Hold up – the Animal Crossing character Tom Nook isn’t actually a raccoon?
Nope, not really. Tom Nook is a real estate agent in the Nintendo series of Animal Crossing games, something like if Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) had his personality put into the mind of Mr. Haney (Pat Buttram) from 1960s sitcom Green Acres. (In other words, grouchy and unscrupulous, but with a good heart underneath somewhere.)
He’s often called a raccoon, due to his bushy ringed tail and mask around his eyes. But according to Wikipedia, he’s actually something called a “tanuki.”
So….what’s a tanuki?
It’s a Japanese word for a forest animal that’s kind of like a fox. In English it translates to something like “raccoon dog.” They can climb trees, and often show up in Japanese folklore as a shapeshifting supernatural being.
So Tom Nook is actually a canine? Yep!
But that’s not all – Nintendo also has created a ‘Tanooki Suit” (different spelling) for Mario to wear in the Super Mario Land series of video games, which allows him to fly and use his tail to attack his enemies, much like Crash Bandicoot. By wearing the Tanooki Suit, Mario can also become a statue, paying tribute to the tanuki’s abilities in mythology.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is now currently available for the Nintendo Switch, with reports coming in that it’s a blast to play, and creates a calming routine, which is very much needed in these stressful times.
While we haven’t had a chance to get to play the new game just yet, it sounds like just the thing right now, and we appreciate that several other dogs are recurring characters as well, including the player’s assistant Isabelle, a Shih Tzu.
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