Akatsuki no Yona

Title:Akatsuki no Yona
Yona of the Dawn
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Studio Pierrot
R1 License - FUNimation
King Il of Kouka, a land said in legends to have been founded by four dragons, has only one remaining heir, a daughter named Yona. She lives a happy life in the palace with her cousin Soo-won, who she loves in spite of her father's opposition to them marrying. Her life is turned upside down when Soo-won murders her father and steals the throne. Yona, with her childhood friend and bodyguard Hak, must retreat to gather allies and reclaim her place as ruler of the kingdom.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

[TV series, 2014-15, 24 episodes, 24 min; animated by Studio Pierrot; based on an ongoing shoujo manga by Mizuho Kusanagi with 14+ volumes since 2009]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 8 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:2963#1552]
Yona of the Dawn sees our titular heroine fleeing from her sheltered life as princess of an entire kingdom with bodyguard Hak after witnessing her childhood friend, Su-won, assassinate her father to lay claim to her kingdom's throne. To gain the power to oppose Su-won's rule, Yona and Hak try to locate the whereabouts of descendants of the Dragon Warriors, four young men who gained the powers of the past Dragon Warriors they descended from.

Yona of the Dawn features a great deal of fleshing out for many of its major characters. Outside of focus on Yona and Hak's struggles to cope with Su-won's shocking betrayal and gathering the Dragon Warriors. Su-won is portrayed to have redeemable traits and justifiable reasons for his assassination plot with their kingdom struggling due to the incompetence of rule under Yona's father and is trying to correct the issues brought about from the old ruler when he becomes the ruler. On her end, Yona finds herself coming to realize the issues that her kingdom experienced from her father's questionable rule and that she had been ignorant to due to her sheltered lifestyle and being on the run from Su-won's supporters who want her dead, lead her to toughen up mentally and acquire combative skills to avoid burdening her allies. A number of the Dragon Warriors also get fleshed out to show how their special abilities affected how they lived until Yona's appearance in their lives. In regards to characterization, it is perhaps the strongest element that Yona of the Dawn offers due to the amount of depth and/or growth that many of the characters demonstrate throughout the span of the series.

When it comes to plotting for the series, Yona of the Dawn is somewhat of a mixed bag. To a great extent, the series divides its focus on exploring Yona and Su-won's perspectives of the situations both face as Yona is focused on traveling with Hak to locate the Dragon Warriors and Su-won is assessing the issues faced in other parts of the kingdom coming from the previous emperor's rule. The plot buildup is solid in itself as Yona and her party do usually find themselves dealing with the corrupt elements of the kingdom during their journey, though the major conflict of the series involving Yona and Su-won's issues over rule to their kingdom is left unresolved due to the source material being ongoing and there isn't much time for the show to focus on the final Dragon Warrior introduced since he is introduced right within the show's final episode. Another element to the show I did take issue with were its attempts at comedy which felt badly timed to a great extent since they had the bad habit of taking place during the show's more serious moments at points and clashed poorly with some major dramatic moments, even if they were meant to ease the mood of the show.

While having some slipups, Yona of the Dawn is still a mostly engaging and solid fantasy-adventure drama that delves into the differing dilemmas faced by our titular heroine and Su-won from the established rule of their kingdom and the means Su-won utilized to correct the issues faced within their kingdom. Still a worthwhile recommendation if you are a fan of shoujo titles.

Last updated Saturday, August 20 2016. Created Wednesday, August 17 2016.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2963#628]
(One episode watched):

It takes pretty much all of episode one to set up the basic premise: Princess Yona has been betrayed by her (unrequited) lover, and will probably have to go into hiding, and perhaps lead a resistance movement against the evil leader who has seized power in a coup. It is too soon to say if much will come of it, but so far Yona has been a playful girl, living a life of luxury, with nothing more to worry about than her father's opposition to her marriage to whoever she pleases. Perhaps being on the run will oblige her to develop more character. I thought about watching episode two to see if that, or anything else of interest, would happen; but when a show can't summon any significant interest from me after a full episode, it's virtually certain that it never will, and I decided to abandon this anime.

Last updated Tuesday, March 24 2015. Created Tuesday, October 28 2014.
Unevaluated Devil Doll [series:2963#752]
This one is the "serious historic fantasy" show of this season, and being based on a manga with 14+ volumes it should provide plenty of story material already.

I'm not sure whether it can compete with Juuni Kokuki or Seirei no Moribito, but anyone who loved these shows should give this one at least a chance for two or three episodes.

Last updated Monday, October 13 2014. Created Monday, October 13 2014.

Other Sites
Official Japanese Series Web Site http://marv.jp/special/yona/

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