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A new volume of the Animal Crossing manga is finally out in the UK

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Deserted Island Diary Vol. 5 was released in Japan back in June 2022, but the rest of the world is still getting caught up.

Several anthropomorphic animals and a minority of human villagers frolic against the backdrop of a tropical archipelago. The left-hand side of the image shows a beach with palm trees and smaller islands in the distance, while the right-hand shows a cut-away of a two-storey house with a living room downstairs and a bedroom and craft room upstairs.
Image credit: Nintendo

If you're a UK-based fan of extremely niche multimedia tie-ins to extremely popular video games, boy do I have some exciting news for you, you hella specific nerd: the fifth volume of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons manga goes on sale in the UK from today. Mind you, our American cousins have been able to go out and buy the English translation since mid-September, which might explain why my pre-ordered copy arrived a fortnight early, on account of how it's the exact same book; but still, it's nice to make it official. Maybe now I can actually read it without feeling vaguely criminal.

Subtitled Deserted Island Diary, the AC:NH manga series follows a quartet of human villagers — goofy everyman Coroyuki, know-nothing know-it-all Benben, token girl (sorry, princess) Himepoyo, and Guchan whose sole trait is that he is literally always asleep — as they experience that New Horizons life among the Animal Crossing characters we know and love. Volume 5 follows our heroes as they attempt to become more industrious and go to work at Paradise Planning, the setting of the game's sole paid add-on Happy Home Paradise. It's kind of odd to have an obvious marketing push for a two-year-old DLC taking place in a tie-in that most players didn't even know existed, but it's good fun all the same.

Before you assume that an AC:NH manga must be too kiddie to bother with, know that the humour on display here is often unexpectedly adult, albeit in a way designed to go over kids' heads (think The Simpsons rather than South Park). The best part is that from this perspective, Tom Nook emerges as a beleaguered only-sane-man among a cast of ridiculous idiots determined to blunder into every foolish situation they can invent, and it's the sympathetic backstory I'd never realised he needed.

In a full-colour illustrated manga cover for Animal Crossing, the Paradise Planning team and Coroyuki stand outside the Paradise Planning building and wave happily at the viewer.
Cover art for Volume 5. | Image credit: Viz Media / Nintendo

Author-illustrator Kokonasu Rumba seems to have a lot of freedom to add her own spin on things — provided she's very clear that her opinions are not Nintendo's canon — which leads to some delightful interpretations of the characters. In her view, for instance, angling influencer CJ has never caught a fish in his life, which is a terrible slander against one of my best boys, but also now that she's pointed it out I sort of can't unsee it as a possibility.

If you're an Anglophone AC:NH fan who has yet to check out the manga, now is a good time to give it a try. The first five volumes are readily available from most booksellers and comic shops, with a sixth due for an English-language release in spring of next year (March 12th in the US, April 25th in the UK). Amazingly, despite six volumes already being a good innings for a video game tie-in manga, volumes seven and eight were released in Japan this year, although there's no word yet on when we can expect to see international publications for them.

Despite the fact that most Animal Crossing fans I've spoken to haven't even heard of the Deserted Island Diary manga, it's nice to see AC:NH living on and indeed thriving in other media, even if the winding down of the game itself can be a tad melancholy for those of us who developed a particular connection to it. Still, New Horizons also lives on in the form of what can feel like weekly merch announcements; at least we'll soon be able to take some comfort in those Animal Crossing Lego sets.

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