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The Villager (a.k.a Creepy Animal Crossing Villager) is a nickname given to the male protagonist character of Nintendo’s social simulation video game franchise Animal Crossing. Following the announcement of his inclusion as a new character for the Super Smash Brothers franchise in June 2013, fans of the game quickly began characterizing the Villager as a psychotic and ruthless killer through image macros and video remixes.
During the Nintendo Direct broadcast at 2013’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, a promotional trailer for the Super Smash Brothers Wii U and 3DS games was revealed. The trailer, which begins with the Animal Crossing Villager opening his mailbox and discovering a letter sealed with the Super Smash Brothers logo, shows the character attacking Mario with an insect net, alongside the two additional characters Capcom’s Mega Man and Nintendo’s Wii Fit Trainer.
Within two hours of Nintendo’s online broadcast, GIFs of the Villager’s in-game moves as shown in the trailer began appearing on Tumblr, with one of the earliest sets gaining more than 21,000 notes in one day. Throughout the day, several posts vilifying the Animal Crossing character as a calculating, poker-faced killer started to emerge under the tag “The Villager”, with many pointing out his stoic expression and perceived sinister glare during his melee combat and his unique ability to pick up and claim any weapons or objects thrown at him. Later that day, fan art illustrations similarly painting the Villager as a cold-blooded murderer began circulating on Tumblr. One of the earliest posts, drawn by El Sato, portrayed the Villager as Jack Torrance in the iconic scene from the 1980 horror film The Shining.
Art depicting the Villager covered in blood also was shared on deviantART. Several 4chan threads discusses the Tumblr personalization of the character on /co/ (Comics and Cartoons), /vp/ (Pokemon) and /sp/ (Sports). A number of the posts from Tumblr were also shared on Reddit, where two Villager-related posts hit the front page of /r/Gaming on June 11th with more than 1,600 overall points each. Two additional front page posts about the Villager were made on the following day, with a GIF showing the character watering a tree while Samus and Mario fight behind him gaining more than 5,700 upvotes, 2,100 points overall and 250 comments within 11 hours.