Yona of the Dawn (Part One) Review

yonaofdawn

Yona, the sixteen year old protagonist of Akatsuki no Yona, is the only daughter of Kouka Kingdom’s peace loving monarch. Blessed (or should that be cursed) with a head of ginger locks, she lives a pampered life at the palace where she spends her days swooning over cousin Soo-won. Their potential romance ends one fateful night however when Yona visits her father’s chambers only to discover that Soo-won has assassinated the king, with a well placed sword blade through the chest. After witnessing the murder Yona flees the castle pursued by forces loyal to Soo-won, who are eager to silence the royal teen – lest she pose a threat to their master who has now taken over Kouka’s throne.

OVERVIEW

Based on Mizuho Kusanagi’s manga, Yona of the Dawn is a fantasy series set within a world modelled after ancient Korea. The twenty-four-episode anime has been adapted for the small screen by Studio Pierrot, whose previous work includes the filler-tastic Bleach. Yona stars the titular princess turned fugitive who is on a quest to recruit the aid of four Dragon Warriors (not to be confused with the deck currently dominating Hearthstone.) She hopes the fabled fighters will help her oppose Soo-won’s rule, although only time will tell if that is a wise move. Despite being guilty of a despicable act there are hints suggesting that Soo-won’s actions may be motivated by justifiable revenge and a desire to protect his impoverished homeland from the threat of neighbouring nations.

The dozen episodes collected in Part One deal with the aftermath of Soo-won’s coup d’etat and the start of Yona’s countrywide journey. Accompanying the princess is her protector, childhood friend and potential love interest Son Hak; a mighty general who (even under the effects of poison) can singlehandedly decimate an entire battalion worth of troops with a single swish of his spear. The pair eventually team up with an orphan named Yun who happens to be an accomplished cook, apothecary and sandal maker. For fashion’s sake I hope that Yun’s patrons refrain from wearing socks with the shoes he weaves – if you ask me there’s nothing more ghastly than someone who sports a sandals/socks combo on their feet.

VERDICT

My rating for Yona of the Dawn (Part One) is a four out of five. Thus far the show has been a treat to watch thanks to its entertaining cast of characters, which includes a strong female lead (who on the DVD box art resembles Himura Kenshin.) Yona starts the series off as a spoiled rich girl, but as the storyline progresses she matures into someone who no longer wishes to be dependent on the generosity of others. She has even acquired a bow, during one of the later episodes, which she intends to use in battle. How much assistance she can offer her companions during combat remains to be seen though. Due to a lack of training Yona is unable to hit stationary objects with an arrow, much less kill living targets; be they enemy soldiers or adorable woodland creatures for food.

Hopefully the show’s quality won’t dip in the second half. One concern I have is that the plot has slowly begun to transition away from a character driven political tale to a goofier reverse harem, focusing more on the antics of the effeminate hunks who have banded with Yona. For the most part I am okay with the comedy provided by Hak’s banter, but I could have done without some of the silly slapstick. Another complaint, which may dissuade buyers from picking up the series, is that Amazon is selling the Blu Ray/DVD combo pack for a little over Ā£40. That’s rather extortionate for a half season set containing a mere twelve episodes. I pray that future Funimation UK releases will be more generously priced. Much like Yona’s hair colour, over costed anime makes me see red.

9 thoughts on “Yona of the Dawn (Part One) Review

    • Around half the price of this one. I guess the justification is that the set includes both Blu Ray and DVD copies of the episodes. To be honest I would rather they sell separate DVD and Blu Ray editions at a lower price point. On the plus side I have found that United Publications is selling the release at a discounted Ā£29, which is more reasonable. Looks like reading your blog has rubbed off me cos I am now scouring the net for deals šŸ™‚

  1. Akatsuki no Yona was a show that surprised me a bit a while back when I watched it. I was wary to pick it up because of its kind of blatant reverse-harem aspects and possibly hamfisted portrayal of a strong female character but I ended up enjoying it a good deal more than I thought I would. Those elements are certainly there as you noted and I’d say the second half of the show stays consistent with the quality of the first, if not improving on it towards the end. Nice review.

  2. I’ve heard a lot of good about this series, it’s very highly recced but have yet to watch or read. I am intrigued by it, but as someone lazy to watch anything (be anime, movies or series), and with so many things to do I end up just not starting any new series (^_^;)
    I do have to see this, one day I will (Ņ‚āŒ£Ģ€_āŒ£Ģ)

    • My son saw me watching it and was also interested. We watched it together, and will finish the series on Crunchyroll (ep 23 and 24) tonight.
      I liked the first opening theme better than the second opening (jrock song). There is nothing wrong with the second song, it is good, but the first theme/opening really drew me in and I miss it.

      • Thanks for the update Denny. Heh, I do hate it when a series has a catchy song and they change it for an inferior one later on. Hope you enjoy the finale tonight. You have watched more of the anime than me because I am waiting for the official UK DVD release before watching the second half.

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