Yona of the Dawn, Part 2

Manga
Vol. 2 (Chapters 6-11)
Anime
Eps. (the rest of) 4-6

Episode 4: The Wind Tribe

Manga Chapters: The first minute before the theme break covers the rest of chapter 5 to the end of chapter 7.

Su-won is certainly interesting and calculative, I’m not sure if he knows his actions are wrong in his approach to becoming king but he also thinks its great that one of his elders, who is his blood brother’s honorary father thinks of him as family. He’s not as expressive as Yona or Hak, he’s such a blank slate, you never know what or how he’s thinking. We’re then introduced to the Wind Tribe and Tae-Yeon is adorable as well as Han-Dae and Tae-Woo fangirling about Hak and Yona, that was a much-needed laugh. Yona starts to come back to herself and Hak is definitely suited for the role of leadership, whether he truly wants it or not.

This guy is the only leader that looks like his tribe, he totally would be a fire lord.


Episode 5: Howl

Manga Chapters: Episode lines up perfectly with the start of chapter 8 to the end of chapter 9.

The title of a priest is changed to oracle, I would assume to avoid any religious controversy.

I really love Yona as a character. Seeing her confidence grow is being very well-paced and more realistic than most princess/warrior stories I’ve seen. She’s not a secretly rebellious fighter or picks up on fighting very quickly, she’s just an innocent (albeit kind of bratty) girl that’s had a very sheltered life and all of that intense realization of finding out about Su-won after she’s see him murder her own father on her birthday and then her having to flee her home as well can really mess you up mentally and I would say that’s very relatable, I know it would take me some time to process all that, whatever shock she went into durring all that broke a little after she suspects Hak is leaving and wants to leave as well. But she is smart and determined in her decisions, she knows Hak and the fact he’ll still be loyal to her regardless of either of their positions. Plus, only she could bring the great lightning beast down with such ease. :3

Yona’s innocence with her and Hak’s playful banter is adorable. The balance of comical and serious moments is one of my favorite aspects of this show. In this episode, it’s so meta. Hak is so chill, he just doesn’t care about Kan Tae-Jun’s monologue and Kan Tae-Jun’s asking to supplement his “nickname” so he can give an awesome speech to himself shows his level of maturity. We also get the biggest and most beautiful fight scene (yet) in the series. Monica’s voice acting, the music and animation definitely shine in this sequence. Yona finally becomes the person we saw in the beginning and it is glorious! The music and dialogue are powerful, Yona’s level of passionate determination is definitely something to strive for.

Sweet little Tae-Yeon in this other powerful scene. :3

“I thought I’d find that the princess was a young, helpless girl, but her crimson hair is a flame that might burn me to ashes.”


Episode 6: Red Hair

Manga Chapters: 10-11

Fierce Yona is best Yona.

Seriously, the music, the animation, everything in these first 8 minutes…I just have no words.

Time for a little history lesson: In the tradition of ancient Japanese customs, cutting one’s hair is an act of relinquishment… of title, social status, of pride, etc. or as in this scene, an act of freedom for Yona, it symbolizes her separating from her past self and starting her transition into a more determined warrior.

Mulan did it as an act of sacrifice, to save her father from dying in the war,

Prince Ashitaka had made a promise to leave his village after being infected by a demon’s hatred,

and Zuko and Iroh severed their ties to their homeland and the royal family as they had become traitors to their nation.

It was most prominent in the role of a samurai, their top-knot hairstyle was an emblem of their status in society. If they were to abandon said role (to pursue priesthood or become a laborer) they would have to shed that identity, therefore, their social standings would be demoted. Which is different than in the bushido code where if they had broken the code they swore to or felt they had brought shame to themselves or the ways of a samurai, they would have to commit suicide, which is something Jack almost did.

Anyway, back to Yona, on a lighter note, it’s a symbol of a renouncing your past to become a different person. Yona literally cut on what was holding her back from maturing and taking the responsibility of her kingdom back. fiercely. The Japanese saying “A woman’s hair is her life” represents how she chooses to carry herself in society, different hairstyles symbolized different things such as if they were in a relationship or not. Or however many ornaments, pins or combs they used to decorate their hair would represent their class, religion, or character. A woman’s hair is given high regard in japanese culture, as their crown in a way, not just as a feminine attribute.

So Tae-Jun distraughtly informs Su-won that Yona and Hak are dead after such a fall. While his sadness and maybe a little shock is evident, not much else in his expression. Which puzzles me so because it seems like there’s nothing else in him except anger and selfishness but for him to flashback to a moment with Hak and Yona before he destroyed it all seeing how much he cared about his friends as well as his conflicting thoughts of remorse and doubt in his choice of action to get to this point during his inner monolouge at the coronation is saddening in retrospect and just alludes more towards his mysterious change from a happy child with his two best friends in the whole world and even an admiring young prince who just wants his friends to always be by his side, to such a colorless dejected person who sounds dissapointed and somewhat inconvienced by them for not sticking by him in his rise than regretful. Then the juxtaposition of saying he will unwaveringly cut down whoever gets in his way to his vision of a better kingdom to the people is intimating to hear from a young king. Now that he is crowned, all his actions beforehand, as bloodied as they were, are obsolete. He should feel no more doubt even if he acknowledges what he did to get here but I don’t think he’s going to stand as tall as he imagines. His suppressed guilt might make him snap. (Also, Tae-Jun’s fear and hysterical pleading to be killed for his actions was something else.)

Yun is my favorite besides Yona, he’s so nonchalant about everything and Ik-su is a dramatic, adorkable baby bird.

“Have I chosen poorly?”

To Be Continued…

 

~As always, stay positive and visit your local library~

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Tangled the Series: Season 1, Episode 18: Not in the Mood


Writer: Kelly Hannon | Director: Stephen Sandoval

The style of this show still amazes me, look at all the beautiful color in this opening shot of the castle:
Sure, you could say it’s just sunset but the music cues that we’re about to enter something serious…

and shocking – the king belligerently declares war to a mysterious being and sends Rapunzel to the dungeon!

Then with a beautiful “24 Hours Earlier” timecard, this is going to be a classic “How We Got Here” scenario.

With a dignitary from a neighboring kingdom coming to discuss a trading contract, everyone has to be on their best behavior. Rapunzel is preparing a speech, Cassandra is on security detail and Eugene has a flashy performance to set up.

As such, with the added pressure in preparation for this important appointment, the tangled trio has been getting on each other’s nerves a little more than usual and Max and Pascal are right in the middle of it.

In an attempt to help, Xavier gives Max and Pascal a mood-altering tonic to help defuse the hostility between their friends. – On my first watch, I misheard Xavier and thought the tonic was supposed to just make them be nicer to each other so when Rapunzel drank it, I thought “Oh gosh, blondie is already nice so this is gonna be overload for her” I freaked out when I saw she was throwing out so much shade at everyone, it was hilarious!

Seriously, look at these expressions they gave her!!
Punzie is pissed.Yes Eugene, she is pretty scary.

Cass is definitely my second favorite considering she normally hates overly cute stuff whereas Rapunzel does have a mean strike when she feels she needs to.

My favorite bit of the whole episode:

Just everything: Cassandra’s little peppy shoulder dance, Eugene’s hilarious self-pity party, (with Zach’s great comedic delivery) Max and Pascal slowing backing away behind them trying to get out of dodge, and Emo-Punzie startingly yelling at the both of them to shut up with the musical emphasis in the BGM.
Such perfectly out-of-character characters.

And you went there, Kelly Hannon…
Best reference ever.

Desktop wallpaper worthy artwork right there.

I had to make a gif.

As predicted, more shenanigans ensue as the potion turns Rapunzel, Eugene, and Cass back to normal but reserves everyone else’s personalities, including the most important guest, Griffin of Pittsford. Queen Ariana is a slob, Stan and Pete are fighting, as well as the King and Griffin. Which escalates to a challenge of a duel and we’ve come back around to the opening scene of Rapunzel being thrown in prison by the power-crazed king.

Where Rapunzel, being such the Hufflepuff that she is, gives another “schmaltzy” speech and basically states the moral of the episode: That no one is perfect and recognizing some of the negative quirks in our personalities we could look to change for the better and sometimes that can cause a clash with those of our friends and while friends may not always agree, they all care about each other too much to let those pet peeves get in the way.

Back upstairs, the three of them split up to handle the banquet hall full of fights. Eugene charms the banquet guests, Cass handles the guards and her regressed father,
(I was very surprised they got away with animating that butt slap!!)
Did you see that jiggle?

while Rapunzel challenges her father and it is one of her best moments.

Which breaks the potion’s spell on him and all returns to normal…

Oh and Varian is back.


While overall a pretty standard plot for an episode, with this type of genre “trope” the shining moments are definitely in the antonymous comedic ones, Rapunzel having the courage to stand up to her father’s ideals and they do tap the glass a bit with the trio realizing “Hey, we are acting differently, what’s going on?” when usually the focus on the episode would be on the characters that caused the mess fixing it and the ones they affected suddenly change back to their normal behavior like nothing happened as an oversight. So more of a breather episode after calming down from the intensity of Queen for a Day, and with the Varian tease at the end, at least the next few episodes to end the first season on will be epic.


~As always, stay positive and visit your local library~

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Yona of the Dawn, Part 1

Manga
Vol. 1 (Chapters 1-5)
Anime
Eps. 1-4 (first 2 minutes)

Story Time: I’ve already seen the anime in full. Unfortunately, it was never finished so the only way to find out the ending is to read the rest of the manga. So I do know what happens up to a certain point and in starting the manga, it’s been pretty faithful to the anime so far (a few moments were switched around at times but it doesn’t affect the story greatly), there’s not much to compare so I’m just going to review the anime because between the two entertainment mediums, I prefer a more colorful experience. No offense to manga fans, I love reading, I endorse reading, but the lake of color doesn’t really help with the immersion for me. Plus the anime is so beautiful, it shouldn’t be ignored. If there are any differences down the road, I’ll put them before the episode review.

In this Korean/Chinese culturally-influenced world, Princess Yona of the Kingdom of Kouka has lived a peaceful and luxurious life, completely sheltered from violence and poverty as ordained by her gentle father, the Emperor il, for the outlaw of war and a kingdom of weapons to be forbidden. But Yona suffers a devastating transpiration on her 16th birthday as her father is murdered by her cousin Su-won. Suddenly having to flee her home and livelihood with her childhood friend and bodyguard, General Hak, she discovers her beloved kingdom isn’t what it seems to be. With corruption running rampant and Su-won plotting to become king however necessary, Yona and Hak must venture for help to reclaim the throne. If there be war, so be it.

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