Animal Crossing doesn’t require players to ask too many questions about the world. The Game of the Year nominee is simple enough, with various species of anthropomorphic animals to meet and befriend, all whilst maintaining and caring for a town or island. That being said, there are some smaller details in the game that certainly feel out of place.
For example, players can encounter an alien broadcast on televisions every night at 3:33 AM and that some villagers may not even be animals. There’s also the fact that gyroids are based on “haniwas,” which are are ancient clay figures thought to mark gravesites. Oh, and the Animal Crossing series has a disturbingly frequent habit of referencing cannibalism.
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Granted, what other fans have called “Cannibal Crossing” is more of a fan theory than an actual secret, much like how some fans speculate over villagers becoming endangered. Recently, fans have been posting images of their avian villagers sitting down to enjoy a nice… Thanksgiving turkey. While not all birds are turkeys and the villagers won’t actually eat the food, there’s still something uncanny about being able to display and even gift cooked birds to bird villagers. The host of Animal Crossing‘s Turkey Day is Franklin, a turkey villager who used to be heavily implied to be the day’s main course.
Cannibalism seems to be more than just a holiday tradition, as there are various furniture items — like cow-skin rugs, or a smoker with what appears to be sausages inside — that raise eyebrows. Villagers have conversations about cooking, but they never talk about where they get their ingredients. Vegetables and fruits are fairly self-explanatory, given the apparent fertility of Animal Crossing lands. The only other obtainable sources of protein in the game have been shown to be fish and bugs.
Even if the villagers have an exclusive diet of bugs and fish, that doesn’t explain the objects that seem to suggest meat or animal skins, but there is the possibility that villagers are utilizing vegan alternatives that simply look similar to meat. Meat analogue, commonly seen in the form of Beyond or Impossible burgers, is a meat substitute made completely out of plants. Meat analogues utilize things like rice, mushrooms, plant fibers, beans, certain flours and tofu in order to imitate the look, taste and nutritional value of other proteins.
Animal Crossing Villagers could very well have just have made further advancements in plant-based meats out of necessity. Things like mushrooms and plants are widely available to them, though many of the other needed ingredients don’t seem to appear. To further cast doubt on the vegan theory, it’d be pretty difficult to recreate the shape of a whole turkey, let alone the clearly visible bones sticking out of its legs, as seen in some of the series’ games.
With pig, cow and chicken villagers all hosting barbeques in Pocket Camp, it seems as though the idea of Animal Crossing villagers relying on each other for food is one of the only likely options. Even if that isn’t the case, there’s still the disturbing implication of humanoid animals eating non-humanoid ones. The hierarchy of animal life in these games is suspect at best.
One of the major flaws of the Cannibal Crossing theory is that it relies heavily on the information given to players through the main games and discounts the possibilities of there being things like farms or non-humanoid animals in the world. However, with the seemingly infinite amount of islands players are able to visit in New Horizons, it seems like they’d be able to discover these kinds of animals if they existed.
Assuming a lack of non-humanoid animals, the most disturbing part of this Cannibal Crossing theory is that it’d actually be fairly realistic. Bears, chickens, apes and even rabbits have all been observed eating their own kind in the wild for survival. In a situation where no other significant source of protein is obtainable, certain animals have zero issue dining on each other.
The idea of cannibalism in the world of Animal Crossing has been explored by fans before. The infamous “Cannibal Island” has been recreated in New Horizons, but first appeared in New Leaf. Cannibal Island was a user’s island where players could uncover a chilling story of how one villager seemed to be cannibalizing the island’s other residents.
Cannibal Island is by no means official, in-game content. It is completely fan-created and serves to provide dream-visiting villagers with a bit of a nightmare. However, Cannibal Island does serve to showcase just how the bright cheer of the Animal Crossing world could quickly be twisted into dark horror.
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