Yona of the Dawn is one of those anime that can appeal to both male and female anime fans. While there are a lot of those, most shojo anime don't often appeal to the male demographic because, well, a lot of them are like chick-lit—an abbreviation of literature who's demographic is, well, chicks.
The story starts off with Yona, a spoiled princess who's used to getting her way and doesn't like her fiery red hair. I have to be honest, I didn't really like her character at the start of the anime, but I can't deny that they did a really good job creating her. Yona acts exactly as I would imagine a spoiled princess would. She's carefree and worries about the most trivial of matters. She's stubborn and likes to have her way. At the same time, Yona isn't a bad person.
Yona has two friends at the start of this series. Soo-Wan and Hak. Soo-Wan is Yona's cousin, and the person she's in love with, while Hak is her bodyguard and a general in the Kou Empire's army known as the Lightning Beast. During the first episode, Soo-Wan kills Yona's father, and he almost kills Yona. It's only thanks to Soo-Wan's help that she manages to escape with her life and flee the castle.
What sets this anime apart from other shojo series is first and foremost, the story itself. Typical shojo anime generally involve three things: a high school setting, a lot of teenage drama, and a romantic pairing. While Yona of the Dawn does have it's fair share of drama, it's not the kind you'd find high schoolers dealing with. This is like a political drama with moments of intense action and humor to relieve the tension. Also, while there IS romance, it's not the kind of high school romance that's so typical of a series like this.
Out of all the characters in the series, my favorite is definitely Hak. He's just one of those characters that you can't help but want to get behind. He's strong, has a sharp tongue, and a strong sense of duty. I was really impressed with his loyalty to Yona. Despite how often he pokes fun of her, you can see how much he cares about her as well.
The dialogue between Yona and Hak is also something I enjoyed a lot. Dialogue is always a tricky issue. In a lot of anime and TV shows, the dialogue tends to sound forced, as if they were reading lines from a script—which they are, but when someone sounds like they're forcing out words, you can really tell. The dialogue in Yona of the Dawn is smooth and flows easily. It doesn't sound forced, especially when it comes to the conversations Hak and Yona have. Having a childhood friend myself, I can tell you that the good-natured teasing is something that we do. Saying that, my childhood friend isn't a girl, so all of the heavy romantic undertones that can be found during certain scenes feels a bit off to me, but I can accept it because of their close relationship.
What really surprised me about this anime, outside of my much I enjoyed it, was the animation. While shojo anime aren't poorly animated, I feel like many of them are lacking when it comes to fluid animations. This is generally because the highest focus isn't on the animation but on the romance. Yona of the Dawn is one of the better animated series I've seen. I was especially impressed by the fight scenes, which I felt were incredibly well choreographed.
However, where this anime really shines isn't the animation, the artwork, or even the story. It's the development of Yona as a person. At the beginning of this series, Yona is your stereotypical spoiled princess. Through the course of the series, she goes through a series of hardships, starting with the murder of her father and the betrayel of her beloved Soo-Wan. By the end of the series, Yona is almost unrecognizable from the spoiled girl that she had been at the beginning. Her metamorphosis from weak little girl to strong female protagonist is one of the most well-done examples of character development I've seen.
Something to take note of in this anime is that all of the characters are fairly likable. There was no one that I truly hated. Even the antagonist of the series, Soo-Wan, is someone who I can't find myself outright disliking despite what he did at the beginning.
If there was one issue I'd take with this series, it's that it's incomplete. There are more loose ends than Yona has split ends, and the main issue, the plot that this entire anime revolves around, was never resolved. Now, I understand that the manga is currently an ongoing series. Even so, I hate it when I watch something that doesn't have a conclusive ending because it always leaves me unsatisfied. Since this was one of the anime that I really enjoyed watching, seeing such a unresolved ending was particularly hard.
That's all for today's review. Remember to give this video a thumbs up if you enjoyed it. If this is your first time watching me, then please be sure to subscribe to my channel. And finally, if you have any thoughts, opinions, or advice that you would like to share, feel free to leave it in the comments section below. I hope you enjoyed this video, and I'll see you all next time!