Animal Crossing: New Horizons players have a knack for recreating the look of other iconic games within the adorable dimensions of one island. There are fan builds for Breath of the Wild as well as other classic Nintendo games, a task made easier with the inclusion of Mario-themed items in a March 2021 update. Other creators have taken to recreating iconic film worlds, especially those from Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed animated films.
Aesthetically, this makes complete sense. Studio Ghibli films are painstakingly hand-animated with a whimsical, painterly style and have a warm, cozy feel that’s similar to that of New Horizons. Historically, players have mostly relied on custom designs — for furniture and clothing items — to get these scenes right. But the New Horizons 2.0 update, in conjunction with the Happy Home Paradise add-on, has given players an even broader toolkit for creating Studio Ghibli-inspired scenes. Newer recreations use vines, polishes, accent walls, partitions, and other items to create more immersive and detailed in-game environments.
The following recreation of a scene from My Neighbor Totoro features wall vines, hanging ceiling items, and polishes (which create the appearance of fluttering moths). All of this is captured in the new Pro Camera app’s first-person lens. It’s also worth noting that this player is dressed up like Porco Rosso, from the Studio Ghibli film of the same name.
Similar techniques are used here to recreate Howl’s bedroom from Howl’s Moving Castle in astonishing detail.
Gyroids, introduced in the 2.0 update, have also played a role in these builds. In this recreation, Arfoid is posing as fire demon Calcifer.
Others are recreating Spirited Away’s first No-Face scene — where the monster enters the bathhouse, after Chihiro mistakes it for a paying customer. This build uses a combination of custom designs, as well as Happy Home Paradise’s unlockable partitions and the 2.0 update’s single accent wall option. (These features are commonly used together to create the look of porches and balconies.)
This creator designed Spirited Away’s ghost town from the beginning of the film. They used the first-person camera perspective, and recorded themselves walking through the empty night market.
The addition of farming has allowed this player to recreate a scene from When Marnie Was There, a Studio Ghibli film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.
All of these trends ultimately expand on some of the longer-running Miyazaki homages that people have created in New Horizons. Since the game’s debut in March 2020, players have been making gorgeous scene studies and posting screenshots side by side with their Studio Ghibli film counterparts.
Others had incorporated villagers into the designs, posing as Studio Ghibli’s most famous animal characters.
Whether these builds inspire you to try making your own Ghibli-themed islands — or to simply rewatch the stunning films — they’re certainly beautiful to look at.