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C.J. and Flick’s ‘official’ Animal Crossing status doesn’t matter

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Fans have spoken

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Flick the bug collector and an Animal Crossing player in a conversation. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Aside from time traveling, one of the most controversial subjects within the Animal Crossing: New Horizons community revolves around two new characters. As some fans tell it, these two animals are romantically involved with one another. Others are hanging on to specific details to dispute the pairing — but here’s the thing: What’s “canon” doesn't really matter anymore.

C.J. and Flick are two creatures who can visit your Animal Crossing island to provide you with new activities. C.J. is a live-streaming hyperactive beaver who holds fishing tournaments, in addition to buying out any catches for a high price. Flick, meanwhile, is a gentle lizard who loves insects, and will even make art pieces of them for you.

Curiously, the two characters will refer to the other as a “partner,” which was interpreted by some as confirmation that the two are queer. Some look at that word, however, and say it means something more like business partner, especially given that the two help each other with their artistic pursuits. You can, for instance, give C.J. three fish and he’ll ask Flick to make them into an art model.

Most recently, a snippet hailing from the official New Horizons companion guide says that the two are roommates, which once again is being taken as evidence that fans were reading into things that weren’t there.

Let’s ignore, for a second, that needing a roommate in a world where you can buy an entire house by collecting seashells is absurd. Let us look past the fact that Flick’s design is the epitome of the twink ideal. Let’s not consider that the two often talk about each other with an intense admiration that seems to go beyond friendship.

Even if the official word is that the two are just bros, now that Nintendo has put New Horizons into the world, it doesn’t really belong to them anymore. I mean, sure, they own it. But it’s the fans who take the world and run with it, ultimately giving everything meaning and worth. Sometimes, that means appointing characters like Isabelle as the series representative, even though she barely even has a role in the latest game. Other times, it’s giving characters entire backstories that help endear us to them.

In this case, the fandom is imagining a world where two guys don’t have to hide behind the veneer of “roommates” or “partners” to love each other openly. It would be nice for Nintendo to confirm what everyone wants to hear, but no matter what the Japanese company says, fans have already decided what the pair means to them. To me, that’s wonderful — why starve waiting on brands to feed us scraps of affirmation? Why not take what you want and have some fun with it? The official word will do nothing to stop the stream of fantastic fan art that’s already out there.


| Image: GameStop

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GameStop’s new Nintendo Switch Lite bundle includes a handheld console, screen protector, $20 eShop gift card, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.