Kitakou Yumezakka, better known in its shortened form of Kitayume, is a webcomic site created by Hidekaz Himaruya (formerly credited as "Kazuyoshi Himaruya"). It launched in March 2003 and continues to run at the present time, though it has gone through many revamps throughout the years.
Advance! Kitakou Broadcasting ClubEdit
Main article: Advance! Kitakou Broadcasting Club
The first title to debut on the site and written by the then-18 year old Himaruya as a comic to explore the thrill of being in a broadcasting club. However, he noted that the series took off in unexpected directions from his original idea.
Two later series on the site would soon displace Kitakou from its position of being the flagship title, as well as Noto being the mascot. The series went through a shift in character designs when the Kitayume universe expanded, but in the last "new" strips of the series (drawn in '07), these changes appeared to be undone. A good deal of Kitakou stories are also now considered missing/lost due to their deletion as well.
Main article: Barjona Bombers
The second series by Himaruya, it debuted in July 2004. It follows the exploits of a group of delinquents at another high school's broadcasting club, including the character of Yamato.
Both Kitakou and Barjona wound up crossing over multiple times, having been revealed to take place in the same universe. This series was also the origin of the more selfish and perverse version of Noto commonly referred to as "Black Noto" or "Noto-sama", after the character ranked poorly on a popularity poll.
Barjona became sidelined along with Kitakou after Himaruya's third major series (entitled Axis Powers Hetalia) became a bigger hit on the site. But he has occasionally revisited the characters from time to time, the most recent being a Barjona Christmas story in 2009.
Some of these series are mostly considered "lost" from Kitayume along with the missing Kitakou and Barjona strips. Though some of the strips are still on the server itself, the pages they could originally be found out are no longer there.
A webcomic based off of the 1993 SNES video game of the same title. It was drawn in 2004, but was deleted with the '08 revamp of the website.
A short-lived webcomic about a Korean girl named Sena who decides to attend school in New York, and who winds up encountering a Japanese classmate who she distrusts. It was created in 2006, but only lasted 12 strips and was deleted in the site revamp as well.
Interestingly, Sena's design was based off of one of the drafts for a female Korea character that would have appeared in Hetalia, but that was changed to be a male. The series also initially bore the title Korea Mansae! in a colored piece of artwork that Himaruya had drawn of Sena.
A series of webcomic strips featuring a cast of anthropomorphic animals and their interactions with each other. It is considered somewhat controversial due to this fact and the stigma of "furry"/anthro characters.
A series of small comics about a rabbit, based off of Himaruya's experience in owning them.
Kitayume also was known for its downloadable story simulation games, featuring the casts of both Kitakou and Barjona. The games expanded on the stories and characters somewhat further, as well as featuring more of the extended cast of the Kitayume universe.
These older games can no longer be found on the site and it is frowned upon by Japanese fans to redistribute the downloads out of respect and netiquette concerns, though some clips of them can occasionally be seen on sites such as NicoNicoDouga.
A series that started with two Barjona crossover games, it became known as "Noto-sama" in its third installment. It originally starred Noto and Hinaji as the leads, though Hinaji left in the third game and was replaced by Yamato (due to Noto promising him a porn magazine).
In each game, Noto and his "servant" wind up humiliating and stripping a victim of their choice. While the first four games focused solely on the Barjona cast as their victims, the fifth game featured Prussia from Hetalia as the target. An incomplete sixth game was released in 2009 with the promise of a patch to complete it (and with Hetalia 's Germany as the intended target), but the patch has yet to come.
The Deserted HouseEdit
A horror-themed visual novel game in which a high school student (Youko Kotohira) takes a summer job as a maid at a strange house in Fukushima. A sequel was planned for this game, but was never released.
The Kitayume universe is shared between five schools of characters, as well as others that aren't quite in any of the schools that exist as supporting cast or from other small comics. Most of the characters' names are inspired from the prefectures of Japan (ie: Noto's surname being derived from Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa, while his given name derives from an old feudal domain's name).
There are also the characters of the series Chibi-san Date, but they appear to exist in their own separate universe as the cast as multicultural and most of the names do not seem to be patterned after the prefectures.
The five schools that make up the general universe are:
- St.Modern Kitakou High School (formerly Koriyama Kitakou High School)
- St.Andreas Azumi Academy (formerly Asaka High School)
Out of the five, Kitakou and Barjona are the two that are most often seen, while the other three schools have appeared in some comic strips and in the games.
It appears that the students share their universe with Hetalia's, or that counterparts of them also exist in the Hetalia universe, as Noto and Yamato have made select cameo appearances in the series. An unfinished strip of the Hetalia webcomic also depicted the character of Japan co-existing with his feudal clans, which were modeled after certain Kitayume characters (including Noto as a "Kanazawa" -han). The Noto-sama game universe does confirm that the universe of Gakuen Hetalia (in which the nations are high school-age) co-exists with Kitakou High, however, and that the "World Academy W" is based in New York City.