A few days ago, Animal Crossing: New Horizons players might have noticed the appearance of a strange (and somewhat unnerving) special character. Zipper T. Bunny’s arrival marks the beginning of a holiday event called Bunny Day. The yellow bunny is identifiable by his blue overalls, large soulless eyes, and zipper on his back. Upon introduction, Zipper will tell the character that he has placed eggs all over the island. Players can collect these to earn rewards that are only available during the event.
Zipper comes across rather suspiciously during his initial meeting with the player. He will make comments about how he is NOT in a costume and warns against the player trying to get a better look at the zipper on his back.
In fact, he tells the player, “Excuse me, but could you please stop staring at my back? It’s rude. Won’t find anything back there, anyways…” Even if the player tries walking behind Zipper, the bunny will turn around and get increasingly irritated.
Something else that seems amiss about Zipper is his hopping. When nearby, he hops in place and follows the player with his gaze. However, some people have found that if you pull out your camera and wander out of the shot, Zipper will immediately stop hopping, hunch over, and sigh from relief, or possibly exhaustion. If the player is out of the shot long enough, Zipper may even begin walking normally.
Something isn’t quite right about Zipper’s behavior.
First on our list of suspects is Tortimer. Longtime fans of the series may recall his role as mayor in early Animal Crossing games. By New Leaf, Tortimer has retired and the player assumes the role of mayor. However, there seems to be no sign of him in New Horizons. Some speculate that he has died, though this remains unconfirmed. So, where is he? Better yet, who is he? Could he actually be disguised as Zipper T. Bunny?
In previous games, Tortimer has often appeared during special events and will even offer players gifts related to whatever holiday the event is associated with. (Sound familiar?) One event that stands out as a potential connection between Tortimer and Zipper is the Acorn Festival in Animal Crossing: Wild World. The festival occurs during October and is hosted by a mysterious tortoise who goes by the name Cornimer and looks suspiciously similar to the Tortimer.
During the event, Cornimer asks the player to gather acorns that he has magically scattered around trees across the town. Players are asked to return these acorns to Cornimer, and by doing so will be awarded items from the Mushroom furniture series.
Like Zipper, Cornimer is a disguised special character promising rewards to players who gather items he has sprinkled across the town. Cornimer’s name and poor disguise lead us to assume he is actually Tortimer in a mask. Though Zipper bears little similarity to Tortimer, one might argue that Tortimer’s skills in deception and disguise would have improved since Wild World if he was consistently organizing and hosting special events. Similarities between the two events also hint at the connection between Tortimer and Zipper. The hiding of objects-that-can-be-exchanged-for-special-decorations seems too similar a plan to be concocted by different people.
However, there is a hole in this theory. Tortimer is old and has physical limitations, made evident by the cane he walks with. Zipper has hidden eggs in trees, in the water, and in other places that would require some physical exertion to reach. Unless Zipper has had assistance from special helpers, hiding so many eggs seems like an impossible task for someone like Tortimer. So, if it isn’t Tortimer, who else could be disguising themselves as Zipper?
Tom Nook, the raccoon who deals in real estate management, is our second suspect. With his assistance, players are able to build their homes and villages through no-interest loans. He assists neighbors that move in and out of towns. He also has connections with other notable characters, including a strained friendship with Sable, the hedgehog who co-owns the Able Sisters tailor shop.
It is through Tom Nook that players can purchase and make developments to the island in New Horizons. Herein lies our first piece of evidence. He provides players with the assistance they need to get established by hosting workshops and eventually constructing the Resident Services building. Because of his close ties to infrastructure and building development, Tom Nook knows the island very well. With this knowledge, he would be aware of the best places to hide eggs for players to collect. He would also know how to access the special gifts associated with the event.
Tom Nook would also have a vested interest in making the island a happy place to live. The more characters that come to live on the island, the more money Tom Nook makes. What better way to convince villagers to stay than by organizing an event like Bunny Day? Such events make island life more interesting and fun for the characters.
Not convinced? A recent tweet from the official Animal Crossing Twitter, which appears to be run by Tom Nook, may sway you. On April 1, 2020, the account tweeted about the arrival of Bunny Day. At the end of the Tweet he says, “Perhaps we’ll even solve the mystery of who placed the eggs, hm?” This seems like an odd thing to say if he didn’t know the true identity of Zipper. The bunny has said multiple times that he is not wearing a costume. If that were true, why would Tom Nook imply otherwise? If Tom Nook isn’t Zipper, he must at least know who is.
[Life Advice] For islands in the northern hemisphere, it suddenly feels like spring thanks to budding cherry trees. You’ll see cherry blossom petals dancing through the sky. Yes, yes, I want everyone to scoop them up for some enjoyable spring DIY projects perfect for the season.
Mom and Dad
Of all the potential identities Zipper could be, the least suspected would be one of the player’s parents. Throughout the series, players can expect to receive frequent letters and gifts from their Mom, and occasional letters from their Dad. These letters often include updates about the player’s hometown or just general questions about how the player is doing.
Mom and Dad remain faceless and nameless throughout the games, which gives one of them the perfect opportunity to sneak onto the island and disguise themselves as Zipper. With how frequently they write letters to the player, it seems unlikely that they would never consider visiting the village to check on their child. It’s safe to assume that the player once celebrated holidays with Mom and Dad prior to moving away. Perhaps, in order to keep up with traditions, one of the parents have disguised themselves and hidden eggs around the town to surprise their child. At the same time, they can check in on their child and spend a vacation on a new island!
Of course, Zipper T. Bunny’s identity is still a mystery. Unless the player can figure out how to get the bunny to reveal themselves, it seems any guesses are purely speculation. What are some of your theories?