Yakuzine WIP

About the upcoming Yakuzine (Yakuza/Ryu ga Gotoku zine) feat. Dirchansky, Powerswithin, and Ittybeatty.

Yakuzine! Our Yakuza / Ryu ga Gotoku (game) fanzine—it's coming along!

Here's a bit of a preview.

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It's a monster at ~90 pages and still a lot of placeholders that need to be replaced/refined. Will feature myself, Powerswithin, and Ittybeatty. It's an interesting project because it's both autobio / not autobio and varying degrees of scrappy. There are a lot of short silly comics. WEIRD stuff. Regardless, it really demonstrates our feelings and love for the characters/series!

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The digital version will be free to read while the printed version will be super limited (it's the Kiwami / Kami-edition) and available at TCAF/Love Love Hill for a short period. Release date is mid-June, in time for TCAF!

Been posting some personal previews on Masto with #yakuzine tag!

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Today's music post: Fang Marked Viper from Yakuza 4 OST.

The Aarons WIP

WIP of the Aaron Z. and Aaron T. fanart (from Turning Red's 4*Town)

Listened to way too much 4*town!

At first there was a completely different Aaron Z because I wasn't sure where the picture was going.

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Eventually I decided i was ONLY going to have the Aarons in the picture, so I changed the drawing to make it seem like they were posing together. I do most of my sketching with CSP's default "pencil -- Real pencil" tool. I wouldn't say that it acts much like a real pencil hahaha.

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I used the same pencil to "ink" it too. I like that it's pretty forgiving compared to a hard ink line.

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I duplicated the "inks" and then added some thicker parts and shadows.

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I was convinced I was going to crop the picture so I didn't even bother flatting AZ's boxers. Though it's funny to think about whether he'd ever wear such colourful undergarments (my feeling is, no). I eyedroppered these flat colours from the promo art, but wanted to draw them in tank tops!!!

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I'm on a neverending quest to figure out how to colour...smarter...as in...less is more?? I'm back with garish colours!

For shading I tried to use blue shadows and orange highlights, because those colours are part of their logo (and complementary) but after making up this accidental chaotic radial background, I ended up with a 3rd red light source. The dappled light is the default CSP "decoration -- effect -- dappled light" brush.

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In the final picture, I put sparkles in their eyes and around AZ's earring ~kira kira~!

digital colour fanart of two men, Aaron Z and Aaron T from 4*Town (from Disney/Pixar's Turning Red) posing for a photo. Their signatures appear near their heads. Aaron Z side glances at the camera, has a closed mouth smile, and his left hand is posed in a #1 index finger pointing gesture. Aaron T looks directly at the camera, has his left hand open and extended towards the viewer, and his right hand hovers near his face, by a bubblegum bubble. The colours are very saturated.

My headcanon is that AZ gets hit in the face by AT's undone overall strap when they're rehearsing/dancing. I also wonder if AT's overalls fall off by accident a lot because only one strap is holding up all this fabric...surely when you're dancing the danger rises?!

I ended up drawing the rest of them... Image description

Fake single cover hahaha... Image description

Today's music post: In honour of boyband music, I dug into my past and remembered so much amazing music that I hadn't thought about in decades. I suppose many of these groups are MANbands rather than BOYbands. Group? R&B group? Please appreciate Az Yet's cover of Chicago's Hard to Say I'm Sorry. THIS CIRCULAR FORMATION DANCING. ACAPELLA HARMONIES...! MATCHING OUTFITS.

Mar 2022 media round-up

What I read/watched in March 2022

Argh, March is almost over and I'm not ready for it. April is a scary month of work for me...

Nichijou 1 by Keiichi Arawi

Jenny McKeon (translation), Grace Lu and Hiroko Mizuno (production)

Similar feelings as City by the same, which I read last month.

Blue Flag 1-8 (end) by KAITO

Adrienne Beck (translation), Annaliese "Ace" Christman (lettering), Jimmy Presler (design), Marlene First (editor vol 1-7), Rae First (editor vol 8)


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I'm taking a close look at whether this aquarium is overcrowded

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I have mind/intention overlaps with the author. I was side-eye-ing a lot of characters for their behaviour but then they schooled me re: empathy/gender/queer stuff after I found out what they were thinking. The ending was sweeter than I expected!!

Princess Bride at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Live music while movie was playing. The music is not particularly memorable in the series. There were many mask jokes and it felt too relevant because we were mask wearing during the pandemic... The movie still holds up, despite the age.

Fist of the North Star 2 by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara

Joe Yamazaki (translation), John Hunt (touch-up art and lettering), Adam Grano (design), Mike Montesa (editor)

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I enjoyed this dodging scene action. The usual, Kenshiro destroying people!

Cells at work and friends 2-4 by Kanna Kurono / Mio Izumi (Supervised Akane Shimizu)

animaru (production)

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Every character continues to be very unsmart, and I am grateful for it.

Blissful Land 2-5 (end) by Ichimon Izumi

Christine Dashiell (translation), Carl Vanstiphoutl (lettering), William Flanagan (editing)

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Another succinct series without any conflict, just good vibes. This cursed object made me laugh so much.

Snow White with the Red Hair 17 by Sorata Akiduki

Caleb Cook (translation), Brandon Bovia (touch-up art and lettering), Alice Lewis (design), Karla Clark (editor)

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Greed and drama! Obi steals my heart over and over again.

Otomen 10 by Aya Kanno

JN Productions (translation and adaptation), Mark McMurray (Touch-up art and lettering), Fawn Lau (design), Amy Yu (editor)

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It's dragon ball style this time hahaha. The plot is getting more and more ridiculous.

Turning Red (2022) directed by Domee Shi

I love cringe cry nerdy teenager. So many relatable moments.

digital colour fanart of Mei from Turning Red. She blushes as she draws crying anime boys in her notebook at her desk

The 4*Town songs are too good. Aarons got so little air time hahahahaha

digital colour fanart of two men, Aaron Z and Aaron T from 4*Town (from Disney/Pixar's Turning Red) posing for a photo. Their signatures appear near their heads. Aaron Z side glances at the camera, has a closed mouth smile, and his left hand is posed in a #1 index finger pointing gesture. Aaron T looks directly at the camera, has his left hand open and extended towards the viewer, and his right hand hovers near his face, by a bubblegum bubble. The colours are very saturated.

Embrace the Panda: The Making of Turning Red (2022) directed by Erica Milsom

I thought this was going to be more production-specific but it's actually more about the women leadership team behind it. Like a freetalk? Can't believe Domee got her parents to show us her old sketchbooks with anime fanarts HAHA...

Encanto (2021) directed by Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Charise Castro Smith

Glasses girl main!! Thematically overlaps a bit with Turning Red, but different sources of pain and trauma... Mirabel..I want you to sew me a cute animal too!! I also had/have Bruno song stuck in my head forever.

Pixar Sparkshorts : Nona, Twenty Something, Burrow, Out, Purl, Smash and Grab, Kitbull, Float, Loop, Wind

I watch all of them! And their making-ofs and the Sparkshort documentary with spotlight on Aphton Corbin and Louis Gonzales! All worth watching!!

Haikyu 8 by Haruichi Furudate

Adrienne Beck (translation), Erika Terriquez (touch-up art and lettering), Fawn Lau (design), Marlene First (editor)

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Continues to be great!

Blue Period 5 by Tsubasa Yamaguchi

Ajani Oloye (translation), Lys Blakeslee (lettering), Haruko Hashimoto (editing), Matthew Akuginow (cover design)

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I really feel Yatora in this chapter because of the uselessness and lack of colour sense...

Boys Run the Riot 1 by Keito Gaku

Leo McDonagh (translation), Ashley Caswell (lettering), Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini (editing), Phil Balsman (cover design)

Transgender teen story by transgender mangaka!! I wonder where Jin's confidence comes from...I definitely wasn't this steadfast as a highschooler!

Yona of the Dawn 2-3 by Mizuho Kusanagi

Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane (english adaptation), JN Productions (translation), Lys Blakeslee (touch-up art and lettering), Yukiko Whitley (design), Amy Yu (editor)

Turns out that the author likes to draw old men hahahaha.

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I was wondering why this series is sooo long but I can see why now...the journey they have to take...

A Sign of Affection 4 by suu Morishita

Christine Dashiell (translation), Carl Vanstiphout (lettering)

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Everyone is hooking up...and very...cute. Impressed at how dedicated the BF is to learning sign language. BUT what about the CHILDHOOD CRUSH!?!??!!!! CLIFFHANGER.....?

Jujutsu Kaisen 1 by Gege Akutami

Stefan Koza (translation), Snit Ahaton (touch-up art and lettering), Shawn Carrico (design), John Bae (editor), Erika Onabe (consulting editor)

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Can't believe this finger eating scene. The teacher reminds me of Kakashi from Naruto. I'm also into these summoned dogs like everyone else.

Go for it, Nakamura! by Syundei

Amber Tamosaitis (translation), Shannon Fay (adaptation), Kaitlyn Wiley (lettering and layout), Karis Page (cover design), Shanti Whitesides and Stephanie Cohen (proofreaders), Jenn Grunigen (assistant editor), CK Russell (production assistant), Lissa Pattillo (production manager), Adam Arnold (editor in chief), Jason DeAngelis (publisher)

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For whatever reason I thought this was NOT going to be as wholesome as it was (I was expecting more...supernatural/occult for some reason, maybe the influence of reading Saicoink's stuff haha), but it is very wholesome. My fav thing is the very clear love the main character has for octopus/tako. I could feel it.

The octopus is on top of takoyaki in the tank...!?

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The Yokohama scenes made me think of Yakuza 7~

The Right Way to Make Jump 1 by Takeshi Sakurai

Emily Taylor (translation), Jame Gaubatz (touch-up art and lettering), Julian [JR] Robinson (design), Alexis Kirsch (editor)

Behind the scenes of making Shounen Jump! I learned a lot about their papers! Fun look but also kinda sad that the production schedules are INSANE and people barely sleep/have rest.

I understand the author's self-deprecation...

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Today's music post: Just go listen to all three 4*Town songs on their website! Nobody like U, 1 True Love, and U Know What's Up! May as well throw in Encanto's (SPOILERS in video footage) We Don't Talk about Bruno and Dos Oruguitas!

My part in Yakuzine will primarily be poorly drawn joke comics, I'm not sure if doing this traced study of Majima will result in anything, but it was fun. I have observed him, VERY CLOSELY. I told my fellow zinesters:

tracing Majima's lips was like...touching them...indirectly

digital black and white sketches of Majima Goro from Yakuza series, all traced from various screenshots.

IMO it does take some good art sense to trace well (haha), especially if the subject is 3d. You have to make judgments about where the edge/line should be.

I also drew these Majimazations. I made that word up. I crossed Majima with some of my favourite characters/animals...

Digital black and white sketch of Majima Goro from Yakuza series crossed with other things that Dirchansky likes, including: shrimp, Sally from LINE friends, Kuchipatchi from Tamagotchi, and a possum)

I was lacking hardware I needed to do some of my work efficiently, so I invested in a Framework laptop for its by design repairability.

Photo of the framework laptop box and modules.

Mine is a DIY edition where I got to pick the expansion cards (ports) and I bought my own memory and storage locally. The laptop works well and it was very easy to insert my own parts and take it apart, as the instructions show. I had used various macbooks for school/work and a PC tower for my home stuff, so I'm hoping this will be a laptop that I can use for a decade.

Photo collage. Left photo shows the interior of the Framework laptop box, which has recyclable packaging, stickers, tool, and interior illustration in the top lid. Right photo shows the laptop, opened to 180 degrees flat.

I ordered mine without an OS, hoping that I could try out a Linux distribution (in efforts to get off the very non-private Windows...) as the main, but unfortunately it didn't work out. I watched hours of Linux videos, picked 3 "easy" or "beginner" distros (Elementary, Zorin, Linux Mint) to try out in a virtual machine. Elementary OS's installation screen was cut off so I couldn't advance in the installation because I couldn't see the continue/next button (ahaha). Next was Zorin, which refused to work in full screen and perma black screened after I mounted the recommended guest additions in VM. Linux Mint was the only one that worked decent enough for me to keep in virtual machine with a Windows host. I am bummed out, but also not technical enough to troubleshoot in Linux! I tried to install mysterious old drivers for my extremely old wacom intuos 3 tablet, but it was too complicated. Kernels? Packages?! Guest additions?! Terminal? Command line? Flatpaks? IDK! Aurevoir! I'm also under the impression that using graphics / drawing software isn't particularly great in virtual machine anyway...but who knows. Pat myself on the back for trying!

I feel like I tainted the laptop by installing windows on it, but unfortunately it is needed for my collaborative work :(. Grateful to Wai who saved me a long time ago by making a windows boot disk for me, when my previous hard drive bricked!!

Today's music post: Jajja Alimuffe by Nilotika Cultural Ensemble

Moving beyond (or expanding) beauty standards

Reading celebrity gossip led to an unexpectedly long post about beauty standards

Digital fanart drawing of characters from Shang-Chi.

I watched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and as a result, dug a bit into what the creators/staff/actors were up to, etc. I learned that Simu Liu was getting a lot of flack for the way he looked. I'm sure his story is not isolated when it comes to east asians in the west/east. It reminded me of my own path towards decoupling self-worth from physical beauty/attractiveness.

FYI the rest of this post has NOTHING to do with Shang-Chi.

In my teens, being "attractive" was not a priority. My priorities were good grades and being an obedient child. No sleepovers, drinks, dating, working, extracurriculars (except piano, of course), etc. I don't recall any discussions about my physical appearance up until a certain point: my parent asked if I wanted to get the double eyelid surgery to change my monolids—so my eyes would look bigger/less sleepy.

It was a little reminder that there is something "wrong" with the way I looked, although likely coming from a "good" place of wanting their child to be attractive/beautiful (so I can find a partner, get married, be "successful", etc. the usual amatonormativity ). It's extremely disturbing that an racial group, where monolid features are prevalent, are hating on their own features. I probably said something along the lines of "I don't need it," which is pretty courageous for an uneducated youth, in a society/culture that values superficial-level visual attractiveness/beauty.

Honestly, it's going to take way more than eyelid surgery to make me look physically beautiful by any standards, west or east! And I don't mean this in a weird self-deprecating way, I mean this more as a subjective "fact" that I know and acknowledge. At this point in my life, I don't view being physically unattractive/unbeautiful (based on conventional standards), as a negative thing. I have a resting poker face, monolids (my nostrils are same size than my irises haha), permanent acne crater scars, blackhead and ingrown hairs galore, crusty flubby body, a powerful moustache that grows back within a day, etc.

As I reached adulthood, I pursued the idea of trying to make myself more "attractive". This was coupled with a simultaneous desire to hide and not be seen. I wasn't sure who I was hoping to be attractive to. I assumed I have to put in some effort to prepare the bait to go fishing. I assumed that I needed to follow that heteronormative and amatonormative path—culture/society teaches us that a successful life is one where you need to find a partner, get married, have a kids, house, money, etc.

At that time, part of "trying" to become more attractive meant to become more "feminine" (this is a false assumption, but I believed in it at the time). I bought more skirts, dresses, fitted/floral patterned clothing in attempts to slowly inch my way towards femininity. I grew my hair out long—sometimes I even played around with faux-curling it by bundling my hair up while it was still wet and sleeping on it. I bought MAKEUP but never quite learned how to use it properly; monolids and extreme near-sightedness didn't help (this makeup all expired and makeup wearing never became a habit). I remember doing a lot of research into eyelid glue and tape too.

Although the origin of this experiment was not coming from a well-informed place, I commend my past self for giving it a try. After a period, I didn't feel more or less attractive than I did before. Instead I realized that I do like to dress nicely (sometimes) and that wearing dresses is pretty freeing (sometimes). I discovered fashion styles that made me feel cool. I learned that feeling attractive to another person (by adopting conventional beauty standards) did not equal to feeling good about myself.

Eventually I asked why I even needed to be attractive? Do I even want to catch fish? I didn't want to look good for other people just so they would want to court me. If you are only talking to me only because you think I'm eye candy, that's pretty weird. Shouldn't I want to look good because it makes me feel good, or because it allows me to express some part of myself/personality in visual form? Shouldn't we want to engage with people because they're kind and interesting? Can't we all do better and look past the veneer of physical beauty?

For the past decade or so, I've been working to care less about conventional attractiveness/beauty standards. I had wanted to cut my hair short for a very long time, but I was afraid of what it would do to my "attractive" levels. After watching Octavio is Dead, I took the plunge and never looked back. I was always trying to chase society's ideal visualization of "me". There's something very nice about knowing that you don't have to look good for anyone else. This has also allowed me to appreciate people who don't dress / look in ways that are "conventionally" beautiful.

I had to change my own perceptions about what I deemed to be attractive as well. Growing up in North America, I adopted western beauty standards. Mass media taught me that primarily white people and their features were physically attractive. Men had to be hyper masculine and women had to be hyper feminine to be attractive. Over time I realized how messed up this was. I have a lot to undo. I hope we can continue to challenge assumptions about what it means to be a beautiful/attractive person. If we do don't away with the concept completely (e.g., why do we need to care about attractiveness?) then hopefully physical attractiveness can expand to be more inclusive and much less binary. I'd also like for beauty to be less superficial/external-validation driven. As cheesey as it sounds, what about INNER beauty!?! People with beautiful hearts, skills, minds? People who are kind, empathic, inspirational, etc.?

Ultimately we need to stop judging people based on their looks. Minimally, I hope people can stop yelling about another person being ugly online, because there is a real person behind the username. Simu looks great and is doing just great as Shang-Chi, and so is the rest of the cast, thanks!

Some of my personal takeaways?! :

  • Conventional beauty standards are mostly colorist/racist/ableist/white supremist/sexist/transphobic/homophobic/fatphobic/etc.
  • Fitting conventional beauty standards doesn't make me a better/good person
  • Fitting conventional beauty standards doesn't always mean I will feel good about myself
  • I can follow conventional beauty standards for myself if I want to, but I need to reflect and examine why I want to do that
  • Don't impose conventional beauty standards on other people
  • Don't call people ugly (as an insult) or judge people based on how they look

This kind of reflection has been going on for a while—I've also embedded some of these themes into HWA, where it was important to not have a cast of all the most fashionable / good looking / rich characters. I wanted them to be as plain—regular people you can expect to meet in your own lives, each with their own quirks/vices. Jake has monolids by design and continues to struggle with his own self-worth/desirability. Austin is expanding his own perceptions of what it means to be attractive. Sabina is on the cusp of discovering something of her own...

Today's music post: Fire in the Sky by Anderson .Paak