Costumes allow us to shed who we are and transform into someone or something else—if only for a little while. Even though it’s temporary, the feeling of freedom is worth it. Just ask Toru Ueda, an engineer in Tokyo. He spent $23,000 on an incredibly realistic custom wolf suit that covers him from head to toe. When he wears the costume, he “no longer feels human” and has the chance to escape our otherwise ordinary existence.
While it might be an unconventional way to express these very human feelings, Ueda’s desire is relatable. “I’m free of human relationships. All kinds of troubles, related to work and other things,” he says. “I can forget about them.” He loses himself in his animal alter ego.
Ueda tapped the Japanese company Zeppet to make his lifelike wolf costume. It specializes in creating sculptures and models for the entertainment industry, as well as mascots. (It’s not the first time we’ve seen this company’s work; in 2022, its equally as realistic dog costume went viral.)
The engineer wanted the suit to be as naturalistic as possible while still allowing him to walk around like a human. To make his dream a reality, the client and the company exchanged 40 emails where they discussed details as minute as the texture of the coat.
Unlike the canine costume—which features an entire YouTube channel dedicated to it—Ueda demures when wearing his wolf suit. He won’t wear it out, and it’s something he shares with friends over drinks in his home. After all, an escape is best when it’s more of a treat and less a part of everyday life.