‘Nekomimi’ is a Japanese word roughly translatable as ‘cat-girl’: a typical mangateenage sexpot… with cat ears, tail and sometimes fluffy paws. The official story is that cats are graceful, feminine and playful, so the nekomimis sort of hammer the point of a carefree youth home to the enjoyment of obsessive otakus everywhere. According to many websites about these characters, said enjoyment is a totally chaste thing.
While you ponder the unreliability of what you read online, you might not be very surprised by the existence of a whole cosplay/furvert subculture of people trying tobring nekomimis in the real world. Their hero is Shota Ishiwatari, a Tokyo-based engineer whose greatest success to date are the necomimi ears. The apparent typo actually is the contraction of ‘NEural COmmunication’, for these plushy cat ears are mounted on a sort of hairband incorporating a brain activity sensor and a set of small motors. In other words: the ears move according to your emotions, perking up and swiveling in a somewhat realistic way.
The ears (which you can buy online here) became such a hit that the inventor followed up with a prototype cat tail that wiggled when the wearer got excited but was stunted by the head-mounted sensor. The next step was then to simplify the design, insert a simpler heartbeat sensor in a special belt and launch a Kickstarter campaign to get it crowdfunded.
The unrefined device unfortunately didn’t get the fans’ approval: non-neural-activated tails are obviously too cheap for serious furverts, so last month the initiative failed.
Should you want to stand up for nekotails – for perfectly ascetic reasons, of course – you can still show your support on the designer’s website, featuring all his social links. Something tells me this is not the last time we’ll hear of him.