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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Manga Shows How Much Stress We Put on Tom Nook’s Island-Themed Shoulders

3 out of 5 DIY projects.

Animal Crossing manga cover image featuring villagers cutting wood, and Tom Nook, Timmy, and Tommy watching in the distance.

To say that Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a major source of comfort for me during *gestures toward the world* is an understatement. I spent hundreds of hours decorating my house, trying to get Marshal’s photo, catching flippin’ SHARKS, and running around with a net because of the few hostile bugs on my island.

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While I haven’t been back to my island in a while (I’m sure my villagers hate me at this point), I still have a place in my heart for best bird Celeste, the good pup Isabelle, and even Tom “how about another loan” Nook.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited to check out the Animal Crossing: New Horizons manga (Deserted Island Diary), a series that’s clearly written by someone who also spent a good portion of their days trying to find the perfect floor decoration to make a private spa—or, in writer/illustrator Kokonasu Rumba’s case, a karaoke area.


Read the gag-filled adventures of four goofy residents living among the Animal Crossing: New Horizons characters. Includes a bonus Animal Guide with game tips!

What to expect from Rumba’s Island

Animal Crossing manga back

(VIZ Media)

As you can probably tell from that barebones synopsis, there’s not much going on when it comes to, well, a plot. That’s because Animal Crossing isn’t really a series with an in-depth plot going on. You can learn things via conversations with villagers and island visitors, (Flick and CJ are roommates, The Able Sisters have a kinda sad backstory involving their parents, Stitches talks to the bugs in his house, etc.), and I’m sure we all have our own personal headcanons (yes, I do have certain villagers living next to each other because I know for a fact that they’re dating), but the point of the game is to sit back, relax, and move at your own pace.

The manga focuses on four original characters: Coroyuki, BenBen, Himepoyo, and Guchan. The friends travel to a certain deserted island courtesy of Nook Inc.’s Deserted Island Getaway Package. If you remember what it was like at the beginning of the game, back when Timmy and Tommy had you fill out all of your information before you set off, this manga starts out in a similar way.

The only difference is that these four cause chaos a lot faster than any Animal Crossing players ever could.

It only takes a few pages for Tom Nook to realize that his life is about to be a living “tarantula/scorpion scurrying after you out of nowhere.” In the game, it takes time to gather the tools needed to craft your perfect island, but these four manage to use up all the island resources within their first day of being there!

I suddenly understand why Tom Nook decided to charge my ass a bunch of money instead of letting me run around, unsupervised, for zero dollars and zero cents.


Is that really what I looked like when I ran around shaking trees for fruit before chopping them for my own purposes? How heavy of a sigh did Tom Nook let out when I filled the beach with Christmas cheer?

Christmas on my ACNH island



Wow. Sorry, Tom.

Much like the game itself, there are no consequences for what the group does, the story moving on to the next chapter. The manga is a series of gags woven together to illustrate what the first couple of days of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is like.

Except Coroyuki and the gang are bonkers.

The four friends build houses that make no sense, present eraser shavings as museum collectables, and make a bed out of the fossils they find (kinda dope idea, actually). Occasionally, they run into a villager who has their own story, but it’s always a story that adds to the comedic flare that Rumba’s obviously going for. No deeply involved plots here, my friends. Just enjoy Raymond being a conceited cat who views himself as a work of art.

I will say that I’m a bit salty that this group of friends is able to do things that I couldn’t do in the game, like lounge in an inner tube in a pond, eat food, and fine, I’ll say it: run around naked! I know I was supposed to be reading, but I’d end up looking at my Nintendo Switch and muttering, “Why can’t I do that in the game?!”

As fun as these one-shot chapters are, there isn’t a lot that gives me the urge to continue the adventure. If anything, it makes me wanna turn on the game again to experience the moments that Rumba has illustrated (which I’m sure Nintendo would appreciate). It doesn’t help that there are several pages dedicated to giving readers tips on how to play the game. I’m not saying that everyone in the universe has played Animal Crossing: New Horizons by now, but I’m not sure who the guide is written for, as I can’t imagine anyone else picking this manga up but Animal Crossing fans.

Still, I do appreciate the part at the end where Rumba shows us what her island looks like. I love Rum-Rum’s Retirement Home, mostly because I, too, wish to retire to an island paradise someday.

Overall, this is a fun, quick read, and a cute little reminder of what we all collectively obsessed over for months on end. Still, the only reason this manga is worth grabbing is if you wanna see your favorite villagers and island visitors being silly—and see Tom Nook scrambling to find something to ease the migraine the new island residents are causing him.

You can check out the first volume over at Viz today!

(featured image: VIZ Media)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)

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