Yona of the Dawn
|Yona of the Dawn|
Cover of the first volume, featuring Yona
(Akatsuki no Yona)
|Genre||Adventure, fantasy, romance|
|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||Kunihiko Ryo|
|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-five 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.
Set in a fictional place that draws inspiration from a mixture of Japanese, Korean and Chinese cultures, 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)
- 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. As a child living in the castle, she spent much time with Son Hak (who also lived there) and Soo-Won (who frequently visited). Being a princess, she was initially dependent, spoiled, and naive. 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 that Hak teach her archery and sword fighting. Hak taught her to shoot, but not to use a 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 admits she doesn't wish to seek revenge against him. Over time, she seems to move past her previous affections for Soo-won and develop new feelings for Hak, which she fully realizes are romantic by chapter 110. She later resolves to someday release him of his role as her bodyguard, and return his freedom to him so that he can live out his life in whichever way he wants. 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 "Lightning Beast" for his astounding lightning-fast 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 defeat a general in combat at such a young age. He was orphaned as either a young child or an infant, and was adopted by the previous Wind Tribe general, Son Mundok, as his grandson. He was falsely rumoured to be the murderer of King Il and to have kidnapped Yona, due to them disappearing from the palace the night of the king's death without public explanation.
- Hak is usually sarcastic 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 suppressed 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. Though he suppressed it for a long time, he was deeply hurt by Soo-Won's betrayal and has arguably had a harder time coming to terms with it than Yona. Hak is shown to be extremely protective of Yona early on, but he later grows out of it and begins taking pride in her fiery side. In combat, Hak uses a guandao (a glaive-like bladed pole weapon) as his main weapon, though he also appears to be highly proficient with bows, swords, and hand-to-hand combat.
- Yoon (ユン)
- Voiced by: Junko Minagawa (Japanese); Clifford Chapin (English)
- He is an orphan boy who was taken in by the monk, Ik-Soo, as an apprentice when he was a child. Because of his cute face and expertise at cooking and making medicine, he is often mistaken for a girl, or teased for this skill set. He found Yona and Hak when they fell from the cliff after being attacked by Tae-Jun's ambush. He initially disliked Yona for being an ignorant princess, but later apologized after witnessing Yona's bravery and willingness to educate herself. His initial hatred for nobles stemmed from the fact that Ik-Soo was banished from the kingdom by Soo-Won's father, and from his own impoverished childhood. He always dreamed of going on a journey so that he could learn more about medicine and the world, but never did so before due to the fact that he did not want to leave Ik-Soo. After some convincing, Yoon decided to leave and start travelling with Yona and Hak. Once the Four Dragons are assembled, he becomes something of a medic and caretaker for the group, and harbours a close, sibling-like relationship with Yona. He is the only true non-combatant in the group, though he is capable of making explosives.
- Soo-Won (スウォン Suwon)
- Voiced by: Yūsuke Kobayashi, Nozomi Yamamoto (young) (Japanese); Micah Solusod (English)
- He is Yona's first cousin as well as her first love; he is a pretty boy with golden hair. 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, and he was Hak's best friend and confidante. When around others, he maintains a facade of being a clumsy and carefree young man, hiding his true intelligence and shrewdness. According to Soo-Won, his father was killed by Yona's father, King Il (although it was covered up to be seen as an accident). This, along with the country suffering under Il's pacifist rule, lead Soo-Won to conspire with the Fire Tribe to kill Yona's father, and take over the throne. With King Il dead, Yona missing and presumed dead, Soo-Won is crowned the new king. Even though he seemingly hated King Il and declared he will dispose of anyone who gets in his way, Soo-Won still genuinely cares for both Yona and Hak. He hides the fact that Yona is still alive from his followers after he discovers this, and pointedly avoids arresting or attacking Hak when given the opportunity. Despite the underhanded method he chose to gain the throne, he has actually been somewhat of a good influence on Kouka; hence, Yona decides she does not want to seek revenge against him.
- Kija (キジャ)
- Voiced by: Masakazu Morita, Haruka Chisuga (young) (Japanese); Ian Sinclair (English)
- The descendant and inheritor of the White Dragon's claw. Kija spent most of his life isolated in his hidden village whose people venerated him. He is naive and gullible, with a crippling fear of bugs. Out of all four dragons, Kija was the most immediately loyal to Yona, having been raised on the tale of Hiryuu and possessing a strong sense of duty as the White Dragon. As all the previous White Dragons were raised much the same as he was and bore the same eagerness to serve Hiryuu, Kija is the unknowing vessel of the departed spirits of several generations of White Dragons. His father--the previous generation's White Dragon--was so upset that a new dragon had been born, he slashed Kija across the back shortly after his birth. As such, he was kept away from Kija until the moment he died and Kija still bears the scars across his back well into adulthood. Originally, he often bickered with Hak, believing that an outsider has no place protecting Hiryuu's reincarnation and taking offence to Hak's "White Snake" nickname for him. However, as time went on, they develop respect, trust, and friendship over their mutual desire to protect Yona. He also harbours a small crush on Yona, but instead actively chooses not to interfere with her growing affections for Hak. Kija wields his dragon claw in combat, which grows massive in size and is said to be able to cut through anything. When not in combat, he wraps his claw in bandage to avoid attracting attention.
- 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. This was so pronounced by his birth 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 thus, grew very quiet and socially awkward. 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 after the moonlight. Shin-Ah's eyes are able to see great distances and disrupt the nerves of anyone he glares at until it kills them. After using these eyes, however, Shin-Ah's body becomes paralyzed for a short time. He still hasn't mastered his power, but promised Yona that he would get stronger with her. However, there seems to be hidden powers to his eyes that he has not learned about yet. In Chapter 146, Shin-Ah unleashes a new power to protect Yona from a volley of arrows. Despite him being paralyzed, he still joins the 4 dragons to summon some sort of shield to protect Yona.
- To avoid making eye contact, Shin-Ah covers his face with a mask, though he later takes to wearing a blindfold to avoid the attention his mask attracts. Shin-Ah is usually accompanied by his pet squirrel, Ao, named after the previous Blue Dragon. He often uses his pet squirrel to comfort Yona if she's upset, or sends Ao with her when he can't accompany her on missions. Shin-Ah is extremely loyal to Yona, due to her kindness towards him, partially manifested by her naming him. It is implied that he harbors romanic feelings like the other dragons [Jae-Ha and Kija] towards Yona, but he rarely shows them. Regardless, he still deeply cares for Yona, and goes through great lengths to keep her safe, and to make sure that she is respected by others. He mainly wields a sword in battle, choosing not to use his powers for anything other than as a last resort.
- 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 in Awa. Jae-Ha tries to avoid Yona and the White and Blue Dragons because he did not want to be constrained by his duty, and 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 his feelings, he leaves the pirate crew and joins Yona on her journey. Jae-Ha is laid back, flamboyant, and a womanizer. He is aware of Hak's feelings for Yona and likes to tease him about it, much to Hak's frequent annoyance. Despite his earlier reservations about joining them, Jae-Ha eventually becomes a surrogate older brother to the group, and develops a close friendship with Hak--who only ever refers to him as "Tareme", often translated to "Droopy Eyes". He harbours some romantic affection toward Yona himself, but chooses not to pursue her due to their age gap and out of respect for Hak and the obvious feelings Yona holds for him. Jae-Ha's dragon leg allows him to jump incredibly long distances, giving him the ability to travel quickly and see things from up high. However, his power is useless while he is underwater. 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 mainly utilizes his powerful leg for close combat and throws daggers as long-range weapons.
- Zeno (ゼノ)
- Voiced by: Hiro Shimono (Japanese); Josh Grelle (English)
- The Yellow Dragon warrior. In contrast to the other dragon warriors, Yona did not have to go searching for him as he wandered into their camp. Zeno is cheerful and upbeat, and is usually smiling--behaviours adopted from his late wife, Kaya. Seemingly carefree, 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, which is only very vaguely recalled by Kija, who was four at the time. 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 or burned alive. When he uses this power, dragon scales cover his body and he becomes as strong as the White Dragon and can jump as high as the Green Dragon. Zeno used to live in Hiryuu palace and functioned as Kouka's first Priest, but he was forced to leave when the public started to notice that he did not age. Zeno usually wields a shield in combat to protect Yun and Yona from projectile attacks. He often reserves his power for a last resort, as it does entail him having to be gravely wounded to take effect.
- 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 Yun’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 (Yona and 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 deeply for the Wind Tribe and the royal family, to whom he is quite loyal. 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 her. Because of Hak intervening in his brash attempts to court Yona for years, he harbours a vendetta against Hak and actively tries to have him killed after Hak and Yona escaped the castle. During his pursuit, he inadvertently caused both of them to fall from a cliff, leading Tae-Jun to believe that he had killed Yona. This left Tae-Jun heavily depressed and guilty over the ordeal for months. He is finally reunited with Yona when his brother assigned him to capture bandits said to be driving off Fire Tribe soldiers from collecting taxes--which was really Yona and her group defending the poor from being abused by the military. Due to his feelings for Yona, Tae-Jun fully repented his actions and resolved to change the lives of the Fire Tribe's people, earning him respect from his subordinates and Yona herself. He later remains a valuable ally to Yona and her group from that point onward, even agreeing to risk treason at her request.
- An Lili (アン・リリー Ahn Riri)
- Lili is the only daughter of Water Tribe General An Joon-Gi. She is a confident, spunky girl around Yona's age with big ambitions to help solve the overwhelming drug problems that plague the Water Tribe. However, her efforts are impaired by her overly-protective father with whom she shares a distant, strained relationship. She initially thought that Yona and her group were suspicious, and thus involved in the drug trade. However, upon shadowing Yona's group for a few hours and being saved by them when attacked by a drug addict, she comes to realize that they share a common goal. With the combined efforts of herself, Yona's group, and an incognito Soo-Won, they are successfully able to arrest the reigning drug lord in the Water Tribe. Lili and Yona's group team up once again after this to quell the Water Tribe's drug and slave trade in Kai (a neighbouring nation), resulting in Lili and Yona being kidnapped by the enemy and sold as slaves in retribution for their drug-ban efforts. They eventually break out from the slave camp, but Lili is caught once again and sent to be hanged. She is rescued in the knick of time by Lili's personal guards and Yona's group, aided by from Soo-Won's and Joon-Gi's forces--most notably, a joint effort between Hak and Soo-Won. Her near-death experience and her anti-drug trade efforts resulted in Lili gaining strong respect from the people of the Water Tribe.
- From that point onward, Lili becomes a common ally between Yona and Soo-Won. She boasts a close friendship and loyalty to Yona, but a blooming friendship with Soo-Won, along with a deep gratitude for his role in her rescue. She is one of the few characters outside of Yona's companions who, not knowing her before her father's death, is privy to Yona's true identity as the true heir to the Kouka throne. She is also the only confidante of Soo-Won, and is considered a valid marriage option for him by her father and some of the other generals of Kouka. She is a neutral party in the conflict between Soo-Won and Yona, but has publicly announced her friendship and loyalty to Yona to thousands of Sky Tribe and Water Tribe troops.
Mizuho Kusanagi launched the series in Hakusensha's Hana to Yume manga magazine on August 4, 2009. The series has been collected into 25 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
- "The Official Website for Yona of the Dawn Manga". Viz Media. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
- "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.