Book Review: Yona of the Dawn Volume 8

Yona of the Dawn Volume 8 cover

I hope that everyone is doing well, and not letting things get too stressful.

Things have been going fairly, aside from the fact that I forgot to check my computer's clock last time, and I can still do something that I can enjoy doing.

It is now October and there are some more installments in some of the series that I follow coming out, which means things will get a bit busier, and the first of the October releases finally arrived.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Yona of the Dawn Volume 8 by Mizuho Kusanagi.

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

With the Kum-ji's death and incident in Awa resolved, Yona and her companions are determined to find the last of the dragon warriors, but they are still traveling without any goal other than survival and they must find that goal soon after meeting the last dragon.

Elsewhere, the general of the Earth tribe is bored out of his mind, with the lack of war, and has an audience with the newly crowned king, whom he views to be weak, but when the two engage in a mock battle, the general might just be in for a rude awakening.

While Yona of the Dawn had such a great start in both the manga and anime, a series is not always destined to remain as great as it once was, and I was expecting things to kind of go a bit downhill sooner or later.

And after reading this volume, I found it to be okay.

From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading, I did not feel like putting it down, for at least a few portions of it.

So far, Mizuho Kusanagi has been doing a great job with this series, by making things seem like they are fun and enjoyable from the beginning, regardless of whether things are something that would normally be considered dull or are of actual interest, and it looked like it was a promising series.

Even though the amazing thing about this series has kind of disappeared a bit, no thanks to the fact that Viz Media is just barely got past what was covered in the anime and one event being shown later, though in probably a more appropriate place, it was still fairly nice how Mizuho was still able to pull me back into the series quite well.

If Mizuho had failed to deliver in this regard, I would have considered dropping this series quite a while ago since the series would not have deserved my time beyond what was shown in the anime, as well as make it hard for me to see how this series could really appeal to anyone beyond its target demographic.

However, because she was able to keep things relatively interesting enough to capture my attention, I feel like giving her some sort of applause of doing something right.

Hopefully, things will improve from here, as, like Spice & Wolf, this might be the only way to experience the full and complete story of Yona's journey, since there are no signs of a second season coming any time soon, and I do wish to be able to continue following Yona's journey more.

Unfortunately, writers tend to their ability over time, as they are only human, so a day may come when I will have to walk away from this series, no matter how much I initially enjoyed it.

I also liked how this volume reinforced the adage that fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction are familiar with, which is that nothing is as it seems.

Yes, Yona of the Dawn is not technically a part of any of those genres, as there are no crimes being investigated and no mysteries beyond the questions necessary to generate interest in a series, nor is there any goal of committing what would otherwise be called a crime, but this series an adventure series and if things remained as they seemed, it would make everything seem to be both less interesting and believable because an adventure series still needs things to be somewhat realistic.

In the case of this work, there are two instances in which this can be seen.

First, when Zeno appears, that dragon warriors and Hak doubt that he is the person that they seek because it was too much of a coincidence would end up being the same person that just mysteriously appeared.

While I am not exactly fond of this occurrence, because it gives me the impression that Mizuho is not really putting much effort into the adventuring aspect of this series, and possibly wanted to end the search for the four dragon warriors, it really impressed me because I did not think that this guy was the Yellow Dragon and the members of Yona's group did not want to believe it, though I and many of the others who watched the anime already knew he was.

If Yona and the gang just believed right off the bat that Zeno was the Yellow Dragon, I do not even think that I would have liked things so much, because Mizuho would have made it look like the characters were going along with her whims, instead of feeling like actual people, as well as show that they did not really learn too much from everything that they went through together, which would make this series seem to be even less appealing than it was before.

However, because they doubted him, and went through the troubles of actually testing him, it shows that things definitely are not as they seem, and even makes Zeno seem to be much more mysterious, along with the moments that he actually brings up a good point, in spite of his childish behavior.

As a result, I am much more interested in finding out what Zeno's powers are exactly, even though I am already aware of what they are, just like I already know Bourbon's identity and whether Akai is dead or alive in Detective Conan.

The second thing, and best thing, that made this aspect of the volume stand out though was the mock battle took place.

Even though this event took place after the Awa incident, as opposed to before it, which is where it occurs in the anime, the thing that I really liked about this was how General Geun-tae thought that Su-won was a weak individual with no fighting skill, even though he easily took down Guen-tae's army in the mock battle.

In our lives, we think that something is good and wholesome because it promotes family, the kind mainly established by blood and paper, instead of a real family, who does not need blood or paper to tie them together, or that we can overcome something because it seems to be so insignificant.

However, when we partake in what is perceived to be good, either by what our elders, religious figures, or society say is good for everyone, or what seems to be insignificant, it will lead to our own downfall because we were not aware of the risks or why those risks even exist, thus ending up with us being off guard and helping to make optimism look worse than it does.

Likewise, Geun-tae though that Su-won would be easy to defeat because he seemed like a coward, or a rabbit in his words, and made every effort to go after him, but that overconfidence he had blinded him to what Su-Won was up to.

Not only was Geun-tae blind about what was going on in Su-won's head, but the wayMizuho wrote the events themselves made it difficult to notice that this was all carefully planned until the very moment that Guen-tae himself realized the mistake he made.

Even though this was yet another moment in the series that I was not particularly fond of, because it continues to help make the five most important men in this series seem to be too perfect and makes them only truly appealing towards the target audience, which are females in the same age range the shonen demographic covers, this helped to demonstrate further that things should not be judged based completely on appearances.

After all, there is a reason a reason that there is the cliched adage warning about the quiet ones, though most people take it in a way that those that are more introverted are believed to become killers rather than normal people like Kobayashi from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid.

If this particular moment had not happened, this whole aspect of the volume would have just been relegated to the usual humor found in the series, and I probably would have liked the volume even less than I do.

However, because Mizuho actually took the time to put in two instances of where looks can be fairly deceiving, I actually feel like giving her a bit of applause for making something stand out in what would have been a rather unimpressive installment.

Hopefully, more things like this will show up as the series progresses further, because I do not want to see this going the direction of Detective Conan, which has only its cases going for it these days.

Then again, I would not be too surprised if things started going downhill after this point, seeing as I have found one or two people around that claim that the characters see not development or depth later on.

Still, it is nice when there are moments that can be thoroughly enjoy like this.

Another nice thing about this volume was that I was able to get a few chuckles out of it.

While the humor found is not that unique, when compared to either the anime or the series as a whole, things were still done well enough that I could still get a decent enough chuckle.

One of the best things about this particular series is how there seems to be something to laugh about on a fairly regular basis, and, without that humor, the series would start to feel rather flat, though it would eventually start to feel flat if the same jokes were played repeatedly.

Fortunately, Mizuho remembered that good thing about the series and was still able to deliver the humor that fans expects, even if it is not exactly on the level it once was.

If she had forgotten this part about the series, I would have been given another reason to stop following this series, aside from the fact that it is starting to lose the appeal that it had to those outside the target audience, and I would not be glad to say that I follow this series at all.

Thankfully, that did not happen, so I am a bit more willing to give this series a bit more time to continue on, hoping that thinks really will improve in the future.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Yona wanted to learn the sword.

In many out there, female characters seem to be relegated to long-distance attacks or healing to the point where they do not seem to be too useful otherwise, thereby giving the audience very little reason to like them, as they hardly stand up for themselves.

To me, this has become a like boring, and takes away from the many possibilities of having unique characters, not to mention it does not show that everyone can become the person they want, and it Mizuho had let Yona be content with just fighting with a bow, I probably would have found her to be much more boring that the exceptions to this pattern, such as Mikoto Misaka, Kuroko Shirai, and a few other, and would have stopped following this series.

After all, Yona was portrayed to be a girl that was trying to become stronger after sitting back and doing nothing right up until the point where her father died and she fled the castle.

Not only would her contentment with only using the bow make her look like the kind of woman that my elders and church leaders say women should strive to be, but she would have also ended up looking like she was stupid, because she would have believed that she could do anything with a bow, when bows and firearms are both weak, but not completely ineffective, against close range attacks.

However, towards the end of this volume, Yona goes about trying to convince her companion to teach her the sword, so that she can make up for the weakness of the bow and be of more help.

By having her do this, it not only makes it seem like she wants to continue getting stronger for the sake of her friends, but it also makes me excited to see Yona fight much more difficult battles than what she had faced before in the series, and gives me even more reason to continue following the series just to see where things will, which ends making me want to give Mizuho even more applause for not turning Yona into yet another mansel in distress.

Hopefully, Mizuho does not forget that something like this occurred, because Yona's growth as a character is one of the reasons that this series is able to stand out enough to make another Fruits Basket, which is another series targeted towards girls but has fans outside that spectrum, though I cannot say if this series is as good or better than that because I only saw the Fruits Basket anime.

Then again, it is very hard to appeal to everyone, so I should not be too surprised if things end up going more in the direction that would please the targeted audience, and that is the audience that truly matters at the end of the day, since that is who the writer and publisher needs to make money from.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added into what I already talked about.

Because my attention was captured quickly and held for most of the volume, it was shown that things are not always as they seem to be, which is something that everyone should know, and Yona wanted to learn to use something other than a bow, this volume ended up being fairly decent.

Although there were quite a few things to like, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and things that could be inferred from what I already stated, nothing really bothered me too much.

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

Despite the fact that there was a lot more to like than hate, the positive aspects were not good enough to make this good enough to read for more than just killing time.

I mainly recommend this to the female fans of Yona of the Dawn and Mizuho Kusanagi, as they will be able to like this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but since there is hardly anything exclusive to the manga yet and the charm from earlier volumes was not there, it might be better to skip this particular volume.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buy the review title from either Amazon or the Book Depository, so that I can continue following this series and possibly find some more worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.