Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been like a mental salve in these fraught times. It’s just relaxing to hang out on a nice little (or not so little) tropical island with your cute animal friends. With about 390 of those animal friends, though, it’s important to get the right ones. The Animal Crossing villagers you get in your town early on can define your whole experience — and not just because they give you free stuff. Part of what makes Animal Crossing great is that ever-nebulous “vibe.” What animals propel our islands to that Goldilocks zone differs from person to person. Some of them are classic Animal Crossing characters, while some are visually unique or relatively new to the series. Regardless of where they’re from or what kind of animal they are, these are our favorite Animal Crossing villagers welcome to any island.
Tucker (first appearance: New Leaf)
Tucker is technically supposed to be an elephant, but he’s designed to look like a woolly mammoth. The dark brown fur and his large tusks are what give it away, and there’s that caveman tunic in case the other two clues weren’t enough. Not only that, but his house is decorated like a dense tropical jungle too.
Tucker is a sort of Tarzan-style character, but he doesn’t speak with a caveman’s stilted vocabulary. He’s apparently Australian and drops slang like “Bonzer!” into conversations. Adding cultural touchstones like regional verbiage goes a long way toward making a character feel special. It makes the world feel a lot bigger than if everyone just spoke plain English.
Beau (first appearance: New Leaf)
With the amount of deer roaming Japan, it makes sense Animal Crossing would have plenty of cute deer villagers. Beau is a real nature lover too, decorating the inside of his house with a cardboard tree and a picnic table. But what makes Beau really unique is that, in New Leaf, his stated goal is to become the next mayor.
With that little character trait, Beau gave players room to imagine for themselves. What would an Animal Crossing election even look like? (Spoiler: It probably wouldn’t even matter, because Tom Nook owns everything.) Would people really vote you out of Town Hall in favor of Beau? Beau may be a “lazy” character by nature, but this little spark of ambition is why he’s one of our favorite Animal Crossing villagers — even if most fans primarily love him for his adorable face.
Lucky (first appearance: Animal Crossing)
Everything about Lucky screams “Egyptian mummy.” His house is decorated with pyramids in New Leaf. His amiibo card depicts him walking in a straight line with his arms outstretched like a monster straight out of classic Universal horror films. And on top of all that, his name in French is “Ramses.” But he’s not a mummy, because those aren’t mummy wraps he’s wearing. Lucky is encased in a full-body cast that he earned through a series of unfortunate circumstances — hence the ironic name in English.
There’s occasionally a supernatural element to Animal Crossing, but Lucky is a normal dog. Just… a very unfortunate normal dog. It’s actually pretty unique that Lucky has his own in-game explanation for his name and look too. Maybe all the Egyptian decorations are him just leaning into his new aesthetic and making the most of it. We do have to ask, though: If Lucky’s bandages are a medical cast, how long is he going to be stuck inside that thing? He’s been around since 2001. You’d think he would’ve healed by now. Either way, he’s always welcome in our villages.
Stitches (first appearance: Wild World)
Although the majority of Animal Crossing villagers are modeled on real animals, Stitches looks more like an old stuffed animal. If you go inside one of Stitches’ homes, you’ll find he’s even decorated his place to look like a child’s playroom. Even though Stitches appears to be a reanimated plush bear at first glance, there’s supposedly an in-game explanation – although it’s a little unsettling.
His card in Pocket Camp claims that Stitches is “not a toy,” raising uncomfortable questions about just how exactly he earned his dilapidated appearance. And lost his eyes. Still, poor Stitches is instantly recognizable and one of our favorite Animal Crossing villagers because of his appearance and hardships.
Kid Cat (first appearance: Animal Crossing)
One of the most popular Animal Crossing villagers is Kid Cat. Kid Cat has been with the series ever since the original Animal Forest on the Nintendo 64 in Japan and Animal Crossing on the GameCube in the West. He claims to be a superhero. So, of course, he wears a suit that resembles the Japanese tokusatsu heroes.
There are actually several other villagers in the series with similarly designed toku outfits, but with different numbers. This implies that Kid Cat is either the very first superhero villager, or even more interesting, he’s their leader. Kid Cat’s unique look and persistence across the series have endeared him to gamers everywhere. Whatever his role as village hero may or may not be, the number 1 on his outfit always stands for his place in many fans’ hearts as one of the best Animal Crossing villagers.
Zucker (first appearance: New Leaf)
Villagers that come from unusual species tend to stand out. That’s doubly true if they resemble real-world food, just like the octopus villager Zucker. With a savory sauce poured over the top of his head and a toothpick sticking out of his dome, Zucker resembles the Japanese street food takoyaki. There are other octopus villagers in Animal Crossing — but they don’t have toothpicks in their heads.
There are also other food-themed animals, with food-themed houses too. Yet Zucker’s home tops them all. The inside of his house looks like a modern conveyor belt sushi restaurant… the exact place where he would be served. It takes a lot of guts to decorate your home as a grim reminder of your own mortality. That, even more than his unique design, is why Zucker is one of our favorite Animal Crossing villagers.
Coco (first appearance: Animal Crossing)
Oh, speaking of mortality, we can’t forget Coco. There are quite a few rabbit villagers across the Animal Crossing games, but not many of them look like Coco. Her hollow face resembles the Gyroids players once used to save their game in the original Animal Crossing. Not only that, many of her houses across the series feature Gyroids as decorations. She evidently has a strong affinity for Gyroids.
There’s a reason for that too. Both they and Coco are designed to resemble very early Japanese funeral relics. The song that plays in her home is the K.K. Slider funeral dirge, which officially makes Coco a death-themed villager. Coco also decorates her houses with clay pots, keeping the funeral rite connection alive (or not?). Even aside from the symbolism, Coco is an immediately memorable villager thanks to her unique design and one of the best Animal Crossing villagers in general.
Sprocket (first appearance: Animal Crossing)
You might look at a robotic ostrich like Sprocket and assume he’s a more recent addition to the series. But that’s not the case. Sprocket has been with the Animal Crossing franchise since the beginning, proving that the villagers in this series have always been a lot more than just regular mammals.
However, unlike Lucky or Stitches, Sprocket’s unusual appearance doesn’t appear to have an explanation. His legs also appear to be fully organic compared to the rest of his metal exterior. It probably makes doing all those athletic activities Sprocket enjoys much easier. That’s all ultimately irrelevant, though. What matters is that Sprocket is a robot bird because that’s just cool.
Rosie (first appearance: Animal Crossing)
Rosie is another one of those iconic Animal Crossing villagers, a facet of Animal Crossing merchandising. She was even popular enough to appear in the animated movie adaptation. We’re not entirely sure why Rosie stands out so much more than other peppy characters.
She is quite friendly towards the player no matter which entry you play in the series, though, and that goes a long way towards making your experience feel as charming as the developers doubtlessly intended. When we talk about the villagers you get in your town defining the tone of your experience, this is what we mean. Everybody loves Rosie, everybody wants her in their town, and she’s absolutely one of our favorite Animal Crossing villagers.
Bob (first appearance: Animal Crossing)
Everyone loves Bob too. Whenever there’s a new Animal Crossing game announced, Nintendo is sure to let players know their favorite cool cat villager will be returning. Much like how Rosie conveys her “peppy” personality through her design, you can see how laid back Bob is just by looking at him.
That’s a big part of Bob’s appeal. Not every villager has a look that matches their assigned personality. But Bob so perfectly encapsulates the “lazy” villager type; it’s hard to not be taken in by his charm, those droopy eyes, and that sleepily smug grin. He is truly the ur-sloth, the first from which all other lazy villagers were born. That’s the reason he keeps coming back, and we keep lapping it up. The amount of Bob fan works out there is staggering too. If Rosie is Nintendo’s favorite villager, then Bob is the internet’s favorite. He’s certainly one of our favorite Animal Crossing villagers.
K.K. Slider (first appearance: Animal Crossing)
K.K. Slider isn’t technically a “villager” in the same way the others are. Yet he sure does spend a lot of time in our towns, every week of the year, until that sad day you turn the game off for the last time and move on to the next Animal Crossing. So for the purposes of this conversation, he counts because how could you not talk about K.K. Slider? He’s even in our browsers.
Slider’s music is the epitome of Animal Crossing’s unique charm, putting several different genres through the sound card of whichever system he was on at the time. All of K.K. Slider’s songs are tied together by the chirpy Animal Crossing speech, beautifully autotuned into completely inscrutable lyrics. There’s even a whole genre of YouTube videos where people remake popular songs into K.K. Slider covers. He’s a gaming icon, and no Animal Crossing town would be complete without him.
Those are our favorite Animal Crossing villagers, all of whom also appear in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Of course, with almost four hundred villagers in the game, you’d hope some of them would make the cut. It’s difficult to pick a favorite Animal Crossing villager, since it all comes down to personal taste and whatever mood you want your town to have. Rather, with all these options it’s safer to say that you’ll probably end up with at least a couple dozen favorites.
Let us know who your favorite Animal Crossing villagers are in the comments below!