Anime Review: Yona of the Dawn

Yona & Iksu

I hope that everyone is doing well.

Earlier in month, I got a show from iTunes, and I was not sure when I could get around to watching it and relax, instead of just testing files downloaded from there, especially because iTunes keeps needing to be authorized for some reason.

Fortunately, I was recently able to get enough free time to be able to relax and watch it.

Today, I will be reviewing that show which is called Yona of the Dawn (part 1 and part 2).

Yona finds her father dead

Kouka Kingdom is a nation that is said to have been established by a god, who was protected by four individuals chosen by the other gods, that came down to Earth and is experiencing relative peace, with absolutely no war.

However, when a Yona, a sheltered and naïve princess in Kouka, tries to convince her father to allow her to marry one of her childhood friends, she witnesses something that she should not have seen and is forced to flee the castle.

Knowing that it will be dangerous to survive on the run, after meeting somebody who claims to be able to receives messages from the gods, Yona decides to seek the help of four individuals that are said to have inherited the capabilities of the four warriors that have faded into myth, while trying find out what she wants to do on her journey.


I liked this series.

From the moment I started up the first episode, I did not want to stop watching the series for any reason, except for maybe trying to finish Clannad‘s visual novel, since I finally unlocked After Story.

Yes, things may have been fairly predictable in the early episodes, especially because there are a few instances where the show switches from what is happening around Yona in the past and what she is currently doing, some which does not occur in the manga until somewhere between chapters 49 and 74, though I cannot pinpoint it exactly, because the wiki for this series is not as helpful as Detective Conan World’s wiki is for Detective Conan, but I was already interested in seeing where things would progress after what had happened in the pilot.

I also liked how Yona’s suffering and recovery were practically believable.

Yes, some people do not see her as being any better than Kagome Hirugashi, who becomes a useless character in a story that is supposed to be centered around her adventures, for much of the early episodes, but her world shattered before eyes.

Does anybody really think that there is somebody out there that can move forward immediately after something traumatic happened or finding out that what they believed to be the truth was nothing but a lie?

If any of you guys do, I have some sad news to reveal. Emotions play a large in how we deal with things, even keep us from moving forward, or even have us doing things that we might not otherwise do.

After all, I would have been feeling just as hurt as Yona, if I had gone through what she did, though there is a possibility that I might lash out like Edward Elric did with Shou Tucker in FMA.

In the case of this series, I would have been more annoyed if Yona, who has been spoiled her whole life and never lifted a finger, immediately accepted things the way they were and started cutting people down left and right.

Fortunately, Yona’s recovery is gradual and it can be seen that she is becoming more human-like than we she found out that her father was murdered and she was next target.

This is how I expect a character to grow and as glancing through the online scans, since Viz will not release the first volume until August, according to Amazon, revealed that things went along this course in the manga too, I have to give Mizuho Kusanagi some major applause, because she does seem to realize how much impact things like what Yona had gone through.

Of course, Yona was not the only one feeling hurt by what had occurred.

For example, Hak, one of Yona’s childhood friends, seemed to get in a bad mood every time somebody tries to talk to him about the person who killed Yona’s father.

Like Yona, he thought he knew his friends well and he still cannot accept the fact that one of his friends killed somebody that he respected, even though he seems to be composed most of the time in this series.

Seeing the two of them express these feelings, I wanted to find out how they would overcome these feelings and become stronger, though I cannot say that they will become as strong as Edward Elric did at the of FMA or Oz Vessalius did towards the end of Pandora Hearts, since the manga is still ongoing.

I wish things were more like this in the various works of fiction across the various mediums where there should be storylines. If there were, we would have way more decent books to read or shows and movies to watch.

Unfortunately, people where I live are too busy to really be able to invest themselves in shows that have overall plot and character development, so until we demand more quality in the shows being aired, nothing is going to change in this category.

Another nice thing was the comedy present.

While it was nothing really groundbreaking, especially for a series published in a magazine that targets girls, I was able to get in quite a few laughs, though it was mainly concerning situations that were happening to Yoon and what everyone in Yona’s party is doing.

With things being a bit serious for much of the show, I am kind of glad that things do lightened up a bit.

After all, no matter what situation a person finds themselves in, there is always some moment of peace that can be enjoyed.

The people behind this anime seem to be handling things well enough that I would like to see the other things Yona and the gang go through, though progress in character development and relationship might take quite a bit of time.

Then again, these are the same people that did Yu Yu Hakusho‘s anime adaptation and that was a great work, so they know what they are doing.

The thing that I liked the most though was princess Yona herself.

While my elders grew up in a generation where women could be lazy, since men were expected to do everything, except house work and child care, though those things are not necessarily easy tasks, may think that Yona becomes somebody that women of my generation should not, I like how Yona is not screaming out for help in practically every episode like Kagome did in Inuyasha, with those rare instances where she actually does something.

In fact, I liked how she was eager to learn things that many people would think women are not interested in, seeing as there are still plenty of people out there that think that there are things that only women like because they are women.

If I were to choose to marry somebody, she would probably be one consideration because her personality is one that might be able to accept the limitations that my body has.

Unfortunately, since she is a minor, I cannot do that legally and would probably see her as more of a little sister than somebody I can marry.

Still, she proves to be an interesting protagonist, just like Mikoto Misaka is one of the best characters in the Raildex universe because she actually gets things done, instead of being somebody as pathetic as Kagome, and I would want to follow Yona on her journey more.

Besides, I doubt that anyone would want to follow a protagonist that fails to catch their interest and Mizuho does deserve some major props for creating such a good character.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least without spoiling things too much.

Because Yona is an interesting main character and her change from being a helpless princess to a warrior was believable, as well as the fact that I got a few laughs in, this show was very entertaining.

Yona disappointed

Although I liked the show, there are some issues.

However, only two things really bothered me, and neither was because of FUNimation, since the Crunchyroll footage has these same problems.

First, Yona’s big fights were really dull.

While she her fight was definitely a nice change of pace, compared to seeing men fighting to protect her, though that does still happen, the moment she becomes serious, things go from believable to downright stupid.

For example, during the events in Awa, Yona and Yoon are pretty much cornered by the enemy and Yoon is about to be killed, Yona fires her arrow and stares down the would be killers, who at first show no fear, but then gets scared from just her glare.

Now, I will concede that being pointed at by a weapon is a pretty frightening experience, but it was Yona’s glare that made them scared.

Really? If they are not scared of the weapon, which is probably one of the easiest to disable, seeing as a bow in hand-powered, as opposed to mechanical, like a crossbow, or firearm, there is really no reason to be scared of a glare.

It is like their mother or big sister got upset with them, but, as far as they know, Yona is just an ordinary girl.

How am I supposed to be proud of Yona’s accomplishment, when it is just her glare that makes people tremble or freeze in fear?

Of course, it also does not really help that she is standing right cross from them, as opposed to be at higher ground.

This is no struggle. Things is just things going Yona’s way.

Mikoto Misaka’s and Kuroko’s fights are all way more interesting than this because they actually seem to be struggling, but Yona does not seem to be doing anything more than expressing bloodlust.

Maybe the fights get better in the manga, because this series events are certainly much more believable in the manga than it is here, since even the enemy mercenaries question why they are scared after seeing Yona’s glare, and really wish Pierrot made this as exciting as the fights in Yu Yu Hakusho were, such as the fight between Yusuke and Yomi.

Not only was Yona’s rescue not very believable, but also how she took down the main enemy.

When Yang Kum-ji escaped his ship and the green dragon went after him, he shot the green dragon and was about to kill him, when he suddenly stopped and looked in Yona’s direction.

Yes, Yona did take action just prior to Yang Kum-ji detecting her and it may be possible to notice things that cannot be seen, but how could he have known without even getting the same warning shot that Yoon’s assailants received?

He even did not attempt to shoot at her either, just sat there and watched as she ended his life.

Really this is the main bad guy in the Awa arc, but things did not really end all that well.

Then again, these instances were not the worse things that can be found in anime, so I will just mark this down as an annoyance, because I know that I cannot expect battles like Mikoto Misaka’s fights are and Yona did not sit back and let people protect her all the time.

The thing that I hated the most was how there were scenes from future events.

While they did add to some of the excitement of the show, the amount of them took away from the overall quality.

During the course of this show, I noticed things switch to future events thrice.

Now, some of you guys may be wondering why I am making a big deal out of seeing that many future events, but doing this kind of thing requires the right moment to interrupt the episode.

However, one of the three were not placed in a good place.

In the first episode, we see Yona and her group preparing to attack, while she goes off on a monologue that ultimately leads us to seeing her struggles prior to these events, and in the last pisode Yona and her gang appear to be starting the real journey, though it may just be the beginning of what was shown in the first episode, which is near impossible for me to verify with online scans, since I cannot tell where the flashback from three days prior ends.

But in the second episode, after Yona and Hak escaped, it shows Yona group attacking

Are you serious Pierrot? Do I really need to be told that Yona is going to get stronger?

Some people may need to be told that, but I sure do not.

I am watching this show see how Yona is going to deal with her situation and she is obviously going to go through some change, otherwise she would not be suffering.

In fact, it was too soon to be going back to that point.

This is not a good sign of how a show should be handled and it makes me want to see that somebody other than Pierrot does the anime, if this series ever gets a real second season, or at least hire somebody else to handle the storyboard.

After all, they only place the future footage in an appropriately place twice.

As much as I want to label this a major issue though, I cannot, because, as I mentioned before, only one of the three times footage from future events shows up in an inappropriate place, I will mark this as a minor annoyance, especially because there were some people who found no fault with it.

While only two things really bugged me, neither problem really did enough damage to hurt the series too much.

Despite the fact that there were some annoyances, the good outweighed it to make this worth watching.

I recommend this to fans of action, though it might not be believable and exciting all the time, and those that want to see a female protagonist that can actually hold her own.

As for everyone else, this may be worth giving it a try, but this is probably not going to hook everyone within the first few episodes, since a friend of mine that I suggested this to kept complaining about what they saw in a few episodes.

What are your thoughts on Yona of the Dawn? Did you like it or hate it? Was there something you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

Copyright © 2016 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.