Neko is an aesthetic related to the cat-people (most notably catgirls, and rarely catboys) trope in anime and manga. The trope may have gone back to 1924 but the culture truly rose in popularity during the 2010s, when the trope became a part of otaku culture. Since then, it has become a staple in meme and stan culture as well, where users would edit images and videos to turn the subject into a cat-person.
This aesthetic is popular within the transfem community as their ideal post-transition selves. The charm of the Neko aesthetic is its exaggerated childlike femininity. This aesthetic is mostly expressed on Twitter and TikTok and various other social medias. Including cat-ears and cat-tails has become a staple on most Picrews (a site for avatar creation).
Cat-people (aka Nekos) in fiction are generally normal humans with cat ears and a tail. However, some have other cat-like features like paws for hands or feet. Other kinds of kemonomimis exist, such as wolf-people and fox-people.
Please note that cat-people aren't furries; They wear cat ears, tails, and mittens that look like paws, but not fursuits.
They commonly involve (and these aren't exclusive to catgirls):
- Cat ear headbands or clips with fluff in them
- Cat tails
- Bows and ribbons (often attached to chokers or the cat-ears)
- Small bells (often attached to chokers or the cat-ears)
- Over-sized pom-pom hoodies and sweaters
- Woolen coats
- Maid dresses
- Long fluffy gloves
- Big fluffy mittens that resemble paws
- Long stockings with cat-like patterns or shapes
Also, Lolita elements often cross-over here, such as those puffy dresses, cuffs, lace, frills, etc.
- Tokyo Mew Mew
- Asobi Ni Iku Yo!
- Cat Planet Cuties
- Etomata Mayoi Neko Overrun
- Wolf Children
- Magical Meow Meow Taruto
Catboys are men that are half-cat(thus having cat ears, a cat tail, and paws). The wear more masculine clothing but still have the traits of the average catgirl.