Yona of the Dawn, Part 2

Creator: Unknown

Vol. 2 (Chapters 6-11)
(Click to buy in paperback)
Eps. (the rest of) 4-6
(Click to watch on Funimation)

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 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 abandoned said role (to pursue priesthood or become a laborer) they would have to shed that identity, therefore, their social standings would be demoted. Which differs from the Bushido code where had they 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, 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 carries 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 and his conflicting thoughts of remorse and doubt in his choice of action to get to this point during his inner monologue 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 disappointed and somewhat inconvenienced 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.)

Yoon 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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