Why Fans Expected More From the Build-A-Bear x Animal Crossing Collab

Build-a-Bear workshop’s latest launch did not go as planned. Hopefully, they can redeem themselves by expanding on the launch.



Meghan Reyes, Reporter

  Following the success of the latest installment of the Animal Crossing franchise, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, fans had the chance to take home their Animal Crossing-inspired furry friend.

   Build-a-Bear workshop announced via Twitter that they were releasing an Animal-Crossing-themed collection. No release date was given or even which characters were going to be included in the collection. This did not stop fans of the Nintendo game from exploding with joy.

   Since Animal Crossing’s initial release in 2001, the game has introduced audiences to 397 different villagers. That number does not even include non-playable characters and special holiday visitors. Each villager is placed in a category that defines their personalities; which include cranky, jockey, lazy, smug, normal, peppy, snooty and sisterly. There are 35 different villagers species, the most common being cats and the least common being octopi. 

  With this vast pool of characters to choose from, many fans theorized about who would be included in the launch. Many thought fan favorites such as Raymond, Marshall, Fauna or Judy would accompany Isabelle and Tom Nook. Others hoped for an all-inclusive NPC line of plushies. Many were disappointed when only NPC Isabelle and Tom Nook arrived online.

   On April 6, Animal Crossing lovers eagerly waited in the online queue on Build-a-Bear’s website. Customers were able to wait in a virtual line starting at 10 a.m. CST. The wait time for the plushies was over an hour by 11:05 a.m. 

   Now, why was this collection a flop? Many popular characters, like Bob or Marshall, failed to make an appearance alongside Isabelle and Tom Nook. The two characters featured in this collection are not necessarily fan favorites. At least, Tom Nook is not anyway. These characters are the face of the program, so it makes sense for them to be included in the line. But with over 400 villagers total, it does not make sense for Build-a-Bear to limit this collection to only two characters.

  Build-a-Bear has not even released this collection in stores yet. It looks like it will not be released in stores until summer, so audiences still have a long way to go. The Animal Crossing collection has not been fully released online either. According to Twitter, there are additional outfits and sounds available for both characters, but information on accessories has not been released quite yet. So far, the only place customers can get a plushie is through that virtual queue that filled up before 11 a.m.

   Although many fans were saddened by this launch, there is an upside. On the shopping app Etsy, you can find hundreds of small shops that sell Animal Crossing plushies that is  notjust Tom Nook and Isabelle. Given because most of these shops are small, there may be limited availability and may take some time to ship. Of course, it is worth the price for the variety of characters available.

   Build-a-Bear workshop released an underwhelming collection. Hopefully, they will see the error of their ways and work on expanding this line of adorable Animal Crossing Villagers.