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A.L.I.C.E.: Animal Crossing
A.L.I.C.E.: Animal Crossing
Published by Alice
A.L.I.C.E.: Animal Crossing

Welcome to the first issue of A Look Inside Cultured Entertainment, otherwise known as A.L.I.C.E., a series of articles where I, Alice-sama, analyze the cultural aspects make-ups of some of today's video games.

For the first issue, I feel that it would be worthwhile to check out the cultural design elements of a game near and dear to us cool kids, Animal Crossing. Now some of this information is going to be apparent to a lot of you either via DYKGaming or general knowledge, but to some, it's new.


Let's start with a tidbit FROM DYKGaming since we are here.

Now the tidbit is relatively well-known to a lot of Animal Crossing players. As the DYKGaming post says, Gyroids are based on terracotta clay figures that are typically buried with the deceased for a number of reasons present in Japanese culture. As a way to honour the deceased, or as a burial ritual item, we aren't quite sure, but what we do know is that due to the fact that each Haniwa is different and unique in its own way, thus giving a reason for the over 100 different variants.

Another thing worth noting is that Gyroids only show up after rainy or snowy days, which could be another connection to their importance as burial statues. Culturally, death is associated with sadness, and rainy tends to give a feeling of despondence or sadness. Compare this to films where a family mourns over a dead family member. In quite a number of films, it rains during the funeral as a symbol. Gyroids show up after rain, so it could be assumed that the Haniwa were buried with a body during the rainy day.


The loveable character of Kapp'n is often viewed as a turtle.

This is false. He is actually based on the Japanese folkloric creature, the Kappa, and there are a few things to support this. First of all, his name is almost spot-on to Kappa. Take away the apostrophe and N and add an A and you have the name.

Another way to relate Kapp'n to the Kappa is his design, which can be noticeably compared to a sea turtle, I know, but here me out. Look at Kapp'n's head. It's not really exactly like the Kappa's design, but it draws inspiration, as Kappa have an indented head on the top where they hold water, which is how they stay alive. If the water falls from the Kappa's 'bowl' then they freeze until it is refilled. It's not really expressed in Animal Crossing, but it is a comparison that can be drawn.

Kapp'n also makes mention of cucumbers in a few songs which, go figure, relates to Kappa. Kappa are creatures that are known to love cucumbers, and in the olden days of Japan, it was believed that tossing a cucumber in rivers would keep your children safe from mischievous Kappa. Fun tidbits.


On the subject of yōkai...

What do we know about these two characters?
Well, they love money, and... They like money...
Well, let's take a look at the older incantations of Tom Nook in particular.

And knowing that Tom Nook is based on the Tanuki...

Notice the testicles?
Now, these are actually a symbol of financial wealth and not anything else. You see, back in the olden days (again), metal working men would take tanuki skins and use them to pound gold into coins.

Now here's some extended trivia is that the Japanese term for 'a ball of gold' is 'kin no tama', and the Japanese slang for testicles is 'kintama', a connection was drawn to gold and testicles was drawn based on the similarity of the terms.

and since Tom Nook is a tanuki... and he wears that apron...



Now, the apron has no significance to Redd, as kitsune aren't characterized as yōkai with big balls. However, kitsune ARE known to be tricksters and troublemakers, which can be connected to Redd, as he tends to lie and sell fake products to people while making a large sum of cash off of the deal.

[Click HERE for a guide on how to spot fake art at Redd's shop in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.]

Another neat connection to be made between Redd, Tom, and yōkai as a whole is that they tend to have the ability to make everyday items APPEAR to be other items in order to trick people. This can often be sticks, rocks, or LEAVES. This could explain why furniture items are denoted as leaves, as they are obtained from yōkai, Redd and Tom.


I know that there is a lot that I'm cutting out of this article, but I'm sure that you all could easily find more information on various websites around the internet. I hope you all enjoyed the article, and expect more in the future~

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By SanePsychoSuper on 01-04-2014, 12:45 PM
I already knew all this, but still a good read~ Can't wait to see more A.L.I.C.E. Love the title. xP
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By Alice on 01-04-2014, 12:47 PM
Like I said, a lot of it is well-known information.
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By Konata on 01-13-2014, 05:57 AM
Good read.
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By Aether_Fenris on 01-18-2014, 02:37 PM
I had my e ye on this for a while and forgot to read it. as a huge Animal Crossing enthusiast, I can say all of these things are true, but there are also a lot more interesting little facts about Animal Crossing. Hit me up if you want help with a sequel
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animal, crossing, culture, haniwa, yōkai

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