Title: Yona of the Dawn (Vol. 1)
Written by: Mizuho Kusanagi
Artist: Mizuho Kusanagi
Translation/Adaptation: JN Produtions / Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Published: August 2nd, 2016
Genre: Manga, Shojo, Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Romance
Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Soo-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when she witnesses her father’s murder! Yona reels from the shock of losing her father and having to fight for her life. With Hak’s help, she flees the castle and struggles to survive while evading her enemy’s forces. But where will this displaced princess go with such an uncertain path before her?
What I First Thought:
I honestly can’t remember where I first saw this story or how it caught my interest. I haven’t seen the anime yet, though I’ve seen the overpriced dvds in FYE a few times. All I remember is that I first read it on my phone when I should have been studying for my finals. I really enjoyed it, from what I can remember, and I vowed that I would buy all the volumes once they started hitting the US market.
One of the problems that I have with this first volume is that the art on the front and back covers is a little misleading. The front cover is more accurate to the state of Yona’s character in this volume than the back cover. In the beginning of this story Yona is very much a princess who had been doted on all her life, except she’s a little more likeable than other manga princesses. A few chapters in and she becomes the lost, vacant character that she appears as on the front cover. Don’t get me wrong, her reaction is completely realistic for the situation, it’s the back cover that really gives me issue because that’s the one you focus on because the synopsis is right there. The back cover depicts her as this determined, hardened woman that doesn’t actually appear for a little while, if memory serves me right. You definitely don’t see Yona break from her stupor by the end of this volume, which may make it hard for people to like her, especially since her more likable traits won’t appear until a little later.
Anyways, this volume is pretty straight forward and doesn’t really deviate or expand on the synopsis much, which was the other problem I had. I tend to like the overviews to give enough detail to draw you in, but vague enough to allow the story to fully capture and surprise its readers. In this volume all but the biggest reveals are left out of the synopsis, which honestly isn’t that terrible but it almost allows you to skip to the next volume.
Honestly, I would still read this volume just so that you can be introduced to the characters and the world of the story. It sets up the relationships of the main characters and gives you some insight into what drives them. Also, it’s still a pretty entertaining read. The humor is very light and it isn’t very complicated, just gag jokes and funny situations, but still giggle inducing. The romance element is there but barely, it’s more mostly a lot of action in this volume which may be a plus for some readers. The action and violence are detailed, but not as much as other mangas and definitely not cringe worthy. For instance, there’s definitely a lot of blood but not intestines hanging out of bodies and other guts.
By the end, I wanted to read more immediately! It was a good thing that I make a habit of buying the first three volumes because I went straight to the second volume before writing this review!