If you're a fan of anime or manga, you're very much familiar with characters who are quite human, but sporting cat-like features and even acting like one. Those strange but super kawaii beings are what we call Neko girls or Cat girls and is one of the most common types of fictional characters being incorporated into anime, games, and so forth. They are often depicted as very funny, sweet, cute and somehow naïve due to their childlike tendencies. These types of fictional girls has been around for a long time, so if you want to know more about this certain topic, you're in for a treat, so read on.
Photos: PNG guru
What is a Neko girl?
Neko girl is referred to as Nekomimi (猫耳) in Japanese and it literally means "Cat ears" in English. They are a cat-human hybrid who is looking very much like a person, but with additional features like cat ears, tail and sometimes, paws. They are mostly portrayed as the comedic relief to some series (though not all of them) with a distinct way of speaking and acting, like a feline, because that's what they are! They are often given moe (Japanese word used mainly to refer to strong feelings of affection over an anime character who are usually showing traits such as cuteness, innocence and vulnerability) appeal to attract better audience.
You may be wondering how this cute and lovable character came about, let's go ahead and find out, shall we?
Nekomimi and its history
Neko girls were reportedly first brought to life by an author of children's literature by the name of Kenji Miyazawa in the year 1924. The book was titled On the Fourth Day of the Narcissus Month (水仙月の四日) and it featured a beautiful "modern girl" with a human appearance but with obvious cat ears. An anime called The King’s Tail (Ousama no Shippo) was the first Japanese animation that featured Neko girls and this was created by Mitsuyo Seo in the year 1949.
Photo: Cartoon research
Photo: Live Japan
Breakdown of the most distinguished Neko girl traits
- High pitch, childlike way of talking
- Either very aloof or very attached (just like cats)
- Very naïve
- Loves to cuddle
- Displaying obvious cat mannerisms
- Sporting cute fangs
- Ending their sentences with Nyaa (meow in Japanese)
- Always very cheerful
- Incredible stealth
- Strong senses (especially hearing and sight)
- Has a master
- Likes getting pets
- Is a maid
- Wears neck bells as a distinct accessory
- The comical character of the story (cats are funny!)
There are many shows and platforms where Neko girls appear in and below are the few.
Anime, Manga and Video games
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This is first on the list, of course. They appeared originally in a book, then in an anime, but they has been used by other forms as well. One of the most popular ones is Ichigo Momomiya from Tokyo Mew Mew, as a human which has the ability to transform into a hero cat and fight the bad guys. Then there's Leone in Akame ga Kill, same as Ichigo, she also transforms into her "tiger" form which is a larger member of the feline family. And Felicia, a playable character from the game Darkstalkers exhibiting obvious cat traits and looks, and despite being tough looking, after every fight, she goes back into being this really cute, friendly and playful kitty. And this is why many people are in love with this type of character.
Neko girls are very common in the cosplay scene. Many people (both girls and boys alike) are embracing being a Neko due to their undeniable cuteness, or maybe they are just really a cat person. They enjoy being cat humanoids (which they secretly are at heart) and one of the best way for them to express themselves is by dressing up as a kawaii Nekomimi. They put on their cat ears, faux tails and bell chokers for starters.
Some types of Nekomimis in anime
- Natural born neko girl
The most common one, this type shows a very human appearance, but with natural cat ears and tail that are a permanent part of their body. It could have been there since they were born or they sprouted later in life as they grew older.
- Transforming neko girl
These are a very normal human characters which can transform into cat humanoids at their will, anywhere, anytime. Whether to fight evil or they just want to be cute. There could also be some triggering factors just like Kyo Sohma from Fruits Basket, who transforms into a cat once he is hugged by the opposite sex, is it a curse or a blessing though?
- Cosplay cat girl
The type of Nekomimi which are 100% human, but are wearing fake headband cat ears and tails to imitate a cat like appearance, they try to act like one as much as possible as well.
- Beast girl / Monster girl (Neko category)
This one is quite the opposite from the natural born neko girl, while Nekomimis are still very much human like, meaning they have no fur anywhere in their body (except maybe the ears and tail), monster girls have some fur as part of their skin, but not quite enough to be a Furry. Felicia from Darkstalkers is a perfect example of a monster neko girl, wearing her "Furkini" as a permanent part of her body as well as furry, oversized hands which is clawed, same as her feet.
Difference between Neko girls and Furries
Though Furries mainly originated and are more prominent from cartoons and 3D animation movies in America, this reference has been widely used nowadays even in anime. You can easily spot the difference of the two by just looking at their features and characteristics.
Since you've been showered with loads of Neko girl information and now you can't enough of them or you want to be a Nekomimi as well, why don't you indulge yourself with these kawaii neko goodies by clicking here and start unleashing your inner feline.