The power of shota compels you
|3 more episodes in and I’m still pretty impressed. …I’m not entirely sure where the plot is going to go from here, but I’m still impressed.|
Hak seems to be flirting more with Yona now, which is quite a change from how he acted before the betrayal. Maybe this is because he’s free from the social restrictions they had in the palace (plus her main interest just kind of killed her father, though Hak doesn’t seem like that much of an opportunist). Instead of coming off as creepy though, his attitude seems to work. Yona barely seems to react to his advances, and he’s obviously still trying to protect her with everything he has. Plus in the situations he’s gotten more familiar with Yona, it’s always been for her sake (like checking her resolve or protecting her). The two characters seem to work well together, and Hak seems to be a great motivator for Yona. Sure, him motivating her during the cliff fight wasn’t the ideal situation, since Hak was injured and fighting for his life, but Yona’s maturity grew pretty fast. Hak is pretty much all she has left, so of course she would want to protect him.
But damn, Yona certainly is coming along as a character. It might have happened kind of quickly since Yona wasn’t in the Fuuga long, but I guess one doesn’t need to see a whole lot of people suffering for no real reason in order to change. What this does prove though is that Yona has a lot of empathy and heart. Normally the maturing of the princess-type character seems to take a while to set in, but Yona made her decision pretty fast and didn’t think twice about humbling herself before a child. She isn’t the type to sit around and wait for things to change around her, if her situation isn’t good, she acts. This is great to see. And as things went on Yona doesn’t seem to feel any sort of regression either. When Hak told her to stay and be quiet, her realization that her sitting there and waiting for Hak to solve things is no better than her waiting in the village came pretty quickly. Yona even attempted a sword fight (something that the plot has shown that she’s never done, since Il wouldn’t allow her to touch weapons). The heroine having this much self-awareness and bravery is making Akatsuki no Yona great to watch and hopefully the anime keeps this up. Maybe the impromptu haircut was a little cliche (since cutting one’s hair in Japanese culture is a symbol that the person has undergone some dramatic change), but it worked with the situation. Plus long hair is pretty inconvenient for battle anyways.
Though not every character seems to be so well rounded. The warriors of the Fire Tribe were pretty much there just to act as a mob against Hak, and they really seemed to have it out for Yona, considering that she was just supposed to be “apprehended” and not “killed”. Tae-jun is more of an interesting case, since he just seemed like a generic villain until episode 6. Everything seemed to be there just to point out how despicable that side was. Or maybe “despicable” is too a strong of a word choice there, but they’re trying to retrieve Yona, so they attack her? Normally one doesn’t try to kill the person they’re attempting to save and/or bring back alive. Like I said before though, they did end up making Tae-jun slightly better at the end, with him telling them not to attack her (seriously, what is with these warriors in this tribe) and I guess he did get upset over them firing a poisoned arrow at her earlier. The fact that he wanted to be punished finalized that he wasn’t totally a bad guy though. Sure, Tae-jun seemed like a bit of a selfish asshat, but when he thought he killed Yona, he truly did seem upset about it.
Then there’s the mystery of what Soo-won wants. He never said anything about killing Hak or Yona and pretty much everyone seemed to ship Soo-won and Yona together. Again, maybe his plan was to marry Yona after killing Il, but her witnessing the murder kind of messed that up. Or maybe his guilt from killing her father would have prevented that development anyways. That aside though, Soo-won doesn’t seem like too bad of a king. The Fire Tribe seemed to the ones behind the idea of blocking off the river (or at least, all Soo-won said was to “prepare for war”, though maybe I’m giving him too much credit here), and his main concern seems to be keeping the peace of Kouka. He could have ordered full on war with the Wind Tribe to try and bend them to his will, but that wouldn’t exactly have done much for the kingdom’s integrity
(…just look at Game of Thrones). Soo-won seems to want everything as united as possible, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He really seems like he wouldn’t be such a bad guy, if not for the whole murdering Il thing.
…Plus the manservice helps.
Everything so far seems pretty realistic in the sense that nobody seems to use magic or anything, but with the appearance of Ik-su, that seems to be changing maybe. It might not be anything drastic in terms of the world building, but the fact that Ik-su seems to get messages from the gods suggests that gods might actually exist in this world. Maybe he could be lying, but Ik-su knew exactly who Yona was, what she had decided, and what happened in the castle, despite the rest of the area (or at least the Fuuga, which is probably better connected to the castle than any other place in the area) not knowing what went on. Ik-su doesn’t seem to have any ulterior motives, so he’s probably not lying. They mentioned the gods during Soo-won’s coronation as well. Maybe they just mentioned the gods since things like coronations normally do (especially ones based in older time periods like this), but maybe the gods will play a bigger part in the direction the plot heads as things go on. …I’m only saying this because the end preview had dragons.
Well, now we know where the budget they saved on the OP is going; those fight scenes with Hak looked pretty fluid and pretty much every closeup of Yona had her hair animated nicely. The plot and the emotional impact it has is going pretty well too, though I feel like I say that every post. Really, all of the characters are pretty loveable so far. …Okay, maybe not the unnamed enemy characters and Tae-jun, but after seeing him so upset over Yona’s “death”, I can’t bring myself to hate the guy. Fuuga had such a great atmosphere as well. It was kind of a generic “safe-haven” place for Hak and Yona to stop in, but you really felt how welcoming they were to Yona, despite her being a stranger (minus the fact she came with Hak). Yona’s time at the village seemed a bit short and maybe some time lapse was cut out in the manga’s transition to the anime, but it still worked. Even the way the plot inserts the comedy portions works well, even if they pop up in the middle of more serious situations. Though that might be because none of the characters are truly awful people deep down (so far anyways).
Now to learn why there are suddenly dragons. Unless they’re a metaphor for something or folklore. Probably folklore.