As I was browsing the list of anime this fall season, Akatsuki no Yona‘s strong visual point grabbed my attention. Just look at the main poster of the series, it seems like another reverse harem will prevail over the season. That long-haired beautiful guy hooked me up to watch the series, but hey, I guess, nothing could be completed without the adventurous and historical feel that the anime would like to bring upon.
Let’s meet our female protagonist, Yona, the sole princess of the kingdom of Kouka who happily lives with his father, King Ill; her servant, Son Hak; and her love interest, Soo-won. One night, everything changes when Yona witnesses his father being killed by Soo-won who later on reveals he will become the king. Her journey continues as she escapes from the castle with Son Hak’s help.
I haven’t read the manga and I don’t have any background about the anime. Initially, I was surprised that the characters have Korean names, and thought it was originally a manhwa rather than a manga. But it is actually a manga written by Mizuho Kusanagi. Although in that case, I had this feeling that I was like watching a Korean drama with ancient perspective, all that pertain to dynasty. I do not have a problem with that anyway since I’ve been a fan of series with historical concept not necessarily based on prehistoric times of Japanese, as long as there is a good blend of action and adventure, to include breathtaking events of swords fighting, everything’s gonna be exciting with me.
The first episode of the series seems like another fantastical shoujo will dominate the season with its ancient setting (notice the architectural design of the kingdom) and the presence of a noble family (there’s this political matters, dynasty, etc.). It already shows what the story would like to convey and what to expect with the type of character the female protagonist will show the viewers – cheerful, lovely and young at heart who enjoys life with everyone around her. I like how they make the character of Yona which is far from that annoying protagonist from a reverse harem series as a modest lady, overly protected by handsome guys.
Surrounded by gorgeous men, Soo-won and Son Hak, Yona begins to show her typical shoujo expression when a romantic moment suddenly comes her way. She would feel confused at some points and eventually gets obsessed with the one whom she really cares. This is the point in the anime where the reverse harem genre becomes less dominant than the romantic matters as it rather centers on the strong emotions of Yona towards Soo-won. Apart from romance, Akatsuki no Yona has a great entertainment with its good sense of humor and surprisingly, they can become super deformed too behind those seriousness that lie in the setting.
Studio Pierrot doesn’t give an excellent factor when it comes to animation. Although with well-designed and decent characters, the overall ambiance of the series is quite dull and boring. The end part of the first episode where Son Hak delivers a battle scene doesn’t actually give me an excitement and it could have been much better if he can at least move freely from his spot.
Character designs are pretty well-done not to mention how they give too much attention on Yona’s vibrant outfit as it stands out the most as a girl from ancient setting. Her fuchsia colored hair is truly a distinctive feature of her and you couldn’t deny the fact that she looks amazing with it and she differs a lot from other reverse harem female protagonist. While Soo-won and Son Hak, despite their beautiful face, their outfit are made typical like full-blooded East Asian men, and their hairstyle is made in the simplest manner which is at least appropriate for their character.
I am not really satisfied with the opening theme. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t have lyrics as it only delivers a sound of old times, the way it portrays the opening doesn’t give me the best expectation from the series. I just hope that, with the loads of characters they show in the opening theme, their development wouldn’t be a total failure. The ending theme is more satisfying though.
To sum up, Akatsuki no Yona is making its own way to give, at least, an average comment from the viewers. Still, it’s a must watch series this fall season.