Type: I don’t want to write about this…
Synopsis: Because writing about it means it has to end. And I don’t want it to end! Yona of the Dawn is really good, but it only got 2 seasons! It’s a crime against nature I say! This anime is about a young princess whose father is killed in a coup d’etat by her crush/cousin. On the run, the princess seeks the help of four legendary dragon warriors to take back her home.
Pros: Damn man. I was not expecting this to be this good. The quality of this anime surprise me. When I saw the OP, I thought it was going to be some sort of reverse harem show. But in actuality, its a social-political action drama with good comedy bits and romantic subplots. Where the show shines is in it’s titular character, Yona. At the start of the series, Yona is your stereotypical princess. She is sheltered, naive, a little spoiled, and her biggest worry is whether or not she look nice for her cousin Su-Won. Then Yona witnesses Su-Won kill her father, forcing her to run for her life alongside her bodyguard/childhood friend Huk. Traveling with Huk causes Yona to realize that her kingdom was suffering under her father’s rule, making confront her own responsibilities to her people. Yona’s character growth from a dependent girl to capable young woman was the best element of the story. And the show handles that pacing very well. The anime opens with a confident Yona leading her friends into battle. We as the audience get a taste of who Yona will be, and get to see her become that person. Through a gradual process, we see Yona decide for herself to be more assertive, to train herself, and to expand her viewpoint. The story is basically Yona deciding to embrace her own agency. So many other anime would have just let Yona be protected by Huk, or her other guardians. But the show makes it a point to have Yona argue against that. She loves her friends, but she is determined to stand on her own two feat. Yona wins over her friends not only through her kindness and empathy, but also through her determination and bravery. She doesn’t just earn their loyalty, she earns their respect. Yona is a great character, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be devouring the manga now.
Cons: There are two main weaknesses for this anime. First, I don’t think the mystical aspect of the plot was needed. In the story, Yona is suggested to be the reincarnation of the “Crimson King,” the mythical ruler that founded the kingdom and was guarded by four dragon warriors. When Yona escapes capture, it suggested that she find these four dragon warriors to avenge herself. Most of the show is Yona looking for the four dragon warriors (well, three of them. The yellow dragon shows up in the very last episode). While I understand that this was the narrative tool used to form Yona’s harem, I think it complicates things a little. But that’s just me. On the plus side you have a boy for all tastes: protective, devoted, shy, flirty, or pretty. No, the real problem is that this show only covers the beginning arcs of the manga. So all 24 episodes are about getting the crew together, so they never get to fight as a unit like in the intro. The crew is also very Yona-centric, so you never get to hear their opinions about the kingdom itself (outside of Yoon). This is a shame because what the show does really well is depicting the rationale behind the King’s assassination. Yona’s father was a pacifist, and a good enough man to earn Huk’s respect, but by all accounts he was an inept ruler. His passivity caused his people to suffer and earned him little in terms of mourners. Seeing Yona battle with the fact that her father was a good man but a bad king was very interesting, and I wish the other characters could have commented on that as well. Basically, the worst part about this show is that there isn’t more of it…and that all the male characters fall into troupes after their introduction, the OP is weak and strangely ignores Yoon, we spent 3 episodes on Su-Won instead of on the yellow dragon, and OH MY GOD YONA, Huk has been trying to kiss you for 15 episodes now!
Watch it?: Yona is who I want to be when I grow up (4/5)
Best Episode: Ep.1-6 The Princess Yona Arc (From Sansa Stark season 1 to Sansa Stark season 8).