I’m bending my mental guidelines a bit on this one. Since it’s been a rough couple of weeks, however, I’m choosing to just say “to heck with it” and put this one up anyway, even though it’s not really a completed story. (Mind you, there’s no guarantee there will be any more seasons produced so maybe it is “done” and we just don’t know it yet.)
What is it?
Yona of the Dawn (originally/alternatively: Akatsuki no Yona) comprises 24 aired episodes and a handful of additional (albeit generally unavailable) special additional episodes. It is based on a manga series that is being translated & released for the U.S. market.
What kind of story is it?
Love, betrayal, tragedy, revenge, and a lot of silly overpowered guys following a princess around the countryside.
But seriously, it’s a feudal-era action/adventure story centered on a red-headed princess who’s forcibly ejected from her comfortable palace life and must find purpose on her own. Along the way she sort of collects a group of useful men. Most of these men are total dorks.
Okay, all of them. Even the generally pragmatic healer/scholar.
Why do you like it?
You want action? Yona has amazing action. You want comedy? Yona gathers a group of ridiculous characters and then finds hilarious ways to bounce them off one another. You want romance? Yona… kind of toys with the idea a bit, but it’s complicated. (You’ll see.)
And it all centers on a wonderfully complex leading character.
I mean, I love the dork troupe and all, but without Yona herself it would all fall apart. Her journey from helpless, useless baggage to a leader and warrior is well told. She has one helluva hole to crawl out of, emotionally speaking, and it doesn’t go smoothly all the time.
And then there’s the primary antagonist.
Yeah, he’s kind of terrible but he’s not… entirely… all that evil? It’s complicated, and I don’t mean in that kind of “he’s a villain but maybe he can be saved” kind of way. Su Won has reasons, and plans, and ideals of his own. We spend part of the series getting a glimpse into his goals and values. This just makes everything a fair bit more interesting. You may not end up rooting for him but you get to understand him somewhat, at least. I like the way his part of the story is handled.
What might one not like about it?
If the term “reverse harem” makes you break out in hives, you’ll probably want to give Yona a pass. That term hardly does this story justice, mind you, but let’s not mince words, eh?
Other thoughts about it?
I like the way that the introduction at the very beginning of the series primes the viewer for the gathering of the band of warriors without really giving away much about how it happens and what it really means. The show eventually kind of loops back around to the cliffside gathering at the end.
You start with that visual, then cut to a time before everything goes horribly awry. It’s a neat hook.
Where can I watch it?
Crunchyroll is the place to watch Yona of the Dawn.