Why do things always have to end just when they hit their peak? Seriously, why isn’t there like 24 more episodes I can look forward to with this series? Yes, Akatsuki no Yona is over, for the time being anyway. And as such, I can now spend the next few months complaining about how I can no longer look forward to a new episode of it every Tuesday. The series has sadly ended on a bit of non-note, but luckily for us viewers, we got one of the best arcs yet to satisfy us for now. Wow, I’m going to miss this show!
Honestly, this last arc is basically perfection incarnate. Yeah there are still some of pacing and animation hiccups, but for Akatsuki no Yona this was by far its best arc. This is for a number of reasons, but the main one is just that every element of Yona’s character development so far comes together with expert precision. In this arc she decides to fight the tyrannical overlord of the port town Awa, not because she wants to do it to gain the Green Dragon Jeaha’s trust, but because she wants to protect the people of her kingdom. Kumji’s methods of selling his citizens into slavery, and buying illegal drugs from the neighboring kingdoms sickens Yona; and even though she knows she’s fragile and not very good at fighting, she decides to fight because it’s the right thing to do.
From here on out, a number of amazing events happen that test Yona’s conviction as a character, and improve her strength as a warrior. Yona is spared no mercy here, she has to climb across a dangerous cliff path above a raging ocean, she has to degrade herself to the level of property in order to bring down Lord Kumji, and she does this all while being scared out of her mind. And yet she keeps going, proving to people with her fiery eyes that she isn’t the timid girl she used to be, and that moment when she shoots Kumji through the heart with an arrow is just stunning. It was a great way to really close up all the build up she’s had over the course of the series. After all those nights of cutting her hands on the string of her bow, she finally is able to successfully bring down a living enemy; and yet even as she grows more comfortable with taking lives, she remains respectful to her prey, except to those who are truly corrupt.
Not only that, but at the same time she’s developing in more emotional ways. For example, she develops a motherly relationship with the pirate captain Gigan. With her guidance and calm strength, Yona is finally able to understand what she wants to become: A strong confident leader capable of passionate empathy, and brutal force. Not to mention her relationship with Hak is getting more and more tense with every episode. Hak is struggling to hold back his feelings toward her, and Yona’s desire to protect him one day is only growing stronger by the day. This results in some marvelous scenes of romantic tension which, while over the top (Licking honey off her hand, really Hak?), also provides some nice manservice for the ladies in the audience.
In general though, Yona continues to be a great role model for young girls and women. She’s demure and feminine, but that doesn’t stop her from being a complete and utter bada** when necessary. It doesn’t feel forced either, Yona feels like a consistent character with her strength and determination feeling like a natural evolution of her personality. As I said in the last post, it really does surprise me that shows like Diabolik Lovers exist when Akatsuki no Yona is able to deliver both satisfying fujoshi fanservice, and solid moral messages to its female audience.
Sadly though everything isn’t completely sunshine and rainbows with these final episodes, since after the beautifully executed death of Lord Kumji in episode 22, the show just kind of ends. Don’t get me wrong, the final two episodes were great at setting up what the next 24 episodes of Akatsuki no Yona would look like, the only problem is that there isn’t 24 more episodes to this show. Yes, just like everyone feared, there isn’t a second season coming out immediately after this one. In fact so far there hasn’t even been an announcement for a second season… WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME AKATSUKI NO YONA!?
Anyways, my complaining aside, episodes 23 and 24 aren’t terrible, but they certainly don’t make me feel a sense of closure either. I mean Yona has an intense encounter with Soo-won in Awa, and then gains the Yellow Dragon shortly after, you can’t just abandon the story here! We’ve barely gotten the time to know the Yellow Dragon, and we still don’t’ quite know what Soo-won is planning; all that’s made clear from this finale in that Yona’s journey is far from over. I assume after this Akatsuki no Yona would have consisted of Yona traveling throughout Kouka in order to help people and gain confidence in her abilities as a ruler, but besides that everything is an open book. The Yellow Dragon might be another serious love interest for Yona, maybe? Soo-won is planning a war, sort of? Hak is going to confess his love for Yona — Okay that one’s a given, but you get my point.
However, despite this lack of closure, those final two episodes don’t lower my opinion of the show in any way. Akatsuki no Yona is still a great shoujo fantasy adventure, one which manages to provide good manservice, a positive female role model, and best of all, fun. I may have initially panned it for its generic plot, but the great execution of its following episodes has completely overwritten my initial ideas about the show. I am now desperate for a second season, and I can’t wait for the next time I see Yona, Hak, Yun, and their dragon companions down the road. I’ll miss you Akatsuki no Yona. I really will.
And with that I bid you adieu! See you whenever they release a second season.
P.S. Sorry this post wasn’t released sooner. My computer died!