Book Review: Yona of the Dawn Volume 1

Yona of the Dawn Volume 1 cover

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, especially because the daily grind can get frustrating.

I would have normally been continuing to cover the final four episodes of the simulcasts I decided to follow, but because, as I said in my last post, I got some new books and Crunchyroll does not have the episodes available in all their apps at the same time their site has it, I will cover something else.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of the titles I recently got, which is called Yona of the Dawn Volume 1 by Mizuho Kusanagi.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post and it sums thing up well enough for this volume, I am going to forego any summaries.

When I first heard of Yona of the Dawn, it had already gotten an anime adaptation and it was being simulcasted on Crunchyroll.

Being impressed with it, though the issues that I mentioned were present, I decided to check out its manga.

Now that I have been able to get that chance with this volume, I have to say that the manga is just as enjoyable.

From the very first moment I opened up this volume, I did not want to put it down for any reason, even though the events seen here the volume were pretty much the exact same thing that was shown in the early episodes of the anime.

Seeing as this is my first time reading something from Mizuho Kusanagi, I am fairly impressed that she was able to do this.

After all, keeping a reader entertained throughout the course of the entire work is not something that can be accomplished very easily if the writer is not that great.

Then again, if she was not able to pull this much off, I would not have been able to see why so many people like this series as much as they do, though I probably will not say that it is as good as the works from Hiromu Arakawa or Jun Mochizuki, since one friend said that things at this point in the series were fairly predictable.

I also liked how the story was not interrupted at any point to back to the future.

During the course of the anime, I hated how it went back to the future and showed that Yona was able to take out enemies with a bow and arrow, even though at the current point in the story, she had already lost her father and one other person sacrificed themselves to make sure that she and Hak could escape from the castle safely, which took me out of my element.

Here, however, the story just continued on, depicting the internal conflict that was brewing within the two protagonists that had come about be a close friend had done something terrible.

I am not too sure about you guys, but it would definitely take me a while to get back on my feet if a friend did something as terrible as Yona and Hak's friend did.

After all, Kenshin had to overcome his own internal conflict that surface because he thought that Enishi had killed Koaru, before he had his final showdown with Enishi in Rurouni Kenshin.

While I cannot say if Su-won will have duel with Yona's group at the end of the series like Kenshin did with Enishi, especially considering that the manga is still running in Japan, this makes me want to see how Yona and Hak will overcome their obstacles.

Not only is this going to let me see how Yona and Hak progress on their journey, but it also allows us to find out more about who they are, outside of being a spoiled princess or some warrior prodigy that seems to be lazy.

Another nice thing were the funny scenes that were present.

Even though none of the things that happened in this volume stood out, in comparison to the anime, I found myself laugh just as much, if not more so, at a lot of the things happened, like how Su-won got a little embarrassed just about the idea of holding Yona's hand until she falls asleep and Hak putting up an act to get somebody to leave her alone.

Of course, how long this will remain funny is something that I do not know too much about, since this is the first time I have the manga version of these events.

Still, if Mizuho can do something like this, then she should be able to deliver the same kind of comedy that is found in Hiromu Arakawa's Silver Spoon, and I really do hope that she keep this up right until she finishes this series.

The thing that caught my interest the most though was the mystery surrounding Yona's father and uncle.

For much of the volume, King is Il is presented as a pacifist that hates to engage in violence so much that he will run away from conflict, even when facing that conflict is necessary.

However, when Su-won slays him, he reveals that Yona's father took the life of his elder brother, Su-won's father, moments after ascending to the throne, even though the elder brother had no ill feelings towards Il taking from him.

This makes me wonder just what exactly happened in the past to have that kind of result, even making Su-won, who adored Yona's father when he .was young, want to do what he did.

Yes, the anime does reveal that Su-won took the throne to make the kingdom better and eliminate the corruption that came about because Yona's father did not put up much of a fight, but it never really sheds any light about what had happened between the brothers to that led one to kill the other.

Hopefully, Mizuho will reveal what happened in the past before this series comes to an end, because it does not seem like the anime adaptation will receive a second season quite yet.

Then again, if she does, it may end up being a rip off of the twists found in Pandora Hearts, so only time will tell if Mizuho can pull off something great that can really be considered her own.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, considering that Viz Media has not done anything as atrocious as what Yen Press did in Judge Volume 6.

Because the volume started off quite well and did not make the same mistakes that were made in the anime adaptation, as well as the fact that there is some bit of mystery already present, this volume was fairly decent.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, there is only one thing that really bothered me.

This the events of this volume were way too predictable.

Yes, I did watch the anime before reading the manga, so I knew beforehand what would occur, but I highly doubt that is the reason that is was as predictable as it was.

Besides, I have read or watched different cases of Detective Conan multiple times and some of those cases were as difficult to predict as the first time I saw or read them, in spite of knowing how things would end.

If I had to say what the real reason was as to why this was so predictable, it would have to be the way that the story flowed throughout the course of this volume.

During the course of the volume, it literally screamed that Yona's father was going die and that one of Yona's friends were going to do it, even without knowing any motives to kill or seeing any ill feelings prior to the killing, which tends to be shown a lot in Detective Conan.

Really, Mizuho? Is this any way to attract readers?

I may like quite a few of the characters in this series, with Princess Yona being one of my favorite female protagonists in all of anime, and the king's death is the catalysis that sends Yona on her journey of growth, but that does not mean that I should be able to see the king's death from a mile away.

That is what readers do not want to ever see, especially after the first volume.

After all, when Oz was sent to the Abyss at the beginning of Pandora Hearts, there was nothing that told me that things that Oz went through in the course of 24 volumes would happen, nor did it even hint too quickly that Oz's father, Xai, was the one that sent him there.

I now understand why the friend that I recommend the anime series to kept saying that things were way too predictable, and if I did not know what kind of person she would become, I would have considered dropping this series.

If more than the first book in a series is this predictable, the writer comes across as incompetent, instead of great

Hopefully, Mizuhiro can improve as the series progresses, because this is one series that I really wish that I could continue in place of Pandora Hearts, but because she has not yet done anything as radically different as Jun Mochizuki and Kore Yamazaki did in Pandora Hearts and The Ancient Magus Bride respectively with existing ideas, the only way to do this right is if things went in the same direction that the FMA manga did.

If she cannot do that, especially in the Japanese releases of the series, which is far ahead of the anime, then I will most likely go through with dropping this series.

While there was only one thing that bothered me, it was bad enough to take this from being great to just okay.

Despite the fact that this book did a lot right, even not making the same mistake the anime did, the negative outweighed it enough to make this only good enough to kill time.

I recommend this to fans of Yona of the Dawn and Mizuho Kusanagi, because they will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, I recommend watching the anime instead, even with its flaws, because it ended being a better experience than reading this volume, if you really want to give this a try.

What are your thoughts on Yona of the Dawn Volume 1? Did you like it or hate it? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.