He has different moods. Mostly heâ€™s friendly and playful, but sometimes heâ€™s territorial and defensive. Once in a blue moon, usually after heâ€™s watched â€œX-Menâ€ yet again, heâ€™s bold and aggressive. You might even call him scrappy. Youâ€™d definitely want to watch out for the claws.
Itâ€™s also worth noting that he really likes his accessories. There is of course plenty of neko-specific clothing available inworld, and he likes a lot of what heâ€™s found. But he also likes to mix things up with things he things he borrows from my â€œregular humanâ€ wardrobe. When it comes to accessories, though, heâ€™s pretty particular. He likes them detailed, kitty-themed, and fun.
Fortunately, Iâ€™m on a lot of Subscribe-O-Matic mailing lists, and I get roughly a metric boatload of group updates per day. One recent announcement was from designer Craven Theas regarding his shop for kitty boys and girls, Urban Dare. I ended up making three or four different shopping visits, because the kitty in me kept wanting to go back. I guess he just couldnâ€™t get enough. Once he starts accessorizingâ€¦well, itâ€™s not all that easy to get him to stop.
I did manage to limit him to three different outfits, though, purely for reasons of time and budget. Even so, I fully expect him to grab the teleport controls when Iâ€™m not paying close attention so he can go shopping againâ€”or, worse, figure out a way to get out on his own when Iâ€™m logged out and doing RL stuff. Hmm, maybe I should keep my L$ balance at a minimum for a while, just in case.
Outfit No. 1 â€“ Wolverine Wannabe
Although Wolverine is of course more of a weasel-man than a kitty-boy, my X-Men fankitty alter ego is still fascinated by his claws. After all, both dogs and cats have them, and arenâ€™t Wolverineâ€™s claws really more like those of a cat, when you think about it? In particular, a big cat. So it came as no surprise to me that the visual centerpiece of his first ensemble is a set ofÂ Clawed Forearm Bands (L$100). With their raw wood, leather and metal textures andÂ simple, knocked-together construction, these have a great look thatâ€™s homemade rather than superhero. They may not do much to elevate this kittyâ€™s overall danger quotient, but Iâ€™m sure heâ€™s a fierce creature in his own mind.
The Bullet Belt (L$100) ups the armed-and-dangerous factor, although youâ€™ll note thereâ€™s no actual gun in sightâ€”he doesnâ€™t actually want to shoot anyone, he just wants you to think he might. For even yet still more toughness, heâ€™s also wearing a chunky, metal-fittedÂ Leather Collar (L$50; the set also includes matching wrist bands). This is purely decorative, so donâ€™t even think about attempting to attach a leashâ€¦thatâ€™s bound to end badly. TheÂ short-sleeved Kitty T-shirt (L$50) is nicely textured and features a â€œpirate nekoâ€ graphic that looks spray-painted on. Shirts are available in a range of colors, and can be purchased individually or in discounted packs. You can customize the â€œCravenâ€ hairstyleâ€™sÂ integrated hat by touch menuâ€”choose your favorite hat color, patch andÂ button designs. (More details on the hairstyles and how they work are included below.) TheÂ white arm kitty is a freebie you can pick up in the shop. Although itâ€™s not exactly hidden away in secret, youâ€™ll need to look around a bit to find it. Donâ€™t be afraid to make a wrong turn.
Although a range of neko skins in different styles and colors is available at Urban Dare, here you see Cravenâ€™sÂ Leopard Spots Tattoo (L$200) worn over one of my own favorite skins. Both spotted and striped tattoo styles are available, in two versions that allow for different types of tinting. The tattoos feature neck-to-toe artwork, frontÂ and back (no face tattoos for Viewer 2 are included), and the lines are reasonably although perhaps not always perfectly smooth and detailed. This is highly subjective, but I find the coverage to be well balanced and not too heavyâ€”the artwork doesnâ€™t completely cover and conceal the skin, which after all you will presumably have chosen because you like it. Good spotted/striped skin tattoos are an essential in any nekoâ€™s wardrobe, and these are well worth your consideration.
Outfit No. 2 â€“ Reckless Troublemaker
Having sadly missed out almost entirely on the punk scene, our kitty nonetheless fancies himself something of a London Undergrounder. Personally, I think this is nothing more than justification for crashing about and making trouble, but what do I know? Like aÂ feline Sid Vicious Jr., he prowls and growls his way around the city streets, imagines hopping on and off the Tube, and makes a quick stop now and then for fish and chips (natch). His Plaid Pants with Zippers (L$120) are smart enough on their own, but the addition of theÂ Belt and Suspender Combo (L$150) makes him positively rakish. He especially likes how he can choose from several different patterns for the dangling suspenders just by clicking on themâ€”his current favorite is the parade ofÂ little fishy bones. Yum! In fact, this matches the shiny metal emblems on his Leather Bracers ($70), a nice bit of coordination if he does say so himself. Thereâ€™s really no excuse for even an anti-social rabble-rouser not to accessorize properly.
Here the Kitty T-shirt is layered with Thermal Sleeves (L$60, a bit more than the plain version). TheÂ “Osiris” hairstyle is casual but sleek. Although (due to long sleeves and long pants) the effect is not as visible, theÂ Tiger Stripes Tattoo (L$200) coordinates well with the striped ears and tail.
Much as he loves his belt and suspenders, this neko punk knows this ensemble wouldnâ€™t be the same without the beautifully roach-stomping Strap Boots (L$200). These are handsome full-height boots, fantastically detailed with row up on row of straps and buckles. Youâ€™ll see another embellished style with the next outfit, and an undecorated Standard style (not shown) is also available. The boots sold by the vendor are No Mod, but never fearâ€”moddable ones are available by request; just send your inquiry to Craven Theas. (If you donâ€™t already know it, Iâ€™ll tell you now that two-part boots are fun to fit, and by fun I really mean not. The two pieces resize around different central points, so youâ€™ll have to both re-size and re-position, probably at least a few times, until you get the fit you want.) All boots come with a HUD that enables and controls bling and a variety of stomp-worthy sound effects.
Outfit No. 3 â€“ Lazy Saturday
Thereâ€™s not much kitties like better than a lazy Saturday morning. (Come to think of it, thatâ€™s true for me as well. This may explain a few things.) Lazy Saturday mornings start off with sleeping in late, getting up in a leisurely manner, having a nice bowl of milk and maybe some tuna, then looking for a nice patch of sunlight for taking a nap. Well, thatâ€™s for a neko. Lazy Saturday mornings for a human person start off with sleeping in late, getting up in a leisurely manner, having a nice bowl of cereal with milk and maybe some Nutella, then looking for a nice patch of sunlight for taking a nap. Once again, not so very different. In either case,Â casual attire is not only encouraged but essentially de rigeur. This time, the casual kittyâ€™s Kitty T-shirt hasÂ Striped Sleeves (L$70), and the Black Denim Pants with Kitty (L$120) feature a subtly worked version of theÂ pirate cat weâ€™ve seen before. The very high hairstyle is calledÂ “Simon,” and the boots this time are studded withÂ dangerous spikes and a bright steel toecap (L$200), so exercise extreme caution.
The Leather Bracers this time are studded with bells (L$70). Fortunately for our hero, the jingling sound effect can easily be turned off or on, so he wonâ€™t inadvertently give himself away while stalking his prey. He is otherwise unadorned, except for his Fish Charm Necklace. The simple chrome-finish beaded chain suspends the catch of the day: aÂ trio of bright, fresh fish, just in time for dinner. This piece is designed by Shattered Axel. L$99 at BedlaM (Neko 192, 218, 22).
Cravenâ€™sÂ neko eyes are featured throughout, and they are quite simply among the best Iâ€™ve seen. Thereâ€™s a positively huge selection of color choices to choose fromâ€”in fact, the vendors take up an entire aisle on the shop. Itâ€™s actuallyÂ a bit overwhelming at first. Some of my favorites are the two-tone eyes, with their expert blending of two distinct colors in harmony. Just L$40 a pair, with discounted color packs also available.
Craven has taken an interesting, flexible and customer-friendly approach with his hairstyles, and I must say I approve. All hairstyle bases are priced at L$100. However, â€œout of the boxâ€ the style is not something youâ€™ll want to wearâ€”the strand prims arenâ€™t yet textured as hair. You must buy at least oneÂ color control HUD (L$50 each, three colors, or L$2000 for all colors). So, a single hairstyle in one set of three colors will effectively set you back L$150, which is already very competitive pricing. The additional beauty is that you can easily and flexibly add sets of three colors for just L$50 each, whenever you want. Also, all hair color HUDs will work with all of Cravenâ€™s hairstyles, so you only make each color investment once, no matter how many hairstyles you ultimately buy. Also, just imagine the joy of fitting a hairstyle just once, but having as many color options as you like available at the touch of a virtual button! Itâ€™s not heaven, but still itâ€™s pretty great. Neko ears and tails in matching colors are also available.
All in all, Urban Dare makes for some great one-stop shopping for your neko wants and needs. Thereâ€™s a great selection of accessories in particularâ€”weâ€™ve only just begun to scratch the surface here. The shop is also fun to explore, with its hedge-maze layout and construction, complete with a tree encircled by floating Tarot cardsÂ at the center.
Unless otherwise noted, all items are by Craven Theas and available at Urban Dare (Heart and Sole 248, 144, 28).