When the Animal Crossing series first premiered in the early 2000s, there was no way of knowing just how much of an impact it was going to have. It has such a simple premise: an open-ended life simulator that focuses on making friends and collecting things. The only real objective that players have to accomplish is paying off their house debt to Tom Nook, and even that is optional if they're comfortable with smaller spaces and limited storage.
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, there are over 300 different villagers that can move into the player's town, which can only host up to 10 at a time. There are also special characters that fill important roles throughout the town, such as fan favorites Isabelle, the mayor's (perhaps overly) eager secretary, and K.K. Slider, a legend in the music scene. Those two tend to get the spotlight when it comes to talking about special characters - Isabelle was even added into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - but in all honesty, that's just not fair!
There are several other special characters that deserve just as much recognition for their part in the series... In fact, there are so many that this list is only a handful of them.
Katrina is a fortune-teller who sets her tent up in the Plaza, and eventually opens a shop on Main Street. She tells the player's fortune for 500 bells. During her fortune-telling, she and the player are no longer in her tent and are instead found in what she refers to as the Star Matrix.
She's a navy blue panther, the only one of her kind in the series, with violet eye shadow and a classic fortune teller's outfit. Some villagers speculate that she might be working illegally and that she might even be running a scam.
Maybe it's just the fact that she's associated with the occult, but something about Katrina is pretty cool, especially during the Fall season.
Joan is a special visitor that appears every Sunday morning between 6 AM and 12 PM. She sells White Turnips from the large basket on her back, which players must sell within 7 days, otherwise, they become spoiled. The Stalk Market determines whether the player makes a profit or not, as sometimes they will sell for less than (or equal to) what was paid for them.
She is a boar who has been selling turnips for sixty years. She doesn't want to explain how her shop works, but it does work. Usually. It's a bit of a gamble to put your bells into turnips, but that's all part of the fun.
Booker is a police officer in the Classic Police Station. He's a bulldog (one of the only characters based off of an actual breed) who tends to be pretty nervous. He's hesitant a lot of the time and doesn't usually trust his own decisions, often saying things like, "I guess," after he says something and apologizing for himself. English is not his first language, and he says that's part of why he's always so anxious.
He can be talked to 24/7, unlike most other special characters, so with him around, there's always someone to keep you company.
Blathers is the director of the Museum on Main Street that showcases all of the players' bugs, fish, and fossils. Ironically, he suffers from entomophobia, so handling the bugs is always a struggle for him. He lives up to his namesake, meaning that he talks a lot whenever he's approached by the player, though he does cut himself off from going on full-blown tangents.
Since he's an owl, he's generally asleep during the day, but he's always happy to wake up to assess a fossil or handle a donation - as long as it's not a bug.
6 Dr. Shrunk
Dr. Shrunk opens up Club LOL on Main Street, where he performs stand-up comedy six days a week. Between the hours of 12 PM and 8 PM, he's more than happy to teach the player jokes in exchange for a snack. Each of these 40 different jokes actually teaches the players a different emotion, which unlocks an animation that can be used to communicate.
Something about the sincerity behind his jokes, no matter what their quality is, makes him endearing - plus, he's the only Axolotl in the entire series, so that's cool, too!
Katie is a kitten who's finally old enough to travel without her mother and now moves from town to town. When she sees the player, she asks them to take her to a friend's town to help her explore the world. Rejecting her results in her sniffling and admitting that she wants her mother, but who would ever do such a thing anyway?
If they help her, the player receives a thank you gift in the mail from her the next day, which can be one of a few exclusive items that are exclusively gotten from Katie. Her cuteness is already pretty important, but special items always make it better.
Leila is the young daughter of Kapp'n and Leilani. She's mentioned in several of her father's songs, where he tells the player how she cries when she's told that she resembles him, among other things. She spends her days playing in the shop on the Island, and will always invite the player to play with her when spoken to.
She will purchase things out of the player's inventory at a great loss for them, offering only 5% of the item's original sale price. It isn't a good way to turn a profit, but it does make disposing of unwanted items a lot more fun when it's done by bringing happiness to a cute little girl!
Gulliver occasionally washes up on the beach, where he must be spoken to repeatedly in order to wake him up. When he awakens, he tells the player a tall tale about what happened to him at sea that brought him to where he is now - and expresses that he's forgotten exactly where he was headed. He asks the player for help and, if they accept, gives them a few clues about the country that he was setting sail to. If the player guesses correctly, Gulliver will send them a present based on where he went!
It's fun trying to guess where he was headed to, and it's even more fun to received exclusive items as a reward for being right.
Jack is the Czar of Halloween, according to himself. He roams the town between October 1st and October 8th, waiting for the player to speak to him. He will give the player treats from the Creepy and Spooky sets in exchange for candy and lollipops, but if the player comes to him empty-handed, he will play a trick by turning items in their inventory to stitched clothing.
Jack is a limited time guest, which automatically gives him an edge, but he's also awesomely Halloween-themed, and somehow slightly unnerving, even in such a wholesome game.
Copper is another police officer that comes with the Modern Police Station. He's a pragmatic Akita (another rare character that's based on an actual breed of animal) that takes his job very seriously. He values professionalism and is very dedicated to his work.
With his strong work ethic, it's no surprise that he can be found in the police station 24/7, so players are never really alone.