And kanji with manga
Friday, January 31, 2020

nekome 猫目

In Japanese, nekome 猫目 means "cat eyes," and can refer to multiple things: an actual cat's eyes; a person's eyes, whose shape is large, round and upturned, like a cat's; and, in manga and anime, when a character's expression changes into a cat face, drawn with cat-like eyes.

Not to be confused with neko-moku ネコ目, the "order Carnivora" (biology term), which includes cats, who are carnivores. Nor to be confused with kono neko me! この猫め!, which means "this damn cat!" or "you damn cat!"

Kurapika クラピカ, example of nekome ネコ目, "cat eyes," eye shape.
Character: Kurapika クラピカ
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (2011) (Episode 40)

Meaning

Cat's Eyes

As one would expect, the literal usage of nekome 猫目 is to refer to a "cat's eyes."

In the unlikely event you've never seen a cat in your life, this is what they look like:

A cat.
  • A cat, from Real-Life™.

Sakamoto 阪本, a cat.
Character: Sakamoto 阪本
Anime: Nichijou no Zero-wa 日常の0話 (Episode 0, OVA)
  • Another cat, this time from anime.

Chiyo's father, Chiyo-chichi ちよ父, a cat.
Character: Chiyo's father, Chiyo-chichi ちよ父
Anime: Azumanga Daioh あずまんが大王 (Episode 9)
  • Another anime cat.

Cat-Like Eyes

When nekome 猫目 is used toward a real-life person or anime character, it refers to having cat-like eyes.

Normally, this means that they're upturned eyes, tsurime ツリ目, that are large and round. A tsurime that's not round can look scary. The the larger, rounder nekome doesn't leave this sort of impression.

Kurapika クラピカ, example of nekome ネコ目, "cat eyes," eye shape.
Character: Kurapika クラピカ
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (2011) (Episode 40)
  • Kurapika is called nekome no bouya 猫目の坊や, "the cat-eyed boy," by an old lady at the start of the series, as he headed from the Dolle Harbor to Zaban City.

Amanogawa Kirara 天ノ川きらら, example of "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.
Character: Amanogawa Kirara 天ノ川きらら
Anime: Go! Princess Precure (Episode 4)

Oikawa Tsurara 及川氷麗, example of nekome 猫目.
Character: Tsurara 氷麗
Anime: Nurarihyon no Mago ぬらりひょんの孫 (Episode 1)

Feyris Nyan-Nyan フェイリス・ニャンニャン, example of "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.
Character: Faris Nyan-Nyan フェイリス・ニャンニャン
Anime: Steins;Gate (Episode 2)

Lisesharte Atismata リーズシャルテ・アティスマータ, example of nekome 猫目.
Character: Lisesharte Atismata リーズシャルテ・アティスマータ
Anime: Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut 最弱無敗の神装機竜《バハムート》 (Episode 1)

Mine マイン, example of nekome 猫目.
Character: Mine マイン
Anime: Akame ga Kiru! アカメが斬る! (Episode 9)


As one would expect, it's also possible to use makeup to create cat-like eyes. For reference: nekome-meiku 猫目メイク, "cat eyes makeup."

Cat-Like Irises

Alternatively, nekome can also refer to eyes whose irises are thin and elliptically vertical, rather than round. Naturally, real people's eyes don't work like this, so it's used only toward anime characters.

Kozume Kenma 孤爪研磨, example of "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.
Character: Kozume Kenma 孤爪研磨
Anime: Haikyuu!! ハイキュー!! (Episode 12)

Cat-Like Pupils

In particular, some characters have vertical slit pupils, exactly like those of a cat, so these can get called nekome, too.

Generally, this means cat girls.

Ibaraki-douji 茨木童子, example of cat girl with heterochromia.
Character: Ibaraki-douji 茨木童子
Anime: Onigiri 鬼斬 (Episode 3)

But it also includes characters who literally have cat eyes.

Neko Musume ねこ娘, example of "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.
Character: Nekomusume ねこ娘
Anime: Gegege no Kitarou ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (2018) (Episode 2)

And even demons, too.

Lucifer ルシフェル, also known as Urushihara Hanzou 漆原半蔵, example of demon eyes, "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.
Character: Lucifer ルシフェル, also known as Urushihara Hanzou 漆原半蔵
Anime: Hataraku Maou-sama! はたらく魔王さま! (Episode 6)


Note, however, that cats aren't the only animals with vertical pupils. Some characters have vertical pupils, but are more like scaly, cold-blooded snakes rather than fluffy, warm-blooded cats, so they have "snake eyes," hebi-me ヘビ目, instead.

Tohru トール, example of snake eyes, hebime ヘビ目.
Character: Tohru トール
Anime: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon, 小林さんちのメイドラゴン (Episode 1)

Cat Expression

The word nekome 猫目, "cat eyes," can also refer to a facial expression in manga and anime where a character's face becomes cat-like.

It's worth noting there are variations of this cat face: some of them have cat eyes, others have a cat mouth, nekoguchi 猫口, others include even cat ears, nekomimi 猫耳, and tail sprouting out of nowhere.

Furthermore, there are two styles of cat eyes that are normally used in two distinct situations.

Misaka Mikoto 御坂美琴, example of cat face.
Character: Misaka Mikoto 御坂美琴
Anime: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, とある科学の超電磁砲 (Episode 7)
  • Context: Misaka notices something extremely interesting.

Cat eyes drawn with vertical irises are used when a character's attitude resembles that of a cat.

Like the proverb, "curiosity killed the cat," this kind of expression can happen when the character's attention has been caught by something.

Alternatively, it can also happen when the character is mischievous, playing pranks or scheming something inside their head.

Killua Zoldyck キルア=ゾルディック and Gon Freecss ゴン=フリークス seeing treasure, example of cat face expression in anime.
Left: Killua Zoldyck キルア=ゾルディック
Right: Gon Freecss ゴン=フリークス
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (1999) (Episode 57)
  • Killua becomes cat faced after learning how much money the treasure is worth.

By contrast, cat eyes drawn wider normally signify the character is sweating cold, probably anxious about something.

Haruno Haruka 春野はるか, example of a character's eyes becoming "cat eyes," nekome 猫目, as they're wide open due to be being surprised, nervous, or flustered.
Character: Haruno Haruka 春野はるか
Anime: Go! Princess Precure (Episode 1)

Koshigaya Komari 越谷小鞠, example of "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.
Character: Koshigaya Komari 越谷小鞠
Anime: Non Non Biyori のんのんびより (Episode 2)

Sometimes these eyes are used for other reasons, too.

Handa Sei 半田清舟, angry and frustrated, example of "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.
Character: Handa Sei 半田清舟
Anime: Barakamon ばらかもん (Episode 8)
  • Handa is frustrated and probably very angry.

"Cat-eyed Link," nekome Rinku 猫目リンク.
Game: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Zeruda no Densetsu Kaze no Takuto ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト
  • nekome Rinku
    猫目リンク
    Cat-eyed Link. Refers to the cat-eyed design of the Legend of Zelda character Link, found in Wind Waker, among other games.

References

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!

All comments are moderated and won't show up until approved. Spam, links to illegal websites, and inappropriate content won't be published.