Book Review: Yona of the Dawn Volume 2

October 4, 2016

Yona of the Dawn Volume 2 cover

Well, this is kind of surprising, huh?

There are probably some of you wondering why I have not gotten around to reviewing the two shows that finished their run at the end of last month, and I was planning on working on my new story, which is nearing its end, so that has taken a bit of time, but I could not stay away from here to long.

Around the beginning of last month, I got some titles from Amazon, thanks to some credit that I received, but I did not get all of the titles at the same time, since a couple were preorders.

Now that the first of the preordered titles have come, and things are not as stressful, I can get around continuing on with the new titles.

Today, I will be doing just that by reviewing one of the latest titles that I ordered, which is called Yona of the Dawn Volume 2 by Mizuho Kusanagi.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

Yona is still having problems with coming to terms with the way things have gone and Hake decides to stop in the capital of his homeland, so that they could lay low and recuperate.

However, just when Yona starting to get back to being her old self, the fire tribe attacks the wind tribe and Hak needs to make a decision of what to do, but that decision might not stop the fire tribe from pursuing him and Yona, or even keep innocent people safe, especially when their enemies notice something strange about Princess Yona.

I kind of liked this book.

Even though there was not a whole lot of action present, except for maybe one instance, I did not want to put this book down for any reason, though I did have to put it down to fulfill the needs that all humans have to deal with.

In fact, this sensation came about within only the first few pages, which is something that is hard to do, but necessary, in order for readers to enjoy a work.

After all, why would people continue on with something if even the moments of peace in a story are rather dull?

While Detective Conan has grown rather stale, since the cases that seem to capture everyone's attention these days seems to revolve around Kaito Kuroba and Black Org, the cases in the beginning of the portion were all fantastic, regardless of whether Black Org was involved or not, and Gosho Aoyama never really failed to amaze me at those times.

By seeing that first hand in the anime and the first 26 volumes of the magna, I could see why that particular series was so popular, and is also a reason that I feel disappointed with some of the case, even if I know that there is no guarantee that people will be better over time, otherwise writers would be consistently turning out gold, instead of going downhill.

Likewise, seeing how Mizuho was able to keep things interesting during the peaceful moments in this volume, it not only allowed me to get to know the characters a bit better, but actually made me want to continue on with the series.

If Mizuho can keep this up, I have no doubt that she would be able to eventually be able to stand with other people in the magna industry who can churn out more than one great work, such as Hiromu Arakawa and Jun Mochizuki.

This is what readers expect to see and she really delivered.

I also liked how there was already contention between the five tribes of Kouka kingdom over the death of Yona's father.

While this was shown in episode 4 of the anime, which is viewable on both Crunchyroll and FUNimation, I could not really feel too much tension in the air because none of the representatives of the tribes never really felt like they were at each other throats. It more felt like their gathering was some sort of tea party where everybody got along, and it made Su-won's assessment of the five tribes at his coronation feel like it was made up, even though he was in the right to doubt every one of them.

However, in this volume, I could actually feel the tension in the air as they spoke to each other about why they had been summoned, even though each of the five people did not look like they wanted to be there in both the manga and the anime adaptation.

Now, some people would be saying that it was kind of obvious that I could not feel the tension because I mostly review titles that have been dubbed, though there are a few exceptions outside of simulcasts, but this is true regardless of whether I watch these sequences of events dubbed or subbed.

On the other hand, I will have to say that the difference in this area comes about because creating an atmosphere in an animated medium is not as easy as it is in a written medium.

True, not every single writer can create an atmosphere from still images and words, or even just words alone, with using only words to create that atmosphere being the most difficult, but both groups do not have to deal with voice actors or any kind of actor and directors who think that they are capturing the essence correctly.

Both the Japanese dub and Funimation's dub failed in this respect, while the way Mizuho handled things in this volume actually felt believable and made me think that Su-won's assessment of each of the five people was pretty much spot on, even when I take knowledge of events yet to come out of the equation, since Viz Media has not gotten to the stuff that the anime did not cover yet.

As a result, I have to give Mizuho some major props, because she is continuing to do a lot of things right, even if this series is not as great as a few other titles I know about.

Another nice thing about this volume was that there were quite a few moments where I kind of felt like chuckling.

While, yet again, nothing in particular stood out to me in comparison to the anime, things were fairly hilarious, if not as funny as they were in the anime, like Mun-Deok aiming a bow arrow at Hak for not giving in to Yona's demands and how most of the wind tribe thought that Hak was in a serious relationship with Yona, whom the villagers call Rina.

Good job, Mizuho. I am glad to see that this aspect of the series has not died out yet, like how things in Detective Conan are not quite as funny as they used to be.

However, this kind of comedy will eventually run dry, and when it does, Mizuho is really going to have to work hard to make it funny again, so hopefully, she will learn when she has to do something else.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the characters did not turn to God or wish that the heavens were on their side.

As many should be aware, I have been attending a church for many years, enough so that the lessons and the comments made when members are asked for input are like the news, in that it is practically permanent repeat, and many of the members say that we should turn our lives over to God, pray to him, and follow his chosen leaders.

However, I sometimes see this as an excuse to be lazy, and, in some cases, may actually end up in the same kind situation that can be found in a post written by Richard on Eternal Vigilance, though many people know the story and its origin cannot be traced easily.

This is the kind of thing that happens a lot in fiction and real life, and, even though there are things that happen that we cannot control, that does not mean that we should turn things over to God, or that God would do what we ask in the way that we think he would.

In this volume, Su-won said that he did not want the power of heaven, but the power of his subjects, and Yona herself, who had been told about an oracle, actually stood up and did something for the first time in the series, instead of allowing others to act upon her.

Seeing how each of these two characters came to their conclusion, in spite of the fact that they are now enemies, really moved me.

The most emotionally powerful moment that really made this the highlight of the volume was in Yona's case.

When the fire tribe tracked her and Hak down and confronted them, Yona sat by and let Hak deal with the onslaught, before questioning her motive for leaving the wind tribe.

While events were covered in episode 5 of the anime and even had a stronger emotional feel than many other anime gave me, it just seemed to be stronger here, because Yona said in her thoughts that there were questions she needed to ask herself, as opposed to knowing what she should do, which is also one aspect in which the Crunchyroll subs outshine FUNimation's dub of the series, though I cannot really say if either is more accurate than the other.

Seeing this, happening, I can see that Yona is finally beginning to become the protagonist that I have known her to be, and really makes me want to follow this series even more.

This is how protagonists should be, regardless of whether they are male or female. They are the center of the story and the growth they experience along their journey is very important. Mizuho really delivers on this and deserves some decent praise.

After all, there are some protagonists that remain the same as they were in the beginning and that does create a good and fulfilling story.

Hopefully, Mizuho can keep this up, but I know that she will eventually fail to live up to this kind of quality because she is human.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked.

Because Mizuho Kusanagi did quite a bit right, like making the peaceful moment relatively interesting, and even had a stronger feeling that the anime gave off in a few places, whether that was because of FUNimation's dub or something else entirely, this was a fairly decent read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things from things are too minor to talk about and an issue that was present in the previous volume that was not as bothersome this time around, nothing really seemed to bug me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was more to like than hate about this book, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of Yona of the Dawn and Mizuho Kusanagi.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, because things have improved a bit from the last volume to least make it worth it to read the manga instead of watching the anime.

What are your thoughts on Yona of the Dawn Volume 2? Did you like it or hate it? If you liked it and watched the anime, do you think there are areas where this volume outshined the anime, like I did, or was it about the same? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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