It’s easy for Animal Crossing staple characters like Isabelle and Tom Nook to gain massive fandoms (or hatedoms in Tom Nook’s divisive case). It’s much harder for one of the many regular villagers throughout every game to achieve this, though Roald the penguin has shown it’s not impossible. But, if you thought Roald was popular, get ready to learn about Raymond the cat.
Raymond’s popularity has taken my Twitter feed by storm. If you follow many Animal Crossing: New Horizons-focused accounts or even have many friends playing it, you’ve probably seen the same happen, too. Or you’ve at least seen fanart or screenshots of a specific grey cat with stylish black-framed glasses, a tuft of blond hair at the top of his head, and different-colored eyes.
Raymond has heterochromia, a condition that causes a person’s irises to be different colors — but that’s not the only unique thing about him. He is a Smug personality-type, which was first introduced in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the last mainline entry in the series that was released in 2012. There are currently 35 smug villagers in the series, which makes them the second most rare personality-type after villagers with the Sisterly personality.
Interestingly, he was introduced in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, the 2017 mobile game and the last entry in the series before Animal Crossing: New Horizons, on the same day of the latter game’s release. His identity was first revealed four days prior on Twitter by Crossing Channel, a third-party Animal Crossing YouTube channel that contributed to the official Animal Crossing: New Horizons guidebook. He is also the first and currently only Smug cat villager in the entire franchise; he is the one cat who, while pleasant with mostly everyone, will often brag about how cool and good-looking he is.
It’s understandable — I mean, look at him.
Stan Twitter, do your thing.
— (・・?) (@damiririr) March 23, 2020
Yes, he does the cooking. Yes, he does the cleaning.
he do be cleaning doe pic.twitter.com/7zkMFv3kXI
— iorin花絵 raymond haver (@mirwae) March 25, 2020
King of not conforming to gender roles.
some maid raymonds pic.twitter.com/eUwlG8slzw
— iorin花絵 raymond haver (@mirwae) March 25, 2020
He’s just … sitting there. Eating a hot dog.
— 🍨🏝 (@FF14_march) March 26, 2020
Put Raymond in The Masked Singer. I beg you. Y’all hear that vibrato?
— ʜᴏɴᴏᴋ◬ RAYMOND FAN ACCOUNT (@milkuriem) March 27, 2020
His toe beans…
— ケチョンさんのゲーム垢 (@Ktyon3_ss) March 23, 2020
There’s already some cosplay of him, too.
i hate animal crossing pic.twitter.com/hfb5FOBAQP
— jae ツ kny anti (@shouyyo) March 28, 2020
Also, his fanart is SO good.
— Nagu (@wooperfuri) March 27, 2020
— ながべ (@mucknagabe) March 23, 2020
Raymond from Animal Crossing New Horizons is basically a BL character send tweet pic.twitter.com/2Eo91YnkKn
— Luchie @ ACNH 🍒🏝️ (@luchie_hm) March 27, 2020
And that’s just a small piece of his popularity. Looking him up on Twitter leads to anything from more popular fanart to confessions of love for the catboy and people sharing how much they’ve spent in Nook Miles to find him.
The outreach and influences of Animal Crossing‘s passionate fans are contagious. Before working on this article, I was like, okay, fine. Raymond’s a cat. He seems cool. Nice eyes. Great. But going through tweets from his fans has made me go from that to, “oh, he’s so precious.” It made me wonder just what is the appeal to Raymond.
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Sometimes, characters just take on an unexpected form of their own thanks to people’s headcanons. The popularity he gained through a viral video of him playing the tambourine in a maid dress has captivated many, from Animal Crossing‘s passionate LGBT community to queer allies and enthusiasts of extremely cute and cool cats. It’s certainly worked in his favor that fashion in the series has shifted from simple shirts to explicit styles and combinable items like dresses, jackets, and pants, so people can get more creative than ever with his fanart and in-game looks.
While the meanness villagers could convey in old entries didn’t make its return in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there is a realism to the villagers that wasn’t there before. They do little things that often make your heart sing like water plants, study flowers, and craft items in their homes. More than ever, it’s easier to get attached to these characters.
Another part of it is undoubtedly Raymond’s exclusivity and novelty. He’s a new villager with a rather uncommon personality type (and the only one of his species), as well as extremely distinguishable physical traits. It feels only natural that the fandom has latched onto him and shot him into stardom. While Animal Crossing: New Horizons was always going to be a huge success, it’s undoubtedly more popular for the escapism it can provide from all that is happening in the world due to COVID-19. With so many people playing it right now and sharing aspects of their island on social media, it’s hard to resist the outpouring of love for Raymond and not want him on your island, too.
Raymond appreciation post pic.twitter.com/jBkgb8SPy8
— cloudie @ raymond lovemail 💌 (@fluffysmolcloud) March 20, 2020
Yeah, this is pretty much what this article has been, huh. You could say Everybody Loves … just kidding, I don’t really like that show.