By Deanna Nguyen
If you spent the better part of 2020 crafting DIY furniture, investing in turnips, and terraforming your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you weren’t alone!
Some of us are still putting hundreds of hours into the game while others have already tapped out. No matter what type of Animal Crossing fan you are, everyone has gotten a dose of nostalgia or serotonin from playing the video game franchise. It’s the type of game that lets you escape, become friends with animal villagers, and complete daily tasks that you otherwise wouldn’t get around to doing in real life (hello procrastination, our old friend).
Aside from the Animal Crossing anime movie (yes, there is an Animal Crossing anime movie!), what if we told you there are several anime that are kind of similar to Animal Crossing?
Whether you’re looking for something to watch that inspires you to get back into the game, or you want to find content that evokes the same emotions, we’ve rounded up shows that you, as an Animal Crossing fan, should be watching!
Hailed as an all-time classic manga, Fruits Basket revolves around Tohru Honda, a kind and cheerful high school student who discovers that the Somas have been cursed to transform into zodiac animals whenever they embrace the opposite sex or get sick!
Tohru is everyone’s happy pill when things get rough and reminds the Somas about their humanity, instead of letting them fixate on their curse. Animals and humans are closely involved in both Animal Crossing and Fruits Basket. Though, depending on your definition, the former doesn’t have any emotional trauma.
The Animal Crossing villagers have a zodiac animal counterpart, but we haven’t seen any snake or dragon villagers (yet). Despite the drama in Fruits Basket, the show throws in a handful of positive messages about life. Animal Crossing does the same when you talk to your villagers who sometimes bestow wise advice that just might hit close to home.
If you’re looking for an uplifting show with amazing character development, add Fruits Basket to your list!
Watch Fruits Basket on Funimation!
Kakuriyo -Bed & Breakfast for Spirits-
Fan theories about the lore of Animal Crossing have evolved throughout the years, but the general takeaway is that you, the human player, get spirited away into the world of yokai!
This would explain why you’re the only human in a town or village full of talking animals, and why you can’t be “free” because of the debt you owe Tom Nook, the tanuki who puts you to work as soon as you move in.
The Kakuriyo -Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- storyline is on a similar wavelength; Aoi Tsubaki finds herself in the hidden realm where she has to work at an inn belonging to the Ogre in order to pay back the debt her grandfather left behind.
She’s the only human surrounded by ayakashi and can’t be free from the hidden realm until the debt has been repaid. The difference between Kakuriyo -Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- and Animal Crossing is that Aoi mainly focuses on cooking meals whereas the player has to go fishing, plant flowers, dig up fossils, and basically run a bunch of errands for everyone in town.
But, hey, we like fulfilling tasks in a fictional world, right?
Watch Kakuriyo -Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- on Funimation!
My Roommate is a Cat
Playing Animal Crossing isn’t just about expanding your house and paying off your loan; it’s about the animal friends we make along the way! Admit it, we’ve all had that one villager who’s our absolute fave and one whom we just can’t vibe with no matter how long we’ve gotten to know them.
One of the aspects of Animal Crossing that makes it a memorable experience is how your relationships with your villagers change over time. You might not click right away with a certain villager, but as you get to know them, you become the best of friends.
My Roommate is a Cat is a show that zeroes in on the relationship between a human and a cat. The main character, Subaru Mikazuki, is a homebody and keep a distance from people. He comes across a stray cat who he eventually names Haru, and we get to hear Haru talk through her inner dialogue. In the beginning, Haru is wary of Subaru and vice versa, but they eventually grow closer and understand each other.
Both Animal Crossing and My Roommate is a Cat hammer home the idea that being open to relationships is better than being alone. Your support system is made up of your friends or villagers who cheer you on!
Watch My Roommate is a Cat on Funimation!
Anthropomorphic animals aren’t a strange occurrence in Animal Crossing. As a matter of fact, it’s rather adorable seeing your villagers wear clothes and go about their day as humans would. As far as anime goes, a direct comparison is Africa Salaryman, a slapstick comedy about the corporate environment.
Lion, Lizard and Toucan are the main characters, each with their own relatable personalities. The three work together and hijinks ensue, because life doesn’t always go exactly as planned.
Animal Crossing is on the family-friendly side whereas Africa Salaryman is more mature, but both have characters who wear clothes and have unique personalities and ambitions. The villagers don’t really work, but major characters like Tom Nook and Isabelle have jobs that involve keeping the island or town up and running (thanks to the player, of course).
If you’d rather watch a show with humanlike animals, especially for the comedy, Africa Salaryman is worth a watch! Oh, and Episode 2 directly reference Animal Crossing.
Watch Africa Salaryman on Funimation!
Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater
One of the activities in Animal Crossing that you can do without running out of resources is fishing. You see a shadow in the river or ocean and cast a line, then once the bait goes plunk, you press the button at lightning speed and hold it to reel in the catch of the day. It’s especially satisfying when you catch a rare fish, one that either requires bait or a lot of patience—sometimes both!
Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater is all about fishing. Hina Tsurugi moves to a seaside town where she meets Yuki Kuroiwa who invites her to go fishing. After catching an octopus and expressing horror, Hina finds herself joining the Breakwater Club at her school where Yuki is a member.
The club catches and eats different types of marine life, much to Hina’s dismay. Eventually, she learns to enjoy fishing and becomes better acquainted with the club members.
If you find joy in fishing and growing your collection in Animal Crossing, then Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater is just the show for you!
Watch Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater on Funimation!