The Wandering Witch – Visiting Yona at Dawn

Posted on Nov 19 2014

The Wandering Witch Yona

Welcome, all, again. We are weeks into the latest season of anime, a season which has provided so many great series that it was rather difficult to pick one to review. So let’s discuss Yona of the Dawn (Akatsuki no Yona), which is a little bit of everything: action/adventure, magic, comedy, and romance. Its premise is nonetheless accessible, being that Princess Yona is attempting to protect her people and kingdom against the designs of her cousin, who has usurped the throne. This series comes from a manga by Mizuho Kusanagi, which began in August 2009 and is still ongoing in the magazine Hana to Yume. The show is currently seen on Tokyo MX and simulcast on Crunchyroll on Tuesdays at 10:00AM CST.


Yona is the daughter and sole heir of King Il of Kouka, a kingdom in which several powerful tribes are united under a central monarch. She is loved and pampered by her father; her mother was killed by insurgents when Yona was just a child. But she is a child no longer, and as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Yona finds herself the center of attention from would-be suitors. She has no interest in these young men, however, as her heart already belongs to her cousin and childhood friend Soo-Won. It was Soo-Won who comforted Yona after the death of her mother, and who promised to always be by her side. Yona has every desire to help him honor his promise by becoming his wife, but her father disapproves. Hoping to persuade her father, Yona visits his chambers on the night of her birthday celebration, only to witness Soo-Won assassinate him. Yona is in shock and easily seized, and Soo-Won’s co-conspirators suggest also killing her. Son Hak, however, disagrees.


Son Hak is the third in this trio of erstwhile childhood friends, and grew up beside Yona and Soo-Won. He is the general of the Wind Tribe, the adopted grandson of the old warrior and former general Mun-Deok. He was appointed by King Il as Yona’s personal bodyguard and is known as the “Thunder Beast” because of his strength in battle. Realizing Soo-Won’s betrayal and the palace guards’ complicity, Son Hak rescues Yona with the help–and sacrifice–of Min-Soo, a palace servant who disguises himself as the Princess and so draws the pursuit away from her. Son Hak flees with Yona to Capital Fuuga, the capital city of the Wind Tribe, initially hoping to hide her safely there. But the move is anticipated, and pressure is brought against Capital Fuuga by the Fire Tribe on behalf of Soo-Won. In order to protect his people, Son Hak renounces his generalship and prepares to leave the city; in order to protect the only people (besides Son Hak and Min-Soo) who have been willing to risk themselves to protect her, Yona prepares to leave also. They set off together in search of a mythical priest said to inhabit the wilds of the Wind Tribe’s domain. After a fight with the Fire Tribe and a fall from a cliff, the pair are introduced to Ik-Su, the priest they sought, by Yun, the young healer who found and treated them.


At this point, things begin to get increasingly complicated for Yona. It seems that she is the reincarnation of Kouka’s legendary first king, Hiryuu, and that her life was predicted as a time of trial for the kingdom. In order to save her people and kingdom, Yona must locate and recruit the aid of the four dragons who assisted Hiryuu. Trouble is, these are not the same dragons as mentioned in the tales, but rather their descendents in human form. Yona must convince them to join her cause and lend her the aid of their powers–and one has no recognizable power to even lend! And on top of all that, Yona is still conflicted in her feelings towards Soo-Won. Even as she fights his takeover of Kouka and the subjugation of her people, Yona cannot bring herself to harm Soo-Won when given the opportunity. Yona’s father, like Hamlet’s, must wail in the dark some while.

In a season of great shows, Yona of the Dawn is a stand-out! The story is engaging and involved, and–at 24 episodes–is not at all rushed. Because of this, the audience has time to become familiar with the characters and their mindsets, leading to a deeper understanding of their decisions and actions. Meanwhile, the artwork is a visual feast–exquisitely detailed, with just the right interruptions of simplicity for comedy’s sake. And the musical score actually becomes integral to the story-telling rather than just providing accompaniment. This is some thrilling music! And this is an exceptional show, one I look forward to every week. So thank you, Min-Soo, for giving us our Princess! We’ll keep watch now.

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  • HuntikAnimeLover19 November 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I love Yona of the Dawn! Awesome anime series! Great Blog on this Article Moonhawk81! – HuntikFan1017

  • moonhawk81 November 22, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Yeah, the character development and story pacing are spot-on so far! And I love the Korean flavor to the costumes, as they can be quite beautiful.

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