One of the most prevalent subcultures in Second Life is that of the Neko. Catgirls and boys alike can be identified by their ears and tail – the image of a human with feline characteristics is the essence of Neko. You’ve seen them in the clubs, you’ve seen them out shopping, maybe you’ve even dated one. Now you can be a cool cat, too, with my guide to Second Life Neko!
The most well-known Neko accessory shop is, without a doubt, Hybrid (SLURL). Hybrid has been offering ears and tails since 2006 and many Nekos on the Grid are familiar with their products. Hybrid accessories, now in the third generation featuring sculpted prims, are fully scripted and HUD-controlled. Texture and color change, twitching ears, and swishy tails are just a few of the options. My favorite options in the V3 series are the moods – one click changes the position of your ears and animates your face simultaneously. The ears and tails are sold separately, for L$150 each, with pierced options available.
Due to one of the Hybrid founders leaving SL and the release of the V3 series, the V2 series is currently on sale at a steep discount. Ears and tails are L$25 each, accessories L$10. This is a great chance to test out the Hybrid system! Male and female Neko skins and tattoos, whiskers, cat eyes, and other accessories are also available.
My favorite Neko tattoos are from EtchD (SLURL), though, featured above. Modifiable, you can tint them in appearance mode. Unisex spotted and striped versions are on sale for L$75 each.
Extrovirtual (SLURL) has a history of outstanding avatar design. Known for the adorable Tinies, Extrovirtual also offers full-size feline avatars as well as Neko accessories, among other things. Extrovirtual products retain a whimsical cartoony feeling, often implementing regular prims as opposed to sculpties. I’m a fan of the smooth, sculpted ears in the Neko ear and tail sets (L$275 per set), but the simple flexi tail isn’t my favorite. While not as heavily scripted as the Hybrid accessories, the Extrovirtual ears and tails do have movement, twitching and swishing with the best of them. They are also modifiable, so manual tinting for a perfect match is possible.
The light ginger set from Extrovirtual, tinted a pale orange, goes well with the orange Neko skins from Trap (SLURL). The Neko skins at Trap are available in male or female versions, with both plain and striped versions, for L$700 per color. The color palette is quite vivid, with blue, orange, red, pink, and violet, as well as a Caucasian beige tone – these aren’t your typical housecats! I really love the markings on the striped versions and couldn’t bear to cover them up completely!
Both Nomine (SLURL) and Temenos (SLURL) offer skins beyond the typical range. Nomine’s neko skins include panther, cheetah, leopard, snow leopard (pictured left above), and tiger. The fur details are smoothly blended into the skin, with patches cleverly avoiding seams. The markings on Temenos’ neko skins are very defined, crisply layered over smoothly textured skin. Options include tiger (pictured right), tabby, and leopard – with an extensive tone and makeup range. The skins come packaged with a basic ear and tail set. My favorite detail on the Temenos’ skins is the light-colored section stretching from collarbone to just below the navel. Nomine’s neko skins are L$500 each; Temenos’ L$799.
The snow leopard is sporting ears and tail from Discord Designs (SLURL). Discord Designs is a great hair store and the ears and tail are available in the same tones as their hair. They are basic, but well-scripted and cheap – only L$30 per color pack or L$90 for all colors! The black panther is wearing the matching tail from Temenos and ears from Curious Relics (SLURL) – they’ve got a lot of Neko accessories, including paws, tails, and eyes. The ears at Curious Relics are L$480.
Whenever I feel the urge to go Neko, I dig out prim eyes. I love the mis-matched look you can acheive with them – Nekos look great with one blue and one green eye! My favorite prim eyes are from EbiSkin (SLURL). They’re free!
Blurring the lines between Neko and Furry, Bounce (SLURL) offers furred skins with anthromorphic details. Admittedly, the Bounce skins are far from perfect. There are some seam issues on the body and a very distinct seam line dividing the face from the scalp – this is thankfully covered by most hair styles. The unique markings and touchable fur texture make up for any imperfections, though, as does the price tag of only L$300 per skin. Scripted ears and tails are sold separately, for L$150 apiece.
Don’t be a scaredy cat, find your own Neko style today!