February comes before I even got used to the idea of it starting. It was quite the month. Typically the month of romance many a folk get caught up in the idea of love and everything relating to it. So, without much hesitation when I was planning my schedule of anime through the year to watch for friends, I decided something with a sprinkle of love was needed during my second month. So for my dear friend Ami, I ventured through a world of fantasy, dragons, and of course a little bit of romance. Today, I talk about Akatsuki no Yona. A very colorful and imaginative story that follows the story of a girl as she learns the hardships of the world outside her ignorant castle life with the help of her oldest friends and new comrades as well. The story has that fantasy cliche feel you can’t help but feel familiar towards and by god that is never a bad thing for me. Let’s venture into the dawn together my wandering readers and talk about Yona of The Dawn.
So without going into major spoilers this is a story that follows a young woman by the name of Yona and her bodyguard/best friend Hak as they travel to find the four dragons of legend in human form. Their task is simple and the journey is not. Nothing too surprising in the story department. There is a legend and we are experiencing an equivalent to that right before our eyes with our main lead. So, don’t expect the premise itself to wow you if you are big fan of romantic stories and fantasies. However, if you are anything like myself this is the type of thing you enjoy not for the story itself but the characters who pull it along. We get through about the first major part of the story in this first season and it’s broken up into several smaller stories. The earlier episodes establish the world, Yona, Hak, and the antagonistic force they are fighting against. Then we proceed into individual character arcs for the White, Blue, and Green dragons to make us get to know these characters before their longer journey begins. Oh! And the Yellow Dragon is just kinda tossed in like a sprinkle of cinnamon on top at the end. So, the entire season is mostly a character driven set of small stories to add to the overall plot. So, how do I feel about the cast that is the bread and butter of the sandwich that is Yona?
I love them! The cast is very well developed and easy to like, and they all get plenty of good moments to make you care about their arcs. Yona is the slow burner and is having the long growth but if you look at the pilot to the massive spoiler moment towards the end of the season she is a completely different woman and has transformed from an ignorant princess to a woman learning the world her own way. Hak is the consistent backbone of the show. He never falters or changes too much as to show he is a man of honor and one the viewer can get behind and trust. The 3 dragons we spend a bunch of time on all get fleshed out backstories that really bring them to life, and you will be hard pressed to not have a favorite of the group due to their amazingly well shown stories. My personal favorite would be the reliable Hak. His sort of internal dedication to those he cares about reminds me of someone and I can’t help but relate to him. Now we can’t mention main people in the show without going over Soo-Won. He is by far the most interesting person in the world of Yona and I am really intrigued to see what is done with him down the road as the story progresses. To sum it up! Characters good, Me happy, Yona pretty, Hak kewl, Dragons is dope, Soo-Won Y U SO HARD TO KNO? Yeah I think that about summarizes that!
The series is really one that is bolstered with color throughout. Pretty much every character is indicated to have a symbolic attachment to a color that helps represent something about who they are. These range from Yona’s red fiery passion to The Green dragon’s color totally representing the idea of green open plains of freedom. It was a great motif that helped make everyone have a bit of extra personality even when they weren’t doing anything but simply standing on screen. Small details that add a large amount of extra likability to those you have already established. Nothing fancy just color. I like color though. Color me surprised? Ahhhhh
As you can see I had a pretty good time with Yona and her silly bunch of super powered dragon harem. Did I dislike anything in the show? Yeah a few things, yet these could be alleviated fairly easily with the addition of more content. The pilot was substandard and nothing special, although I feel this was intentional to draw a starch idea of difference between it and how the show will play out. The Yellow Dragon was sort of just tossed in willy nilly. Now I can’t say if this is a bad thing or not but its weird to just toss him in without little content when the other 3 dragons took up like 70% of the show’s run. Not enough Soo-Won. I don’t see this as an issue as we continue on but I do find him needing more screen time due to how pivotal he is to half of the major plot. Oh and I did not dislike the comedy like I’m sure some may have. I found it to be very complimentary to the tone of the drama and it was a great balancer in this case of the comedy v. drama debate. Most to all my grievances with Yona are minute details that can be overlooked as they didn’t hamper my overall enjoyment in the long run through my watch.
Akatsuki no Yona was nothing new in idea but in execution it was brilliant. A strong lovely protagonist with tons of growth supported by an equally fascinating cast brought this typical fantasy story to life in a multitude ways. The series looked and sounded great(that main theme <3) and was a fun ride from start to finish. I am sad no more content exists in anime form for the time being but for what is there it is cohesive and just a blast to sit down and experience. If you like fantasy stories, romantic themes, great action, and well any of those together, then Yona is the type of anime for you to check out. The series is exactly the sort I personally love to see, and I do hope Studio Pierrot decides to continue the travels of Yona and her companions over the coming years. I had a stellar time with it and look forward to a continuation.
Other anime that make great female leads!
And that’s a wrap! On to the next post! I certainly hope you enjoyed it at least a little bit. Any thoughts, comments, or concerns you have? Feel free to leave them in the comments below or at one of my other social media locations. Until next time….Safe travels my little wandering readers.