Yona of the Dawn
|Yona of the Dawn|
Cover of the first volume, featuring the main protagonist, Yona
(Akatsuki no Yona)
|Genre||Action, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure|
|Written by||Mizuho Kusanagi|
|Magazine||Hana to Yume|
|Original run||August 4, 2009 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kazuhiro Yoneda|
|Written by||Shinichi Inotsume|
|Music by||Ryo Kunihiko|
|Original network||AT-X, Tokyo MX, SUN, TVA, RKK, BS11|
|Original run||October 7, 2014 – March 24, 2015|
|Episodes||24 + 3 OVA|
Yona of the Dawn (Japanese: 暁のヨナ Hepburn: Akatsuki no Yona) is a Japanese manga series by Mizuho Kusanagi, serialized in Hakusensha's shōjo manga magazine Hana to Yume from August 2009. It has been collected in twenty-two tankōbon volumes. An anime television series adaptation by Pierrot aired between October 7, 2014 and March 24, 2015, featuring the voice cast from the drama CD adaptation, along with new cast members.
The story follows the redemption of Yona, the sole princess to the Kingdom of Kouka. Yona lives the carefree life of a princess in Hiryuu Castle, being sheltered by her pacifistic father, King Il, and protected by her bodyguard and childhood friend Son Hak. During a party being held for her sixteenth birthday, her other childhood friend and love interest Soo-Won comes to pay tribute to her. Intending to tell her father that she cannot forget her love for Soo-Won, she visits King Il's chambers and witnesses him being killed by Soo-Won, who reveals that he will now properly rule Kouka. Hak intervenes and saves Yona, and they escape from the castle to Hak's birthplace, the Village of Wind. Under the suggestion of Hak's grandfather Son Mundok, Yona and Hak search for an oracle named Ik-Soo, who then tells them the legend of the first king of Kouka, Hiryuu, and the Four Dragon Warriors who unified the kingdom. Yona and Hak, joined by Ik-Soo's assistant Yoon, begin a journey to find the descendants of the legendary Four Dragon Warriors in order to survive and save the Kingdom of Kouka.
- Yona (ヨナ)
- Voiced by: Chiwa Saitō (Japanese); Monica Rial (English)
- She is the title character and the main protagonist of the series. Yona is the sole princess of Kingdom of Kouka. Her mother was killed by insurgents when she was young, leaving her father, King Il to raise her up with Son Hak and Soo-Won. Being a princess, she was initially dependent, spoiled and, naive. However, after her father's death and Soo-Won's betrayal, she decided to be more independent and become strong enough to fight and protect herself.
- As such, she requested Hak to teach her archery and sword. While astoundingly hesitant to kill, she eventually overcame this hesitation during the battle against Kum-Ji. She is said to be the reincarnation of Hiryuu, the first king of the Kingdom of Kouka, who also had red hair. Being the reincarnation of Hiryuu, the four legendary dragons' blood will react the moment they lay their eyes upon her and they will hear the voices of the original four dragons' oath to protect Hiryuu. Yona travels around the country to learn about the outside world as well as protect her country and her people in secret. Although Yona cannot forgive Soo-Won, some part of her still cares about him and she still keeps the hairpin he gave her. Over time though, she seems to have developed feelings for Hak, which she fully realizes by chapter 110, but she is too embarrassed to tell Hak for fear he does not return them and would tease her for it, though she later kisses him directly before leaving. She primarily uses the bow and arrow in combat and later learns to wield a sword.
- Son Hak (ソン・ハク Son Haku)
- Voiced by: Tomoaki Maeno, Ayahi Takagaki (young) (Japanese); Christopher R. Sabat (English)
- He is Yona's childhood best friend and bodyguard, as well as the former general of the Wind Tribe. He is known as the "Thunder Beast" for his astounding lightning-like fighting skills, earning him the title of the strongest soldier in the Kingdom of Kouka. His talent had already been recognized since he was thirteen years old and he was the first person to become a general at such a young age. As an orphan he was adopted by the previous Wind Tribe general, Son Mundok, as his grandson.
- Hak is usually calm and nonchalant, occasionally teasing Yona, although he actually cares deeply for her and vows to protect her at all costs. He was a good friend of Soo-Won before his betrayal, and seems to have loved Yona from a young age. However, knowing that Yona had feelings for Soo-Won, Hak has been suppressing his own feelings in favor of Yona and Soo-Won living happily together. He vowed to be Soo-Won's right-hand man if Soo-Won were to marry Yona and become king. Hak is shown to be extremely protective of and even jealous when others get too close to Yona. In combat, Hak uses a Hsu Quandao as his main weapon.
- Yoon (ユン)
- Voiced by: Junko Minagawa (Japanese); Clifford Chapin (English)
- He is an orphan boy who was taken by the monk, Ik-Soo, as an apprentice, when he was a child. Because of his cute face and expertise at cooking and making herbs, he is often mistaken for or teased to be a girl. He found Yona and Hak when they fell from the cliff after the ambush led by Tae-Jun. He initially disliked Yona for being an ignorant princess, but after witnessing Yona's bravery, he apologized. His hatred for nobles originated from the fact that Ik-Soo was banished from the kingdom by Soo-Won's father. He always dreamed of going on a journey, but never did so before out of concern for Ik-Soo. Yoon now travels with Yona and Hak.
- Soo-Won (スウォン Suwon)
- Voiced by: Yūsuke Kobayashi, Nozomi Yamamoto (young) (Japanese); Micah Solusod (English)
- He is Yona's cousin as well as her first love; a pretty boy with golden hair. In his first appearance, he was kind, cheerful, and somewhat a klutz. When around others, Soo-Won maintains his outward personality purposely making himself look clumsy to hide his true intelligence. After Yona's mother died, Soo-Won was the one who encouraged Yona and promised to be by her side in her mother's place. He was also Hak's best friend. Soo-Won's father was killed by Yona's father, King Il (although publicly he supposedly died due to an accident). This leads Soo-Won to conspire with the Fire Tribe, kill Yona's father, and take over the throne. With King Il dead and Yona missing with Hak, Soo-Won is crowned the new king. Even though he hates King Il and declared he will dispose of anyone who gets in his way, Soo-Won genuinely cares for both Yona and Hak. He hides the fact that Yona is still alive from his followers with the fire tribe spreading rumors that Hak murdered King Il and kidnapped Yona.
- Kija (キジャ)
- Voiced by: Masakazu Morita, Haruka Chisuga (young) (Japanese); Ian Sinclair (English)
- The descendant and inheritor of White Dragon's claw. Kija spent most of his life isolated in his hidden village whose people venerated him. He is naive and gullible. Out of all four dragons, Kija is the most loyal to Yona, having been raised on the tale of Hiryuu and feeling a strong duty as the White Dragon, especially after he developed feelings for Yona. He regularly bickers with Hak, who calls him "white snake". However, both eventually develop respect and trust for each other through their concern for Yona's well-being.
- Shin-Ah (シンア Shin'a)
- Voiced by: Nobuhiko Okamoto, Sanae Kobayashi (young) (Japanese); Eric Vale (English)
- The descendant and inheritor of the Blue Dragon's eyes. In contrast to Kija's people, Shin-Ah's village feared the inheritors of the Blue Dragon's powers, believing them to be cursed. So much so that when Shin-Ah was born, his mother killed herself. Because the villagers believe that those who look the dragon in the eyes will turn into stone, Shin-Ah had a lonely childhood and longed for friends. He was raised by the previous Blue Dragon, Ao, who taught him swordsmanship and his duty to protect the village. Soon after Ao's death, Shin-ah used the power of his eyes to protect his village from approaching soldiers, killing all of them. This forced the entire clan into hiding. He saves Yona from a malicious villager when she got lost in the caves and eventually chooses to leave the village with her. While growing up Shin-Ah was referred to only as the Blue Dragon and did not have a name until Yona named him. Shin-Ah's eyes are able to see great distances and disrupt the nerves of anyone glares at until it kills them. After using these eyes, however, Shin-Ah's body becomes paralyzed for short time. To avoid making eye contact, Shin-Ah covers his face with mask. Shin-Ah is usually accompanied by his pet squirrel, Ao, named after the previous Blue Dragon. Shin-Ah cares about and is loyal to Yona not least because she gave him a name.
- Jae-Ha (ジェハ Jeha)
- Voiced by: Junichi Suwabe (Japanese); Joel McDonald (English)
- The descendant and inheritor of the Green Dragon's right leg. Jae-Ha was kept prisoner in his village until he eventually escaped and joined a pirate crew. Jae-Ha tries to avoid Yona because he did not want to be constrained by his duty. He initially declines Yona's invitation to join her. However, he is intrigued by Yona's spirit and determination, and despite his concerns that his dragon blood is influencing him, he leaves the pirate crew and joins Yona on her journey. Jae-Ha is laid back and a womanizer. He is aware of Hak's feelings for Yona and likes to tease him about it, much to Hak's annoyance. Jae-Ha's dragon leg allows him to jump incredibly distances which allows him to travel quickly and see things from up high. However, his power is useless when he is under water. He can enlarge his leg, however he does not like to do so since he dislikes the look of the dragon's leg. Jae-Ha prefers to close with enemies in battle so he can kick with his powerful leg and throws daggers as ranged weapons.
- Zeno (ゼノ)
- Voiced by: Hiro Shimono (Japanese); Josh Grelle (English)
- The Yellow Dragon warrior. In contrast to the other dragon warriors, Yuna did not have to go searching for him as he wandered into their camp. Zeno is cheerful and upbeat, and is usually smiling. Seemingly stupid, Zeno is actually the most observant of the group, quickly noticing changes or anything unusual. It is revealed that Zeno is the original Yellow Dragon Warrior who served King Hiryuu (making him about two thousand years old) and that he has been spying on Yona ever since she fled the castle. He also visited the young Dragon Warriors when Yona was born. Zeno admits that, unlike the other three dragons, he did not sense any 'awakening' when he first saw Yona and does not initially show any special abilities. Zeno's dragon power is immortality; his body regenerates, even if he is beheaded. However, the power is only active when Zeno is gravely injured. When he uses this power, dragon scales cover his body. Zeno used to live in a village, but it ceased to exist since Zeno's power forced him to move from place to place.
- Ik-Soo (イクス Ikusu)
- Voiced by: Junichi Kanemaru (Japanese); Jerry Jewell (English)
- He is a clumsy High Priest of the Kouka Kingdom and was Yoon’s guardian. He spends his days in isolation praying to the gods for guidance and for the happiness of the people. He reveals a prophecy to Yona that marks the start of her search for the Four Dragon Warriors.
- Lee Geun-Tae (イ・グンテ I Gunte)
- Voiced by: Masaki Aizawa (Japanese); Brandon Potter (English)
- He is the general of the Earth Tribe and the husband of Yun-Ho. He serves under Soo-Won's rule after acknowledging Soo-Won's strength during the Battle Game Festival held in Chishin. As a general who fought during Emperor Joo-Nam’s era (Soo-Won's grandfather), he is a warrior dedicated to the battlefield and has been eager to fight on the front lines again. His tribe admires him, though he insists on them treating him like an ordinary citizen.
- Son Mundok (ソン・ムンドク Son Mundoku)
- Voiced by: Katsuhiko Sasaki (Japanese); Kent Williams (English)
- He is the former General and leader of the Wind Tribe. He is the adoptive grandfather of Hak. Before his retirement, he was known as a general whose strength was compared to General Yu-Hon’s. Despite his strict behavior and appearance, Mundok cares for everyone who lives within the Wind Tribe and the royal family, whom he showed deep loyalty to. He has a kind heart and adopted two orphans as his grandchildren: Hak and Tae-Yeon.
- Kan Tae-Jun (カン・テジュン Kan Tejun)
- Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese); Christopher Bevins (English)
- Tae-Jun is the second son of the Fire Tribe General Kan Soo-Jin. He was determined to make Yona his wife in order to inherit the throne of the Kouka Kingdom, though it is revealed that he has genuine feelings for Yona. Because of Hak intervening in his brash attempts to court Yona, he has a vendetta against Hak. During his pursuit of Yona and Hak, he inadvertently caused them to fall from cliff, making Tae-Jun to believe that he had killed Yona. This left Tae-Jun heavily depressed and unresponsive to others until he was reunited with Yona at one of Fire Tribe's villages when his brother assigned him to capture the bandits (Yona and her group). Once reuniting with Yona, Tae-Jun fully repented his actions and determined to change the lives of Fire Tribe people, earning him respect from his subordinates. He is currently preparing to commit treason to stop a war between Xing and Kouka.
Mizuho Kusanagi launched the series in Hakusensha's Hana to Yume manga magazine on August 4, 2009. The series has been collected into 22 bound volumes. On October 9, 2015, North American manga publisher Viz Media announced at their New York Comic Con panel that they have licensed the manga and will begin releasing it in summer 2016. The series went on hiatus starting with 2016's eleventh issue, on April 25, 2016, due to the earthquakes in Kumamoto, where Kusanagi lives. It resumed in the twelfth issue on May 20, 2016.
A 24-episode anime television series adaptation produced by Pierrot aired between October 7, 2014 and March 24, 2015 on AT-X. Funimation has licensed the anime series for streaming and home video rights in North America. Beginning on March 17, 2015, Funimation streamed their dubbed version of the anime, starting with episode 13 while the first half of the season will be released at a later date. The first opening theme is an instrumental song by Kunihiko Ryo, called "Akatsuki no Yona" (暁のヨナ, lit. meaning Yona of the Dawn). The first ending theme is Yoru (夜, lit. meaning Night) by Vistlip. The second opening theme is "Akatsuki no Hana", by Cyntia. The second ending theme is "Akatsuki", by Akiko Shikata. Three original video animations were bundled with the manga's 19th, 21st and 22nd limited edition volumes, respectively. The first OVA was released on September 18, 2015, the second OVA was released on August 19, 2016 and the third OVA was released on December 20, 2016.
- The Heroic Legend of Arslan, a long-running manga series with a similar premise
- "Akatsuki no Yona Shōjo Fantasy Manga Gets TV Anime". Anime News Network. July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- Lee, Michelle (2015-03-14). "English Cast Announcement for Yona of the Dawn". Funimation.com Blog.
- "Mugen Spiral's Kusanagi Starts Akatsuki no Yona Manga". Anime News Network. August 5, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- "Viz Media Adds Kuroko's Basketball, Haikyu!, Yona of the Dawn Manga". Anime News Network. October 9, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- "Yona of the Dawn Manga Goes on Indefinite Hiatus After Kumamoto Earthquakes". Anime News Network. April 28, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- "Yona of the Dawn Manga to Resume on May 20". Anime News Network. May 2, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- "Cyntia Performs Yona of the Dawn Anime's 2nd Opening". Anime News Network. January 17, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
- "Akiko Shikata to Perform Yona of the Dawn Anime's 2nd Ending". Anime News Network. December 10, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
- "Akatsuki no Yona OAD Ship With 19th Manga Volume in September". Anime News Network. May 24, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- "Yona of the Dawn Gets New 2-Part OVA Adapting Manga's Zeno Arc". Anime News Network. March 17, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016.