Wow that was fast! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a series improve so quickly after writing a post about it. I mean literally episodes 5 and 6 improved on everything I complained about in my first post. Yona’s development picked up the pace, the relationship between her and Hak got more focus, and while it’s still somewhat generic, it’s execution has improved tenfold! I’m not quite sure what happened in the production here, but I’m just going to assume that the series was just getting off to a slow start. Either that or Akatsuki no Yona really wanted to prove my original opinion on it wrong!
Anyways, like I said before, the main improvement here is definitely Yona’s character development. While she wasn’t a bad character in the first few epiodes, she just wasn’t very interesting. Throughout most of the beginning of the series she was either whining or being in shock, which yeah, I would be too if my Father had just been murdered by my childhood crush, but it didn’t make her the most interesting person. However that’s changed completely here, since, as of now anyway, Yona is quickly becoming the strong warrior princess the opening scene of episode one promised. This isn’t rushed either, it starts off slowly with her taking initiative in keeping Hak by her side, and this slowly turns into her taking action against her pursuers.
This leads to the great scene in episode 6, where she steals the Fire General’s sword and slices off the section of her hair he was holding, staring at him with her fiery purple eyes. It’s really compelling to see her develop from a shy and demure princess into a motivated fighter, looking to take back what the kingdom that she lost. However the show doesn’t make this the end of her develop, in fact she still has a lot of room to improve. From Jun criticizing her ignorance, to her lack of experience in stealth or battle, Akatsuki no Yona is really making sure you know that her amazing character progression isn’t going to end anytime soon.
The other major thing which has really improving the show is the chemistry between Yona and Hak. Not only is it adorable, but seeing them both working to protect each other really helps show the develop between their relationship as Princess and bodyguard. They aren’t just objects to use or protect anymore, their bond of friendship and possible love has led them to both accept each other’s support. Hak knows that Yona isn’t a little helpless girl anymore, and he shows this by accepting Yona’s offer for him to teach her the art of battle. Yona then accepts him back by saying that she’ll protect him, just like he has protected her for her entire life. It’s pretty great to watch, and I can’t wait to see where their relationship goes in the future.
And finally the last two great additions I want to talk about are the introduction of the new characters Jun and Ik-su, and Soo-won’s amazingly sympathetic portrayal. Starting off with the latter, I would like to point out how nice it is to see a show like this portray the villain as more than just a bad guy. As I said in the previous post, Soo-won isn’t just a jerk who betrayed his friends and feels no regrets for it, he’s the childhood friend of Yona and Hak who feels guilty for hurting them. Yet this still doesn’t stop him from continuing to seek out his ideals, and rule the Kingdom of Kouka. It’s heartbreaking to see him struggle to keep himself together when he hears about the possible death of his old friends, and this great layer to his character definitely makes him an interesting villain to watch. I wonder how he will deal with his connection to Yona and Hak once they come knocking on his castle’s doors later in the series!
Then there’s the newly introduced characters Yun and Ik-su. Jun is the newest addition to Yona’s party, and he’s a smart, curious young man who watches over Ik-su, the kind but clumsy priest. Ik-su wants Yun to expand his horizons by heading out with Yona in her search for the four ancient dragon warriors. Yun doesn’t want this though, and he worries about what will happen to Ik-su if he leaves. This conflict is explored very well in episode 8 which, while completely separate from the actual plot of the show, does a great job at developing Yun as a character. He eventually agrees to leave with Yona and Hak, and the goodbye between him and Ik-su is really heartwarming.
Overall though, Akatsuki no Yona is really shaping up to be a pretty good show. While the first four episodes were slow and generic, these episodes have been improving on the premise and characters so much it’s astounding. I’m very invested now, and while I still wouldn’t call it a great show, it definitely has some magnificent moments. From the nice animation and action, to the interesting characters, I have hope that the show will keep improving and fulfill the show’s potential to the fullest. I bid you adieu, and I’ll see you in the next post!
Next Post: Akatsuki no Yona – Episode 9-12 Impressions