Animal Crossing profile: Tom Nook
Every day in the run up to the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS, we'll be featuring a new NPC from the game to whet your appetite! Our first critter for the spotlight is the now infamous Tom Nook - who will be well known to veteran players for his money-grabbing antics. In New Leaf, he's back to his old tricks - namely, property investment! Old Tom will help you to build the home of your wildest dreams, but for a price. Each extension and renovation will cost you hundreds of thousands of Bells, so you better make sure you harvest or fish diligently if you aspire to live in the biggest mansion in your town!
As well as developing property in Animal Crossing, Tom also owns the town shop, although he has more important things to do in New Leaf than run it for himself! Instead, he hires Timmy and Tommy, his nephews, to do the hard work for him, while he runs Nook's Homes, a brand new store for New Leaf that allows you to expand and customise your house.
Although many people believe Tom Nook is a racoon, he is actually a tanuki, a very important creature in Japanese folklore. Perhaps most famously depicted in the Studio Ghibli movie Pom Poko, tanuki are real animals - often called raccoon dogs - with a reputation for having magical powers. Amongst these are the ability to shape shift, and the tanuki is also well known for its mischievous, trickster nature. The tanuki's influence on Japanese culture even extends to cuisine, as tanuki soba or udon is a type of noodle dish named after the creature which is topped with small pieces of fried batter left over from cooking tempura. The joke here is that the customer is paying for scraps which would otherwise be thrown out (although, in truth, this is a hugely popular and extremely delicious dish), which sounds exactly like the sort of trick a tanuki would play!
Luckily, our Tom Nook is a tanuki of the highest character, although his sneaky tendency to inform you of the cost of an extension AFTER the work is already completed goes to show that he still has that tricky streak inside him! Another interesting fact about tanuki in folklore is that they are said to be able to turn leaves into gold. Is that why Tom Nook's shop has a leaf as its logo, and why furniture in inventory has the leaf logo? Tom certainly has a way of generating huge amounts of gold for himself!