get?
Pokémon UNITE for Nintendo Switch. Image source: Nintendo

As I mentioned in the introduction, both Pokémon and Yo-Kai are monster-centered. Other than that, they share certain similarities when it comes to combat rules and so on. Given the fact that Yo-Kai is over a decade later, I can understand why some fans (Pokémon fans👀) would think that it is a rip-off.

But if your take time to carefully compare them, Pokémon and Yo-Kai actually have some significant differences. The following are the main ones worth considering:


Starting with the concepts, while Pokémon and Yo-kai belong to the same genre, their concepts aren’t as similar as most people assume. In Pokémon, the concept is based on pocket monsters known as Pokémon who co-exist with humans in a fictional world filled with many regions and cities. The whole point of Pokémon is to capture the different variations, train them, and use them to battle.

On the other hand, Yo-Kai is based on spirit/ghost forms👻 called Yo-Kai. Unlike Pokémon, the Yo-kai coexist with humans in a small town. The aim of Yo-Kai is to find and befriend the mischievous Yo-Kai troubling the town. So, whereas, both concepts are about adventure, Pokémon chooses to go big, while Yo-Kai remains small and whimsical.

Overall, I prefer Pokémon’s concepts over Yo-Kai. I like the idea of having an expansive world to explore as opposed to a small town. Plus, you can do a lot with Pokémon creatures as opposed to Yo-Kai’s spirit forms.


Pokémon vs. Yo-Kai
Pokémon monsters. Image source: Pokemon

We’ve already covered the biggest difference when it comes to the monsters. While in Pokémon, they are pocket monsters called Pokémon, in Yo-Kai, they are spirit forms called Yo-Kai. Although Yo-Kai comes in 8 diverse groups called tribes, I feel there is a larger variety of Pokémon monsters. Additionally, Yo-Kai specializes in different ghost and spirit forms, but different Pokémon monsters are based on literally anything from plants to bugs to different animals, as well as aliens and dragons.

But aside from the variety, by the 9th generation, there are a whopping total of 1,008 Pokémon across all generations😃. As for Yo-Kai Watch has only about 100 monsters introduced so far. This may not be a fair comparison because Pokémon existed for at least a decade or more before Yo-Kai came along, so the latter still has room to come up with more monsters.

As for the designs of the monsters, this may be more of a preference. Personally, I think Pokémon has better designs for its monsters😬. Not only are they familiar and recognizable, but most of them are also adorable. Think of Vulpix, Jigglypuff, Pikachu, Eevee 🥰. Even the odd mons like Muk and Koffing aren’t as awkward and strange as Yo-Kai monsters in my opinion. But that’s not to say, Yo-Kai doesn’t have some cute selections as well, like Kyubi, who’s looks like Ninetales from Pokémon by the way.

Overall, however, I would have to say Pokémon wins this category. Even though Yo-Kai still has room to catch up, for now, Pokémon has a larger number of monsters with a wider variety (and better design in my opinion)


Both Pokémon and Yo-Kai Watch have anime adaptations. In Pokémon, the show follows Ash Ketchum accompanied by his trusted Pokémon Pikachu, on a journey to becoming a Pokémon Master. It mainly involves him and his friends traveling to different regions, challenging gym leaders, collecting their badges, and capturing Pokémon. There are also scenes where they face off against villain teams and try to prevent their evil schemes.

In Yo-Kai Watch, the series focuses on a boy called Nate, who finds a special watch. With the help of the watch and his friends Katie, Eddie, and Bear, as well as his Yo-Kai Jibanyan, they go around town in search of Yo-kai who are causing trouble.

What I love about Yo-Kai Watch anime is that it’s still new and fresh, and although the adventures in the anime are quaint compared to those in Pokémon, they are still memorable 🙃. Plus being a new show, there are a lot of expectations and anticipating what’s to come in later episodes. With Pokémon, however, after a while the anime became repetitive. Aside from the change in characters other than Ash, the main plot is the same in almost every season 😒.

Because of that, I will give the point to Yo-kai Watch in this category. Hopefully, the anime continues to evolve and not remain static as Pokémon has. Although I should point out that Pokémon’s repetitiveness is what gives it nostalgic value.


Pokémon vs. Yo-Kai
Yo-kai. Image source: Pokemon

When it comes to video games, Pokémon has had a significant impact on the gaming work from the very first generation in the series. So, far 9 generations in, it has numerous games under its belt not counting the spin-offs and the popular mobile app, Pokémon Go. Being fairly new, Yo-Kai is still establishing itself and has 3 main games in its series and a few spin-offs.

But the two do share some similarities. For example, in both players are only allowed 6 monsters at a time and they are both Role Playing Games with a focus on catching monsters. Other than that, they differ in the sense that in Pokémon the player is on a set path to become a champion. In Yo-Kai watch the idea is to more or less befriend the spirit forms.

However, despite being new, I would say, Yo-Kai Watch has better graphics, especially in 3DS compared to Pokémon. Even so, Pokémon is a better competitive game with a long-lasting experience. Its combat style is slightly more complex and requires more strategizing compared to Yo-kai, where at times team battles without the player’s input. Not to mention there is more to do in a Pokémon game compared to a Yo-Kai game.

Therefore, in terms of video games, I believe Pokémon is still ahead of Yo-Kai Watch, based on the content and the number of games in the series already available. Unless you don’t want anything too challenging, then Yo-Kai is your best bet. It also has more humor and tells a better story.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon or Yo-Kai

All things considered; I will say that Pokémon is better than Yo-kai. Having been in the game for a longer time, there’s a lot more Pokémon content out there. Plus, the franchise has built quite a following over the years even on a global level. Although, Yo-Kai is still growing in popularity it still has a long way to go in gaining the global recognition Pokémon currently has.

But even with that said, Yo-Kai has a lot of potential. Its anime is already a fresh take when compared to Pokémon’s. If only it was made more relatable to a global audience seeing as it incorporates a lot of Japanese culture and themes.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon or Yo-Kai?

On a global level, Pokémon has more recognition across its multiple media, from video games, anime, movies, card games, and merchandise. In Japan, however, Yo-Kai has become a bit of a craze among the younger audience almost overtaking Pokémon in popularity.

Who came first between Yo-Kai and Pokémon?

Pokémon came first. The Franchise started by releasing its first video game on Game Boy in Japan in 1996. Yo-Kai Watch was a bit more recent, debuting its first game in Japan in 2013.

Which one is easier to play Pokémon orYo-Kai?

Although both RPGs are watered down to be child-friendly, Pokémon has a more complex strategy-driven combat style compared to Yo-kai. Therefore, Yo-Kain is easier to play.

Which one should you play first Pokémon orYo-Kai?

Although Pokémon came first, it doesn’t matter the order in which you play them. Pokémon and Yo-Kai Watch may share some similarities but their concepts are largely different. Therefore each will offer a different experience regardless of which one you play first.

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