A Japanese man who spent around $14,000 on an eerily realistic dog costume is standing firm in the face of online abuse.
The man, who goes by the name of Toco, recently made his doggy debut in public in a video he uploaded to his YouTube channel titled “I want to be an animal”.
Toco is seen sporting a life-like border collie costume as he interacts while on all fours with humans and dogs alike.
He performs tricks in exchange for pets and treats and tries to befriend dogs.
Not everyone has taken kindly to the video, which has so far notched up an impressive 3.8 million page views.
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Taking to the Japanese social media platform X, one user wrote: “Men will literally spend $20,000 to transform into a border collie instead of going to therapy.”
Another jibed: “A Japanese man spent over $20K for this border collie costume.
“You cannot convince me this isn’t some weird sex thing.”
While Toco is disappointed by the comments, he’s refusing to let the haters break him.
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“I’m just sad that people can think that,” the border collie enthusiast said, adding: “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.”
Toco hasn’t always been so confident in his beliefs. He told the Mirror in December: “I rarely tell my friends because I am afraid they will think I am weird. My friends and family seemed very surprised to learn I became an animal.”
The doggy imitator has been harboring this “fantasy of becoming an animal” since childhood, and in recent years he has learnt how to eat fake dog food, move in the costume and even jump on a hammock – although he acknowledges certain activities remain difficult to perform.
Aside from being his favorite breed of dog, Toco said he decided on a collie costume because its long hair can “mislead the human figure”.
The costume was made by Zeppet, a Japanese agency known for creating sculptures and models for films.
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