A Japanese man who spent thousands of dollars on a realistic collie costume to achieve his lifelong dream of being a dog is responding to critics who seemed disturbed by his hobby.
Toco, a Japanese cosplayer, has gone viral on YouTube for videos of himself walking the streets near his home in a highly realistic dog costume. Many users have found the images of a man on all fours in a dog costume unnerving, with some claiming it’s a strange fetish.
However, Toco has been brushing off the negative comments, saying it’s “sad” that people view his hobby this way, and insisted that by donning the realistic collie visage he has achieved his lifelong dream of being a dog and walking outside.
The YouTuber made headlines last month after going out for his first ever “walk” in public while in costume, a video of which can be found on his channel.
In the video, which has since amassed nearly six million views, he was shown wearing the collie costume as he slowly crawled through Japanese public squares, performed tricks for perplexed bystanders, and confronted actual dogs.
Toco’s realistic costume cost the cosplayer over 2 million yen ($14,161), according to the New York Post. He paid the money to Zeppet, a company which produces costume for TV commercials and movies. The costume took over 40 days to make and went through several revisions.
Throughout the video, a female companion walked Toco, instructed the costumed man to roll over and perform other tricks, and invited local residents to pose for photos with the fake dog.
Comments on the YouTube video indicated that many viewers were disturbed while watching Toco’s antics.
One wrote, “This is the most bizarre and insane thing I’ve ever seen.” Another pointed out the behavior of the real dogs who were agitated upon meeting the fake dog: “I love how we can witness dogs experiencing the uncanny valley, that is phenomenal. Besides that, if even dogs are unsettled it says a lot.”
Another user remarked, “If you think this is insane, just wait a few years, it’s going to be even crazier.”
One account joked, “I just want to give a massive shout out to whoever that girl is for sticking with him through this mental health breakdown.”
On a Japanese social media site, one other user quipped, “A Japanese man spent over $20K for this border collie costume. You cannot convince me this isn’t some weird sex thing.”
But Toco responded to critics, saying, “I’m just sad that people can think that. I love animals and enjoy play-acting like a collie.” He added, “This is my hobby, so I will carry on. It makes me happy and other people happy, too.”
The creator also talked about dressing up as a dog as being a lifelong dream, stating, “Do you remember your dreams from when you are little? You want to be a hero or a wizard. I remember writing in my grade school graduation book that I wanted to be a dog and walk outside.”
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