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Anime / Animal Crossing

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Also known by its Japanese title, Doubutsu no Mori (as well as Animal Forest and Animal Crossing: The Movie), Animal Crossing is an anime movie loosely based on the Animal Crossing video game franchise (more specifically, Animal Crossing: Wild World). Since plot isn't exactly the original games' strong point, the movie takes an appropriately Slice of Life approach to the source material. While the original was never released outside of Japan, there are at least two different unofficial English fandubs and various subtitled versions on the Internet. In 2020, the film was rebroadcasted to commemorate the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The movie begins in spring and follows Ai, a young girl moving to the town of Animal Forest (or Town or Village, depending on which translation you're watching). As she settles into town, she gets to know the locals. She quickly befriends several of them: Rosie the cat (Bouquet in Japanese), Alfonso the alligator (Albert), Margie the elephant (Sally), and Yu, a human from a different town who visits often. Margie especially becomes Ai's closest friend, after they bond over cherries. Margie even shares with Ai her dream of becoming a famous fashion designer. In the coming months, they go to festivals, annoy (and get annoyed by) Yu and Alfonso, and get wrapped up in an unusual mystery involving bottled letters, and special spots in town...


There's more to it than that, but everything that happens in autumn and beyond is somewhat... less cute and happy. Will Ai and her friends solve the mystery of the bottled letters? But more importantly, will Ai be able to stay happy living in Animal Forest?

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Whitney is a "snooty" villager in the games. "Snooty" villagers often act act like jerks and are self centered. Whitney in the movie is significantly nicer than in the games, though she seems cold and aloof.
    • Margie is a "normal" villager in the games. Despite their name they're anything but in Wild World, which the movie is based on. They're oddball and neurotic animals who are friends with a mop. Margie in the movie is calm and into fashion.
  • The Anime of the Game: An interesting case in that the original game was rather light on plot, so the film creates its own story instead.
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  • Arc Words: "Life's a lot like cherry pie..."
  • Ascended Extra: All the "villager" type townspeople, but especially Rosie, Margie, and Alfonso. In the games, they're just a few townspeople out of over a hundred. They're central characters here.
  • Authority in Name Only: Tortimer, in a sense. He's a huge egotist and constantly worries about the results of the upcoming election (of which he's the only candidate), but he doesn't actually perform any mayoral duties. In fact, it's revealed at the end of the film that the election had only one ballot; Tortimer, who voted for himself.
  • Big Eater: As with most "lazy" villagers, Alfonso is one. He ordered five hundred pies from Tom Nook!
  • Book-Ends: The movie both begins and ends in spring, going through the year in between.
  • Buffoonish Tomcat: While Rosie is far from a complete buffoon, she is definitely more spacey than the other characters.
  • Demoted to Extra: Rather important NPC characters like Tom Nook, Pelly, or Blathers don't have much of a presence as the film focuses on villagers. K.K. Slider, who's by far one of the game's most popular characters, only shows up during the festival scene (he pops up again during the credits, but only in a montage).
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Whitney. She especially warms up to Ai when Margie moves away, and Ai is clearly distraught.
  • Drama Bomb: Margie just up and moving, telling everyone except for Ai. This often happens in the game itself.
  • Dub Name Change: The unofficial English dubs naturally use the characters' official English names.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Cesar the gorilla and Champ the monkey are the resident non-human primate villagers.
  • Foreshadowing: During Rosie's introduction, she incorrectly assumes that Ai "ran away from her hometown to heal her broken heart". This is more or less what Margie does later in the movie.
  • Funny Animal: The point of the series is that you're a Token Human living amongst anthropomorphic animals. The same applies here.
  • Gainax Ending: The ending of the movie, which has Ai stumble upon an UFO that creates a constellation in her likeness, isn't foreshadowed at all and doesn't make much sense even with the context of the bottled letters that periodically show up.
  • Genki Girl: Rosie. Goodness gracious. Her first scene has her dance around her front yard and ask Ai if she's single!
  • Good-Times Montage: One near the beginning while transitioning from spring to summer. There's a sad one when Ai realizes Margie is gone.
  • Honorable Elephant: Margie is very calm and a Yamato Nadeshiko.
  • Insufferable Genius: Blathers. The name is as appropriate as ever. That said, though, he still goofs by calling the Seismosaurus the largest animal ever. note 
  • Interspecies Romance: Rosie mentions it's rumored Whitney (a wolf) and Apollo (an eagle) used to be a couple. It's more or less confirmed after Whitney consoles Ai at the Roost.
  • Irony: Despite being a crocodile, Alfronso cannot swim.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Averted with Alfonso, who is a lovable and lazy Big Eater.
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: Margie is only the animal character in the movie to regularly wear shoes.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Certain things had to be changed that would come off as too cartoony in an adaptation, or that just wouldn't work. Mr. Resetti's role in the games has him getting upset when you shut off the games without saving; however, here he gets mad when characters mess up other people's property. Ai doesn't carry around large items in her inventory, she uses a bike to make deliveries. The dinosaur fossils are also life-sized compared to the shrunken down models from the games.
  • Recurring Extra: Hopper, who shows up in the background fishing at least once a season.
  • Ribcage Ridge: Ai and her friends eventually stumble on a giant seismosaurus fossil embedded in a cave wall. In the film's climax, Yu has to climb up the fossil to retrieve a part of Gulliver's UFO.
  • Running Gag: There are a few cuts to Hopper sitting at the riverside fishing here and there, never catching any fish (until the credits — the one he finally catches is a few inches long).
  • Ship Tease: Ai and Yu towards the end of the film.
    Ai: Boys will be boys, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.
  • Slice of Life: Just like the games it's inspired by.
  • Sweat Drop: Lampshaded. As Gulliver is leaving the village, he sighs and tries to wipe a sweatdrop off of his head... only to fail because he's wearing a space helmet.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Apollo is a male one. Despite appearing distant throughout the film, he quickly forgives Ai for damaging his blue roses, and sends Whitney a bouquet of them during the end credits.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Margie and Ai sharing cherries is what helps kickstart their friendship.
  • Theme Naming: The two human characters are named Yu and Ai. In the Japanese version, doubles as punny Gratuitous English, too.
    • In Japanese, Ai's and Yu's names squahed together translates to "friendship" (友愛).
  • The Stinger: After the credits, we jump to Spring, and Ai runs towards the museum to bake cherry pies with Celeste. The camera then pans down to reveal a patch of Jacob's Ladders, meaning that Animal Forest has since reached "perfect town" status.
  • Those Two Guys: Cesar and Cyrano are together in all their scenes.
  • Tsundere: Yu is actually a male version — he's a bit brash toward Ai, but does genuinely seem to like her.
  • Women Are Wiser: A more downplayed example. Ai and Margie are portrayed as being more mature and level-headed than Yu and Alfonso. In addition, Roise and Ai especially seem to look down upon Yu and Alfonso until the end of the film. Doesn't apply to any of the other characters, though.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Yu, who's wearing a different costume every single time he appears.


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