The Animal Crossing fandom has only grown since the release of New Horizons last month. And, like every fandom, this one has its own controversies and drama.
In this case, it's the nature of the relationship between the characters Flick and CJ, both new to the franchise.
Flick (a sort of punk chameleon) and CJ (a social media–obsessed beaver) are both special characters in the game who visit your island to buy bugs and fish. They also really like talking about each other and their history.
CJ even refers to Flick as his "partner."
That language set of a flurry of excitement as fans wondered if Flick and CJ are meant to be boyfriends in the game.
Just look at the adorable fan art being made.
The drama part came in when others pushed back, saying their relationship isn't canon and pointing out how the Japanese version of the game uses the word "friend" instead.
This is an all-too-common debate in many fandoms. On one side, there are people who ship same-sex characters as a couple, and on the other side are people loudly insisting it's not canon.
Some have commented that this insistence is really just veiled anti-LGBTQ prejudice.
Finally, on Sunday, Go Nintendo declared it had found an "official" answer in Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Official Companion Guide. It shared a snippet from the book that says:
Flick and CJ are roommates and business partners. As an artist, he helps CJ build his streaming audience by providing stellar art to dedicated anglers. However, Flick's true artistic muse is the world of entomology.
But does that mean you can't decide they are indeed a couple? Absolutely not.
As people have pointed out, same-sex couples have been "straight-washed" all through history.
Animal Crossing is a game all about creating an escapist fantasy life and forging relationships with cute little animal pals. There's nothing stopping you from shipping who you want to ship.
Plus, it's cute as heck.
Shippers gonna ship, and that's okay.