Hinata’s Lavender Hoodie and Purple Pants from Naruto Shippuuden (with bonus Might Guy Green Jumpsuit)

Click for larger version (Hinata); Click for larger version (Might Guy); click for the list of dolls.

So I’ve been horribly sick lately, that is to say I got sick late January, had less than a week of health and then I caught something else altogether. That means I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with Naruto and the rest of the Konoha kids, because when I’m this sick I’m too stupid to follow anything more complicated. Naruto’s great for brainless times because it’s a Naruto law that you never see any important scene just once. If it’s good the first time, it’s even better in flashbacks! Plus, everyone is always announcing the names of their attacks beforehand, giving away their techniques and cunning plans and providing little chibi diagrams for the excitable seven-year old following along at home. If I was a ninja, things would be on a strictly need-to-know basis, but anyways if I was a ninja I’d be total fodder-nin (that is to say, dead before I was 15), so I guess you get the right to give away your secrets if you can back it up with power. Well, I kid because I love. Naruto’s kind of my Battlestar Galactica, which is to say Brian tolerates me talking about it with something akin to politeness, and he’ll never understand the joy of Shikamaru avenging Asuma’s death just as I don’t really understand the whole fracking Bob Dylan thing.

Anyways, I’m totally team Hinata, although I think Naruto will end up with Sakura because Kishimoto has this thing about the generations mirroring each other. Just look at the Sannin triangle between Orochimaru, Tsunade and Jiraiya, every bit of which has been replicated in the relationship between Sasuke, Sakura and Naruto. When history repeats itself like that there doesn’t seem to be any place in that triangle for sweet, loyal and sadly shy Hinata, only for annoying tsundere Sakura. Well, to heck with you Sakura, you don’t get a paperdoll dress even though I like your Shippuuden outfit better than Hinata’s hoodie. If it was up to me, Naruto and Hinata would wind up together, I actually like Sakura and Sai as a couple in the anime, and Shikamaru and Temari round out my Naruto ships. I wouldn’t mind Sasuke and Karin getting together if it’s the sort of tragic love that ends with Sasuke dying disgracefully in a ditch. Yep – I’m the sort of annoying Naruto fan who couldn’t care less about questions like “who would win in a fight, Guy with the sixth gate open or Gaara post-Shukaku?”

… yeah, if you seriously read all of that, you deserve a present, so here’s a bonus costume: the green jumpsuit that Might Guy and Rock Lee wear. The jumpsuit itself, according to Guy at least, is the perfect thing to wear in training, “a miracle gown for all youth,” so I can make it into a paperdoll for a girl with a happy heart. I drew it while I was sick, though, and I don’t like the way it turned out very much, so hey, bonus, enjoy.

Good news, bad news

Click for larger version; click for the doll.

Hey, this is Brian.

So: there’s good news and there’s bad news.

So: what? There’s always good news. And always bad news.

But here we go:

Liana and I met about a decade ago. That’s a long story. You know 2001? This movie about time. Long story. Cave dude throws that bone up into the air — it spins — sunlight — cut to spaceship. Yes, the movie says, some deliberate, ordered sequence of events happened between the bone going up into the air and this spaceship out way beyond the bleeding edge of the sky. But none of that is important, now, since we’re watching this spaceship. And that’s sort of how the movie starts. People mark time. Birthdays, durations of video screen calls, all this garbage. And by the end, there’s all this weird kick the can stuff that makes you want to lie down in the wet popcorn dust on the theater floor and feel time and space and so forth kind of loop out, and then the guy is old, and he’s walking through these rooms, and then there’s this spacebaby. And that’s sort of how the movie ends.

The point being that I could go on for a long time about Liana, how we met, what a joy it’s been to have her companionship and sweetness and laughter since. But instead I’ll jump cut to the fact that, well, she’s gone.

I never had her pegged for the ninjitsu type. True, the warning signs were all there. But she’s up and left us. She didn’t write a note. Ninjas don’t write notes. Nor do they leave forwarding addresses, or even, apparently, lock the doors on their way out.

To the ninja, every door is unlocked. Locks are illusions. Doors are illusions, too. So it makes sense, from a certain perspective.

Hers, not mine.

So now you know the bad news. To wit: ninjas don’t draw paper dolls either. Paper shurikens, maybe. But then they cut them out with the force of a thousand burning eagles and — well.

Thinking about it, I’m glad I’m still alive. I was married to a ninja!

But I feel bad for all of you, who apparently derived some satisfaction from Liana’s paperdoll art.

And I feel bad for myself. Because, come on, I don’t know where she is. Maybe she’s under the fridge. Hiding in the cabinet. Hidden in the shadow of a table leg. Waiting to strike, with the force of a thousand burning eagle paper shuriken.

Hence I’m making the best of things, and I’ll be drawing some paperdoll costumes for you. That’s the good news.

Today’s doll is a celebration of Springtime in the Rust Belt. Frog legs for springing through the mud, a stupid hat for the usual reasons, and a sandwich board bedecked with the smiling sun, token of the King of Shadows and the elves, and also the only thing anybody drinks in this state between approx. March and September.

Happy spring. Also, send me your ninja evasion tips. I’m already doing all the usual stuff: garlic, wolfsbane, mousetraps.