Raymond, a bespeckled cat with heterochromia, has become far and away the most popular villager in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. People spend real life money to have him in their town, he essentially drives the entire Animal Crossing economy, and while researching this article I found art of someone's original character licking Raymond's butthole. But with every surge of excitement and hype comes a backlash, and Raymond haters have found a poetic way to end his existence: sending him to the void.
The void is where Animal Crossing villagers go when they move out of your town. It is a plane of non-existence where villagers wait in before they move to one of your friends' neighborhoods. You'll know a villager is about to move out because their house will be empty except for cardboard boxes, just like when they moved in— Animal Crossing fans call this stage "in boxes." At this stage, a friend can come to your town and speak to the villager and they'll move to their town. If that doesn't happen, off to the void they go. If you have a Raymond in boxes, you'll probably be able to sell him for hundreds of Nook Miles Island tickets, so players in the habit of buying and selling villagers are ever vigilant for him.
Over the past couple of days, the phrase "Raymond in boxes" has become a meme in the Animal Crossing fandom, because some fans are asking for an exorbitant fee to have the cat move to their town. People have been parodying these posts by posting absurd fees, like reading Les Miserables and then writing a 1400 word essay on it. Other people have been just posting Raymond in boxes and essentially saying "neener neener."
In the cycles of the internet, if something is hyped up, you can bet a backlash is on the way. The Raymond backlash was inevitable. There's something so perfect about having Raymond in your town, understanding that the world is in a frenzy for him, and then just letting him drift off into a formless expanse until he can move again. I know how it feels to be annoyed that other people like something so much, but I try to fight the impulse. As funny as I think it is to say "I'm just going to let Raymond languish in the void," there's an element of getting one over on the normies. I don't even disagree that the Raymond fandom is doing the most, but there's an oily aftertaste to the joke that sits unpleasantly on your tongue,.
It's weird, but I feel bad for Raymond. He's not allowed to settle anywhere, he just moves and moves and moves to make people money. Maybe Raymond should be in the void, for a little while. There, he can set up his weird office furniture and cosplay as an office worker in peace.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.