Akatsuki no Yona – 03

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Hak is just upset that pink isn’t his colour.

We’re on episode 3 already? School is eating up my life. OTL Though that being said, things are still going pretty strong for Akatsuki no Yona. I thought Yona would have annoyed me more just based on her character description, but she’s proven to be absolutely adorable~.

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How could anyone kill a guy who cries over his wife like this?

They killed off Il pretty early, so it was kind of unexpected that they went back and then made his character extremely endearing. They could have left it as Yona being depressed because her father died and just had the viewer assume that they were close, but it’s definitely more emotionally impacting showing actual events throughout Yona’s childhood. So now we know for sure that Il was a pretty awesome guy, and he deserves Hak’s loyalty. Actually, they even explained why his guards would turn against him while still making him out to be a good king, since people obviously looked down on his peaceful nature. Of course, this makes Soo-won’s actions look worse, since Soo-won would probably know about Il not being as much as weak of a person as he seemed, and it’s looking less and less like Il was really his father’s murderer. But that situation seems pretty complicated. Il and Soo-won didn’t seem to really interact in these flashbacks, so maybe there’s something that will be revealed later about that.

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Soo-won’s father didn’t look like a bad guy either, again. Maybe he was a bit obsessed with strength from the few lines he had, but based on the fact that he bothered visiting his son, he couldn’t have been a terrible person. So what Soo-won did is even less understandable, since he obviously was a good kid and the last person you’d expect to murder someone. …The fact that he was so happy about his father lecturing him about being stronger was maybe a bit of a red flag, but maybe that was really how his father showed affection. Time will tell, probably.

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Also explained in the flashbacks is Hak’s reasons for going so far for Yona’s sake. …From his “strange feelings” and how he didn’t want to be around the castle because of her, he’s probably had a bit of a crush on her since childhood, but given the genre, that was probably to be expected. What’s nice though is that he never seemed to hold any ill will towards Soo-won for being the object of Yona’s affections, and truly wanted happiness for the two of them. Even in the present, he seems to be putting reason before his own feelings regarding that hairpiece Soo Won gave Yona. Instead of being upset over Yona’s attachment (his feelings aside, having her back to normal would make the journey easier for both of them), survival is more important for him right now. As a bonus, he’s kind of a tsundere, but his tsun side isn’t overpowering, so it comes off that he’s just a harsher voice of reason for the characters. Yona probably needs that right now, and it will undoubtedly come in handy later.

But that being said, Yona’s character isn’t too terrible right now. Hak is being extremely understanding in this journey, since he’s more than aware that Yona has been pretty sheltered her entire life, but Yona could be doing a lot worse right now in terms of holding them back. Wandering into a snake nest wasn’t exactly the best move on Yona’s part, but how was she supposed to know where snakes live? She didn’t even know what leeches were. Nor did she react to Hak seeing her naked, so right now it just seems like she’s empty inside. Maybe her actions would have been more grating if this episode was entirely comprised of Hak and Yona wandering around the wilderness and Yona staring off into space, but the flashbacks helped split this up and give it more emotional context. Obviously she’s going to have to snap out of it eventually, but right now, Yona grieving her father’s death and Soo-won’s betrayal makes a lot of sense.

Once again, Akatsuki no Yona took a narrative direction that was kind of unconventional, but it worked really well. Going straight form the beginning of the story into a mix of flashbacks and the present was really effective for explaining character motives. The story probably could have worked pretty well by just continuing in the present and having the viewer assume that Yona was upset when her father died because they were family and Hak was still loyal because that’s what a good servant does, but adding in the emotional aspects from the flashbacks really makes the character’s current actions understandable. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here, since it seems to have done a lot of pretty good things from the start. Obviously Yona is going to meet a bunch of characters to join her group, so hopefully the plot keeps doing interesting things while introducing all of them instead of falling into a pattern. Or maybe this anime could make it work. Either way, I’m looking forward to the next episode.


University student and the one at Metanorn who's known for wearing glasses. Likes blood, insanity and plot twists, but also plays otome games and adores cute romance anime. It balances out... somehow.
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18 Responses to “Akatsuki no Yona – 03”

  1. Highway says:

    I thought after episode two that they could have packaged it up and said “Here’s your two episode OVA” and everyone go home, a job well done. But this episode was really nice too. I thought the best part was when little Yona hit Hak while they were recovering *BAP*. Just out of the blue, but deserved, and so adorable. This one really was “Let’s make the king look better, and start to undermine Soo-won”, even though Yona hasn’t gotten Soo-won out of her mind.

    • Irenesharda says:

      The little kid versions of our characters were the most adorable things ever. I thought little Yona’s voice was just so cute! 😀

      And I don’t know about “undermining Soo-won”, this episode only served to make me feel even more sorrow for his character and that he’s as much a part of this tragedy as Yona or Hak. He has been shown as a sweet, loving, gentle child that truly loved both his cousin and his friend. To see him so wrapped up in supposed vengeance, that he was willing to throw all that away just breaks my heart. And considering the nature of both King Il and Soo-won’s father, I’m thinking more and more that there are outside forces that have been manipulating all this, including poor Soo-won, that it’s just all the more tragic.

      • Karakuri says:

        Yes! And watching Soo-won as a child attempting to cheer up Yona was really cute too~.

        But yeah, I have to agree that this isn’t quite undermining him. Seeing him turn from a cute child into someone who would kill Il is pretty saddening. It also makes Yona’s attachment to him now pretty understandable. The relationship they had as children doesn’t seem like it was a lie at all, so of course she doesn’t really understand how Soo-won could possibly do what he did.

        • Highway says:

          What I meant by undermining him was the part where Hak realized the strength of King Il, a strength that Soo-won didn’t bother trying to see, since he was too focused on his own concept of strength from his own father. Since a significant part of his justification for killing King Il was because Il was a weak ruler, the foundations of that justification are now missing.

          And I’m sure that we’ll find out another significant part of his personal justification: that King Il killed Soo-won’s father, the king’s brother, is false as well. So in the end, Soo-won’s justifications are smoke and mirrors, and he just killed the king so he could be in power. Ultimately that’s what he did anyway, but he’s at least telling himself it wasn’t because he was just power-hungry.

          • Karakuri says:

            Ah, I see. Maybe Soo-Won noticed it too? Though they really didn’t show any indication of what Soo-won thought about Il, and this was before his father was dead. I never even thought of it that way, which Soo-won being obsessed with strength and using his father’s death as justification.

            But hey, yeah, I figure that Soo-won will either go full villain and say “screw the past, I want POWER”, or he’ll deeply regret what he did since he was most likely manipulated into it. Or maybe the anime will go into a different direction that’s harder to predict. Really, I’m sure it could do fine with any of these.

            • Irenesharda says:

              I have a feeling Soo-won’s path will be a deeply tragic one. From what I’ve been seeing, he seems to be moreso resigned to doing what he has to do, but he also deeply regrets it. It’s like he’s hardened himself so that he can bear the pain of having to betray, hurt, and kill those that he loves. He tries to tell himself that he never loved them, or that he wasn’t the gentle person we know he was, but it really just sad to see the path that he has forced himself to choose.

          • Irenesharda says:

            I don’t know, I think everyone kind of thought of Il as a weak king and he actually admits it himself several times. Even Yona thought he was weak and a coward at times. It’s was only on those rare moments like what Hak saw, that we could see that strength. I can see how Soo-won would have that perception, especially since he doesn’t live at the castle and only visits.

            Also, Soo-won’s love of his father boarded on worship. He admired his father so much, so however he found out that supposedly Il killed his father, that complete grief probably turned into complete hatred. I can see the political side being a part of it, but I think that the murder of his father was the main reason for Soo-won’s change. Hatred can do horrible things to a good person, especially one who has let it fester for, I think it was, ten years.

            Because I mean, if it was just about power and getting the throne, all he had to do was marry Yona and then it would have been his by right. He could have even waited till after the wedding to kill King Il. This was obviously much more vengeance driven.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    A good episode. The parts of Yona, Hak and Soo-won were endearing to watch which makes it even more a shame they have go down this path. Yona is out of it and she really can’t be blamed. How nerve wrecking it must be to have your whole shattered and you’re unable to cope because of spending an entire existence in a sheltered life. If it’s any consolation for being a princess, she doesn’t have it as bad as Ange from Cross Ange.

    • Karakuri says:

      Yeah, this was pretty well placed too. They’re really pushing the tragedy of the situation.

      Ahaha I don’t think any princess has it quite as bad as Ange does at the moment. …Though luckily, Yona also didn’t start off as a massive bitch like Ange did.

  3. Irenesharda says:

    Yona as a character was way too cute. I love her at all her ages and I just loved the very close dynamic between her, Soo-won, and Hak.

    Which just makes the tragedy of everything that happened between them in the future all the more heartrending when you realize everything that was done. All members seem to very good people: King Il, his brother, and Soo-won, so you have to wonder where everything went wrong? I have to think that there are outside forces manipulating this. King Il seems to be a very good man and despite his pacifist nature, that grabbing of the sword scene shows that he has a rare inner strength. Soo-won seemed to be a very nice boy with a gentle soul, who worshiped his stern, powerful, but loving father. So where the heck did the murder and betrayal come in? Why does Soo-won think his uncle killed his father? And he becomes obsessed with justice and vengeance to the point that he hardens his own nature and betrays the people that he was the closest too?

    This episode just made me feel even more sorrow for all characters involved in all this. I can feel Yona’s pain, and Hak’s anger, and even Soo-won’s conflict and tragedy.

    I did like a further look at Hak and how he has trouble allowing others to get close, considering his adopted grandfather and Yona. He probably has a crush on Yona, but let it go since he knew she cared for Soo-won and he felt the man was better suited for it. However, how our princess and general will change as they continue on their escape into the mountains.

    • Karakuri says:

      Yes, this anime is doing very well with making all of the characters sympathetic. No one seems to have done bad things for the sake of doing bad things. I imagine that too. Soo-won’s advisor seems like the most likely person right now, but I’m sure they’ll go into that eventually.

      I’m sure Yona will find her inner strength and whatnot, but I’m interested in seeing how Hak changes as well. He seems to have everything pretty much together at the moment, but keeping him that way might be boring.

      • Irenesharda says:

        I don’t know, Hak’s not really boring. I like seeing the male lead that already a leader and mature knows how to deal with politics and sacrifice (more of that in episode 4). I also like that he wasn’t really jealous of Soo-won, but just wanted what was best for Yona.

        Seeing as we’ll be getting other characters to hang around Yona, I’m thinking she’ll be getting the most growth, while Hak and the other men serve as her helpers as well as sort-of plot devices to introduce her into the world outside of the palace.

  4. skylion says:

    This has been terrific! I’ve never been a fan of the genre, but this is really hitting me right where I like it. I love the design and am really getting the political story.

    The flashbacks look to be pulling double duty…not only enforcing how hard the betrayal is, but perhaps leading to something? My gut feeling…

    • Karakuri says:

      Yes! It’s doing really well with storytelling elements, but the characters are all pretty relatable, and their motives all seem understandable.

      It would be pretty great if the flashback did lead to something bigger. I’ve been pretty impressed with the direction the story has gone so far.

  5. Highway says:

    I also love how they put the flashback in at this time to make us feel like time is going by, so Yona isn’t just recovering quickly, but in actual time she is. It’s great when it serves a dual purpose like that.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask out of curiosity. Who is that as your avatar? That looks like Rize Kamishiro from Tokyo Ghoul.

    • Karakuri says:

      Yep, you got it!

      • BlackBriar says:

        I knew it! I had a feeling it was her. So the Binge Eater Ghoul won you over. Must be because she’s playful while sadistic with her prey and that wears glasses for a bonus. I don’t blame you on the first half of my assumption.

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