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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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Recent Comments

@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?
Original comment from December 17, 2017: "I sometimes get questions about how I work, so I’m also documenting a bit of the process as I go along. Link to ramblings and wip images for anyone who might be interested: [original tumblr post]"
Originally posted December 17, 2017. Original comment: "Long Limbs is set pretty early in Raizen and Hokushin’s relationship, close to after they just met and Hokushin is still trying to figure out what to do with this weirdo.

I’ve wanted to tackle this kind of story for a while - a take on a youkai tale that folds in various legends about rokurokubi. It’s my attempt at also paying tribute to the ghost-story roots of Yu Yu Hakusho (and including some references to various things in the series) and the horror-influenced aspects of Yoshihiro Togashi’s work.

This will be darker than what I normally draw, so I’ll try to flag warnings appropriately on the various posts. As usual, please kindly ignore all the historical inaccuracies for the sake of actually getting this done sometime in my lifetime lol."
maiji
February 13th, 2019
Originally posted November 4, 2017. Original comment: "Using up more leftover paper from Inktober Lenormand. Here’s prequel Hokushin and Raizen (human disguise, although I guess their demon fangs are showing). Contrasting personalities are always fun to draw (and write)."
maiji
February 13th, 2019
Originally posted December 25, 2017. Original comment: "I looove them"
maiji
February 9th, 2019
Original comment from December 3, 2017: "[This] image is a rough prequel Hokushin doodle I did a few nights ago on my tablet before falling asleep. I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and line of the Pencil in S Note! I like how his face turned out."
maiji
February 9th, 2019
Original comment from November 1, 2017: "It was late and I needed to draw something to test an ink so my brain defaulted to this. I also need to continue this series and draw more of the stories I have planned at some point…"
maiji
February 9th, 2019
Original comment from October 3, 2017: "Me: ah yes I should draw a quick little doodle to test this waterproof ink again. Me: *ends up googling kyudo references for almost half an hour for some reason???* So it’s clear that compared to the test I did last time, the ink is definitely not bleeding as much but I think there’s still remnants of the previous non waterproof ink on the brush lol (see the part of the bow just below his hand)

EDIT: I accidentally posted this image twice, so I’ve updated this one to show the larger scan of the finished piece. You can see the photo of the piece here!"

The photo link is a good example of how colour capturing between a scanner and a digital camera can vary.
maiji
February 9th, 2019
Glass dip pen, waterbrush, Kyo no Oto Yamabukiiro.
Original comment from September 1, 2017: "I had to stay up past midnight so I drew this to prevent myself from falling asleep. The name of the picture and ink means “colour of yellow mountain roses” (the flower name literally translates to “mountain’s breath”). The ink is from a series based on traditional colours from the Heian period. To be perfectly honest I bought it because the packaging is soooo elegant and refined JUST LIKE HOKUSHIN lmao

It also has a neat metameric effect and looks green-gold in some lighting! I took some photos so you can see it (and the packaging lol) on my instagram.&q uot;
Original comment from December 3, 2017: "I love Hokushin so much <3"
Originally posted December 3, 2017. Continued from from “Discovery”
maiji
February 9th, 2019
Original comment from December 2, 2017: "This is supposed to be (one of) the last chapter(s) of North Bound. Er, this doesn’t mean North Bound is ending. It just means I’m doing everything out of order apparently… Which I guess doesn’t really matter since it’s not like we don’t know how their story turns out anyways. And Ends of the Earth jumps all over the place too. I’LL TRY TO FILL IN ALL THE GAPS AT SOME POINT AHHHHHHHHhhhh

“Discovery” connects directly to the fic A Song on All Sides (basically Hokushin goes downstairs and the story continues lol), and then to the events of Yu Yu Hakusho, and then to all the other stories in the Loyal Retainer series.

I actually started drawing this before I left for Tokyo, but the page count grew past what I was expecting so I didn’t get around to finishing it till now.

I very much believe Raizen has a cat face. Just like Yusuke’s. I also like to imagine Raizen likes to toss things away from Hokushin instead of properly to him because he knows he can stretch his arm and grab it from whatever direction (and this probably annoys the hell out of Hokushin… on top of everything else haha)"
maiji
February 9th, 2019
I remember I was in a rush to get this done so I kept forgetting to draw Raizen's tattoos. You can really see it on this page lol
maiji
February 9th, 2019
Originally posted December 2, 2017.
Originally posted December 3, 2017. Original comment: " I think this Raizen is one of the few I’ve drawn that most resembles how I picture him in my head."
maiji
February 6th, 2019
Originally posted August 26, 2017. Original comment: "The Demon Generals, 2017
Glass dip pen with different Japanese fountain pen inks: Fuyushogun (Pilot Iroshizuku) for Kirin, Rikyucha (Sailor Jentle Four Seasons) for Shachi, and Kirisame (Iroshizuku) for Hokushin.

I don’t have plans for Kirin or Shachi to appear in North Bound (although considering how I obsess over stuff? Who knows), but here’s how they might look in human guise circa the beginning of the three kingdoms. Some thoughts about these folks:

Kirin: The most mysterious of the three generals, I think of him as cool-headed and highly competent. Knowing Mukuro’s method for picking elite warriors, he’s obviously powerful (and his stats are appropriately the highest of the three generals across the board), and from the conversation in volume 19 we can tell he’s careful and adept at dealing with his king’s volatile temper. He’s gotta be savvy enough not to piss her off, but also not come across weak or deceptive which would also be super dangerous. Holding onto his position for 500 years is pretty impressive!* We can further insinuate that he’s personally ambitious; he has no qualms about entering the tournament for himself once the kingdoms have been dissolved. He’s also very matter-of-fact, telling everyone that they (including himself) have no right to complain about getting stuck with grunt work since they lost the tournament lol. Anyways while Mukuro’s in power, he makes a good match as head of her army, balancing out her foibles.

CORRECTION: * My sister with her photographic memory reminded me that Kirin mentions there was another general about 100 years or so before him who was killed by Mukuro for pissing her off. So he’s held onto his position for about a century. That’s still not too shabby, eh lol

Hokushin: Raizen’s kingdom, partly by virtue of association with Yusuke, easily falls into the protagonist role. So it makes a lot of sense that Hokushin is depicted as the archetype of the noble and devoted retainer - dignified, astute, loyal as hell. Even his answer to the question of why he serves his king is perfect: fighting at Raizen’s side is his greatest happiness (/swoons lol). It’s an excellent match because Raizen, like Yusuke, doesn’t seem to be very good at actual planning or translating his over-the-top ideas into proper strategy. So you’ve got the visionary, charismatic leader, and the steady right hand to actually get stuff done. Bonus over Kirin: don’t have to worry about his allegiances when you’re down (or dead). Therefore as you can OBVIOUSLY see he’s P E R F E C T NOT LIKE I’M 9000% BIASED OR ANYTHING

Shachi: And behind door number 3 we have this self-serving conniving fish head who murders any potential threats to his cozy position as Gandara’s #2. How did you find this prize, Yomi. (I’m sure Kirin does the kill-the-competition thing too, but Mukuro’s world seems more like straightforward battle royale instead of underhanded backstabbing whatever.) His mode of operating is heavy-handed and not too bright (blackmail, innocent hostages, etc.). And he’s hardly beloved; his coworkers mock him and even his cronies are quick to abandon ship as soon as they sense it’s sinking. As Kurama noted, Yomi was probably just fed up with the guy for all these centuries and super annoyed that it was taking so long for somebody else capable enough to come along and off him."
Original comment from August 24, 2017: "For fun, I made some prequel character design stylesheets for Hokushin and Raizen based off their official stylesheets. Obviously all fake[...] Here’s the original art for reference: [post on tumblr with photos]

And bonus kudakusushi! As you can see there’s already a flashback Raizen design, so I just did his North Bound human disguise.

We know these two have a close relationship and history, but we never see them interacting directly in the series at all. (Actually we don’t see Raizen interacting with anyone except Yusuke in non-flashback sequences. In the anime, more scenes were added with his estranged friends, but that was it.) Yet it’s still extremely easy to imagine their interactions because their characters are so clearly defined. In fact, they’re both such consistent archetypes sketched with enough particular quirks that they practically write themselves.

blahblahblah I love them"
Originally posted August 24, 2017.
maiji
February 6th, 2019
Original comment from August 21, 2017: " And then freaking Raizen comes along"