Official Animal Crossing Anime Movie Showcases The Two Types Of Players – Screen Rant

Dōbutsu no Mori, aka Animal Crossing: The Movie, features two human characters that show there’s more than one way to enjoy the Nintendo game series.
Despite the worldwide popularity of the games, the 2006 official Animal Crossing anime movie has never been released outside of Japan. It follows two human villagers, a boy named Yu and a girl named Ai, who demonstrate there is no wrong way to play a low-key life sim like Animal Crossing, as players can either dive into all of the activities available or focus on finding the ones that appeal to them most.
Dōbutsu no Mori, or Animal Crossing: The Movie, was produced by OLM, Inc., the same studio behind the many animated Pokémon films. Its whimsical surrealism and slice-of-life approach to storytelling makes it feel somewhat like a Studio Ghibli film, albeit with a lower budget. The central character is Ai, who moves to Animal Village at the start of the film, just as players did  in the original Animal Crossing game. She soon befriends elephant villager Sally, known as Margie in English-language game releases. Sally has a Normal-type personality in most Animal Crossing games, but in the film, she takes on a Sisterly role, helping Ai fit in with the other villagers. Sally is an aspiring fashion designer, and she encourages Ai to find her own passion.
Related: Animal Crossing Island Ideas To Get Ready For Halloween
Early on, Ai also meets Yu, an energetic troublemaker living life to its fullest. Yu is nearly always in costume, dressed as a ninja, a pirate, and a caveman, and other characters. He is shown engaging in bug collecting, fossil excavating, and other Animal Crossing staples, and an early scene where he declares he has found “almost every fossil” reflects a common playstyle for the games. Years after the film, the series’ newest entry, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, retained a focus on collecting and engaging with numerous sub-systems. There are fossils to unearth, bugs and fish to catch, and fine art to collect in New Horizons. Yu embodies the typical completionism-oriented player – whether bugs or fossils, his goal is to “catch ’em all.”
While Ai’s introspective search for her true passion may seem beyond the scope of a simple game, her behavior in the film depicts a different approach to playing Animal Crossing. She engages with animal villagers, listening to their stories and learning more about them as people, just like a real-world Animal Crossing playstyle that involves regularly checking in with neighbors, increasing friendship levels, and having the perfect gift ready for each villager’s birthday.
Ai also collects messages in bottles on the beach, but instead of containing DIY recipes like in New Horizons, they provide cryptic messages instructing her to plant trees at specific locations in the village. She is led to believe these messages come from aliens and that, if she follows the instructions, there will be a “miracle” during the village’s Winter Festival.
After following the instructions, a UFO crashes on the village during the festival, piloted by the gull Johnny (Gulliver in the games’ English versions). In an homage to Wild World, which was released shortly before the film, the village unites to find the missing pieces of Johnny’s spacecraft to help repair it. Though Johnny is revealed as the source of the messages, actual aliens soon arrive, drawn by the lights. Ai helps an injured extraterrestrial reunite with its people and, in doing so, feels she has found her calling: helping others in need.
In game terms, Ai engages with the social simulator aspect of Animal Crossing but is also, in a way, heavily invested in seasonal events – something New Horizons has continued to build on with its post-launch updates. The Animal Crossing movie shows that, whether players are obsessed with obtaining every bug, fish, and piece of furniture to complete their collections or just choose to focus on the villagers and events that resonate with them, there are many ways to play Animal Crossing, as long as they have fun with it.
Next: Animal Crossing: Pros & Cons Of Starting A New Island
Derek Garcia is a Game Feature Writer for ScreenRant. He lives with his wife, three dogs, and a likely excessive number of video game consoles. When he is not writing, playing video games, watching movies or television, or reading novels or comic books, he occasionally takes some time to sleep. Derek majored in journalism and worked for a print newspaper before discovering the internet. He is a fan of science fiction and fantasy, video game and tabletop RPGs, classic Hong Kong action movies, and graphic novels. After being immersed in nerd culture for many years, Derek is now happy to write about the media he enjoys instead of just ranting to his friends.

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