Some might not agree, but I personally think it’s a fairly lukewarm take: Animal Crossing: New Horizons seems to have better LGBT representation than the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the first mainline entry in the beloved Nintendo series in almost eight years, was released just yesterday. In that short period of time, there have already been countless memes, custom designs, and hilarious clips uploaded onto Twitter.
Among the many viral clips, one, in particular, is the latest in the few moments of LGBT representation in Animal Crossing history. In the clip, a villager is visiting Merry, a cute cat villager, at her home. When the two begin to talk about Merry’s love of comics, she asks the player what their favorite kind of comic is. Upon hearing the player’s answer of “romantic comedy,” Merry mentions how much she loves a comic featuring two princesses in love.
While they’re described as lesbians by the community, it’s important to note that they may be lesbians, bisexual, pansexual, or simply identify as queer — or any combination of those sexualities! Regardless, it’s an undeniable moment of representation of love between two women.
Thank you to Twitter user Tainshir for the video, which you can watch below:
— baphomet (@tainshir) March 21, 2020
In case you can’t play the video, the transcript is as follows:
Merry: I’m a huge comic fan, mweee! What kind of comics do you read?
Villager: Romantic comedy.
Merry: YES! Romantic comedies! Ohmigosh, I didn’t know anybody else read those comics but me!
My favorite’s about the shred-tastic Princess of Rocketboarding and her true love, the Princess of Explosions!
They search the world for each other, but HILARIOUS stuff always keeps them from happiness!
Like, one time, a wizard swapped their minds! So they were together… but also further apart than ever!
Eventually they fooled the wizard a bunch and got their own brains back. It was hilarious AND romantic!
I have to hear about your favorites sometime, mweee!
This is one of the very few known moments of queer representation in the series. Animal Crossing has always been widely popular, but it sometimes feels especially popular with queer players. It’s a peaceful game in which you are immediately welcomed and allowed to feel part of a community — something that has certainly appealed to many queer folks, who are often excluded in myriad ways in our real-world society.
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Up until now, LGBT representation in the series has been arguably scarce at best. Some fans have pointed to the villagers and their sometimes flirty nature toward the player regardless of gender. Others have discussed how Isabelle, who might just be the series’ most popular character, is hinted to have a crush on the player regardless of gender. The face options for your player character have always been gender-neutral, even if you’ve been forced to choose between being a boy or a girl. There are a few moments in which villagers have expressed a desire to deconstruct gender norms. These have been crumbs, but they are tiny things that have appealed to LGBT fans of the series.
It’s worth noting that, in addition to racial inclusivity, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is making additional steps to be inclusive of different genders.
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, players could wear any outfit regardless of the gender they chose at the start of the game, for all clothing is general-neutral, and no villagers will shame you for your choices. Additionally, if you make enough visits to your town’s hair salon, you’ll eventually unlock the ability to choose any hairstyle regardless of gender.
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can still wear any outfit. However, you can now choose a feminine or masculine style at the beginning, eliminating the construction of gender. You can also wear any hairstyle and, using facial custom designs, put “makeup” on your character. You can change your character at any point in time once you acquire a mirror, so if you want to express yourself differently, you’re not stuck with the choices you made when you first created your character.
Combined with this moment of sapphic representation, it seems Nintendo has made an effort to be significantly more inclusive with Animal Crossing. It’s 2020, and for a game founded on the idea of being inclusive to everyone, including adorable animals, it only feels right and logical that the series has headed in this direction. While we can discuss how significant this representation is, how long ago it should’ve been implemented, and how much more inclusive of different genders and sexualities the series can be, it still stands.
And it’s still more than the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done so far. Shout outs to that three-second moment of gay representation in Avengers: Endgame in which a random man refers to having a date with another man. And let’s not forget how a scene in Thor: Ragnarok that would’ve made Valkyrie’s canon bisexuality explicit was filmed but cut out.
For now, rest assured: Animal Crossing: New Horizons does indeed say “gay rights.”