Dōbutsu no Mori (film)
Dōbutsu no Mori (Japanese: 劇場版 どうぶつの森 Hepburn: Gekijōban Dōbutsu no Mori?, lit. "Animal Forest: Theater Version") is a 2006 Japanese animated film directed by Jōji Shimura and based on the Animal Crossing video game series, especially Wild World. It was produced by OLM, Inc. and distributed by Toho in association with Nintendo. The film opened in theaters in Japan on December 16, 2006, where it went on to earn an estimated ¥1.7 billion (approximately $16,216,000) at the box office.
The film retains the theme of the video games, and centers on a child named Ai who moves into a village populated with animals where she works to make new friends and find her own dreams. Dōbutsu no Mori was not released outside Japan, and Nintendo of America has no plans for an English release.
The film opens with Ai, a young girl, moving into the Animal Village during the summer. After being put to work by Tom Nook to deliver goods, Ai befriends four of the village's residents: Rosie, Sally, Alfonso, and Yū, participating in several activities. Ai begins to find a series of anonymous messages in bottles that state that a miracle will occur during the upcoming Winter Festival if pine trees are planted in specific points of the village. Ai complies with the messages and begins planting the trees, half-believing that the messages may have been placed by aliens.
During autumn, Rosie scolds Ai for not attending Sally's farewell party, which comes as a big surprise. Ai becomes heartbroken, learning that Sally has moved away to embark on a career in fashion design. Ai ends up at the museum café, and ends up crying when K.K. Bossa plays (a song that reminds her of Sally). Bianca scolds Ai, and tells her that she should be happy as a friend for Sally. Ai then responds by saying that she is happy, but she is instead sad that Sally never told her anything, and leaves the café. Sally sends a letter of apology to Ai, explaining that a goodbye would have been too upsetting, and encourages her to embark on her own personal journey. Bouquet apologizes to Ai for her harsh reaction.
Winter comes, and all the pine trees that Ai has planted have fully grown and are decorated with Christmas lights. A spaceship crash-lands in the middle of the forest, and Gulliver, a seagull, emerges. Gulliver, who had planted the bottles in order to make an entrance dressed as an alien, asks the villagers to help locate some of the pieces that broke off his ship during the descent. Ai, Rosie, Yū, and Alfonso head towards a cave, where Yū claims to have seen one of the pieces fall. The entrance, though, is blocked up by a large boulder (from a recent event). Though the team tries to move the boulder, it eventually turns out it is too heavy for them to move. Sally then appears and helps unseal the cave.
The five retrieve the missing piece and return to Gulliver, who they discover had already obtained them all. The missing piece turns out to be an injured UFO, one of a larger group that was attracted to the village due to the pattern formed by Ai's lit-up pine trees. The injured UFO reunites with its group, and as they depart, create a constellation in the night sky resembling Ai. Ai then wins the Winter Festival contest for the best decoration, leaving her feeling for the first time as a true member of the village.
|Ai||The naïve female human protagonist of the film who moves into the Animal Village.||Yui Horie|
|Rosie the Cat||A frank female cat who befriends Ai. She has a tendency to praise her own wares. She discovers a Seismosaurus fossil in the village cave.||Misato Fukuen|
|Sally the Elephant||A female elephant who dreams of becoming a designer. Despite her large and intimidating appearance, she is a kind and gentle person, and befriends Ai along with Rosie.||Fumiko Orikasa|
|Yū||A human boy who lives in a neighboring village. His hobbies include cosplaying (usually as a pirate or a ninja) and collecting insects and fossils.||Yū Kobayashi|
|Halberd Crocodile||A mischievous male crocodile who is friends with Yū.||Takatoshi Kaneko|
|Apollo the Eagle||A calm male eagle whom Bianca seems to admire.||Masaki Terasoma|
|Bianca the Wolf||A lovely female white wolf who seems to admire Apollo. She has a passion for ladylikeness. It is heavily implied throughout the movie that she and Apollo were once a couple.||Yurika Hino|
|Champ the Monkey||A muscular male monkey who likes to weight-train, and does so throughout the movie. He is Saruo in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Yasuhiro Takato|
|Cesar the Gorilla||A male gorilla who is skilled in enka. He is good friends with Cyrano. He is Araso in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Kazuya Tatekabe|
|Cyrano the Anteater||A male anteater who is skilled in chanson. He is good friends with Cesar. He is Sakurajima in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Yūji Ueda|
|Hopper the Penguin||A male rockhopper penguin who likes to fish. He always fishes at the same place. He is Tux in the Japanese language release of the video games, where he is a lot grumpier than how he was portrayed.||Hisao Egawa|
|List of characters in the Animal Crossing series|
|Tom Nook||A male tanuki that owns a shop in the Animal Village. He likes to make new villagers work at his store as a part-time job. He is known as Tanukichi in the Japanese games.||Naoki Tatsuta|
|Tortimer||An old tortoise, and mayor of the village. In the film, he is worried about his upcoming re-election, even though he is the only candidate. He is known as Kotobuki in the Japanese games.||Kenichi Ogata|
|Pete the Mailman||A male pelican who delivers letters around the Animal Village. He is Pelio in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Akio Suyama|
|Pelly the Pelican||A female pelican who works in the Animal Village City Hall during the daytime hours. She is a tender and kind person, unlike her older sister Phyllis. She is Peliko in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Otoha|
|Phyllis the Pelican||A female pelican who works in the Animal Village City Hall during the nighttime hours. Unlike her younger sister Pelly, she is a foul-mouthed and bitter person. She is Pelimi in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Yūko Mizutani|
|Blathers the Owl||A male Ural owl who works at the Animal Village Museum. He cannot stop talking about dinosaurs once he starts talking about one. To obtain a Seismosaurus fossil is his dream. He is Fūta in the Japanese language release of the video games. Unlike in the games, he is not nocturnal.||Kappei Yamaguchi|
|Celeste the Owl||A female owl who runs the observatory in the museum. She is Fūko in the Japanese language release of the video games. Unlike in the games, she is not nocturnal.||Mika Kanai|
|Brewster||A male Columbidae who runs the kissaten in the museum's basement. He is Masuta in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Takaya Hashi|
|Totakeke (K.K. Slider)||A male street musician dog. He is named and modeled after musician Kazumi Totaka. He is referred to as both Totakeke and K.K. Slider in the video games. When he sings K.K. Bossa during the fireworks festival, he sings it in Animalese (the animals' oral language), like in the games.||Shun Oguri|
|Mr. Resetti||A male mole who is in charge of the illumination in the village. He is Reset in the Japanese language release of the video games, where he serves a different purpose. He appears if the player resets the game without saving, and lectures them not to.||Yūichi Kimura|
|Wendell||A male walrus painter who is frequently hungry and sorrowful. He is Seiichi in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Junpei Takiguchi|
|Mabel||The younger of the two Able Sisters, who are hedgehog tailors. She is Asami in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Mari Adachi|
|Sable||The older of the two Able Sisters, who are hedgehog tailors. She is Kinuyo in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Saori Hattori|
|Crazy Redd||A kitsune who runs a suspicious black market. He is Tsunekichi in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Tetsuo Sakaguchi|
|Pascal||A male sea otter. He is Rakosuke in the Japanese language release of the video games.||Takashi Miike|
|Gulliver||A male astronaut common gull who flies around the village in a UFO, and also speaks English. He is Jonni in the Japanese language release of the video games. In the original game, he was a sailor that washed up on shore once a week, giving the player a rare piece of furniture. In Wild World, he flies a UFO like he does in the film, which the player can shoot down with a slingshot. Afterwards, the player must gather the pieces of the ship just like in the movie. Gulliver rewards the player with a piece of space-themed furniture with the completion of this task.||Wataru Takagi|
|Kapp'n||A male taxicab-driving kappa. He is Kappei in the Japanese language release of the video games. In the original game, he operates the ferry that takes the player to Animal Island. In Wild World, he drives the cab that first takes the player to the village, like in the film.||Mitsuo Iwata|
|Other characters||Dr. Shrunk, Lyle, Katie, Kaitlin, and Saharah are all seen during the fireworks festival, but have no lines.|
Dōbutsu no Mori was first announced in a May 2006 issue of the online Japanese magazine Hochi Shimbun, with a theatrical release date set for the following December. The movie entered production due to the success of Animal Crossing: Wild World, released for the Nintendo DS the previous year, which had shipped over 3 million copies in Japan alone. Jōji Shimura was attached to direct, having previously worked on manga-to-film adaptations such Shin Angyo Onshi and Master Keaton. Some of the Animal Crossing series staff assisted with production, and worked to give the movie the same wide audience appeal as the video games themselves.
Those who ordered advance tickets before the film's debut were eligible to receive vouchers which could be redeemed for hard-to-obtain gold tools in Animal Crossing: Wild World. In October 2007, Nintendo of America made a statement that they had "no plans" to bring the film to North America.
Music for Dōbutsu no Mori was contributed by Animal Crossing series composer Kazumi Totaka and arranged by Tomoki Hasegawa, with the film featuring numerous themes from the games. The film's official theme song is "Mori e Ikō" (森へ行こう Let's Go to the Forest?) by Taeko Onuki, which plays over the end credits. An official soundtrack album was released in Japan on December 13, 2006 by VAP containing 46 tracks from the movie along with five bonus songs from Animal Crossing: Wild World.
Dōbutsu no Mori debuted in Japanese theaters as the third highest-grossing film of its opening weekend behind Letters from Iwo Jima and Eragon, earning approximately ¥246 million ($2,085,729). By the end of 2006, the movie had a total revenue of ¥1.526 billion ($12,915,432), becoming the 30th highest-grossing film that year in the region. The film had lifetime earnings of approximately ¥1.7 billion ($16,216,731) by the end of its theatrical run in 2007, making it the 17th highest-grossing film of that year when combining it with its December 2006 box office total. Among fans of the Animal Crossing franchise it was rather well received, mostly praised for its accuracy to the video games.
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