And kanji with manga
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cat Boy

In anime, a cat boy is a character that has cat-like features, such as feline body parts"cat ears," nekomimi 猫耳, "cat eyes," nekome 猫目, "cat mouth," nekoguchi 猫口, and a "cat tail," neko-shippo 猫しっぽ—and ending their sentences in nyaa にゃー, "meow."

Ferris フェリス, example of cat boy.
Character: Ferris フェリス
Anime: Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活 (Episode 12)

In Japanese

The most common way to say "cat boy" in Japanese would be nekomimi-danshi 猫耳男子, "cat-ears boy." In general, if a character has cat ears they probably have a cat tail, too, but that's not necessarily true.

You can combine either neko 猫, "cat," or nekomimi 猫耳, "cat-ears," with a noun that means "boy" to create a word that means "cat boy" or "cat-ears boy." Unfortunately, there are various words that mean "boy" in Japanese. For reference:
  • nekomimi-shounen
    猫耳少年
    Cat-ears boy.
    • shounen
      少年
      Underage person. (legal term.)
      Boy. (normal usage.)
  • nekomimi-otokonoko
    猫耳男の子
    Cat-ears boy.
    • otokonoko
      男の子
      Male child.
      Boy.
  • nekomimi-otokonoko
    猫耳男の娘
    Cat-ears trap.
    • otokonoko
      男の娘
      Male girl. A girl that's actually a boy. A boy that looks like a girl. A trap.
  • nekomimi-seinen
    猫耳青年
    Cat-ears boy.
    • seinen
      青年
      A young adult man.
  • nekomimi-shota
    猫耳ショタ
    Cat-ears boy.
    • shota
      ショタ
      Boy anime character. (male counterpart of loli.)

Similarly: neko-danshi 猫男子, neko-otokonoko 猫男の子, neko-shounen 猫少年, neko-seinen 猫青年, neko-shota 猫ショタ, and so on.

The same thing also works if you switch "boy" for "man."
  • neko-otoko
    猫男
    Cat man.
  • nekomimi-otoko
    猫耳男
    Cat-ears man.

Types

There are various types of cat boys that can be found in anime.

Natural

Some characters are born with as cat boys, with cat ears and tail attached to their bodies.

Aoyagi Ritsuka 青柳立夏, Soubi Agatsuma 我妻草灯, example of double ears: human ears plus "cat ears," nekomimi 猫耳.
Left: Aoyagi Ritsuka 青柳立夏
Right: Soubi Agatsuma 我妻草灯
Anime: Loveless (Episode 1)
  • In Loveless, only virgin characters have cat ears. That is, everyone is born with cat ears, and you lose your cat ears as you lose your virginity.

Anthropomorphized

Some cat boy characters are supposed to be anthropormizations of actual cats. See also: gijinka 擬人化.

Okamoto Tama 岡本タマ, example of anthropormorphized cat boy.
Left: Okamoto Tama 岡本タマ
Right: (same character)
Anime: Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka? うちタマ?!~うちのタマ知りませんか?~ (Episode 1, OP)
  • In the Uchi Tama?! anime, all animal characters are drawn like animals when interacting with humans, and drawn like people when interacting with each other.

Cosplay

Some characters wear cat ears to cosplay as cat boys.

Shiina Aki 椎名亜樹, example of a crossdressing cat boy.
Character: Shiina Aki 椎名亜樹
Anime: Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san すのはら荘の管理人さん (Episode 3)
  • josou
    女装
    "Female-clothes." Also a term for crossdressing.

Tropes

See: Cat Girl for common things and terms related to cat boys.

It's worth noting that neko ネコ is a LGBT slang for "bottom" in a homosexual relationship.

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