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In April 2001, a brand new Nintendo game was released for the first time in Japan. animal forest, as it was then known, was a life simulation game for the Nintendo 64 that allowed a player to live in a small village with animal neighbors. Later published under a new title, animal crossing was ported to the GameCube, where viewers outside of Japan could finally fall in love with the game and play it for the first time.

After the success of animal crossing (2001) and Animal Crossing: Wild World (2005), Nintendo had an idea: what if we turned this budding franchise into a movie? The game itself already had a unique storyline and it wouldn’t have been too difficult to turn into a movie. So in 2006, Nintendo, OLM, Inc. and VAP decided to launch the first (and only) animal crossing Movie, Dobutsu no Mori.

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For the uninitiated, Dobutsu no Moriwhat is translated animal forest, follows an 11-year-old girl named Ai who moves to a new village populated by animals. She works hard to make new friends and follow her dreams while also unraveling the mystery of the bottled news village (sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?). The film was only released in Japan, and Nintendo of America currently has no plans for an English release. But with the continued success of not only Animal Crossing: New Horizonsbut the animal crossing Franchise as a whole, many fans are wondering: Is it time they changed their minds?


When Dobutsu no Mori Released in Japan, it grossed approximately US$16 million (1.7 billion yen) at the box office. While that number seems small compared to today’s movies, Dobutsu no Mori actually good for its time. Japanese fans gave the film a warm reception based on the fact that the video game series had done so well in previous years. Although animal crossing was a minor hit in the west at the time, nobody appreciated the series more than those in Japan. Since the very first release was only in Japan, followed by the updated GameCube version, which was first available to Japanese fans, the film was successful.


This could be why Nintendo of America has reservations about releasing the film to an English-speaking audience. There’s a chance Nintendo feared the film wouldn’t be as well received, given that many other countries don’t have as deep a connection to the series as fans in Japan do. However, as we’ve seen since the 2020 release New Horizons, many fans of the series (old and new alike) have a deep appreciation for the game. Many fans shared this game New Horizons helped them deal with the COVID-19 pandemic that caused the world to stay indoors and provided them with peaceful entertainment while they were confined. The game resonated with thousands of Switch players and sold about 38 million copies in its two-year life, making it the second best-selling Switch game. These are the kind of fans who fell in love with the franchise and would be excited for the opportunity to see the 2006 film.


Reasons for a re-release Dobutsu no Mori go beyond success New Horizons. Consider the announcement that the original animal crossing for the GameCube will no longer be playable in everyday life in 2030. Due to the technology available at that time, the clock in the game will stop from the year 2030. animal crossing is best known for its ability to mimic daily life and allow the player to play (or set their own play date) in real time. While the game will still be playable, GameCube players will no longer have the “everyday” experience that the series offers. The film’s release in the West would not only bring a sense of unity and comfort to life animal crossing fans, but give many gamers a chance to reminisce about their youth, when they booted up their GameCube and hung out with their animal neighbors.


During the re-release Dobutsu no Mori would benefit that animal crossing Fanbase in many ways, there are some issues that would make it difficult indeed. Nintendo would need to cast voice actors to dub the film in English and would likely need to update some dialogue or animation given the film’s age. This would cost quite a lot, and while Nintendo has the funds, they might not feel it necessary to spend those fungi on a movie that was made in 2006 and never left Japan. In addition, Nintendo would have to weigh the pros and cons of an English remake. How successful would it really be in English-speaking countries? Where would you publish it? A theatrical release probably wouldn’t bring in much revenue, but what streaming service would be willing to take an animated film about life with animals? Although now seems like the perfect time for a re-release of Dobutsu no Morithere are some obstacles standing in the way.

Fans have also pointed out that the film can be found on YouTube with English subtitles. While it’s not the viewing experience many would hope for, it exists (although it’s very hard to find) and doesn’t require Nintendo to do any extra work. While it’s frowned upon to watch and post content that the original owner didn’t post themselves, there’s a valid case for those who want to see the film. However, fans should know that Nintendo will most likely not release it for (legal) public consumption. English subtitles allow western audiences to understand the dialogues, but are they enough to satisfy a desire for a full re-release of the film?


While the challenges involved in re-issuing the film may seem daunting, the animal crossing Community is one that would be willing to see it and rally behind the idea of ​​a western release. Dobutsu no Mori is a playful film that would keep you entertained animal crossing Fan of all ages, and instill a sense of joy throughout the fandom that is always felt when a new update to the franchise is released. Should the 2006 film ever get a Western release, it would surely delight and bring out the inner child in many animal crossing Inspire fans – and perhaps newcomers – to engage with the games for the first time.

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