Man who spent $23,000 to ‘become a wolf’ feels he's 'no longer human'

After an exhausting week of work, a Japanese engineer named Toru Ueda has found an extraordinary way to unwind. Instead of hitting the local bar for a drink, he chooses to stay home and amuse himself by wearing a remarkable giant wolf costume worth an astonishing 3 million yen, equivalent to $23,000 USD.

In a conversation with the Times, the 32-year-old Tokyo resident shared that his fascination with animals is driven by his yearning to escape the demands of human life. When he puts on the costume, he experiences a profound transformation, feeling disconnected from his human identity. It grants him a sense of liberation from human relationships and allows him to forget about all sorts of troubles, including work-related pressures and other concerns.
Ueda's extraordinary wolf costume was skillfully designed by Zeppet, a renowned company known for crafting costumes for both television and movie productions. Their impressive portfolio spans from crafting monstrous creatures and robots for science fiction and horror films to creating adorable animal suits for children's shows.

His unique design demanded meticulous attention to detail; reportedly, he exchanged over 40 emails with the team and had three meetings to discuss his dream suit's specific aspects, such as the coat pattern and fur texture.

Ueda shared, "Due to my lifelong love for animals and seeing realistic animal suits on TV, I always dreamt of becoming one someday. During the final fitting, when I saw my transformed self in the mirror, I was amazed. It was a moment when my dream came true."

He added, "My request to 'look like a real wolf walking on hind legs' was undoubtedly challenging, but the completed suit looked exactly as I had imagined. Not only did the specifications perfectly match my preferences, but the designers also took great care in ensuring the wearer's comfort, with ventilation slits and convenient devices to put it on without assistance."

In 2022, Zeppet, renowned for their lifelike suits, made headlines with their man-sized border collie suit valued at $15,400.

Another Japanese man named Toco gained widespread attention when his daily posts went viral, showcasing his unique lifestyle mimicking a dog. He shares content of himself learning to eat, walk, and play just like a canine.

Aside from these impressive creations, Zeppet also offers remarkably accurate replicas of people's beloved pets. The pricing depends on the size of the pet: for example, a Chihuahua replica would cost approximately $2,300, while a larger Great Dane replica would be closer to $3,500.

While cosplay is a popular hobby in Japan, Ueda follows his own path. Unlike his friends, he doesn't participate in dressing up, and he generally refrains from wearing his furry costume to cosplayer gatherings. Ueda finds a sense of empowerment in his costume, expressing, "When I look in the mirror, I see a wolf, and that is very moving. I’m not a werewolf — that’s a kind of monster, and I am not a monster."

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