Princess Yona lives a life of luxury and ease, completely sheltered from the problems of the seemingly peaceful Kingdom of Kouka; however, the sudden murder of the king and betrayal of her beloved cousin Su-won places Yona's life in mortal peril. Forced to escape only with Son Hak, who is both her childhood friend and bodyguard, the naïve princess soon discovers that Kouka is not the idyllic place she envisioned it to be. Poverty, strife, and corruption run rampant, making reclaiming the throne nothing more than a wishful fantasy given the kingdom's current state.
Based on the popular manga of the same name by Mizuho Kusanagi, Akatsuki no Yona follows Princess Yona on a coming-of-age adventure as she faces the harsh realities of her kingdom. With only a mysterious legend to guide her, Yona must discover a way to restore Kouka to its former glory while being pursued relentlessly by the forces of the new King of Kouka.
First of all , Akatsuki no yona where have you been all this time? Where have you been HIDING dammit!
Sound : Im specifically starting with this , because lets face it , the soundtrack is absolutely amazing in this anime. Starting with the opening , Its only instrumental! ( How much time has it been since we got AN INSTRUMENTAL OPENING?)and yet you don't skip it and listen to it every damn time. The second opening isnt as great but is still awesome!
( seriously it gives you chills everytime there's a fight/emotional moment and the traditional music goes in).
: Princess Yona leads a peaceful life. Her only "worries" is whether or not her hair colour suits her and if she's gonna be able to marry her beloved childhood friend Soo-won. Well lucky for her ! He stops by the castle for a week. However her father forbids their marriage for reasons beyond her understanding. THEN BAM! beloved Soo-Won drives a blade through the chest of the king while she runs into the room to talk to him about her marriage. Heartbroken and stripped of her status as royalty, Yona lives as a fugitive on the run, accompanied only by one of the king's trusted shogun : Haku!.
Art : The animation is freaking good , yona hime face expressions are really well detailed ( I mean look at those fierce gorgeous eyes man) , and the art may seem typical but its beautiful! And hey for once the main dude isnt a 100% bishounen shining armored prince like dude his eyes are more like ''dont mess with me'' type.
Characters: The side characters ( Yona companions) are amazingly well developped ( better than any shojo I watched) , you get to see a very detailed past of some of them. ALSO CAN WE PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT for the first non-cry baby female lead since those 5 last years? Yes Yona hime is a typical princess , fragile , who only cares for nobles things and dont know how to cook her own food. HOWEVER she blooms into a strong female lead , who is aware of her weakness and wants to learn how to protect herself and save her country!.
Enjoyment: You know it's a good anime when you know the release date of the next episode and wait for it the whole week. You know its a good anime when you prepare food for it and set all yourself up. Akatsuki no yona combines Humour , serious-badass-moments , Mother of typical shojo moments ( which means even if its typical they are still better introduced than other animes of the same type).It's the type of anime that will give you chills in every single episode. Honestly if you are the kind of person who was desperate to find an amazing shojo with Strong female lead (like me) or just a passing-by person who never seen a shojo in her/his life , or just a curious person ! THEN DONT MISS AKATSUKI NO YONA.
At some point in the show, Yona mentioned something about escaping from her bubble of a spoiled princess, learning about the difficulties of life and such. Ironically, this show never managed to escape from its bubble of a shoujo-pandering, unbearably sappy, politically shallow, purposeless mess of tropes and forced superficial development.
Beware of spoilers used as discussion points
Featuring a middle ages Korea kingdom apparently in turmoil; Yona stars as a completely clueless princess with already 2 incredibly hot young men who can’t resist to “protect” her. A coup occurred, for reasons still unclear after 24 episodes, killing the king and forcing Yona to take flight
with her Boyfriend #1 (Hak) after finding out the identity of the perpetrator being Boyfriend #2.Thus ensues a long winded journey as Yona travels and develops as a person and a benevolent, charismatic ruler, reaching for that ultimate goal with also a lot opportunities for romantic development, or so you’d think.
The premise of this series is definitely very promising and allows room for political intrigues, epic battles exploring the qualities of an ideal ruler, discussing the problems with a lenient ruler and how discipline is integral to order. Unfortunately a meager 2 episodes is spent on these issues, making it a huge waste of potential. It’s mentioned many times that the previous reign wasn’t effective, but it’s hardly shown through the show; in fact the blame is all placed onto generic one-dimensional bad guys for doing bad things. The people perspective is nowhere to be found, their “suffering” is hardly discussed, there are no exact problems to be fixed; this makes the show’s whole foundation completely empty and so does Yona’s claim on learning about suffering. In comparison, Rose of Versailles beautifully portrays an oppressed society with plenty of civilian perspectives to display the problems with incompetent governance. On a wider scale, it’s also mentioned that the kingdom is at risk of impending attack in an attempt to give the show some kind of direction; but it’s so diluted and underpresented it’s difficult to appreciate as world building. Furthermore, it doesn’t really help that the show utilizes silly slapstick comedy; much like Shitgatsu Kimi ga Uso, these kills off any tension and make the show somehow even more bubbly than it already is.
On an episode to episode basis, the show doesn’t fare too well either. Most episodes focus on Yona’s journey to find the “4 dragons” based on a prophecy told by a random drunk priest lying half dead on the side of the road. As if that isn’t silly fantasy enough, these dragons are bound to her by DESTINY, meaning the moment she caught their eyesight, they become a harem member. Yep, she doesn’t even need to convince them. Most of the arcs dont have much depth and doesn’t contribute to the big picture. Additionally, they also try to get the audience to sympathise to the autistic, utterly stereotypical and forgettable dragons that become irrelevant the moment they join the harem.Boyfriend #5 (Blue dragon) arc in particular had a lot of issues that should really have been touched on like why are soldiers attacking the villagers? Why do the little kids keep dying? Why do they fear something that saves them? Instead it focused on the superficial “suffering” of the hot boy. And of course, Yona saves the day in the most stupid way possible “because his hands are gentle, so I’ll trust him”, right. The Boyfriend #6 (green dragon) arc got a bit closer to what the show should have been but collapsed when it became yet another generic beat the big fat evil guy who oppress people out of his greedy desires (and really want to put his hands on Yona), joining awkwardly righteous pirates too nonetheless.
It’s funny how the show realizes the complete lack of purpose in trying to gather up these bishounen on the last episode due to Yona still being completely clueless and a failure in story writing discussed earlier. In attempt to correct this she is given a “purpose” but it’s clear the author still have no idea how to advance the plot and neither does the show become any less superficial.
Character wise, the show features a very generic cast of forgettable characters to poorly developed ones. Yona is often said to have developed greatly, which is nothing short of phony. Physical strength is not the equivalent of mental fortitude; and her excessive plot armor only further depreciates any signs of growth she has. There was only one instance in which she actually realizes she did not want to lose anything else, which was real development. All other instances are just the plot forcing her to take action in an attempt to fool the audience of any real substantial development. For example, when she shot said big fat evil guy, there was hardly any real change in her character or way of thinking, in fact she did it just to get patted on the head. The show tries to make it sounds fancy it but in reality it is exactly just that. And with this much “growth” as a human she has gathered in 24 long episodes, her development as a ruler is completely pointless to discuss.
Boyfriends #1-7 suffers heavily from being bogged down to tropes, wish fulfillment and shoujo pandering. They aren’t really allowed to have any thoughts other than about Yona (and protect her because DESTINY). Boyfriend #2 (Su-won) is a potentially interesting character as a young mastermind of a coup but completely butchered by facetious “naïve boy” behavior towards important head figures for reasons I can’t think of besides pandering. His lack of screentime completely denies any chance of development, adding to long list of disappointment in this show.
On the positive side, the production value of the show doesn’t suffer very badly from being animated by Studio Pierrot infamous for low budget and conservative animation. Art is generally acceptable without noticeable problems. The chibi slapstick art hurts my eyes but other than that it’s pretty average. The instrumental first opening sounds like something from a cheap Chinese MMO and the second is an okay jpop.
In conclusion, Akatsuki no Yona is yet another generic shoujo story masked by a deceptive exterior. Potential interesting plot development and political discussion are replaced by a pointless journey to find hot boys. Every character is inexplicably obsessed about Yona because she’s the designated main character and tropes take up more time than character development. It’s not necessarily the worst thing; in fact it’s just overly mediocre rather than outright horrible. However, it is highly disappointing considering what it could possibly have been, making it excruciating to watch. If you had to watch this series it’s best to keep your expectations low.
By the end of this show, you will love it, its really something worth your time. Out of many shows airing today this show is really something to look forward to each week, now it can be enjoyed in its full glory even though the show does need a second season, dammit. Akatsuki no Yona is definitly a show you won't forget.
At first, this show seems like your average run of the mill shoujo reverse harem, but by the end of the first episode as the story goes on, it seems to be more than that, its really a well written story which focuses on
vengence and betrayal, it blow other shoujos away. The pacing at times when getting dragons to join may seem a little slow and does drag on here and there. Sure it does focus on finding the dragons but get to the point already, sure there may be a sidestory but can we just get these people coming in?
The characters are done well and are beautifully developed, Yona is pretty much one of my faviroute female characters of all time, she starts off weak and fragile like a little kitten and develops on to be something big, a brave independent creature awaiting its prey, its done in a way that developing her is spot on. If I'd rate Yona alone it would be an easy 10. Hak is Yona's first protector, being known since childhood, Hak is goddamn badass, he helps Yona and keeps her safe from danger, he'll use himself as a tool to protect her. The other dragons are pretty good characters each with their own backstories and being well developed to Yona. The problem i have here is that some of these characters might say a serious speech and then revert to comedy, at first its a good ol'joke but it keeps getting used so much that its just a pain in the ass at times.
The Art is pretty good for the most part, it has some well done character designs and sometimes has some well detailed characters. Same goes for sound, its great to listen, both OPs and EDs are goddamn beautiful and the OSTs fit the shows theme.
The show is a blast to watch, it leaves no plotholes (from my point of view) and has dialouge that seems useful. The problem is that sometimes this show is a serious adventure fantasy and then converts to a shoujo comedy and usually this transition feels unatural and ruin the tense moments. At times its pretty funny but at times, I can't even.
Akatsuki no Yona is a goddamn pleasure to watch and I'm glad I didn't ignore it. At first the plot sounds generic, but give the show a chance and you'll experience some of the most well done developements in anime in years. This show deserves a Season 2, hell it needs ne. And this all comes from Studio Pierret... how about putting this effort in Tokyo Ghoul? But besides jokes, you should seriously start watching Akatsuki no Yona right now.
What would you do if you lost everything to the one person you thought you cared about the most? Trust is easily extended when you live a sheltered life, and it makes the betrayal all that much more bitter of a pill to swallow. Yet it is not revenge that spurs on our heroine ultimately – for the line between love and hate is thin and the subsequent balancing act is, in the end, a chaotic mess of feelings too tangled and difficult to boil down to one simple word.
Rare is the series that introduces a seemingly weak and sheltered female lead, who undergoes great
tragedy only to come out fierce and respectable at the end after the most well-paced development I have had the pleasure of viewing. Were that not enough, we are also blessed with a delightful supporting cast of varied and sometimes unexpected characters. While it’s not without some flaws, Yona is absolutely amazing as a historical shoujo series.
Although this season only acts as a starting point for what is to come, it introduces our cast and it develops our heroine. One of the strongest points about the plot is that it begins with a bang – we first establish a background and we are quickly endeared to the characters before it successfully guts us with the promise our premise gave. Betrayal.
One of the weakest points of many series is that while our protagonist may be likeable and receive depth and development, our antagonist is lacking in all areas – not so for Su-won. While he may be easy to despise for his hand in essentially ruining Yona’s life, we quickly learn his motivation and while at first it may be easy to dismiss him as your stereotypical bad guy, episodes down the road clue us in to his real intentions.
The plot isn’t without its flaws; it follows the stereotypical pattern of our hero finding a “wiseman” who presents her with a mission which includes the collection of certain “items,” or in this case, the dragons. The backstory is not necessarily uninteresting but not entirely original either. In this way, Yona follows a lot of mythological stories as inspiration but that doesn’t make it unlikeable – in fact it’s because it follows a pattern we are used to that it grips us and carries us with it every step of the way.
Our cast is comprised primarily of Yona, Hak, Yun, and the four dragons. For Yona’s part, she makes the biggest impact as an initially “weak” (but come on the girl wants to handle weapons and stuff she has the makings for bad assery from the start) but most certainly sheltered princess. She grows quickly as the loss of her status and family, coupled with Su-won’s betrayal, takes a huge toll on her. Not to mention the wilderness which she is completely unaccustomed to, which requires her to eat food she may never have thought edible before, to sleep outside without proper shelter, and to deal with all sorts of wild animals and insects. She doesn’t deal with it flawlessly – she struggles, like a real human being, and she gradually recovers then proceed to fight tooth and nail.
Hak admittedly starts out as a fierce defender that initially makes decisions based on his aim to protect Yona, but eventually he grows to respect her strength and determination and defers to her judgment the majority of the time. He even softens a bit over time, but in the end he goes from just wanting to keep Yona alive to having a more vested interest in protecting the kingdom with her.
I won’t provide extraneous details about the rest of the cast; suffice to say that introductions are by and large the biggest priority for the series when it comes to the dragons so the time period for development for their characters is rather minimal. Granted they do certainly receive it as Yona’s presence impacts their lives, but I suspect additional development is in store for them in a coming season.
For the part of the animation, Yona is nothing if not consistent with a muted palette that at times is vibrant but always vivid in the detail of the characters and the landscape. Most enjoyable are the detailed character designs for each of them, thoroughly nuanced and symbolic. The action scenes are exciting, suspenseful and by and large, as realistic as one can expect for a fantasy series.
The sound is probably a bit more on the average front for the series, but is not necessarily a weakness. The initial opening fits the mood of the anime and the addition of lyrics halfway through makes it a catchy song that really foreshadows what is to come in the rest of the series and represents the development of our heroine. Although not particularly memorable, the insert songs match the general mood of the scenes that they accompany. All of the voice acting is solid, but as always the stars of the show are Saito Chiwa and Maeno Tomoaki who respectively as Yona and Hak really flesh out and bring their characters to life.
For all of my praise, I have to mention several drawbacks that bring down the rating a bit for this series. Make no mistake that it is stand-out, but its biggest issue is slow pacing near the beginning of the series. This can put off some potential viewership, but more than anything there are some episodes that just drag a bit. This happens at the beginning and at one point in the middle of the series. On the whole it’s fairly well-paced but it’s not perfect.
The other issue is that the series is advertised as romance – problem being, where is it? There is certainly romantic tension between characters but there is minimal development on that front even by the end of the series. If you are looking for a series about love, Yona focuses far more heavily on action and adventure – and it seems unfair to classify it as romance, as that’s only a peripheral aspect of the story.
Akatsuki no Yona is an incredible series that does so many things right that most are unable to – and it does it with an amazing female lead supported by an equally stellar cast of male characters. It proves that the shoujo/historical combination isn’t dead, can be successful and well-done, and ultimately it’s a heartfelt series manages to combine tragedy and comedy in an entertaining, colorful package.
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