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.
I got into watching Yona because a dear friend of mine from Twitter/Line called Rosie, who is obsessed with it, told me I just had to watch it. I of course knew about this show’s popularity, but I’m so lazy to watch anything. So I said I wanted her to watch with me which she accepted, and in the space of 2 days I watched 24 episodes.
I hadn’t been that into a show in a long while, but this one gripped me by the throat and I couldn’t sleep well until I reached the finish line, tears pouring out of me. But let’s not get ahead of myself, shall we?
I honestly didn’t expect this to be as good as it is, and to be as rounded either. I was expecting it to be all about the romance, but wow was I WRONG.
Yona’s journey from a spoiled princess that is betrayed and has to grow up, mature mentally and physically, while trying to survive and learn to fight, is completely riveting. Life is not easy for her, nor is it facing harsh truths, but Yona’s growth is completely stellar. If you enjoy well written characters that go from spoiled to complete badasses while retaining their humanity, this is the show for you.
All the characters are great, and of course there’s the love triangle, but who the heck cares about that when there’s Yona? Yona is the character I love the most, F the guys and anyone else, she’s the one my heart beats the most. That’s not to say I dislike any characters, aside from that treacherous snake of a cousin, but aside that I love everyone. I cried for everyone, my heart wrenches each time anyone is sad, or hurt. They’re all great, Yona is the shining beacon of light though.
I really just want to emphasis how much I love her and respect her, and how SHOOK I got by her transformation and when she gets serious?! I BOW DOWN TO THEE, MY QUEEN.
One thing that boggled my mind was the blood and even at times a slight bit of gore shown in the anime. People get maimed, killed, decapitated, hurt, all in front of the camera. You can see the blood, the wounds, and to be honest I adore that they went all in with the violence to show this isn’t a slice of lice shoujo, but set in a time when the winds are changing and a war is brewing. For some I’m sure this isn’t their cup, but for me it’s something I applaud and want to see more of!
The music really pulls at the heart strings and sets a mood, harking back to ancient times that I just loved. Even the OP isn’t typical anime, it’s just an instrumental track which super suits the show. And when it’s sad moments? Prepare to bawl out because everything is done so you can be wrecked. Another great thing I noticed was the use of silence, not complete silence, but as in moments that didn’t have music and just ambience and sounds of animals, chirps, and such, that really brought a tranquility, only to then be completely destroyed by the maiming wwwww
A thing that stood out to me was how perfectly attuned and balanced this was, with serious moments, sweet moments, funny moments, angst, destroying your heart moments, without ever feeling there was too much drama, or too much of one thing. If you’ve read my Escaflowne post, you know how much I love shows that balance things out, and when they’re shoujo with violence? Even better! This is right up there with Escaflowne as my fave shoujo anime series I’ve experienced yet.
This was an almost perfect show, expect then the ending came and it was open-ended, nothing got resolved. I, of course, fully expected to be a sequel and was all LET’S GO WATCH THE SEQUEL NAO, only to then be told by a grieving Rosie that there was none. I proceed to enter into shock and say HOW, THIS IS SO GOOD, but it seems the anime wasn’t all that popular, aka didn’t sell well.
Of course there’s the manga…which I’ve been told is even more serious, bloody, and delves even deeper into the characters background and stories. But I wanted more of the anime, it was just so perfect, so lovely, so well attuned, that I needed moar and was inconsolable. That is until I heard this was getting a sequel (actually more like a prequel-sequel) involving Zeno. I shan’t speak of that one because it’s an entirely different beast, trust me. /whimpers with feels
It’s a sign of a good show when I can’t stop watching, and that even when I finish a season I can’t get enough. While I do want to read the manga, knowing it’s still on-going makes me just go “meh”. I detest on-going series, I don’t like waiting and suffering cliffhangers! T_T
Now, if you haven’t seen this? DO IIIIIT, DOOOO IIIITTT NAAAOOOO! Don’t like shoujo? You’ll like this! Don’t like violent shows? You’ll like this even then! It’s impossible to hate, dislike or get bored with Yona, of that I guarantee you!