I know a lot of you are probably thinking, “What is this? First he’s doing main characters from Ocarina of Time, and now he’s doing minor characters from Spirit Tracks?”; well, I thought, seeing as its Easter, why not take a peak at the closest guy in the Zelda franchise that is even mildly Easter-related. From the picture, you may be able to tell that this guy is a bit… interesting; and I thought it would also be interesting to try and figure why his interests are what they are, why he dresses the way he does, and what possibly could have happened to him in the past to make him this way.
FOREWARNING: this editorial will be a bit more interpretive than my previous two, and less based on facts, as I try to figure out what could’ve caused this man’s obsession with rabbits.
We are first introduced to the Rabbitland Rescue Man after the player brings five bars of iron from Goron Village to the lumber seller in Whittleton, which grants Link a Force Gem which reveals tracks that connect the Forest Temple to the Snow Realm. Upon investigating the new tracks you have uncovered, you additionally uncover Rabbitland Rescue. Visiting the rabbit refuge, you meet the Rabbitland Rescue Man. According to Hyrule Historia, his name is Bunnio, a direct translation of his Japanese name, Bunio; though he is left unnamed in the English translations, and simply referred to as the Rabbitland Rescue Man. But for convenience, I’ll be referring to him as Bunnio.
Bunnio dresses like a rabbit, and is completely obsessed with them, to the point where (as we find out later on in the game) he left his wife for the rabbits. He gives you the Rabbit Net (which is suspiciously bunny-like) to go and catch him 10 of each of the five types of rabbits that reside in the different realms of New Hyrule (50 rabbits total). While you’re off catching him rabbits, he just stays there and does nothing; though, once you have brought back rabbits for him, he stays to look after them.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting, if it wasn’t already: where did his obsession with rabbits come from? Obsession stems from addiction, and I’m no expert when it comes to psychology, but I know that an addiction is caused by frequent use of, or exposure to, an object. In this case, it is hopefully Bunnio’s frequent exposure to rabbits when he was young, which only made the addiction more prominent when he became an adult… if it was his frequent use of rabbits… um…
Anyways! Frequent exposure to rabbits: he frequently states in the game that Link should touch their soft ears and feel their fluffy tails, yet only occasionally (at least, in comparison to how much he goes on about how pleasant they are to stroke) remarks on how cute they are. This shows that as a child, he was frequently in the presence of rabbits, and that whenever he was in the company of rabbits, while thoroughly enjoying their overall aesthatic, he mostly enjoyed stroking them and patting them.
As he grew older, his enjoyment of spending time with rabbits became an addiction, and soon grew into an obsession. This obsession led to the characteristics he now demonstrates as an adult: choosing an overweight partner, dressing like a rabbit, and leaving his partner to open the rabbit sanctuary.
Before I offend anybody, there is nothing wrong with having an overweight partner, but Bunnio’s taste in the opposite gender most likely stemmed from his obsession with rabbits: being overweight, his wife would be very soft to touch, which Bunnio would undoubtedly associate with stroking rabbits. But skinny people are also soft to touch, which goes back to Bunnio’s relation of rabbits and people: bunnies are often cuter when they’re chubbier, which indicates that Bunnio might be of the same mind about people.
We also find out from Bunnio’s wife that she was not particularly fond of rabbits, which may have also offended Bunnio. Ultimately, a rabbit-like partner could not satisfy Bunnio, and her distaste for rabbits pushed him further from her, so he simply left her to open up a rabbit sanctuary.
She later changes her mind, deciding that in loving her husband, she should support him in his interests, and asks you to take her to him. Upon informing Bunnio of her intentions, he seems a little nervous, indicating that he may also have simply gotten tired of her, for one reason or another, or perhaps her disliking of rabbits really changed his mind about her, which is reinforced when she tells him that she, too, loves rabbits now, and he accepts her again.
THE FOLLOWING CONTENT MAY DISTURB YOUNGER READERS!
READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Now, going into the darker side of Bunnio. When playing the game myself, I never saw anything sinister about the guy, but upon writing this editorial, I noticed things that didn’t quite make sense.
Firstly, the Rabbit Net. I never saw anything wrong with the Rabbit Net, and I thought that its rabbit-design was very fitting for the character and its purpose… until I thought, “How did he get that level of detail?”. In this age, they have good enough sewing skills for clothes, but he’s put eyes, different tones of cloth on the ears, a nose, mouth, and even a bit of pink at the bottom of the handle. It unfortunately looks like he may have actually gotten the skin of a white Grass Rabbit (I’ll explain why it has to be a Grass Rabbit later) and reshaped it to fit over a pre-made net, to the point where he’s replaced the handle with a hind foot of the rabbit… or worse still, he may have also made the netting out of the fur of a black Snow Rabbit, and wrapped excess fur around sticks to form the rest of the net before covering it with the white rabbit skin.
Secondly, his clothes. Again, I never saw anything wrong with his clothes, again thinking that it was very fitting for the character, until I again pondered on the detail. His mask quite literally looks like he’s taken the skin off an overly large Snow Rabbit’s head, and tied it over his own head, before knitting away with the remaining skin and then re-knitting the Grass Rabbit’s little vest and using it as a belt.
What did he do with the innards you ask? Well, if he rationed them carefully, he could survive on the innards for a month and a bit, if he cooked them, while getting water from the pond in the centre of the sanctuary. Or he simply could’ve tossed the innards into the pond, tainting his water supply, but forever hiding his crimes…
I doubt he would actually do these things, but if he wants rabbits that much, he might use the only materials he has within his grasp to get more, which could mean sacrificing one rabbit for 50, and then a further rabbit or two to make skimpy clothes for himself after finding himself naked in the wild, searching for rabbits.
In conclusion, Bunnio is a seemingly innocent individual, with a quirky interest and a suspicious past, but he always has the best intentions at heart… at least, in the grand scheme of things. I think it would be interesting to see this character reused in the future, maybe with the possibility of killing the rabbits yourself, and characters start referring to you as ‘Rabbit Killer’, similar to how you are referred to as ‘THIEF’ for the rest of Link’s Awakening should you steal the bow from that store; but the character should be given a little bit more background, and slightly less themed clothes and equipment to avoid ideas like the ones I came up with while writing this. I would also like to the see the idea return because this is one of the only three side-quests I have ever really cared about in a Zelda game (the other two being collecting all the masks in Majora’s Mask, and reuniting Anju and Kafei) But what to you guys think? Let me know in the comments.