If you've been following Japanese manga, anime, or games, you probably already know that characters sporting kemonomimi 獣耳, or animal ears (and by extension, tails and other animal features), are becoming more prevalent and popular. The trend began with nekomimi 猫耳 in the 1980s as part of the emergence of moe aesthetic in manga and anime, and then progressed to games. In addition to cats, there have also been dogs, foxes, rabbits, and in more recent years, countless other animals, not to mention human characters who wear nekomimi headbands for fashion.

Speaking of fashion, wearing nekomimi headbands became popular, first within maid cafes in Akihabara, and then more broadly, influencing lolita and other fashion genres. Incorporating animal ears, tails, paws, etc. has become more prevalent in original cosplay and fashion shoots. For example, we previously introduced the anthropomorphic dog photo book Wonderful Wonder organized by cosplayer non and featuring several popular cosplayers and models.

vanillanium: animal ears and tails since 2002

If you want to explore your wild side, incorporate the kemonomimi look into your own fashion or cosplay or just try something new and cute, animal ear and tail accessory store vanillanium is a great place to begin.

Creating reasonably-priced and high-quality animal ear and tail accessories since 2002, vanillanium has an incredible variety of types and genres available for sale both on their own website and often carried by other retailers such as the Village Vanguard Online Store.

If you are looking for a more customized experience, there is a semi-order option in which you can combine the shape and color of your choice, and a full order option in which you provide an illustration of the look you want and you can get exactly what you need. Customizations begin at around 3,500 JPY and the full order option will, at most add a few thousand more, so it's a very reasonable proposal. Tails can be more expensive, going up to 10,000 JPY and up for large and more substantial tails.

We decided to reach out to vanillanium and find out more about this fascinating world of animal ear and tail accessories:


grape Japan (gJ): Why did you start vanillanium?

Vanillanium: I've always been drawing and making things since I was a child, so vanillanium was a natural extension of my interests. I launched it in 2002.

gJ: What does the name mean?

Vanillanium: It's an invented word inspired by vanilla. As fashion items, animal ears may be more oriented towards younger women, but I hope it can be of interest to everyone, just like vanilla ice cream which is enjoyed by men and women, young and old. I also happen to love white animals.

gJ: What kind of ears are popular these days?

Vanillanium: I can't think of specific shapes (types) but as for animals, it would be fox, wolf, cat, rabbit, and bear.

gJ: You mention on your website that vanillanium accessories have been featured on TV, commercials, music videos, and gravure photoshoots. Can you mention some specific examples?

Vanillanium: There are have been so many. A big one was Shoko Nakagawa who used them in the music video for her debut single "Brilliant Dream" back in 2006 [video, around 3:26]. More recently, the voice actresses of the Nekopara anime wore them at an event, and they've appeared in calendars for Johnny's boy bands SixTONES, Snow Man, Travis Japan, and 7 MEN Samurai.

gJ: Do you take international orders?

Vanillanium: Yes, and if it's ears, we can send them by International e-packet and arrange payment by PayPal. I'd be happier if I received e-mails in Japanese but I can handle English.

gJ: Do you also make parts for things other than existing animals, such as wings, horns, and tails for devils, dragons, and the like?

Vanillanium: I like those and have made some of them before. It's just that I have so many animal ears I'd like to make right now. But I have plans and I'd like to make things like that in the future.

Product Samples


Banimimi: Japanese cat - white | 【ばにみみ】日本猫 白

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Banimimi: White rabbit | 【ばにみみ】白兎

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Banimimi: Shiba Inu | 【ばにみみ】 柴犬

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Banimimi: Dk Droopy ears (gold mix) | 【ばにみみ】 Dk たれみみ(金mix)

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Banimimi: Fluffy droopy ears pink | 【ばにみみ】ふわふわ垂耳ピンク

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Banimimi: Fennec fox white | 【ばにみみ】フェネック 白

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Banimimi: Tiger chestnut & black | 【ばにみみ】虎 マロン黒

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium


Left: Large tail Tm-type vertical color switch 80cm | 大尻尾Tm型 縦切替80cm
Right: Large tail Sk-type horizontal color switch 75cm | 大尻尾Sk型 縦切替75cm

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Tail rabbit flat chocolate white | 尻尾うさぎヘラチョコ 白

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

In addition to ears and tails made completely in-house, vanillanium occasionally teams up with other brands and creators in special collaborations.


For example, here are adorable bear ears accessories with ribbons realized through a collaboration with Zaza Bear, who make original teddy bears, apparel and accessories with a teddy bear theme, with planning and sales handled by PredatorRat, a lingerie-centered fashion brand launched in 2015 by cosplayer, model, and gravure idol producer Ushijima Iiniku うしじまいい肉

Zaza Bear collaboration ears★cafe | Zaza Bearコラボ耳★カフェ

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Original work: Zaza Bear / Planning and sales: PredatorRat / Production: vanillanium

Zaza Bear collaboration ears★vanilla | Zaza Bearコラボ耳★バニラ

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Original work: Zaza Bear / Planning and sales: PredatorRat / Production: vanillanium

Fashion shoot example

Here's a good example of how you can incorporate vanillanium into an original photo shoot. These photos feature the creative and unique cosplayer and model 社員食堂ギラギラ Sha'in Shokudō Giragira sporting the Zaza Bear collaboration ears★vanilla introduced above:

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium, Ushijima-Iiniku and Sha'in Shokudō Giragira

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium, Ushijima-Iiniku and Sha'in Shokudō Giragira

ぷれでたーらっと×Albina Albina×APOLIA×MILHAE.×社員食堂ギラギラ写真集 「Sukhavati~極楽浄土~」
[PredatorRat x Albina Albina x APOLIA x MILHAE x Sha'in Shokudō Giragira Photobook "Sukhavati ~ Pure Land of Bliss"] (on sale here)

Photo credits:
General producer: うしじまいい肉 [Ushijima-Iiniku]
Model: 社員食堂ギラギラ [Sha'in Shokudō Giragira]
Photographer: motoca.

You can find many more examples of cosplayers and models incorporating vanillanium ears and tails into their creative activities on vanillanium's Twitter account, so be sure to take a look!

Latest development

Since 2021 will be the Year of the Cow, vanillanium has recently begun selling ears for those who may be interested in doing a bit of cow-themed cosplay for their New Year's cards or other uses.

Banimimi: cow black / brown | 【ばにみみ】うし くろ・ブラウン

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

You'll find them at the top of vanillanium's page on Village Vanguard Online Store.

Here's a sneak peek at what's coming next. Look for this on vanillanium in the near future:

【ばにみみ】クオッカ | Banimimi: Quokka

Reproduced with permission from © Vanillanium

Whether you're an experienced kemonomimist or just kemono-curious, vanillanium has you covered. Why don't you take a look?

vanillanium links

By - Ben K.