Alright some people (myself included)have big hopes for this property in the west and when a dub is produced fans are fearful at how it can go so lets get into it.
I did NOT expect them to keep the pre show warning from the original. Though because of different worries of parents the message was "Don't try this at home" instead of "watching TV in the dark is bad for you".
The initial opening for this episode is pretty much the same, Nate (or Keita in the original) at the moment his life is about to change and saying as much. I applaud Densetsu and Disney XD for keeping the kid friendly creepiness where it applies instead of dumbing it down.
They kept the original theme music for the most part. Not sure about the rap style lyrics but it overall mostly intact, though parents will probably be scratching their head trying to figure out what Gera Gera Po means (basically it means laugh out loud).
The story begins with Nate trying to catch bugs with his friends Eddie and the aptly named Bear. On comparing their catches when their other friend Katie comes over she notes that his catch is similar to him, average. This is what we are getting from him as a character right now, he's your average kid and that bothers him.
So going out to find a rare bug to impress everyone he runs across a capsule machine that looks older than it should as it's made of stone. On hearing a voice asking it to "Feed me" in song he has a feeling this is wrong but feels compelled to insert a coin anyway (in the original the song is to simply insert a coin). Now in Japan capsule machines known over there as Gatchapon are much more prevalent than in the states but any kid who's been to a grocery store, restaurant or truck stop should be able to identify it.
Opening the capsule he receives frees a ghost Yo-kai named Whisper who out of gratitude enlists his service as a "butler" to Nate who is less than thrilled to be caught up in this weirdness. Whispers initial attempts to prove his worth are the definition of an epic fail and just follows Nate until he gets home.
Nate finds his mom and dad arguing over yogurt of all things. Nate tells Whisper that his parents are happily married and even they DO fight its never about something this trivial. Whisper suspects this is the work of a Yo-kai and gives Nate the Yo-kai Watch so he can be able see other Yo-kai around him.
Using the lens and light on the watch he spots the Eerie class Yo-kai Damperina, her power makes those nearby cranky and miserable and could make Nate's parents "fight forever". In the original the word divorce was actually used so they softened it a bit here but as increasingly uncommon as it is for young kids to have divorced parents (unfortunately) I think it was unneeded.
Trying to convince Damperina to leave we learn that she's in the middle of a fight with her own husband and is worried that he no longer loves her. Nate uses his parents example to convince her otherwise and her husband, The Heartful class Yo-kai Happierre, to returns. Happierre has the opposite power of Damperina, people around him are filled with overwhelming happiness and cheer so when the two are together they cancel out and Nate's parents return to normal and settle their argument. However afterward Whisper explains more about the nature of Yo-kai and promises Nate's life "will never be the same".
Part two of the episode opens with Nate and Whisper at crosswalk in front of a fish market. Nate talks about a number of "near miss" incidents where people are nearly hit by trucks. Whisper thinks that a Yo-kai is "enspiriting" or possessing the area and causing the incidents. Particularly that the Yo-kai was once a normal living thing and is haunting the spot it died. Ok divorce is non-topic but we are ok with talking to kids about death? Well given the subject matter they probably didn't have much choice (still it's better than be sent to another dimension or other things done in the past).
Using the watch they locate the Charming Class Yo-kai Jibanyan. This guy is to Yo-kai Watch what Pikachu is to Pokémon, cute reasonably powerful and if this takes off will have plush toys of himself fly off the shelves.
Jibanyan enspirits as hapless bystander and walk him in front of a truck. But instead of trying to get the guys hit he leaves him when the truck is near and attacks it with his signature move "paws of fury". The tuck stops in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian but not Jibanyan who is set flying Team Rocket style.
When the cat came back (pun intended) they his story. When alive Jibanyan was the pet cat of a girl named Amy and the to were pretty close. Then at that intersection he was hit by a car and died. When he became a yo-kai he heard Amy call him a "lame cat" for getting hit a truck. Now THAT is cold and heartless! Still he thinks if he can beat a truck he can make things the way they were before. (I'm a bit worried about the phrase "lame cat" and how it will play in a later episode but I won't go into that until that one is dubbed).
Nate tells him not to enspirit people and Jibanyan decides to face the truck alone, with as much success as before. Jibanayn then tells them that he only enspirited people because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to handle the trucks alone. Nate then offers allow himself to enspirited so Jibanyan wouldn't have to be alone.
Jibanyan is so happy to have made a friend after so long that he glows and produces what Whisper calls a Yo-kai Medal. These medals are the proof of a human's friendship with a Yo-kai and (as we learn later) when used with the Yo-kai Watch can summon that medal's Yo-kai to you. Rushing into a happy embrace Jibanyan gets hit by another truck and ends the episode.
Once again the ending song was mostly the same and it seems like it will be promoted as a dance and exercise song. Now I felt the dance with the first ending was kiddy even for the targeted audience but if they do the later ones as well I say go for it.
Overall I say the show is off to a good start at least. I can't tell if Yo-kai Watch is will be either a bomb or a megahit like it has become in Japan but it has good messages, a wonderful amount of humor and surprisingly adult drama at times. I'm looking forward to where it will go from here.
Yo-Kai Watch is on at 5 P.M. on Disney XD with new episodes all this week and new episodes every Monday afterward.