Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anime Word of the Week - Neko (猫) / Nekomimi (猫耳) / Nekomusume (猫娘)

Neko (猫) / Nekomimi (猫耳) / Nekomusume (猫娘)

... a catgirl with cat ears, a cat tail, or other feline characteristics on an otherwise human body. Catgirls in character typically exhibit a more cat-like attitude, and may sometimes include cat gestures or sounds in written or verbal communications. A frequent running gag among catgirls is that, when talking, they habitually end their speech lines with the catchphrase nya, the Japanese onomatopoeia for a cat's meow.

In my experience for common usage, 'Neko' (being the Japanese word for Cat) is usually just used to describe someone as 'cat like'. 'Nekomimi' means 'cat ears', and can refer specifically to Cat Girl cos-play (called Nekomimi Mode) but can also be used to describe any 'cat girl'. Nekomusume literally means 'cat daughter' and can also used to describe any 'cat girl'.

In certain anime and manga series, a boy may be compared to a cat in a similar way that cat girls are. These characters are referred to as catboys. Bishōnen catboys are typically associated with shōjo manga and yaoi; for example, Ritsuka, from the anime and Manga Loveless. In shōnen series, a (usually villainous) catgirl may be portrayed as the leader of a band of anthropomorphic animals. The list of real Nekomimi characters in Anime is nearly endless, but some prime examples include Hiroko from Princess Resurrection, Natsuki Sasahara and Mao from Hyper Police, Sanada, Aiko, Keiko, Yuuko and Eiko from UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie, Blair from Soul Eater, Alia and Lotte Liese from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Aisha Clan-Clan from Outlaw Star, and Merle from The Vision of Escaflowne. Examples of cosplay Nekomimi in Anime includes Hazuki from Moon Phase (Tsukuyomi), Azusa Nakano from K-On!, Chiyo Mihama from Azumanga Daioh, and Sakura Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura.

UPDATE: Since everyone is asking, the song playing during the Cat Witch Blair video is Alfie by Lily Allen.

1 comment:

Guardikai said...

*Smiles and grins far too much*

Yes, I'm a fan. Nice list of nekomimi and nekomusume characters Robert. Any particular favourites? The hotspring planet episode of Outlaw Star should make everyone (at least male) an aisha fan. Agreed... nya?