I hope everyone is having a good week, even if it is just business as usual.
Things have been going fairly well here, as I can still do what I like.
Recently, I decided to look around on Amazon, now that I do not need to worry about my schedule too much, and realized that I had been neglecting a series that I had been covering for a while, so I decided to get the latest three installments of the series, one of which is a preorder that will arrive in the near future.
Today, I will be reviewing one of the two titles I got, which is called Yona of the Dawn Volume 14 by Mizuho Kusanagi.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
After the fire tribe’s rebellion had been quelled and a traitor is slain, Yona and the gang continue on their adventures across the land, entering one of the water tribe’s many port towns and look for a room at an inn.
However, when they notice a corpse and how the town’ s populace did not bat an eye, as well as finding one of their own in a miserable state, they find themselves entangled in a situation that may be far worse than that of Awa’s.
While it has been a while since I have read the last volume, which able to bring Yona of the Dawn back up to snuff, there is no guarantee that things will be able to keep riding a high, which is why something people consider enjoyable must be approached cautiously.
And after reading this volume, I have to say that I liked it quite a bit.
From the moment that I opened up this volume and started reading the first few pages, I found myself so engrossed with it that I did not want to stop reading for any reason.
As I have said time and time again, one of the most important things in a work of fiction is how things begin, as the beginning is supposed to make the reader so immersed in a work that will be able to overlook the most minor of flaws, in addition to being able to get that temporary escape that they desire.
While this can be accomplished in many ways, depending on the kind of work and the medium used to present the story, manga like this needs to start off in a way that makes sense, when looking at how the previous installment ended, whether that means picking things up right where the previous chapter left off or starting off with something like the beginnings of the next adventure.
In the previous volume, the conflict with fire tribe came to a close and then shown the water tribe’s leader wishing for help, before ultimately finishing off with a little side trip, to remind the reader that the intrigue of this series is centered around Yona and her journey, and not an established plot, but the thing that was really on my mind was why the water tribe’s leader was seeking help.
Here, in the beginning of the first chapter, things start off with Yona and the others already in the lands of the water tribe, looking for a room, and just slowly easing into the start of the next chain of events.
By taking this slow approach, Mizuho Kusanagi was able to pull me into the world of her series, even though I had been away from this series for almost six months now, and made me forget everything, but what Yona and her companions were up to.
If Mizuho had not started off the first chapter of the volume like this or Hakusensha, or whoever they had put this volume together, decided to start this volume any differently, I would have been very disappointed, as they would most likely come off as so focused on the plot or the events that occur in Kouka that it would lose the very thing that makes many of the manga series out there so enjoyable, which is how many of characters actually have a charm about them that makes them enjoyable to be around, whereas many characters in American and English novels today do not seem to be that interesting outside the plot.
Fortunately, this volume started off with the slow approach that is to be expected from this series, and that makes me want to give Mizuho Kusanagi and the others responsible for bringing this series to the masses a good round of applause.
Hopefully, this will be able to continue on as the series progresses, but I am very well aware that a quick start to some things will be needed when the series gets close to its end, so I will not be too mad if that does occur.
I also liked how a character introduced in this volume realized that she was in over her head with the current matter in the fire tribe.
One of nice things about this series is how the female characters are not portrayed as weak, instead striving to become stronger, and come across as actually human beings, so I was kind of intrigued to see another female character decide to try and take matters into her own hands, though there are women like this in the real world too.
However, this character came across as too optimistic, thinking that she could accomplish what the leader of the water tribe was not willing to do himself, just like how we give doctors so much benefit of the doubt just because they dedicated themselves to the study of medicine, and I was fully expecting her to fail because she, like Yona, before her father was killed, was sheltered from reality.
Towards the end of the volume, when the person behind the suffering in the water tribe was encountered, this girl then lamented that she did not really have the determination to do what she wanted to do, how to accomplish it, and thought it was easy, much like the how people today, who demand things to be truly equal, cannot really handle the reality that we have been hidden from for centuries, much less the removal of the cage of protection that they have been given inside of that cage that stood for centuries.
If this girl, who knew nothing outside of the castle walls that she grew up, though she was aware of the plight of the citizens of the water tribe, was able to actually do something and accomplish it, I would have been very angry, even if the people demanding women get the spotlight just because they are women might find enjoyment in it, because the world of Yona of the Dawn tends to portray things fairly realistically with its female characters, and by having somebody that was in the same position as Yona at the beginning, that would make this series start to feel less realistic and less believable, leading it to become wish fulfillment for feminists, rather than something that is actually good to read.
Thankfully, Mizuho decided to maintain the predictable course and executed things well enough to keep things believable, and that makes me want to give her another good round of applause.
Hopefully, there will be more moments where characters acknowledge their own shortcomings, so they they can grow into better characters, because that is something readers of any kind of work of fiction would like to see, but with how things are now, I would not be surprised if Mizuho decides to completely ruin the growth that characters have seen in the series so far.
Another thing that I really liked was there were things to laugh about.
While much of the humor was not really that unique to series, or even manga and anime in general, Mizuho Kusanagi is still able to execute things well enough that they come off as funny.
However, the thing that I found the funniest was the conversation that took place when Yona was alone with the three characters introduced in this volume, which made me chuckle at least a couple times.
First, when the party of four get the time to take a bath together, the three women notice that Yona’s body is covered in bruises, saying a girl’s body should not be in that condition, to which Yona says that she is learning swordsmanship for defense.
Upon hearing that, one of the women asks Yona why she would need to learn the art of the sword when she is surrounded by strong men.
I found this to be pretty funny, because many women in our society believe that they can just leave the fighting to the men because that is their responsibility and they were brought up to accept, yet with the things that I have to deal with in my life, I am not able to do that too well, if at all, so I need to make sure that the women in my life understand that they would need to fight on the front lines sooner than they would with other men.
Now, there are women that accept the fact that they must fight, because they either understand that all of humanity is weak, or that their children and younger siblings would be in danger if they do not fight, or prefer to live an independent life, but if women leave things like fighting a life and death situation among other humans to men, they will not be able to do anything when those same men are dead or incapacitated, much like how many people here who had difficulties in the recent government shut down had no money coming in because they put their whole livelihoods on the checks they received from their work for the government, rather than supplementing it with another way to receive income.
Because of this, I found myself chuckling at the fact these women, much like many of my female peers and elders, thought that Yona should just sit back and leave things to Hak and the four dragon warriors, who all seem to come off as too perfect for me to believe they are real people, though Hak does have his own demons to contend with.
The other thing about the this conversation among the women that made me laugh, and made the whole thing so memorable, was how soon after Yona gane her reasons for wanting to real the art of the sword and things went down towards more stereotypical girl talk, the princess Yona met mentioned that three of the men in question went to the red light district and calling men idiots and saying that Yona does not know what her camponions could be doing behind back.
Even though this kind of did unnerve me, since they are passing off the stereotype of the primal male being true in all men at all times, like they did not want to truly understand people, or acknowledge that all of mankind are complicated creatures, I was able to get quite a bit of a laugh, as it has already been established that everyone from Hak to each of the four dragon warriors are loyal to Yona and Yona’s faith in them came off as quite funny.
If Mizuho had not added in moments like these that could make me laugh, in spite of me not being part of the targeted demographic, I would have been disappointed, as these comedic moments are the things that make me enjoy following the characters, rather than wondering when something will finally occur, though Mizuho has been good about keep things interesting, like she should.
Fortunately, Mizuho did not do anything that would make the comedic moments enjoyable for the target demographic, like the events back in volume 10, and that makes me want to give her even more praise for a job well done.
Hopefully, things like this will remain in the series as things progress, but because of how often I notice the humorous moment in manga grow stale, I would not be surprised if things become stale in this series too.
The thing that I liked the most though was how this volume ended.
In a work of fiction, there are least two parts that are very important, which are how things begin and how things end, with the latter being the thing that ultimately determines whether a reader finds that the work was satisfying, if it is a standalone work, or they have a desire to continue on with a series, if it is an installment in a series.
In this volume, Hakusensha, or whoever they had put the volume together, picked a great place to end the volume, and Mizuho ended the final chapter of the volume in the best way possible, as I was left wondering how Yona would survive this situation, as well as wonder if this newly introduced princess is going to gain what she needs to put her life on the line to survive, just like Yona was able to.
Now, this moment was already high in my book for bringing down this new character and realizing that she underestimated the situation, but by having the volume end at this point has me anxious enough to find out what happens that I want to read the next volume right now, which I have on hand now, thanks to the fact that I had to take a break on this series to stay on top of things.
If Hakusensha, or whoever they had put this volume together, or Mizuho Kusanagi had messed things up, I would have been really disappointed, because I cannot really think of any other way that this volume could have ended well, due to lack of excitement or lack of interest in what would happen next.
Thankfully, the volume was able to end in a way that makes me want to find out what will happen next, and that makes me want to give Mizuho Kusanagi and those that are working hard to bring this series to the masses a good round of applause for a job well done.
Hopefully, future installments will be able to end just as well as this one did, but because the ones working on this series are as human as the rest of us, I will not be surprised if I eventually have to tear into them for doing something wrong.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be shoehorned into what I talked about.
Because my interest was captured quickly and held right up to the end, a newly introduced character was put in her place, which also helped to create a great ending, and there were things that came off as kind of funny, this book was a fairly decent read.
Although I liked the book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and things that are kind of expected, due to its target demographic, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering there was quite a bit to like and nothing to really hate, unless one wanted to be nit picky or cannot put up with works targeting a certain demographic, this was definitely worth reading.
I recommend this to fans of Yona of the Dawn, as they will be able to enjoy this the most.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but I recommend reading the earlier entries in the series first, to be able to really enjoy this.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or, if you want a copy of the review title for yourself, buy a copy of Yona of the Dawn Volume 14 from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following a series that many enjoy and possibly find more worth while reads for you guys to check out.