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Characters who mean more than you realized in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

If you haven't played Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch yet, where have you been? Offering a bright, colorful, and positive environment, it's the perfect form of escape the world needs. You play as a resourceful villager who lives a dream life on a tropical island. Your town is filled with friendly animal neighbors who keep each and every day lively and fun. It's an addictive, satisfying life simulator that encourages you to leave all your cares and worries behind. And though there are plenty of activities to keep you coming back, it's those lovable, charming animal neighbors that make Animal Crossing: New Horizons so special.

But it's not just the locals who bring this game to life. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is packed with plenty of island visitors, offering a diverse selection of personalities and interactions. How well do you know all these individuals? Perhaps you'll want to get to know them a little better. Here are the characters who mean more than you realized in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Gulliver

It would seem Gulliver is always getting himself into trouble. But fret not! His visit to your island paradise is never something to dread, as this punny seagull sailor is always happy to send you unique, exotic gifts in exchange for helping him out. Want a giant pyramid? Stonehenge? How about the Statue of Liberty? If so, Gulliver's your guy.

Every so often while gallivanting along your beaches, you'll find a sleeping Gulliver helplessly marooned and ignorant to his situation. You'll have to make several attempts to wake him before he stirs, after which he'll go off about calling his crew on his cell phone for help. And every single time, he'll realize his device is damaged, stating that it is "neither handy nor dandy" (you'd think after a while he'd come to expect that his phone would be broken on impact). From there, he asks you to dig around the beach for the missing communicator parts, and in return, he ships you an exclusive souvenir from his travels.

And how is it that Gulliver manages to consistently find his way on your beach? Perhaps with all his repetitive puns, his friends are simply tired of having him around.

Blathers

When you first move to your island, you'll begin your journey of catching bugs and fish. But what can you do to learn about these finds? And where can you put them? That's where Blathers comes in.

After you nab five unique bugs or unique fish, Tom Nook calls upon Blathers to come to your island and set up camp. Blathers takes him up on his offer and, upon arrival, requests 15 donations to round out his collection, after which he will have the necessary number of exhibits to open up the island's very own museum. Once construction is complete, Blathers becomes your resident museum curator, accepting fish, bugs, assessed fossils, and even works of art.

He is a very friendly owl who will eagerly offer fascinating facts and information about whatever it is you donate, and though he hates bugs of all kinds, he takes great care of his fine exhibits. He is indeed a valued member of your island, but as you continue to play the game, you begin to realize he lives a rather sad existence, spending every moment of his life not just in the museum, but in the very same spot.

K.K. Slider

One of the coolest cats in the Animal Crossing universe is actually a dog, and his name is K.K. Slider. This singer-songwriter pup not only entertains the folks in your town, but he marks an important milestone in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. K.K. performing in your town is the last significant task of the story and will trigger the ending credits. In a way, his arrival signals the completion of the game.

As you build up your island and establish Resident Services, Tom Nook will reveal his desire to increase the town's appeal so K.K. Slider will put on a local concert. From there you will have to spruce up your island until it reaches a 3-star rating, after which K.K. will take notice and come to perform. From that point on, he will put on a show each Saturday, where you can gather friends and request a song.

This cool and humble dog has quite the following, as he has earned much respect for the diversity of his catalog. An ever-expanding repertoire over the years, his songs range from common genres like rock, rap, and country to flamenco, metal, and reggae.

Harvey

One day you'll be out and about enjoying your daily tasks when you run into a cool hippie dog whom you could mistake for a potential new resident. You might be disappointed to learn that Harvey — or Harv, as he likes to be called — is not in fact a potential villager, but instead invites you to visit his own island. It's cool though, because he lets you use his home as a photo studio for free. But perhaps there's something a little off about this generous offer.

After either day three or your third islander, you're free to visit Harv's island via Dodo Airlines any time you want. But when you arrive, you'll notice the first room you enter looks suspiciously like a casting couch. Upon further inspection, you'll find each room to be completely empty. This becomes extra unsettling when you consider this is his home — where he lives!

Why does he have this photo studio anyway? Why is it free? What are his motives? He appears to be the only one who lives on his island, and even when you import characters for a photoshoot, they appear as lifeless mannequins! Perhaps you should avoid Harv...

Isabelle

The perfect foil to Tom Nook's capitalistic obsessions, Isabelle is a sweet, sincere, and lovable dog who handles all of the island's residential affairs. This familiar Shih Tzu, who served as your secretary in the previous game, is brought to your town to manage all things regarding your island's presentation.

You'll have to follow a few steps before Tom Nook hires her on. First, Timmy and Tommy will ask you to help them build their Nook's Cranny store. After that's settled, it's time to recruit three more animal friends to move to your island paradise, which requires you to prepare plots for three new houses and choose a spot for a bridge. After that, you're all set. The tent for resident services will be replaced with a legitimate building, and Tom Nook will announce the hiring of his new staff member, Isabelle!

You can rejoice when she joins the cast, though as beloved a character as she is, there won't be many opportunities to interact with her. Once your island reaches five stars, there's not much else for her to do, unless you care to frequently change your flag or tune, or want to reset an islander's outfit or phrase.

Sable

When your island finally gets the highly anticipated Able Sisters shop, you'll notice a very quiet, hard-working hedgehog in the back modestly going about her sewing. At first, she will appear to be a bit standoffish, sparing as few words as possible to essentially tell you to "beat it." But a little persistence will crack that shell of hers, and she will eventually let down her guard. Be sure to visit her every day and don't be discouraged if she shoes you away. Once she opens up she becomes a loyal friend who will offer you custom patterns.

As your friendship blossoms, you will get to know Sable better and learn more about her backstory. And a sad backstory it is. Throughout the series, she'll talk to you about both her parents dying, leaving her to care for Mabel at a young age. And of course, this drove their other sister Label (or Labelle, as she's later called) to run away in pursuit of a career of her own.

Sable was also close friends with Tom Nook, remembering him fondly as a pure soul. Sadly, Tom changed over the years, and the two grew apart.

CJ

CJ and Flick are two visitors who will buy your fish and bugs at a premium. And when you encounter CJ, his dialogue will offer some hints that have fans of New Horizons speculating as to his relationship with Flick.

Referring to Flick as his "partner," and speaking very affectionately about his artistic abilities, some have come to believe that the two are in a relationship. This has given many gamers hope that Nintendo, which has been mired in more traditional views, took bold steps toward more progressive representation in its games. The company already eliminated gender designations and offered players the freedom to wear any article of clothing they desire, so this seemed like a very plausible next step.

Unfortunately, it looks as though Nintendo is merely taking baby steps toward greater inclusion, as the company has gone out of its way to clarify that they are "business partners" and roommates. Furthermore, the Japanese version leaves far less room for interpretation, as the word "friend" is used in place of "partner." The game also retains binary gender designation in Japan. Perhaps Nintendo isn't yet ready for LGBTQIA+ representation, but hopefully there will be more progress in the next installment.

Wisp

Have you ever had a ghost call you a ghost? Whether or not you're frightened by spirits from the great beyond, this Boo-like specter immediately exposes his harmless nature by getting spooked himself, causing him to lose all of his spirit pieces.

Wisp will show up in a random spot on your island at night, and when you scare all his pieces away he will kindly ask you to not startle him like that. Of course, you never learn your lesson, and he never learns to prepare for the inevitable encounter, so this exchange is bound to happen again and again. 

But fret not, as there's a reward in it! Much like Gulliver, Wisp will enlist you in a fetch quest to retrieve all five of his missing pieces. In return, he gives you the choice of a new gift or an expensive gift. Awfully nice, considering you're the reason he's in this predicament in the first place.

If you ask for something expensive, it's a mistake you'll only make once, as he admits to having no real sense of monetary value. A safer bet is to humbly ask for something new. Regardless, Wisp is friendly, kind, and generous!

Zipper T. Bunny

Bunny Day 2020. It was an event most try to forget. With non-stop themed dialogue, recipes, constant fishing disappointments, and more, a holiday celebration that was meant to bring cheer was nothing but a frustrating 12-day block many gamers anxiously wanted to end.

But it wasn't just the intrusive nature of this event, which pressured players to find every themed recipe for a special prize, that disturbed Animal Crossing fans everywhere. Zipper T. Bunny, that creepy, overly peppy being in an obvious bunny costume. Who is Zipper? What is this character's motive? What mysteries lie behind the zipper on the back? Even more unsettling, Zipper becomes real defensive if you try to sneak a peek from behind.

While Zipper's demeanor may be off-putting, perhaps the character deserves your pity rather than your scorn. This poor creature is not having fun, as the hopping ends once you are far enough away. Zipper will let loose a sigh of relief and assume a normal walk. The cheerful disposition is all an act, and Zipper continues to do a difficult job in a hot, uncomfortable costume with grace. Maybe it's time to cut this mascot some slack.

Jolly Redd

Don't let the "Jolly" fool you — Redd is a most untrustworthy, shady art dealer who tries to rip you off with random merchandise and fake art. Working you over like a fine car salesman, Redd attempts to win your trust with the old "family discount," calling you his "cousin." But you can see past his slick talk. And though it is possible to purchase authentic works of art from this sly fox, such a fact only raises more questions as to how he obtained these treasured artifacts. Surely he's passing off hot items for you to offload onto the island's innocent and enthusiastic owl curator.

But beyond his crafty scams lies something even more sinister than ripping you off. Redd allegedly played a role in breaking Tom Nook's spirit, turning him into the opportunistic raccoon/tanuki you know today.

The once-optimistic Tom Nook lost all his money through a deceptive business plan conceived by someone he considered a friend, and all the clues point to Redd as the traitorous friend. Indeed, this dastardly plot scarred Tom, who was brought within inches of ruin, not only because of the money he lost but the friend he thought he knew.

Daisy Mae

If you were in the habit of sleeping in on the weekend, all that may have changed with the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. When Sunday arrives, so does Daisy Mae, and this early bird waits for no one. As soon as the clock strikes 12, she's gone, and so is your opportunity to make a fortune on the "stalk market."

This tiny boar sells turnips on behalf of her grandma Joan, and they can generally be purchased anywhere from 90 to 110 bells each. After buying turnips, it's on you to check the buyback prices at Nook's Cranny every day in the morning and afternoon to find the best price to sell. Just like the stock market in the real world, you buy low and sell high. 

It's a fun way to practice investing, though given the wide community and ability to travel to other players' islands, there really is no risk involved. Because each island's shop has its own turnip value, gamers can easily maximize their profits by finding friends or even complete strangers with outrageously high buyback prices via social media and forums. Poor Daisy Mae has no clue how much players have gamed the system.

Celeste

If you love Blathers, you're sure to adore his younger sister Celeste. She is just as curious and enthusiastic as her brother, though where his interests lie in terrestrial creatures and fossils, hers go beyond the sky's limit.

This stargazing owl occasionally shows up on your island at night during meteor showers, and she just loves all things related to stars. When you find her, she is more than happy to give you recipes for some of the coolest items in the game, all space and zodiac-themed. These are Celeste-exclusives, requiring the star fragments you'll find washed up on your beach shores after a night of wishing upon shooting stars. 

If these reasons alone weren't enough to make her one of your favorite island visitors, her attention to detail should earn her MVP status. Every time you visit another island and initially cross paths with other NPCs, they will introduce themselves as if it's the first time, regardless of whether you have met them elsewhere. Celeste is different. Once you meet her, no matter where it is, she remembers you. Such a gesture goes a long way in a world where most characters have no recollections beyond their island.

Rover

If you've been playing Animal Crossing games since the very beginning, you'll recognize Rover as the first character you meet in that world. And while his appearance in New Horizons may be more of a passing role, his significance in the series goes far deeper.

In the first Animal Crossing, you take a train to your new town. And who is it that sits with you during this trip? Why, none other than Rover. He will engage you in light conversation that cleverly helps establish your game's parameters. Everything from date and time to your character's appearance is generated based on Rover's questions. He then facilitates your transition by phoning up Tom Nook and making arrangements for a new home.

And from that point on, his role in the franchise was cemented as the master of character personalization. But sadly, his role was handed off to Timmy and Tommy for New Horizons. You do have the pleasure of seeing him once again during the May Day island tour where, as a prize for completing his maze, he will offer you his travel briefcase decorated with cool swag that harks back to past games in the series.

Raymond

Perhaps no other islander has caused as much of a stir as Raymond. Why is that? Within the Animal Crossing: New Horizons community, players have become obsessed with populating their islands with their ideal villagers. And it just so happens Raymond is one of the most desired villagers you can find.

Raymond is part of the new character set, making him among the hardest to obtain. While older villagers can be imported through Amiibo functionality, you can only encounter new animals by chance. As such, gamers have established something of a "black market" trade, exchanging millions of bells for newbies like Raymond. Some will go so far as to plunk down real money to get this stylish cat. Perhaps it's his heterochromia or the way he rocks a maid outfit, but whatever the reason, he has become a fan favorite.

If Raymond is on your wishlist but the high cost to bring him aboard has you feeling overwhelmed, fret not, because a good samaritan hacker stepped in to free him from the black market scalpers. Going by the name of PokéNinja, he used a save editor to generate his own Raymonds to hand out to gamers who wanted him.