The Yang Zing have finally reached our shores, bringing with them the charm of the orient. I'm very excited about this theme both in what it represents metaphysically and they're impact on society and history. These non-dragon dragons will hopefully have a greater impact by the end of the year.

Who knows, this could be one of the few decks where EVERY member of the familial bloodline could actually see play?

Different Name, Wyrm All the Same
One thing that you'll probably hear when discussing Yang Zing at your local is someone complaining "why the name change?" The fanlated monikers of Cosmic Dragon, Dragon Star or Dracomet follow the trend of amazingly overcomplicated names that are grotesquely overstated (see I can do it myself), but these names you've become familiar with are no more than fan interpretations. In truth, these monsters aren't even dragons so calling them anything with "dragon" in the title's just a fallacy... at least to a degree.

The Kanji symbols that make up their name 竜星 literally break down into 'Dragon Star,' which in truth sounds pleasing, but there's more to the story. The fanlation Cosmic Dragon, whilst interesting, doesn't do their flavor any justice. After much extensive research and help from my friend Jackie who's fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, I've been able to uncover some of the mysteries of the Yang Zing's names and origins.

Jackie tells me that the word 'Yang' means 'solar' or 'celestial' in this case, while 'Zing' means 'shape' (as in 'to take the form of') or more strongly 'star' or 'celestial body.' As you can probably piece together, the TCG theme name is a reinterpretation of the OCG original, but eliminating the word "dragon" to leave us with 'celestial form' or 'celestial star.'

Built By Constructs And Poetry
The Yang Zing are based on a few different real world sources, one of which is architecture and the other being the Asian folktale of the Dragon and his nine sons. You'll see in some Asian architecture, faces of beasts or dragon-like creatures. These are sometimes portrayals of the dragon's nine sons and in our case, the Yang Zing monsters. Depending on the face and where and how they're placed, each one has a specific role to perform.

This folk tale I speak of can vary from source to source, but the general gist is that in ancient times a dragon had nine sons that he set upon the world, to grow and make their way through the world of the mortals. He checked in on each at regular intervals to see how well they were coping, and each of his children astounded him in how they incorporated themselves into the lives of the mortals. The sons used their unique talents to assist mortals, or at least live amongst them. This story of the dragon and his sons wasn't an actual belief system or product of faith, but in just a that wouldn't leave the walls of China until much later.

#####CARDID=16910#####

The expression of 'The Dragon and His Nine Sons' was used amongst royalty and their trusted consorts as an expression for good fortune. It was actually a term secreted away by the royal court – a private reserve of special blessings if you will – but the secret of the dragon and his sons would eventually leave the world of the ruling class and crawl over the royal walls into the mouths and minds of the common people. Remember, the image of dragons was reserved solely for royalty and not common people. It's unknown if the sons were given purpose when they were created for their ornamental use such as guarding, watching and enhancing, or if they were assigned their duties due to the folk tale itself which is below. But where did the idea of these dragons originate from?

Poets and writers of the Ming Dynasty are said to be The Creators of these fictions with some dating as far back as the 1600's. In the real world, there were historically quite a few different lists of people who claimed to be the offspring of the Dragon Emperor, with only a few names overlapping on separate tallies. Each of the nine sons vary greatly from the others, sometimes complete with different names, duties, interests, dislikes and physiology. Many of the sons don't even look like dragons and don't necessarily have more than a head or a set of arms, as is evidenced by real life interpretations of Bian and Suanni (who we'll discuss later). The sons' father is always a dragon from mythology to mythology, but that doesn't mean that the children themselves are full-blooded dragons themselves.

In fact the majority of the different folk tale accounts state that the nine dragon sons NEVER actually grew into dragons and actually retained their bestial forms. That may be why the Yang Zing monsters aren't Dragon-types, but are instead Wyrm-type monsters.

We're missing the final four Yang Zing monsters to have a full family reunion of all nine sons. Note that as an expression, the number nine is a very important number in Chinese culture, denoting longevity and eternity. So it should come as no surprise then that these eight monsters have the ability to continuously cycle through eachother, keeping one another alive. The number eight's also important as it can translate roughly as 'fortune,' 'success' or 'prosperity.' I refer specifically to eight dragons because surprisingly, Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing, is the only one of his brothers to NOT have the ability to Special Summon a Yang Zing from the deck. A later Synchro Monster from the Yang Zing theme will actually demonstrate that ability.

The Feng Shui Prana
According to the Duelist Alliance product page on Konami's website, the Yang Zing are the embodiments of the various elements in the universe and flow into one another seamlessly to create an endless cycle of reincarnation. They're the embodiment of ever-flowing energy (Qi). Feng Shui (which translates as 'Wind Water' in English) is a system of laws that are thought to govern the relative position and placement of objects in relation to the flow of Qi (chi, or energy). Favorable and unfavorable arrangements exist too. Feng Shui relies on astronomy to create models of human relations to the universe. That's why we see Constellar Sombres in the artwork for Yang Zing Reincarnation, herself a being of the cosmos.

#####CARDID=16903#####

Each of the Yang Zing monsters have a different attribute, Level and an ability granted to your Synchro Summons relating to the idea of the elements and blessings traditionally associated with Feng Shui. While there are six different monster types in Yu-Gi-Oh, Feng Shui features five cardinal elements: fire, water, wood, earth and metal. Every time a Yang Zing monster dies, it's reincarnated into a new form producing an unending cycle of energy that finds itself a new host. That concept corresponds to the veneration of the number nine we touched on earlier.

Depending on the placing of the monsters when using them in your Synchro Summons, you're granted a bonus that effectively blesses the Synchro. That monster's imbued with the power of the Yang Zing, invigorated with their qi in ways associated with the actual beliefs about proper placement in real life Feng Shui practices. I could go on forever about the use of Feng Shui and how it relates to the Yang Zing but I think I'll save that for another day when the rest of the sons are released in card form.

Celestial Designators
Next we'll move onto the dragon's nine sons themselves and how they're related to their Yu-Gi-Oh! counterparts. I'll also give you details on how to invite the sons into your home and how to properly place them in your lives to help protect you, your home and your wealth as those beliefs exist in the system of Feng Shui. Grab your Yang Zings yourself and follow along! The Levels of the various Yang Zing monsters seem to relate to their size in the folktale, with Level 1 monsters being the smaller of the sons and the higher Level monsters growing in size.

Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing: Beginning with the eighth son, Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing, represents Suanni (pronounced as Swan-Knee) the lion-faced son. Suanni is depicted only as a head ornament on incense burners. The character has a great fondness for fire and smoke and being allowed to rest on an incense burner is in his interest. That would explain why in Yu-Gi-Oh, Suanni is portrayed as a Fire monster. Suanni and the Shi Shi (guardian stone lions) are thought to have been one and the same. It's said in the tales that he likes to sit still.

In the world of Feng Shui, statues of Suanni are meant to direct riches your way and although fierce, Suanni's always described as being very tame. If you wish to increase your bank account, invite this son to stay in your home: he calls out for savings, which in itself is the best form of wealth. He should be placed in your wealth corner, which is found diagonally facing your main door in Feng Shui tarditions. He'll only enter the homes of those who want to build on their already established wealth; one who uses their creativity to generate funds; or anything that can be invested into, and allowed to generate resources.

#####CARDID=16857#####

Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing: The great turtle Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing represents the turtle-like Bixi (pronounced as Bee-She) who is fond of carrying heavy loads. You'll see renderings of him in ancestral halls, temples, and graveyards carrying large, heavy steles upon his back. Apparently he enjoys sitting by streams and water, and his turtle-like features would explain why Bixi's a Water monster in his Yu-Gi-Oh! incarnation. Touching his shell is said to bring good luck. There's actually a bit of trouble between Baxia and Bixi as far as naming is concerned. As it would seem, the names Bixi and Baxia are used interchangeably in some literary examples, so it can cause some confusion when discussing the two characters.

In the world of Feng Shui, Bixi will carry your problems for you. He's your loyal slave and can withstand ANY of the burdens and problems you toss on his back. He'll increase your lifespan, grant good fortune and luck when touched, and is known to help people overcome illnesses. In Feng Shui traditions Bixi is placed in the eastern corner of the home or set by the bedside of a sickly person to foster good health.

#####CARDID=16860#####

Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing: The second son is the legless lizard, Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing (sounds like Tsee-Wen). He's generally perceived as a lizard with no tail and a truncated body which he shares with his Yu-Gi-Oh! interpretation. Both the Yang Zing and the real life incarnation of this monster have similar tail fins and very large gaping mouths used to expel rain. You'll find statues of Chiwen perched on roofs, in halls and unsafe areas in general where he loves to gaze wide eyed. He loves nothing more than to spray water and cause rainstorms which he uses to douse flames. This is where his abilities lie in a protector and swallower of fire, to prevent fire accidents. Perhaps his need to protect and observe explains why Chiwen emerges as a Light monster in its game form.

In Feng Shui, Chiwen is great to invite into your home as his specialty is protecting against natural disaster and fire. It's a favorite for old homes that suffer from deterioriated construction and wiring. It's believed you can place Chiwen in any part of your house for protection.

#####CARDID=16862#####

Pulao, Wind of the Yang Zing: The third son is the roaring Pulao, Wind of the Yang Zing , (pronounced Poo-Lah). You will frequently see a two- headed serpent or dragon adorning bells: this is actually Pulao. He loves to be surrounded by loud noises and roars incessantly. Some legends state that his mortal enemy is the whale, and striking his bell with the image of a whale would let loose the loudest possible sound. He's said to live by the sea and when attacked by a whale, he would let loose nonstop roars. Pulao's said to be the smallest of his brothers but most dragon-like in appearance. That could explain why this monster's possess the Wind attribute, being linked with the roaring of the winds.

Although Pulao is the smallest son of the Dragon, he's the emblem of strength and power. Be sure to invite him onto your work desk and allow him to bring you promotions and authority.

#####CARDID=16861#####

Bi'an, Earth of the Yang Zing: Unlike his brethren, the fourth brother Bi'an, Earth of the Yang Zing (pronounced as "Bee-Anne") is fond of the judicial systems and a big fan of prisons. Apparently his image was emblazoned above jails and places of incarceration, although archaeological examples are lacking and this has been speculated as a dubious claim. Like Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing, Bi'an is portrayed in a more bestial form relating him to the tiger, much like Suanni is to the lion, probably explaining his tie to the Earth attribute. Both him and the tiger were though of as fierce beasts and the mere image of Bi'an was said to enhance and bring majesty of doorways and prisons and intimidate any criminals who dared to escape. He is depicted as bodiless. Jackie tells me that Bi'an likes to complain too.

In the world of Feng Shui, Bi'an is strong and very brave. He can overcome any obstacle because of his relentless nature. Apparently, he should reside in the homes of those who are prone to lawsuits, legal problems and imprisonment. He should be invited into your home when you're wrongly accused in court, if you've committed a felony or evaded your taxes, and wish to be passed over.

#####CARDID=16858#####

Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing: Finally we come to Baxia, (pronounced as Bah-She-Ah) the Brightness of Yang Zing. When looking up the sons of the Dragon Emperor, Baxia and Bixi seem to always get mixed together causing some confusion. Statues of Baxia show that his head is a mixture of a turtle as well as some sort of fierce beast. He's sometimes seen presiding over tombstones, head bowed in grief but he can also be seen on the railings of bridges over water, or even as fountain heads because of his fondness for water. He's the eldest of the sons, and perhaps thus the highest Level of all the Yang Zing monsters in the card game. He's said to swallow the heavens and spit out water from his mouth. Interestingly, this monster's art is accurate in that it's composed only of Chiwen, Light of Yang Zing, Suanni, Fire of Yang Zing and Bi'an, Earth of Yang Zing, whose Levels all combine to add up to 8, which we said before was a revered number.

Baxia's important in Feng Shui because he tries to establish harmony within the home; peace amongst its patrons and amongst the family residing within. Because of his fondness for water, he's said to protect those who make a living from water-related jobs and sports. You can invite him into the home when spouses lose interest in their partners, children become belligerent, and when you're trying to bring generations together.

#####CARDID=16890#####

Yang Zing Path, Yang Zing Prana as well as Yang Zing Creation are very much tied to the ideas of Feng Shui and I'll be covering them in the next Behind The Cards I write on the Yang Zing theme. I personally have a fondness for the three "Dark" Yang Zing monsters releasing in The New Challengers including my favorite: Taotie, Shadow of the Yang Zing. While they represent darker imagery, these dragons are far from actually being TRULY evil.

Not to sound cliché, but evil is only a perspective, as is good.

-Franco Ferrara