Animal Crossing is a game about cool times, chill vibes and fun characters. New Horizons especially has embraced this idea, bringing us a host of colorful new friends to add to this wacky world. The villagers themselves can range from garbage tier peasants to indulgent kings, but the special characters are what really make the games come alive. These are the top 10 Animal Crossing special characters from across the franchise.
This beaver is a new addition to the franchise with New Horizons and has made a huge splash within the community. CJ will occasionally show up on the island to host a fishing tourney and live stream it to the world, broadcasting your shame as you cast your line into the river in a last desperate attempt for a bite. CJ is actually short for Chip Junior; his father, Chip, hosted the fishing tourneys in previous Animal Crossing games. You know the streaming game – it’s hard to dedicate yourself to a craft while entertaining your fans, but CJ does it all. He brings an enthusiasm to his work you just don’t find as much these days.
Those of you who haven’t played an Animal Crossing game before New Horizons may be unfamiliar with Resetti, the reset mole. In previous installments he would appear whenever the player shut off the game without saving first. Resetti has some known ties to the mob, mentioning that his cousin, Vinnie, might be coming around to “take care of things” if the player continued to reset too much. His older brother, Don Resetti, is a known mafia boss but has so far evaded arrest on technicalities. Resetti has hilariously and canonically been laid off from his position in New Horizons because of the addition of the autosave functionality; automation claims yet another job from working-class animals. Luckily, Nook Inc. has hired him to run the Rescue Service in case a player gets stuck.
Flick, the insect-collecting chameleon, provides an invaluable service in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Besides coming by your island every so often to purchase insects from you for 1.5x the fair market value, he also brings a sense of chillness with him. Between the pseudo-goth getup, the calm demeanor and the chill vibes, Flick is a welcome addition to the cast. His roommate CJ is also his business partner according to Nintendo canon, but many fans speculate that their relationship might be a little more intense than that. And what’s cooler than a little air of mystery?
7. The Able Sisters
The Able sisters are a family of, well, able hedgehogs. Mabel, Sable and Label each have their own unique talents and personalities but work together to bring you the latest and greatest in fashion. In a cruel twist of fate, the Able parents canonically died in a freak sewing accident, leaving the shop to the care of the oldest sister, Sable. As a teenager, Sable worked tirelessly to keep the shop running and raise her little sister, Mabel, while the middle sister, Label, flew off to Europe to become a fashion designer. Getting confused, yet? Label swings by in New Horizons every so often to bring the latest global trends to her sisters’ shop. They seem to have forgiven her for running off on the family, but I sure haven’t.
Kapp’n the kappa is conspicuously absent from New Horizons, but he’s been a staple of Animal Crossing since the original Japan-only Animal Forest for Nintendo 64. Kapp’n has lived his whole life as a sailor, and in his old age has taken to driving transports such as boats, buses and taxis for the player’s use. He speaks like a pirate and and delivers wonderful sea shanties while reminiscing about his seafaring days as a young man. He is married to an exceedingly friendly kappa named Leilani, who works as a receptionist in New Leaf, and has a daughter named Leila. Despite being a family man, he often sings of the days when he was a single lad, having his heart broken by maidens fair. Kapp’n is an established fan favorite, so I’d be surprised if he doesn’t eventually return to the franchise at some point in the future with New Horizons.
Reese the alpaca is a hardworking, dedicated woman with a passion for sales and marketing. She’s not trying to sell anything to you – she’s just helping you realize that you wanted this 300,000 Bell couch all along. Reese hasn’t yet appeared in New Horizons, but keep an eye out; she and her good-for-nothing husband Cyrus were spotted in a recent Nintendo direct trailer. In New Leaf, Reese runs the local mom-and-pop store Re-Tail (as opposed to Nook’s big corporate store T&T Mart). Reese is fair but firm with her prices and helps the player auction off their unwanted goods for a bit more money. Cyrus, on the other hand, sleeps off to the side of the store for literal months until certain in-game conditions are met. He’ll then craft special items for the player, albeit begrudgingly. It’s not hard to identify the reacher and the settler in this relationship.
Lloid the construction gyroid is another staple of Animal Crossing, first appearing in City Folk to assist the player in various construction projects. Lloid is a self-styled contractor, but really seems to be more of a donation box for you to pour 200,000 bells into while your neighbors give seven bells and call themselves local heroes. Lloid collects money for projects like bridges and inclines, ostensibly from everyone in town, but it seems that the vast majority of the burden falls on the player to meet funding goals. Nevertheless, Lloid is the most energetic, polite and dramatic character in Animal Crossing, waving his arms like the wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man whenever you approach. There’s no denying his enthusiasm for the job, and to be frank with the absence of gyroids in New Horizons he’s kind of holding it down for his whole species.
3. Tom Nook
Look, I know what you’re thinking. You hate Tom Nook. I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. You love the Tom Nook. You will comply with the Tom Nook.
As much as folks are angry with Tom for being the literal face of vertical integration (he strands you on a deserted island and creates his own proprietary currency for a house you build which you must pay back to him to survive), this captain of industry is the reason Animal Crossing exists at all. Tom Nook is actually an animal called a tanuki and not a raccoon as many have surmised. Ever wonder why furniture turns to leaves in your inventory? Tanuki have a distinct ability to transform leaves into other objects and vice versa. Without him, you’d be lugging six actual ironwood tables around the island while trying to chase down a tarantula. Nook employs his nephews, the Nooklings, to run the family business while he counts his bells behind the counter of Resident Services in New Horizons. Perhaps not the most likable character in the franchise, since his whole existence is basically scamming the player, but let’s pour one out for the guy making this all happen, hmm?
You know Isabelle. Even if you’re not familiar with her from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you likely know her from the crossover memes with the Doomguy. Isabelle is perhaps the single most powerful force for positivity in all of video games, bringing with her unparalleled spirit and joy. In New Leaf she acts as the player’s executive assistant (in that game the player character is the mayor) and in New Horizons she is an enthusiastic new hire for Nook Inc, serving as an administrative assistant for Resident Services. She’s clumsy, ditzy and a bit of an airhead, but don’t let that fool you: she earned engineering degrees from 19 different universities concurrently. It’s almost too believable that her first job out of school would be working as an admin for a construction company, but she bears a lot of the weight of running the day-to-day operations of the island. Isabelle brings with her a kind of energy that I’d love to muster in real life, and we’d all have succumbed to Nook’s capitalist iron grip without her long ago.
1. K.K. Slider
K.K .Slider is the ultimate chill guy that you need for an island getaway. Imagine if Jimmy Buffett was just trying to give out margaritas for free instead of marketing a restaurant or Broadway play; that’s K.K. Look down in your hand at the coconut with the umbrella; that’s K.K. That palm tree wearing sunglasses shimmering in the beating sunlight? That’s K.K. This legendary musician is a free spirit, traveling and performing wherever the music takes him. He refuses to accept monetary compensation for his work, stating in Animal Crossing: Wild World: “Those industry fat cats try to put a price on my music, but it wants to be free.” K.K. reminds us every day to not let the man get us down and to keep fighting the good fight. K.K. Slider earns the number one spot for being the living incarnation of the overarching theme of the Animal Crossing series. Do whatever you want, or don’t. It’s chill, man.
Did we miss any of your favorites? Disagree with the rankings? Comment down below!