Anime: Yona Of The Dawn (Part 1)
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Retail Price: $64.98
The anime series Yona of the Dawn is a series with a harem presence in its DNA, but has been built up by fans to be something much more elaborate than meets the eye. The series comes from Pierrot, the company behind some extremely popular series including Tokyo Ghoul, Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto and many more. In contrast of the series previously listed, Yona of the Dawn is much more on the romantic based atmosphere surrounding Yona (along with the various men in her life of course.) The premise of the anime introduces us to Yona, a somewhat predictably entitled princess of the Kohka Kingdom. One of the first things we realize about the protagonist is that she has a great deal of love for a friend from her childhood named Su-won. Despite taking a lighthearted trip through a seemingly carefree first episode, things take an interesting turn for Yona to create an interest in the narrative.
As Yona’s birthday approaches, she makes the decision to profess her love for Su-won to her father when her life is changed entirely. Yona accidentally walks in on the savage murder of her father King II with the killer being Su-won wielding a sword. At this moment, it becomes evident that Su-won had been preparing a power-play to attain the King’s position with no regard towards the girl who believed she knew everything there was to know about him. With her options of survival and security dwindling, Yona and her guard Son Hak make a quick escape from the kingdom on a quest to find the four legendary dragons of Kohka. By this time, a small pool of men begin to find their way to Yona to contribute that “who will she pick?” state of mind as well.
Yona is definitely someone who has a range of personality traits that sometimes can be redeeming to the stereotypical princess she portrays. From the initial shock of switching things up with the father’s death, I thought that it could jumpstart the transition of Yona - with a degree of success, but not entirely. The princess finds ways to at least try and maintain her life, picking up archery at any chance she gets to take that helpless feeling away. She does have impressive moments that change your view of her from time to time, but for a strong majority Yona truly requires rescue from the men that she knows who are all hoping to impress her along the way. From a protagonist standpoint, Yona isn’t perhaps the best character to draw you in for the anime however she isn’t complete failure for Yona of the Dawn either.
When trying to determine what genre the series is, you have to consider that there were multiple goals in mind. Action, romance and comedy are all fragments of the end product for Yona of the Dawn, but not all were as memorable as the others. Clearly romance and comedy played a major part of the series for a majority of the episodes. There is a slice of life/harem dialogue exchange from the beginning until the end, which can detract from potential for an intense plot. The majority of the characters are at play in the chase for Yona, making them dependent on her to attain any major place in the makeup of the anime series. Son Hak seems to be the most aware character, showing to have a substantial amount of respect for Yona, but it still goes back to how he relates to Yona’s life which is a risky move from the writing perspective.
The production and distribution of Yona of the Dawn is from Funimation, making a strong dub considering the wavering plot the series has. The English voice cast (notably Christopher Sabat, Micah Solusod and Eric Vale) are great fits for their respective roles in the first half of the series. The shift in music (or cutting the music) for more serious scenes makes you pay attention to the surroundings, despite not having a payoff every time. The artwork from Yona of the Dawn creates an artistic strength for the anime, using strong color choices and safe but enjoyable designs for characters. When it comes down to it, Yona of the Dawn isn’t a game changing harem series, but it is more tolerable and less fanservice oriented than others with action and suspense sprinkled in on occasion.
Overall Grade: 6.5/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
Yona had major potential to be a memorable character but her helplessness in part 1 remained.
Son Hak is probably the strongest factor in making Yona of the Dawn more as a whole.
I have hope that the second half of the series will see a drastic shake up to what we are expecting.