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Monday, December 21, 2009

Magical Beasts and How to Sex Them.

A while back, Janime (a famous YGO site) posted something wrong that I wasn't pushy enough to correct, but was detectable immediately. I was only in my early teens when I got into YGO, so if my BS radar was going off then, it was flaring like CRAZY when I posted the correct stuff on my own site.

The issue was this: There are two anime-only cards in YGO called "Phoenix (Houou) Formation" and "Suzaku (Sparrow) Formation." The site was telling us that Houou and Suzaku were opposite sex members of the same species.

I must have LOL'd so hard that I didn't even bother correcting them. There are SO many things wrong with that. I see where they were coming from - the Houou card is aggressive while Suzaku is defensive - but the two are different species. Houou is the mythical bird representing feminine power and marital harmony; Suzaku is the crimson bird that rules the southern quadrant of the sky and the element of fire.

To demonstrate how silly it is to mix them up: Imagine if every white tiger got confused with Byakko, another mythical guardian beast. I would need to see evidence telling me otherwise about Suzaku; Digimon and Matsuri Akino (Pet Shop of Horrors) both mark it as a distinctly different creature from the houou.

I like 4Kids's way of dealing with the problem. Despite looking just as peacock-like as the houou, the two are considered different creatures (like the pixiu and qilin are), and Suzaku's original kanji do indeed translate to "Vermilion Sparrow."

So, why am I bringing this up now?

Chinese creatures often have a way of telling the females from the males. In the case of houou/fenghuang, although both sexes are assimilated into the name, it is possible to tell whether one is looking at a male or female bird by counting their tailfeathers; males have an odd number, while females have even. That means that, yes, Skyress from Bakugan is indeed female. ^_^

Another easily-sexable animal is the Chinese lion/shishi/shisa. The surefire sign is that the female has a cub under her paw while the male has a sphere. People are impressed when I can ID which lion's which. Now you can, too!

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