Book Review: Yona of the Dawn Volume 9

Yona of the Dawn Volume 9 cover

I hope everyone is having a good week, even if it is just more of the usual daily grind.

Things have been going fairly well, as I can still do what I like to do.

Almost a month ago now, I had gotten eight books from Amazon, many of which were preorders for later in the month, and a few were scheduled to arrive this month.

Recently, two of the three titles I was expecting this month arrived.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Yona of the Dawn Volume 9 by Mizuho Kusanagi.

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

Yun decides to drop by a village, after Yona and the gang got Zeno, the last warrior, to join their group and talked things over with Ik-su, and the gang, who went with Yun against his wishes, discovers that the village is in dire straits and decide to act like bandits.

However, just when they think things are looking good, real bandits show up and one of the four dragon warriors is forced to use their power.

While things were not that great in the previous volume, though not bad enough to consider it garbage, that does not mean that the series itself will begin tanking just yet.

And after reading this, I can say that I kind of liked this book.

From the moment that I started reading the first few pages, I was so engrossed in what was going on that I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

Readers read because it gives helps to take their cares or worries by delivering them to a new world, and part of that ability is just how quickly the writer or creator can pull an audience.

So far, Mizuho has been able to do that quite well, even when the collected chapters are not something to write home about because there were only a few things that stood, which does show that she has promise.

In this volume, since the Awa incident was resolved and the mock battle was concluded, Mizuho was able to create this draw by starting things off a little slowly by focusing the suffering villagers, to try and illustrate what was going on in the world and making me feel a bit sympathetic towards them.

From the beginning, Yona has been presented as this kind person, who wants to help people and become stronger, the key thing needed to have the audience want to follow such a person, other than the fact that there is some good in people, regardless of whether they religious or not, is for us to be able to see what they characters see and what motivates them to act, and Mizuho delivered quite well in this regard.

If she were not able to make me or the rest of her audience feel anything, except through the faulty method of putting ourselves in the shoes of others, which only projects our current level of consciousness onto others, I would have been angry, because that would mean that the world and characters would appear lifeless, as well as the fact that it shows Mizuho is the one directing everything, instead of the characters or where their travels lead them.

Thankfully, things did not start out that way, which makes me want to give Mizuho a good round of applause.

Hopefully, things will continue in this fashion, as I and many other fans of the series do not want to see become another Magical Index, in which the series devolves in random event after random event, but this series is still quite flawed, especially with how many of the male characters seem to be too perfect to seem to feel like they are real, so I better be ready for things to get dull and predictable.

I also liked how it was brought up that it is not really possible to help people, or even survive, without hurting others.

While all of us, without exception, are creatures who are greedy, apathetic, and irrational in some form, we do not seeing people suffer, which is why there are so many people that will donate money to causes like feeding starving children, but that act of trying to help and the procurement of the things necessary to help means that somebody else, who may need it just as badly will suffer, or, if you want the worst case scenario for apathy, the surety a person has that what they are doing to help another person may blind them to the fact that they are hurting the person they are trying to help, as they forget that they themselves are being hurt because of that same thing, whether it is financially or not.

This is why I do not make efforts of doing what people think I should, as I know that I cannot help everyone with their troubles, and try to find out what it is that they really need help with, though I do check if people do need help when I notice a possibility of a need and I am sure that I can get things done, even at the expense of stressing myself out mentally.

In this volume, this truth of the world was stressed upon quite a bit through two particular instances.

First, towards the beginning, Yun makes a trip into a poor village, the villagers notice that his companions, whom they never met before, had come with him and they refuse to leave, instead wanting and insisting to help.

A bit later on Yona asks him about his attachment to the village, by asking if he was born there and noting that he said he does not like dealing with people, yet he looks after the people in this village, and he says:

To make myself feel better. Poverty's everywhere in the fire tribe. For every person I help, there're plenty who starve. Even if I bring a day's worth of food, they still won't have anything the next day. There's no end to it.

The root cause of it all needs to be changed. But knowing that doesn't mean that I can make it happen.

Upon reading those words, I was reminded of why, even if we do not want to see people suffer, trying to help everyone is impossible and helped to show that Yun is a caring person instead of just some perfect strategist and doctor.

After all, we may experience the same problems all over the world, but the cause and the answer is not always the same, which is something that many studying in the field computers learn fairly quickly.

If this moment had not occurred, I would have been disappointed because it made the world seem realistic enough to make me feel like I was losing myself in it and helped to make feel something for the villagers, and I do not think that I would have been able to feel that draw that I have felt numerous times while reading through this series.

Fortunately, Mizuho did stress the harsh reality of Yona's world within this moment, and the draw, as well as Yun's caring nature, was still present.

The thing that really made this stand out though was when the real bandits showed up.

After successfully keeping the government officials away, Yona and the gang seem to be living peacefully among the villagers, making sure that they get what they need, but then new people come in and cause a ruckus, even killing a child, and Yona is upset enough to make a stand against these people and even told them that she attacked because they hurt a child, while she was taken captive.

In response, one the bandit holding her captive said, “That's right, girl. In these lands, a human life is worth less than nothing. It's kill or be killed. If you don't want to starve…If you want anything good in your life…you have to take it. Sometimes that means killing the people who have it,” after which Yona says that it is a horrible way to live and the same bandit answers, “No one in this land has any hope. How do you propose we live, huh? Do you know how it feels to be so hungry that killing people seems to be a fine idea?”

In our current society, where many people think that we can get whatever we want or need to survive by putting forth the effort, so doing something dishonest like stealing or taking a life to procure things we want or need is wrong no matter what, but there are people who have no other choice, because, like how we are perfect in spite of our imperfection, the world is fair in that everyone is dealt a difficult hand and there is only so much that can go around.

Seeing these words from the bandit, I am reminded that there are people out there that are law abiding citizens that are doing everything they can or should, yet are having difficulties making ends meet, and some criminals out there became criminals because it was the only way they or those they care about could survive.

Yes, what those criminals did is wrong, just like what the bandits in this volume are doing is wrong, and they should be punished, but that does not change the fact that they were doing what they needed to do to survive.

If the bandits here were to change their ways and find some sort of prosperity because of it, I would have been angry because the purpose of Yona getting out of the castle was so that she would learn how harsh life really was, in order for her to grow stronger, and that kind of change would make this world feel both unrealistic and unbelievable, even if it is something that my elders and my peers believe is the truth of this world.

Fortunately, Mizuho did not forget this fact and let the audience know how hard life can be, which makes this really stand out and has me wondering if and when Yona will prioritize what is important to her over helping everyone that comes along her way.

Hopefully, Yona will learn more harsh truths about the world in her journey, because that is one of the nice things about this series and allows for Yona's potential growth.

The thing that I liked the most about this volume though was how I could laugh quite a bit.

Other than a having a female protagonist that does something other than scream out the name of the male lead, as well as hones her skills with a bow or is determined to learn new skills, one of the nice things about this series how is things are actually funny, and while the comedic moments here are not really that unique to the series, or even anime and manga in general, things were still executed well enough that they were really funny.

Even though humor is not necessary for something to be enjoyable, it helps to make things seem more interesting or lively, and that is what creates a big draw for people to anime and manga, aside from delivering what very few shows and movies do today.

In this volume, Mizuho keeps up that lively and interesting atmosphere that have made things so enjoyable back during the early volumes, and it really help to remind me why I find these guys so fun to follow.

The that crop up in this volume was how Yun continually found his companion to be idiots and it was completely warranted.

While it does seem as stupid and, like Touma Kamijou's victories, work out more because of luck that effort for Yona and her group, Yun reactions made them all hilariously enjoyable because, like Yun, I view these guys to be too happy go lucky and confident in whatever they do.

Yes, things will not get done if one hesitates with worry, but that does not mean that always rushing into things head long would work out.

For example, when the government official come crawling into town for taxes, Yona steps up and claims the land as her territory and announces that they are The Dark Dragon and the happy hungry bunch, before putting the officials in their place and Yun, after admitting his companions were likable idiots, starts wondering just what Ik-su meant when he said they would shake things up, because Yona was going to take advantage of how they stand out, yet during their time as bandits, they did a poor job of fooling the villagers and only kept the government officials away.

This was so funny just because of the absurdity alone, and made it the real highlight of the volume, even among other funny moments.

If things like this were omitted from the series, I would be pretty disappointed as it would turn the series into an adventure series with no substance, instead of an adventure series that does at least have some substance thanks to the comedic moments that really do seem funny and delivers the emotion that it needs to.

Fortunately, Mizuho did not leave that out, which makes me want to give for some applause, even though nothing really major seems to have happened yet.

Hopefully, the humor found in this series remains as the series progresses, especially since this series is treated better by Viz than either Detective Conan or Hayate the Combat Butler, because that is what truly has me coming back for more, but I am well aware that the humor will eventually grow flat.

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

Because the volume grabbed my attention quickly and held it throughout the volume, it showed how harsh life can be by expressing what it feels like to want to help everyone, but knowing you cannot, as well as a reason why people might not pursue honorable paths to be what they need, and that the comedic moments made up for a lack of things happening, this volume was fairly decent.

Although I liked the volume, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, nothing really seemed to bother 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, especially the humor that saved it from being just okay, and not too much to hate, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Yona of the Dawn, as they will like this the most.

As for everyone else, it might be worth giving a try, but it would better to either watch the anime or read the previous volumes first, so that it can be enjoyed to the fullest extent.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you to read the reviewed title for yourself, purchase a copy of the book 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.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.