Sunday, May 3, 2015

Akatsuki no Yona

Akatsuki no Yona, or Yona of the Dawn, is a harem anime series adapted from a manga.  It follows the story of a spoiled Princess with bright red hair named Yona.  On Yona’s sixteenth birthday, her childhood friend and beloved Suu-Won comes to visit.  During the visit Yona sees him murder her father the King, and then he attempts to have her murdered.  Yona is rescued by her other childhood friend and bodyguard, Son Hak, and they run for their lives while Suu-Won takes over the kingdom.

Hak and Yona flee to his family village, where they learn of a seer/sage named Ik-su that may be able to advise them.  They leave to find the seer, are pursued by Suu-Won’s allies, fall off a cliff and are saved by a boy named Yun, who is the Ik-su’s friend and assistant.  Ik-su tells them the story of the Yona’s ancestor, the original king of Kouka, who built the kingdom with the aid of four dragons.  Yona, Hak and Yun set out to find the descendants of the four dragons, and ask for their help.

The rest of the story is about searching for and finding the four dragons, and also about the people they meet and help along the way.  It’s also about Yona growing up and learning to fight for herself.  Yona is not your typical harem heroine, in that she's not helpless and useless, letting the guys surrounding her fight for her and protect her.  Oh, they do that, but she’s determined to protect them also as well as defending herself.  She practices night after night after night to become better with the bow and arrow, and at the end of the series, she’s determined to learn the sword as well.  She’s a heroine worth following basically.  And the best part is, she dresses appropriately – not in a short-skirted school uniform.

In the order they come across them, the four dragons are:  the white dragon, Ki-ja, whose right arm is a dragon arm and claws with the strength of a dragon; the blue dragon, Shin-ha, who has the dragons eyes and can see far distances;  the green dragon, Jea-ha, who has a dragon’s leg and foot and can leap far distances or great heights and seems to fly; and the yellow dragon,  Zeno, who doesn’t have any apparent talents but is immortal, basically cannot be killed.

Toward the end of the series Yona and Suu-Won bump into each other accidentally in a town they both happen to be in, and Yona discovers that she still loves Suu-Won even though he killed her father.  Suu-Won for his part hides her from his forces and lets her escape.  You are left with the feeling that he cares for her, but cannot let that interfere with his overall goal, which is not clear.  It’s clear that he feels he can run the kingdom better than Yona’s father was running it, but it seems there’s more to Suu-Won’s goal than that.  And of course that’s left hanging when the series ends. 
At the series end Yona decides that even with the four dragons she’s not ready to retake the kingdom.  She’s seen a lot of suffering and misery that occurred during her father’s rule, so Yona decides to go about with Hak, Yun and the dragons, helping the people in her kingdom whenever she can and protecting the kingdom.

So not much resolution of issues occurs at the end of the series.  She just finds the dragons, grows as a person and carries on.  But the series is pretty and the music is good.  For a harem anime it’s not bad at all and to me it was worth watching.  That’s especially true when Yona seems to channel her fierce dragon ancestor.  It would be nice to have another season of this series to see where they could go with it.

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