Project #258: Akatsuki no Yona Part 2

(Seras): Hello and welcome back to Project Nitsuj. This is Seras along with her assistant Isis back again this to take a look at the second half of Akatsuki no Yona.

(Isis): Uh~ co-host and yes, today we’ll be covering the second half of Akatsuki no Yona. Will our brave princess find the last dragons or will her path remain dark forever? Let’s get started.

Opening and Ending Theme

(Isis): The opening is “Akatsuki no Hana” by Cyntia. Talk about a vast difference from the first opening. The first opening was a majestic and speechless song which set the mood for the anime. It matched up with the visuals and the world it was taking place in. This opening however is a loud techno-pop song which while not bad doesn’t match up with the anime whatsoever and is totally out of place in this here. They would have been better off using a song along the same lines as the first opening. In other words, first opening is way better than this opening.

(Seras): The is “Akatsuki” by Akiko Shikata. This ending is also a drastic change from the previous ending. The previous ending had a more modern feel to it but still felt like it belonged in this anime. This ending has a melody that matches the era and theme of the anime. It’s more slow paced and has a sad sound to it. Overall, the song is okay but I personally like the first ending more than the second ending.

Episodes 15-18

Not a whole lot happens in episode 15. The group is searching for the Green Dragon’s village where they hope to make contact with him and add him to Yona’s harem (which I am extremely jealous of. (Seras): We all are, I just didn’t wanna say it out loud). During their travels they come to a village which has been abandoned by the kingdom and the generals. People are sick and dying in the streets while the men were all taken away to join the army leaving anyone in the village who didn’t have the strength to leave to die. The only real information in this episode that makes it worth while is that we find out that Il wasn’t liked all that much by his citizens and to be fair it’s understandable. Il was a guy who hated war and did everything within his power to avoid it. That meant giving land to enemies and decreasing the power of the kingdom allowing the enemies to swoop in and gain land. While I can respect his ideals for wanting to create a world without war or violence he needed to understand that there are times when you have to fight to protect wants closest to you. By refusing to fight and roll over for your enemies you’re not maintaining peace you’re instead proving how weak you are. I’m sorry to say this Yona but your dad was not a good king. In the second half of the episode we see Suu-won go to the Earth Tribe territory where he trolls the general of the Earth Tribe Geun-tea.

In episode 16 Suu-won continues to troll Geun-tea with a war game (man Suu-won has that man played. (Seras): Played like the fiddle). In the war game Suu-won takes control of one army while Geun-tea takes control of the other army. Each army has 3 rankings: king, nobles, and commoners. Kings can attack each other and nobles but they can’t attack commoners, nobles can attack nobles and commoners but can’t attack kings, and commoners can attack each other and the kings but they can’t attack nobles (Seras: These rules actually make sense). In the war game Suu-won shows just how dangerous he really is by using cunning strategies to outsmart Geun-tea, defeating multiple enemies at once, and inspiring his team all while pretending to look like a coward on the battlefield (wow, a cunning dictator. That is so rare in shows these days and this is from a shoujo anime. Usually you expect these kinds of antagonists in shounen animes but to actually see them in an anime meant for girls? That’s amazing). The war game ends with Geun-tea’s team earning the most points to win (in all honesty Suu-won let him win. (Seras): The man is like a hawk). The next day Suu-won shows his hand at work again. Yuno, Geun-tea’s wife (who is a rather fun and sweet character) is a hit with residents of the Kai Empire who want to start buying her tea. The problem is she doesn’t have enough fields so Suu-won tells her to expand the fields and charge them a lot for the tea to make a profit. He even finds a way to make the blue ore in the mines valuable to the citizens (Seras: Man, he is good). After seeing that his work is done Suu-won takes his leave and Geun-tea is impressed with his abilities (as you should be).

(Seras): Episode 17 returns us to the main cast who have arrived at the port city of Awa in Earth Tribe territory. Since Hak is the only who’s visited the city and everyone is exhausted from traveling (and will stand out obviously) he goes into town to shop for food and supplies. As he’s traveling the city he sees that the people are lifeless because the ruler Kumji is rather strict charging high taxes to his people and letting his officials do whatever they want to the townsfolk (Isis: And by anything we mean anything). Hak comes across some officials trying to rape a woman (Isis: A little blunt don’t you think? (Seras): Well it’s true) and against his better judgment goes to help her along with a green haired bushido who is a playboy (oh look the Nitsuj of this anime). They escape the officials and go their separates ways but little does Hak know that he just found the green dragon who’s is Jea-ha voiced by Junichi Suwabe (Dandy from Space Dandy). An expert knife handler who has an ability that makes it look like he’s flying. We find out that Jea-ha is part of a group of pirates who help the townsfolk from Kumji by destroying his cargo ships which are carrying drugs and that he has no intention of joining Yona because he doesn’t want his freedom to be taken away from him (and in all fairness he makes a good point. Imagine being told that your destiny is to serve this person who you’ve never met and know nothing about. It makes anybody scared and want to run away from home). The next day everyone journeys into the city where Hak gets pulled away by Jea-ha who wants to talk to him in a whore house (oh I’m sorry “gentlemen’s club”). Yun and Yona see him but he assures them it’s not what it looks like (Isis: Really? Because it looks like you’re in a whore house about to pull a Makoto and have your way with 5 girls when you already have Yona). Jea-ha escapes and that night attacks one of Kumji’s ships of drugs with his crew where they burn the ship down and set the officials a drift. While they’re proud of their victory their captain an old lady named Gigan says they’re going to need more manpower and Jea-ha mentions Hak (who he might have a man crush on) to Gigan and says they should recruit him.

In episode 18 Jea-ha takes to the city to find Hak where he tells Hak he wants him (is Jea-ha bi-curious? (Isis): I hope so). Hak refuses and runs away from the pervert and Jea-ha gets captured by Ki-ja who tells Jea-ha that it’s their sworn duty to protect and serve their king. Of course he’s not interested and he does it in a very subtle and calm manner. He doesn’t get angry or shout at Ki-ja, he just tells him he’s not interested in abandoning his current lifestyle to serve someone else and even calls Ki-ja a puppet for following the wishes of the past dragons so blindly (he makes a good point). He takes his leave only to find Hak and Yona where Yona quickly figures out that he’s the green dragon (Isis: The green hair tipped her off). Just like he told Ki-ja he tells Yona he has no intention of serving her and she respects his wishes (where was this respect when Hak was going to leave her for her safety? (Isis): He was special to her). Once Yona finds out he’s a pirate she tells him she wants to help the pirates overthrow Kumji and his corrupt officials. Jea-ha agrees to let them meet Gigan as long as Yona promises to bring Hak with her (Isis: Wow he’s wasting no time trying to get him) and she agrees to do it. The next day they go to meet the pirates and the boys pass her test to join the crew while Yona who somehow went brain dead in one night said she couldn’t do anything that would contribute to their plan (did you forget your practice with the bow and arrow? Now’s your chance to show off your training) so Gigan gives her a life-threatening mission to prove her worth.

Episodes 19-21

In episode 19 we see that Gigan’s life-threatening mission is for Yona to pick some medical herbs known as senjuso (Isis: That doesn’t sound too hard) which are located off the coast of a cliff (Isis: That’s bad). Luckily, there’s a path to the herbs (Isis: That’s good) but the path is narrow (Isis: That’s bad) so only Yona can go since she’s so small (Isis: That’s good). However, the path is riddled with strong winds and waves that could blow or wash her off the cliff (Isis: That’s bad). But the herbs will heal everyone’s injuries (Isis: That’s good). The herbs contain aloe, foxglove, pokeweed, and rue (Isis: . . . (Seras): That’s bad). As you would imagine Yona is scared out of her mind and in her defense this is a pretty dangerous path that would scare anyone. Jea-ha is there to watch over her where he tries to talk her out of it but she refuses to give up and continues to press forward despite being afraid (well done Yona). She finally reaches the senjuso and gets it but the ocean becomes chopping and she gets washed away by a huge wave. Luckily, she hangs on to a branch and gets rescued by Jea-ha in the nick of time. They return to the others where Yona admits that Jea-ha saved her and says she’s ready to do it again this time by herself without help but Gigan says that’s good enough and allows her to help with their operation. After that event Jea-ha begins to show an interest in Yona and even gets in Hak’s face saying that Hak doesn’t really want Yona (ohh~ you are stepping on dangerous territory buddy). In a rather hot moment in the episode where Yona is tending to her wounds Hak helps her out by pouring honey on her hands but pours too much and begins to lick it off himself embarrassing Yona greatly (scene here: https://youtu.be/IifSpfZAIVg. *Isis and Seras sweating a little* (Seras): Oh man. (Isis): Yeah, too hot).

(Isis): Episode 20 goes by rather quickly. We find out that Kumji plans on engaging in human-trafficking with the Kai Empire where he plans to sell them women and children (so the Kai Empire has both perverts and pedophiles. That place needs to be burnt down). As everyone prepares for battle Jea-ha and Yona go into the city where they discover how Kumji has been capturing young women in the city. He uses a pleasing job offer only for women, has the pretty ones wait in a room, and then they fall down a trap door never to be seen again (Seras: A clever tactic). Because the pirates don’t know which ship the women and children will be on, on the night of the attack they’re afraid they can’t save them. However, Yona steps up and says she’ll be their inside woman for the job. Gigan likes the idea and has Yun dress up as a girl (YES) to help her out where once they locate the women and children they’ll set off a firework alerting everyone where to strike. Despite this being a good plan Hak is still worried for Yona and lets her know where we see that Hak’s true feelings for Yona are starting to come out (Seras: About time). The next day Yona and Yun dressed up like a girl (who pulls the look off very well), go to the job opening and fall down the trap door to get captured by Kumji.

Not much to say about episode 21. Yona and Yuu are thrown in with the other women of Awa. Kumji tortures Yona a little bit but Yona gives him her death stare which scares him big time (and her stare really is awesome). They finally get put on a ship where Yona, Yuu, and another woman named Yuri try to get out onto the deck to light a firework signally everyone where they are. They unfortunately get captured by some guards but Yun reveals himself to be a man and tricks them into thinking he rigged the deck with explosives. One of the guards takes Yun up to the deck and begins beating the crap out of him (stop hurting my Yun) while Yona and Yuri beat the guard holding them. Yona takes a bow and arrow (Seras: Finally! She remembers that she can use these things) and fires one off getting the guards’ attention and scaring them with her death stare (Seras: Is this going to become a regular thing now because I am so for it), grabs the firework from Yun and sets it off where it gets noticed by Sinha in the distance (lock and load Hak).

Episodes 22-24 and OVAs

In episode 22 after Yona launches the firework she’s about to get her head chopped off (watch the hair) but gets saved by Sinha and Jea-ha who come flying in to fight. Yun figures out which ship Kumji is on and instructs Jea-ha to go finish him off. Jea-ha knocks out the guards but Kumji has escaped in a paddle boat abandoning his men and leaving them to die (Seras: Coward). Jea-ha flies towards him but he gets hit with an arrow to the shoulder from Kumji and falls into the ocean where he’s defenseless. Before Kumji can finish him off he gets paralyzed with fear from Yona’s death stare and is unable to fire (wow she is good. She’s only had this power for one episode and already she’s mastered it). Yona picks up a bow and arrow and fires it at Kumji hitting him in the heart (if he has one. (Seras): Who cares, she finally killed someone) and he falls to his death in the ocean (scene here: https://youtu.be/Mqf3PuDJXZc. (Seras): Huh, I always thought cowards float). With Kumji defeated everyone celebrates back in town by drinking. As Yona wonders the streets of Awa wondering if she’s made the town better (you just killed their oppressor I think you’ve made this town very safe) she runs into the person who’s responsible for ruining her life Suu-won to end the episode (scene here: https://youtu.be/yfDe7ZEkAFo. (Seras): Now Yona! Kill this fucker and reclaim your kingdom).

In the first half of episode 23 Yona is face to face with Soo-won who showed up to investigate Kumji’s dealing. Once he hears about the pirates overthrowing him he leaves not passing judgment or punishing them at all (he is making it really hard to hate him). Throughout this we see Yona confused on what to do. A part of her wants to kill him and get revenge but another part of her still loves him and wants to be with him (Seras: The first crush always stays with you forever). Soo-won leaves doing nothing to Yona and she has a good cry as she doesn’t know how else to handle this situation. In the second half Yona takes a few scenes to return to normal and she finally leaves town with the others and Jea-ha officially joins her harem (3 down. 1 to go).

In the final episode the group finds the Yellow Dragon surprisingly very easily when they stop to eat. The Yellow Dragon is named Zeno voiced by Hiro Shimono (Aki from Baka and Test. (Seras): Oh good, you know this character is going to be funny if Shimono is voicing him). Unlike the other dragons who are quite strong and can fight Zeno isn’t strong and isn’t really that strong of fighter however he is quite smart and more observant than the others. As far as his powers go we don’t get the chance to see them but since it would be a shame not to dive into his past I’ll tell you who he really is. Zeno is actually the original Yellow Dragon (Seras: Hold up. *Takes a sip of water and does a spit take* WHAT!). Zeno’s power is immortality, he cannot die or age (even if you cut off his head he’ll just grow a new one and keep living) thus making him the oldest out of all the dragons. However, this power can only be used when Zeno is in extreme danger. So now that they have all the dragons Yun isn’t sure what to do next so they decide to go back to Ik-su for answers where he tells them that they need to acquire the sword and shield of the true king however it’ll be a while before those show up (Seras: Season 2). Zeno decides to ask Yona the big question on what she wants to do. Does she want to reclaim the throne which Zeno says would be an easy task with the powers of the dragons or will she just continue surviving (go with option one! It sounds more fun). She’s unable to answer that question as through her travels she’s discovered how bad the kingdom was under the ruling of her father but under the rule of Soo-won it’s gotten a little better (Seras: For now at least). After talking with Ik-su she decides that she will continue traveling the kingdom believing that there are still towns out there like Awa and freeing them from the ruling of evil lords. The next day Hak and Yona share a moment where Hak gets friend-zoned again (I am so SO sorry for him) and the season ends with Yona and others about to attack an army.

(Seras): This series came out with 3 OVAs. The first one came out a few months after the anime ended and the other two actually came out last year hinting at the possibility of a possible second season. The first OVA focuses on the group arriving at a hotsprings (Isis: Yay~) where Jea-ha notices a scar marks on Ki-ja’s back. He quickly comes to the conclusion that the previous white dragon attacked Ki-ja in the past. Worried that Ki-ja is self-conscious about it he does everything he can to hide Ki-ja’s scar from the others but it eventually gets revealed. Ki-ja opens up and tells them that the scars came from his father who was the white dragon before him. When Ki-ja was born, his dad in a moment of raged attacked him because he knew Ki-ja would become the next white dragon and his powers would disappear meaning he would never be able to fulfill what he was being trained to do. The father was soon banished from the village and Ki-ja was only allowed to visit him under supervisions. When his father became ill, Ki-ja snuck out to go and visit him alone where he noticed his dad’s dragon claw had returned to a human hand prompting Ki-ja to embrace his father before he died.

The second and third OVAs focus on Zeno and how he became the yellow dragon. We see how he feels useless because he’s not as strong but learns to do things the others can’t do. After king Hiryuu passes away, the other dragons go their separate ways except for Zeno who stayed to look after Hiryuu’s castle. 20 years pass, and Zeno realizes that his friends have died due to old age while he has stayed the same. As he mourns for his friends he takes out an entire army single-handedly (scene here: https://youtu.be/wkVY3khcU_o, and he thought he was weak). Zeno soon left the castle to search for the descendants of the dragon warriors. In his search he gets attacked by archers where he gets shot and rescued by a girl named Kaya who has a contagious disease and is forced to live alone. Since Zeno can’t catch her disease he spends time with her to make her life a little less miserable where he asks for her hand in marriage and she accepts. She eventually dies, and Zeno continues on his journey to find the other dragon warriors where he makes contact with them not revealing who he is (scene here: https://youtu.be/JSuITg1InrA). The first OVA is pretty pointless but the second and third are great. We get to hear the backstory of Zeno which is pretty sad but he continues to live looking after the next generation of dragon warriors like a father figure. While Zeno knows Ki-ja, Jea-ha, and Sinha aren’t the original dragon warriors he fought beside in the past, they carry the spirits of the original dragon warriors and he thinks of them as the children of the original dragon warriors that he must look after. It’s very touching and noble of him.

Final Thoughts

(Seras): Isis, I can’t believe I’m about to say this but I enjoyed this anime a lot. This is a fantastic anime that you truly do get invested in.

(Isis): I know right? This is one of the best shoujo animes I’ve ever watched and remains to be one my all-time favorites. The character of Yona is great and her development through the anime is well-done and believable. She starts off as your typical princess character. Weak, fragile, spoiled, knows nothing of the world, and a total crybaby but as it progresses she steadily becomes this strong-willed lady who is brave, strong, independent, and able to stand on her own two feet. While still doesn’t know that much about the world she at least gets invested in it and starts to develop her own thoughts and ideas on what’s right and what’s wrong.

(Seras): The rest of the characters are also great. They each have their own backstory into who they are as well as explain why some want to follow Yona and why some are hesitant to follow her. Some of these pasts are quite sad like Sinha and Zeno’s past as the guys have suffered horribly in the past but continue to live on and find a new purpose in their life. Hak was the one character who stands out the most in the group. He loves Yona and has stayed loyal to her since the beginning despite knowing that she loves someone else. Nobody told him to stay with her nor was he ordered to stay with her, he stays with her because he can’t bare to be away from her and wants to keep her safe. Even if that means giving up everything he has. Soo-won was also a complexed and well-done character. On the one hand we can view him as the villain who took everything away from Yona and was even prepared to kill her despite caring for her deeply. On the other hand you kind of don’t see him as the bad guy for what he does for the kingdom. Yona’s dad was not a good king and Soo-won saw that. He saw how the people were suffering and knew he had to do something even if that meant cutting ties with the two people he cared about the most. This kind of complexity is good and makes it very hard to decide whether or not we should see this character as a villain.

(Isis): The animation is spectacular, the soundtrack is top notch and fits with the theme and setting of the show, and while the actions scene may not be as action-packed as some would hope they do a good job at storytelling and letting us know what the characters are thinking without using any words and instead letting their faces and emotions tell the story. Like the scene in episode 2 between Yona, Hak, and Soo-won after Soo-won killed Yona’s dad and is preparing to kill her. Yona is shocked, sad, confused, and scared that the person she loved so much could do something this evil. Soo-won is composed, his face shows determination and not single hint of doubt or hesitation in what he’s or is about to do. Hak, is filled with rage. Not only has his closest friend killed the king but he also hurt the person he cares for the most. There is no way Hak will forgive him. That scene showed little to no dialog between the three but from reading their facial expressions you just know what they’re thinking and going through.

Final Score

(Seras): Well, final score time. I’m giving this anime a 8/10.

(Isis): I give this anime a 9/10. I really have no complaints about this anime. So, adding up our scores we have 17/20.

(Seras): And going by our system the score averages out to 8.5/10 as the final score which is right in my book. This was a very enjoyable anime. One that I didn’t think I would enjoy so much and went beyond my expectations.

(Isis): I agree. This truly was an exceptional anime and I hope it gets a second season sometime in the future as it deserves one. Thanks for joining us these last 2 weeks, we hope you enjoyed and look forward to Nitsuj returning next week with Arslan Senki.

(Seras): Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.

*All videos, clips, and music are not owned by me and belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved*

Thanks for reading. As always feel free to leave a comment in the comment section or send your comments, feedback, or request to iamprojectnitsuj@gmail.com

Also, be sure to support me and the site on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/projectnitsuj

And follow me on twitter for updates and other stuff:  https://twitter.com/ProjectNitsuj

Posted in Projects, Year 5 and tagged , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *