While Animal Crossing has become one of Nintendo's biggest franchises, that certainly wasn't always the case. In fact, circa 2006, it was still a rather niche series for the company, which is likely why Dōbutsu no Mori never got a translation. Dōbutsu no Mori translates to "Animal Forest," which is also the title of the series in Japan. It's also the name of an Animal Crossing animated film that exclusively saw release in Nintendo's home country. Japanese viewers that haven't yet seen the film are in luck, as it will apparently re-air in its country of origin on the same day Animal Crossing: New Horizons releases globally for Nintendo Switch. Of course, everyone else seems to be out of luck, at least for now.
Dōbutsu no Mori follows an 11-year-old girl who moves into a new town, populated with some of the franchise's most popular characters. K.K. Slider, Tom Nook, and Kapp'n are all on hand, though Isabelle is not, as she did not debut until 2012's New Leaf. Isabelle has become the closest thing Animal Crossing has to a series lead since her debut, but in her absence, the old mayor Tortimer is on hand.
It seems unthinkable now that something like Dōbutsu no Mori would be released in one territory and not the other. On top of the fact that Animal Crossing has become a globally popular franchise, these days, it's pretty uncommon that something this big gets released in just one region. However, it was all too common back then, as many games and their corresponding tie-ins never saw release outside of Japan.
Given how huge Animal Crossing has become in the years since Dōbutsu no Mori's release, it seems quite possible this could still see the light of day in North America. With Netflix playing host to video game related films like Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution and Dragon Quest: Your Story, it seems the streaming service would be the perfect place to play host to the film. Time will tell if Nintendo has any interest in bringing it outside the region.
Fans in Japan can watch Dōbutsu no Mori on March 20th, at 4 p.m. on Kids Station.
Do you think Nintendo should adapt Dōbutsu no Mori? Would you be interested in an official dub of the film? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!