January 15, 2015

Cat girls

In Japan, the cat girl occupies the same pop-culture space as the bunny girl. Except that the Playboy Bunny logo itself is so benign that it adorns a fashion line aimed at teen girls (including school uniforms).

Anime's most popular bunny girl is probably Haruhi Suzumiya (here playing at a high school concert). The kemonomimi (獣耳) or "animal ears" is a well-nigh ubiquitous meme in anime, manga, and cosplay.

Ge-Ge-Ge no Kitarou, Shigeru Mizuki's long-running supernatural manga and anime series, featured a character whose name is "Neko Musume," literally "Cat Girl" (猫娘). She's a true werecat (bakeneko).

More recently, the cat girl has risen again to the fore, from girls pretending to be cats (K-On):

To girls who actually sprout ears and tails (Strike Witches):

As it turns out, the bakeneko (化け猫) has a long history in Japan, with literary references reaching as far back as the 12th century (click to enlarge).

Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

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