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North Bound

North Bound

by maiji
A long, long time ago in medieval Japan, two youkai met. One would become a famed demon king. The other, his loyal right hand man. But before any of that happened, a bunch of other stuff did. Probably.

NORTH BOUND is a fancomic exploring the adventures of Hokushin and Raizen 700 years before a certain hotheaded punk gets run over by a car and ends up becoming a Spirit Detective. It follows the continuity of the fanfic Mirror Most Dark, which takes place approximately 1,000 years before the events of Yu Yu Hakusho.
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North Bound

A long, long time ago in medieval Japan, two youkai met. One would become a famed demon king. The other, his loyal right hand man. But before any of that happened, a bunch of other stuff did. Probably.

NORTH BOUND is a fancomic exploring the adventures of Hokushin and Raizen 700 years before a certain hotheaded punk gets run over by a car and ends up becoming a Spirit Detective. It follows the continuity of the fanfic Mirror Most Dark, which takes place approximately 1,000 years before the events of Yu Yu Hakusho.

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Prequel Hokushin painted during a bit of downtime behind my table at Anime North this past weekend. Gold watercolour so he’s sparkly in person! Thank you to my friend atorier for the paper!

I’m working on the next comic for this… I swear…
maiji
May 27th, 2019
This was originally posted May 21 on tumblr. You can see a detail of Hokushin's head and a photo to compare the colours.

Another old sketch that’s been lying around my work area for a while so I finished it. I just wanted to play with inks and do something really brushy! Hokushin’s colour scheme is from Makai Touitsu Saikyou Battle instead of the original Yu Yu Hakusho anime; his palette there is a lot brighter. Although to be honest you can’t really tell in this picture.

Colorverse Vortex Motion (the ink used on Raizen and Yusuke in the background, it’s a dark red-grey that goes burgundy-lavender-pink with water) is one of those “this is impossible to capture” colours. The photo shows a little closer to what it looks like in real life… ish.

Also I just realized there was practically no reason to write North Bound on this since there isn’t really anything about this illustration that looks outside of the actual series, but whatever writing practice hahah
maiji
March 22nd, 2019
This was supposed to be a very short quick draw but it ended up being practically 2x the number of pages I originally intended.
@dmr11: That's right :) I made this adaptation based on the fact that in the original series, Hokushin says that he can reach out and grab a rock from 20km away, and his arm is shown stretching in both the manga and the anime (much more obviously in the latter).

Hokushin's never officially identified as a rokurokubi, but quite a few fans made the association over the years. In one of the stories that will be posted in the future (probably mid next week), A House That Holds Long Limbs, I go deeper into the mythology of rokurokubi in the NORTH BOUND universe. Hope you enjoy it! :D
So the Rokurokubi here could also stretch arms, not just the neck?
maiji
March 17th, 2019
Originally posted December 24, 2018. Original comment: "妖怪がいるのか
Any demons here?[...] Inspired by some old Japanese prints with shadow puppets - one of them included a rokurokubi."
maiji
March 16th, 2019
Original comment from January 15, 2019: "And that’s why Hokushin’s still eating humans when Yusuke meets him.

Phew! Another 51 pages done. A new set of the latest North Bound comics and art will be going up on pixiv soon.

1) Some writer/artist problems: dead bodies and blood. I had a lot of discussions with myself about this, and even just now (before hitting post) was like, “Is there enough/too much blood?” Well, it’s a dead body, so no blood pumping… but not dead so long that all the blood has coagulated… so most of the blood on Hokushin is just him making a mess on himself I guess. It’s times like this I’m glad the drawing style I’m using is so sketchy and open to wide latitudes of interpretation lmao

2) I’m at a bit of a crossroads now. I have one more story that’s ready to draw, and then I can go into the introduction of A NEW CHARACTER who is a character already existing in Yu Yu Hakusho. Except I’ve developed scripts for other stories with just Hokushin and Raizen before this other character joins. But I’m tired of putting off the appearance of more characters who will be with us for the long haul. I can always go back and draw “more fun times with Hokushin and Raizen before everyone else showed up” since everything is an ancient flashback anyways right?? Anyways we’ll see what ends up getting done first in between all my other projects.[...]"
maiji
March 16th, 2019
Originally posted January 15, 2019.
maiji
March 16th, 2019
Original comment from December 5, 2018: "The young man in the flashback is Hokushin’s second lord, who appeared in the previous Part 3′s flashback as a baby."
maiji
March 16th, 2019
"Original comment from December 5, 2018: "In Mirror Most Dark, the necklace is the binding mechanism used by Hokushin’s first lord to ensure that demons obey his (family’s) bidding. To a demon, of course, I think it makes sense for it to be perceived as a curse. It doesn’t work anymore as that bloodline is dead, so Hokushin keeps it only as a memento.

As much as possible I try to pull key plot points and build based directly on things from the actual series, because Togashi left so many interesting little tidbits to flesh out. Hokushin’s necklace, as you may already know from my previous posts, appears in both the manga and the anime (see Volume 17 or episode 96 when Hokushin shows Yusuke the energy limiter he’s wearing), and has been greatly expanded upon in the North Bound universe.

Similarly, I took Raizen’s comment about the scent of magic/power that he detected on the kudakusushi, and played it up in depicting his ability to sense and analyze psychic energy. Raizen tracking things down/checking stuff out based on smell is used several times in A House That Holds Long Limbs."
maiji
March 16th, 2019
Originally posted December 5, 2018. I like imagining Raizen looking at random things and going "Nice, very nice" apparently.
maiji
March 16th, 2019
Original comment from November 8, 2018: "In [this] flashback, Hokushin is maybe late teens to early twenties, with his first lord and his second lord as an infant. This is a fleshing out of parts of Mirror Most Dark - what happened after the death of his first lord’s lady.

There are some historical inaccuracies - some intentional, some I gave up because I couldn’t find details on the type of information I was looking for and I was running out of time, and probably other accidental ones I’m not even aware of. Hokushin’s hairstyle is probably the most obvious, but I stuck with what I’ve been giving him for North Bound and Mirror Most Dark because of the need for consistency (it’s already kind of hard to identify him since I’ve had to adjust his actual series design). The fact that the female servants are just wandering around out in the open in Hokushin’s presence instead of being behind screens is another one. As usual, please forgive lol

TBH I wasn’t thinking this specific comic would get so long… "
maiji
March 16th, 2019
Originally posted November 8, 2018. Original comment: "I decided to compromise. The Heian era flashbacks get waterbrush on top of the ink, and the “present day” Kamakura period is just straight fude de mannen inking, no water."
maiji
March 13th, 2019
Original comment from October 25, 2018: "Bonus scrap paper doodle while I was doublechecking that their positions for the last two panels mostly made sense"
Original comment from October 25, 2018: "I’m the type of person who turns comic pages around to see how drawings look the other way when people are upside down (and also the type of person who looks at the reverse of drawings when something seems to be symmetrical auuuugh no it’s not lmao). In case you are also that type of person, here’s the last page reoriented so you don’t have to flip your screen[.]"
maiji
March 13th, 2019
Original comment from October 25, 2018: "Always scream people’s names multiple times along with “Are you OK??” “Say something!!” and flop their comatose body around. That’s how it works in dramatic situations.

Hokushin is the only one of Raizen’s followers confirmed to be a demon who, like Raizen, must also eat humans. He tells Yusuke that he’s continuing to do so in order to maintain his strength to defend the territory against Mukuro and Yomi’s forces, but that he’ll stop once the conflict is over. The way he says it always suggested to me that in the past he tried and it didn’t work out too well…

While Raizen’s situation is often simplified by many people (including me) as starvation, the original text is more like malnutrition. In other words, he is not necessarily not eating anything. It is specifically the lack of humans in his diet that has resulted in the deterioration of his condition over the centuries, accelerated in his final moments to nearly complete madness. Now, we all know Raizen’s a pretty damn powerful god-tier demon. What might this look like for a lesser demon much earlier in the cycle? Here I imagined it vaguely like a massive blood sugar crash."
maiji
March 13th, 2019
Originally posted October 25, 2018.
maiji
March 13th, 2019
Original comment from September 5, 2018: "Hokushin, age ~13-15, being instructed by his first lord, a human noble who is a powerful psychic. This flashback takes place during the Heian period, maybe a century or two before Hokushin meets Raizen and receives that name. For how they went about resolving his nutritional intake problems and how everything eventually went downhill, see Mirror Most Dark.

This story, exploring issues around Hokushin’s human-based diet, is growing a little longer than I originally anticipated. Hopefully it doesn’t spiral outta control like A House That Holds Long Limbs. (Or like North Bound in general lol… too late…)

As mentioned before, a fun thing about working on North Bound is all the little moments of when I manage to grasp a tiny inkling of the span of human history. For example, rokurokubi are often considered a quintessential traditional Japanese youkai. However, documented stories of rokurokubi generally date from the Edo period. So when Hokushin’s first lord says “Are you familiar with the term” NO DUDE IT HASN’T EVEN BEEN INVENTED YET WAIT SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS

I had loaded my fude de mannen pen with Diamine Night Sky when I was working on the Genji illustration, so I decide to use the rest of it for this comic. You can’t really see it in the scans but it’s quite glittery. Anything dark (like Hokushin’s hair) is super glittery in person."
maiji
March 13th, 2019
Originally posted September 5, 2018.
maiji
March 10th, 2019
Originally posted September 30, 2018 alongside the next drawing.