Hello everyone, Justin here and welcome to the Otaku Mind. Happy belated Christmas everyone, welcome to the final Otaku Mind of the year where today we’re talking about Akatsuki no Yona and Arslan Senki. Two animes that are so similar but yet so different at the same time. As you can guess this was going to be a versus blog but to be honest I think Arslan Senki is the far more superior anime and with these versus blogs I like to stay in the neutral zone when I go into them but with this one I couldn’t. So, this blog will be a somewhat versus blog where I’ll compare the two animes and give my reasons why I like Arslan Senki more. With that said, let’s get started.
Let’s start by looking at the stories of these two animes. Both animes have the same premise. A young prince/princess are forced out of their kingdom by their enemies and now have to reclaim their land again. Where the shows differ is the paths they take. For Yona, she has to find the four warriors who are the reincarnation of the dragon warriors who served the first emperor and get them to join her cause. For Arslan, it’s rebuilding an army strong enough to recapture the capital of his kingdom, defeat his enemies, and take the throne. The stories also differ in character and story. Akatsuki no Yona is more character-driven as we see Yona go from being this timid girl who knew nothing about the world or her kingdom to a woman who is strong and willing to learn about the world around her while also dealing with the internal conflict of being betrayed by the person she loved and not sure what she wants to do to him. Arslan Senki is more story-driven as we see the characters are more complete and really don’t get any major character development. Instead, the series gives us many plot twists and conflicts that arise throughout story such as finding out that the main villain is actually the uncle of Arslan who believes the throne is rightfully his, the king still being alive when we thought he was dead, internal conflict among the enemies who secretly want all the power, and discovering that Arslan doesn’t have the royal blood in his veins. Both stories do a good job telling their own story and getting you invested in what’s going on but personally I think Arslan had the better story. Yona’s story took me a few episodes to get invested in while as Arslan’s story didn’t. When I started watching Arslan Senki I was instantly invested into the story, the characters, and what was going on. Once I got interested in Yona I really did enjoy seeing her grow as a character but at the same time I felt that her growth took too long at times. With Arslan, I was really shocked and interested in all the twists and internal conflicts the characters were facing whether it be facing an enemy, trying to get others more open to your ideas, or making a choice that would alter the course of your kingdom. Usually, I’m a guy who likes character-driven animes more but when an anime is story-driven and tells a compelling story that you can easily get invested into from the start, I have to tip my hat off to them and that’s what Arslan Senki did for me.
Next up, we have the side characters and both of these animes have impressive side characters to follow. Let’s start by comparing Daryun with Hak. Both of these guys are completely loyal to Arslan and Yona, they’ve known each other since they were children and have always watched over them no matter what. Where the two differ is in their relationship with Arslan and Yona. Hak is in love with Yona and sticks by her because he loves her. Despite the fact that she has feelings for someone else he is determined to stay with her no matter what because he is all she has left to depend on. Daryun’s relationship with Arslan is like that of a big brother/little brother. He’s overprotective of Arslan and watches out for him like an older brother because he is the next king of Pars. He respects Arslan for how kind and caring he is for others and even though Arslan is still a novice in the world, he likes how Arslan is always willing and ready to learn new things and hear people out. So which one of these two is the most loyal? Well in order to get that answer I took away everything. Their ties and relationship to their respective characters and asked the question, if these two were just regular soldiers who knew nothing about their respective characters would they still be loyal to them. The answer I came to was Daryun. Hak’s whole reason for staying with Yona for so long was because he was in love with her. If he had no feelings for her or got over his crush for her, I don’t think he be anywhere near the castle and would have just become the leader of his tribe. Whereas with Daryun he respects Arslan. He doesn’t care if Arslan is related to the royal family or not, in the end he serves Arslan and believes that he is the best choice for Pars and that makes him worth protecting and staying loyal to.
Now let’s focus on the other characters. Narsus and Yun are alike in that they both are considered the team tacticians but Narsus is obviously better. Narsus not only offers advice and guidance to Arslan but he does it without being too forceful or reshaping Arslan’s ideals. He instead hears what Arslan thinks and plans the best course of action without compromising Arslan’s ideals. With Yun, he can’t really give Yona advice on what to do because she’s not even sure what she wants to do and thus gets reduced to just being the medicine man and only providing plans in fights which while good aren’t up to the level of what Narsus’s does. Finally, the rest of the characters which are the dragon warriors and Arslan’s group. While dragon warriors each have good backstories, I feel that Arslan’s group is more flushed out and developed more. I like the banter they have with each other, how each one contributes something to the team that the other one can’t, and how diverse they are. Each one comes from a different walk of life and aren’t ashamed of it. This helps shapes Arslan’s ideals more as he can talk to them and get a sense of what their lives were like. Finally, there’s the loyalty they have to Arslan. The dragon warriors are attracted to Yona meaning that they really don’t have a choice but to serve her. While Yona steadily proves that she’s worthy of their loyalty, I don’t like how they have to serve her because she’s their emperor. With Arslan, everyone is loyal to him because of his character and personality. Just like Daryun they don’t care if he’s from the royal family or not, he’s proven that he’s a guy worth serving and who will one day become a great day.
Out of all the categories this is probably the hardest of the bunch as both animes have a great villain. Soo-won and Hermes are both great characters and the animes do a good job at exploring them. Neither one isn’t really evil but instead following what they believe is right. For Soo-won he saw how the kingdom was suffering under the rule of Yona’s dad. Land was being taken from them, corrupt landlords, enemy nations were breathing down their neck, etc. While Yona’s dad seemed like a nice guy it was clear he was unfit to be king and because of that the kingdom suffered for it. Soo-won knew he had to do something or it would only be a matter of time before the people would rebel or they would fall to their enemies so he took it upon himself to take over the throne. While his acts can be seen as evil it’s clear he has the best of intentions for the kingdom and because of that it’s extremely hard to really hate this guy.
Hermes is a guy who had everything stolen from him. He was next in line for the throne only to have it taken from him by Andragoras who not only tried to kill him but also took his wife. Hermes soon went into hiding and started planning his return where he would take back what he believed was stolen from him and that’s the throne of Pars. While he has malice for Arslan and Andragoras it’s rightfully earned. Andragoras took everything from him and Arslan is the one standing between him and the throne. While Hermes does seem to be a little smarter than Andragoras his methods are the same and wouldn’t be the right path for Pars. It’s true, we don’t know what he intends to do once he takes over the throne, but if he’s anything like Andragoras than its bad news. It’s a close one but I like Soo-won more than Hermes.
And so we arrive at the final category. Arslan vs Yona and this was honestly the easiest one for me. Arslan is the better character because he’s more complete. He has ideas on what he wants to do and how he wants to do them. He’s interested in the ways other people live and where they come from. He doesn’t know a lot about the world, but he’s willing to listen and learn to better himself. Even though he’s not from the royal family he’s determined to take the throne, save Pars, and lead them down a new path. While Yona’s character growth through the series is good she’s a character who’s not sure what she wants to do. She’s showed no interest in the world her whole life. While it’s true she and Arslan were both confined to the castle walls, Arslan was still interested in the outside world and wanted to learn more about it. Yona choose not to learn anything about the world around her and only decided to because she was forced to. Yona also has no idea what she wants to do in the future. We’re left in the dark on if she wants to retake the throne or not and even if she does want to retake the throne does she have resolve to take out Soo-won in order to accomplish that and once she takes the throne what will she do? Will she run the kingdom like her father and allow other kingdoms to walk over them or will she steer the kingdom in a new direction? Also, is she up for the task? Can she handle the stress of running a kingdom and finally, will the people accept her as the new ruler? All these questions keep racing through my head when it comes to Yona’s character, but with Arslan’s character I have no doubts about him taking the throne. He’s shown he’s ready to fight his father and uncle for throne, he plans to run the kingdom a new way that’s different from his father, he has ideas he’s going to put into action once he has the throne, and the people will accept him. For me, Arslan was the more interesting character and the one who knows what he wants to do and how he wants to do it.
Well guys, that concludes my thoughts. Once again, I do like both animes but I just like Arslan Senki more and think it’s the better of the two. If you think Yona is better that’s cool and if you don’t mind leave a comment to let me know which one you liked more. Thanks for the fun year guys and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.
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