Episode 1 Impressions: Akatsuki no Yona

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A snobby princess who can have everything she desires. A kingdom standing in peace for so long. A betrayal that would change everything. This is the beginning of Princess Yona’s story.

ep1akatsukinoyona2Synopsis
In the kingdom of Kouka, the princess Yona lives a peaceful life sheltered in her castle.  With her father having no sons to become the heir and her mother having been assassinated, the next man to take her as his bride would be the next king.

Being sheltered in her castle, Yona is quite the spoiled one.  Taking pride in her beauty and often causing quite a ruckus for what she wants.  Even when it comes to her desired husband.  When Soo-Won, a childhood friend of her shows up before her 16th birthday, questions begin to rise if she can indeed marry him.  However her father is strongly against the idea and desires her to marry another.

On the night before her birthday, a strange person leaps from the shadows and attempts to grab her.  Fearing that she would meet the same fate as her mother, she flees into Soo-Won’s room where she’s comforted.  While she expresses her feelings, he seems to keep himself somewhat distant.

ep1akatsukinoyona6The following day, on her 16th birthday, Yona’s loyal guard Hak is informed of the recent scare that Yona received.  However, despite increasing awareness of the guard, Yona would soon face a tragic event.

While seeking out her father, Yona discovers Soo-Won with his sword piercing her father.  After her father falls dead to the floor, Soo-Won acknowledges his actions and would have her brought to the courtyard for execution.  After guards claim that it’s the best for the future of the kingdom, Hak arrives just in time to slay every standing man threatening her life.  Leaving only Soo-Won to explain himself.

Thoughts
I’m rather mixed coming out of this first episode. While I’m liking the setting and some of the characters, the show itself feels extremely off-pace. It constantly felt like conversations were jumping forward, the mood was getting cut short, and transitions from place to place did unknown time leaps. A rushed feel mixed with a lack of care for the mood.

ep1akatsukinoyona12We have this character trying to express her feelings for the one she loves, and we go into cartoon characters for a quick joke, then return to try to rekindle that. On the flip side, we have a tragic death happen and a reveal of the murderer being a beloved, and we cut to somewhere else without having some kind of drama play out first. They are all moments that could have been more impactful.

The aspect of Soo-Won being so caring for Yona, and yet so willing to take the steps he did will be interesting to dive more into later. Hopefully they fully exploit that element more than just “Your father was a fool, I was playing you Yona..” There’s some room for some good drama there.

That all said, I like the fantasy setting as well as the groundwork they have laid for a solid kingdom struggle story. I’ll be looking forward to future episodes despite my dislikes for the pacing.

This show is streaming on Crunchyroll.com!

Episode 1: The Princess Yona

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Good

Pros:

  • Good groundwork
  • Good concept
  • Good characters

Cons:

  • Pacing feels off
  • Story jumps around too fast
  • Not very good humor

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.