“Yona of the Dawn” by Mizuho Kusanagi was recently adapted into an anime by the same name. I watched the first episode on Crunchyroll, and enjoyed it enough that I was eager to pick up the manga. I haven’t watched enough of the anime to compare the two, but from what I did see, I think it’s safe to say that, if you are a fan of the anime, then you will also enjoy this manga.
Yona is the princess of the Kingdom of Kohka and her father, the King’s, only heir. She is living an idyllic life; doted on by her father and protected by her childhood friend/bodyguard, General Hak. Her only real concerns are her unusual looking red hair and the fact that the man she is in love with, Su-won, doesn’t seem to be aware of her feelings. All of this changes on her 16th birthday, when a tragedy occurs that throws her life and the fate of her kingdom into chaos.
Yona is a main character who I think some readers might find frustrating initially. She’s naïve and immature and, during the first volume, she does need to get rescued a lot. Personally though, I find her antics to be pretty amusing and I feel that her behavior is realistic of how a slightly spoiled teenager would act in these situations. By volume 2, Yona has already started to grow as a result of the tragedy she’s had to live through and is becoming a much more active heroine who isn’t content to just be protected. It’s looking like this is going to be a story about this young woman coming into her own and I am really excited about the direction that her character seems to be going in.
“Yona of the Dawn” is a manga that I feel has something for everyone. There’s action, adventure, intrigue and romance. The main characters are likeable and interesting. Hak, Yona’s bodyguard, is funny, and I enjoy the dynamic he has with Yona. The villain of the series is complex and there is some mystery surrounding his backstory that has me eager to find out more. The art is detailed, with lots of attention paid to the costumes and the characters expressions. All of these elements combine into a manga that’s just a lot of fun to read. I highly recommend this series to any shojo fans who enjoy having some action and political drama mixed in with their romance stories.
Final Grade: A
For more information on this series, visit Viz Media’s website: http://www.viz.com/read/manga/yona-of-the-dawn-vol-1/12357
Side Note: Long time manga fans might remember Mizuho Kusanagi as the artist behind the old Tokyo Pop series: Mugen Spiral, NG Life and Game x Rush. If you are a fan of any of those series, I definitely recommend checking out Yona of the Dawn!