I hope that everyone has been having a good day, regardless if one is dealing with the daily grind or on break.
Things have been going fairly well here and I can still do what I like.
Recently, I received the first couple of titles that I was expecting this month, and, so far, I have already covered one of them, which leaves only one remaining.
Today, I will be reviewing that last remaining title, which is called Yona of the Dawn Volume 12 by Mizuho Kusanagi.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
After participating in the fire-quelling festival, things seem to be a peaceful, ordinary day for once.
However, when locals notify Yona’s party of soldiers in the area, Yona and her companions notice soldiers from the fire tribe and a lack of border security, but little do they, or the citizens of the fire tribe know that something is about to happen that might lead to another reunion with King Su-Won.
While Yona of the Dawn has not always impressed me as much as it did before and had improved a bit from the last time things were truly disappointing, that does not mean things have gotten any better, so it is best to actually look at more than one volume, before determining if it really has returned to any form of former glory.
And after reading this, I can say that I kind of liked it, though still not as much as the earlier volumes.
Like how things were with the previous volume, I found myself engrossed enough with the book when I first opened it that I did not really want to put it down, but not quite to the extent that I would be able to read this for any actual fun.
As I have stated repeatedly over the course of the life of my blog, though it has not been quite as active, due to things that cannot be avoided, one of the most important things a good work of fiction needs is a way to pull the reader into the work quickly, as that will help in making sure that they can overlook the most minor of flaws.
Now, even though there are many ways to accomplish this, depending on genre and medium, and even targeted demographic, although I kind of hate it when beginnings are those that would only drawn in the target demographic, serialized publications, such as manga, have only a limited number of ways in which things can start off quite well, once of which is to follow up on what happened previously, whether that is right where the previous chapter left off, or, if nothing major happened, at some other point not too far away from there.
Mizuho Kusagani might not be the same league as some of my favorite manga creator, like Jun Mochizuki, but she seems to understand pretty well how things need to start out, for her chapters to be considered even remotely good, and she does deserve a good bit of applause for being able to start things off in a good way.
However, the people that truly deserve the credit for this volume starting off on a good foot is Hakusensha, or whoever they have putting these volumes together.
While not every installment of every series Viz Media releases starts and ends well, they tend to have absolutely no control over the releases, other than translations, text formatting, and the overall quality of the final product meant for release in the areas they have licenses for, because they are to supposed to publish things as is, according to an interview that I originally linked to in my review of Erased Volume 3, making it so that the Japanese publishers are the ones actually responsible for how well things start and end.
In the case of this volume, Hakusensha, or whoever they outsourced to, made a good decision by having the volume start off after the festival featured in the last volume, as it kind of reminded me of what happened before, and allowed for a fresh beginning for Yona’s next adventures.
If the volume had not started off where it, I would have been okay with it, as there was not anything that really needed to be dealt with from the previous volume, but there could always be of possibility that things begin just as badly as they did back in volume 10, or even worse, the 15th installment of A Certain Magical Index, where my interest was not captured until a third of the way through.
Fortunately, they started things off the way they end up going, and that makes me happy enough about things here.
Hopefully, things will continue to start off well, as more volumes get released over here, but I am ready to put either Hakusensha or Mizuho in their place, if I ever feel like things did not grab my attention quickly enough.
I also liked how was able to get some sort of chuckle from this volume.
A big reason that people read books of any kind, other than to be able to have a temporary escape from reality, is that they want to be able to relax and have fun while reading, which is established by having a vibrant atmosphere.
One way of providing that atmosphere, aside from providing the audience with characters that are interesting, regardless of whether a person likes them or not, is to provide some humor.
While the humor found in this volume is not exactly unique to the series, or even manga and anime in general, and might be starting to grow stale, Mizuho still seems to be executing things well that I do get some sort of chuckle.
The funniest of which occurs while Yona and the gang are in Saika.
After realizing that something is going on, they decide to check out things out in Saika, and just prior to anything happening, Jaeha offers to check things out and Yona says he should not go alone.
Not afterwards, Jaeha is seen holding Shinah is arms, with an expression of being weirded out, being told to take him along, somebody remarks that if he saw a large man holding another that he would shoot them down.
This seemed so funny to me, because I could probably see that happening right in my head, and way it came up just seem to be the perfect timing, even for a joke delivered through dry humor.
If Mizuho Kusanagi had not added in this gem, though it is not as funny as the funniest moment from volume 60 of Detective Conan, I think that I probably would have been bored enough that I would have probably ended up not liking it as much as I did.
Hopefully, the comedy will improve in future volumes, so that I can get more than just a chuckle, because that is what originally made this series so good to watch and read, but know Mizuho Kusanagi is only human, I am well aware of the possibility that the comedic aspect of this series could disappear just as quickly as Detective Conan‘s did.
The thing that I liked the most though was how this volume ended.
Even though there many series do not have a problem with how well they begin and end in the world of manga, as the people responsible for bringing those series to the masses usually know what they are doing and understand how important endings are for each installment of series, there are times when endings are not what they should have been.
In a standalone work, an ending is supposed to make the reader feel satisfied and that things have truly come to a conclusion, much like how the conclusion of Hiromu Arakawa’s FMA manga, and the 2009 anime adaptation, though I still believe the final two episodes should have been combined, made it feel like Ed and Al journey really did conclude and that they had learned an important lesson.
However, when it comes to series, regardless of whether is published like the vast majority of books written by writers from my country or England or it is serialized, like manga in Japan, the purpose of the end, at least before the final installment, is to give readers a reason to come back for more.
Over the course of the time I have spent delving into the world of manga, I have seen a few volumes that do not deliver in aspect, such as with Detective Conan, the first volume of Secret, which provides the best example of how this can be a problem, and, more recently, the fourth volume of The Promised Neverland, where it felt like the end of a chapter than a volume, and this problem can range from diminishing interest, as was the case with the latter, or, in the case of the item preceding the latter, not allow it to form to begin with.
Series might be the most profitable thing for publishers around the world, regardless of whether the book’s contents are prose or, in the case of manga and comics, visual, but if a reader does not have an incentive, let alone an urge, to check out the next installment, the reader could give up on the work entirely, thereby exposing a big weakness in the possibility of the publisher continuing to survive.
Because of this fact, installments in a series need to begin and end at just the right moment, and Hakusensha, or whoever they had put this volume together, delivered that in this volume, by ending the actual story on what looks like the beginning of a war, and Su-Won declares that the upcoming battle to be the first small mountain.
If the story content had not ended right where it did, I would have been given even more reason to consider this book to be dull enough for me to give much stronger consideration dropping it, as I did not spot any other moments that would have made a much better ending than what was presented.
Fortunately, the people responsible for releasing the volume out to the public made a good decision of how to end things, and that makes me want to give them a big round of applause, as I do have a strong urge to go out and get the next volume right now, though I would have to wait until August to get it, according the product page on Amazon.
Hopefully, future volumes end just as well as this one did, because readers want to be given an incentive to read something, rather than a reason to forget about a work, but I still ready for the possibility that I will be majorly disappointed as the series goes on.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that stood out as much as what I already talked about and/or could not be grouped with them.
Because things started off well enough to capture my attention quickly, there were things to chuckle about, and it ended in a way that I wanted to check out the next installment, this was a pretty decent read.
Although I liked the book.
However, aside things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, nothing really bothered me too much.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering that there was quite a bit to like, and not too much to hate, this was good enough to kill time.
I mainly recommend this to fans of Yona of the Dawn, as they will like this the most.
As for everyone else, you are free to check this one out, but it would be best to read the earlier volumes first, as this series is not as friendly to newcomers as Detective Conan.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or either buy the reviewed title or preorder the next installment from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following this series and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.