Akatsuki no Yona – 10

Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -23 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -28 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -30

Enter the dragon.

Come on, you have to give me that one…

Forgive me for being a little distracted as I type this, as the Chicago Cubs have just signed a free agent other teams actually wanted for the first time in about a decade and I’m a bit euphoric.  As any American sports fan can tell you, being a Cub fan is suffering (and we, more than anyone, have earned the right to say that unequivocally) so we have to take our victories where we find them.  It’s too bad that usually happens in the off-season when it happens at all, but I’ll take what I can get.

But in any event on to this week’s Akatsuki no Yona, and if it wasn’t one of the more memorable episodes of the series, it was certainly a highly entertaining one.  The humor quotient in the village of the white dragon was quite high, and there weren’t a whole lot of surprises in the way things played out.  The makeup of the cast seems to change on just about a weekly basis with Yona, and that’s clearly going to be the case for a good while longer as well.

At long last, we have our first official member of Yona’s dragon squad – Ki-ja (Morita Masakazu).  Again, things in the village play out pretty much as expected.  Yoon is a prisoner and Hak and Yona are likely about to be, but the reaction of the Elder (Kanemitsu Nobuaki) betrays the reality that red hair is apparently uncommon in Kouka (as indeed one would expect in medieval Korea).  But ultimately it’s up to the will of the figure the entire village has existed to protect to decide the outsiders’ fate – if the White Dragon gives the thumbs’ down, presumably it’s the chop for the three of them.

It’s too early for me to see whether Ki-ja is going to be a strong character – he’s fine so far, but doesn’t make a huge first impression.  He’s unsurprisingly a bit pampered and self-pitying, seemingly stemming mostly from boredom, and the doting of his loving but onerous Granny (79 year-old Kyouda Hisako) – who may or may no literally be Ki-ja’s grandmother, though I don’t think it matters – doesn’t help.  She’s especially concerned that the now 20 year-old dragon hasn’t found “a bunch of wives” yet, but Ki-ja seems to be holding out for something more spiritually meaningful.

There’s some background here on how the dragon process works, but it’s not absolutely clear.  It seems as if as soon as a new dragon is born, the traits of the dragon (in this case a claw and presumably in all cases formidable fighting power) pass from the old to the new.  What isn’t clear is whether the dragonhood (?) has to be passed in a direct bloodline, or whether anyone in the clan is theoretically eligible.  It seems more likely to be the latter, and this of course has important implications as far as determining just what Yona herself is.

What is clear is that Ki-ja has been desperately hoping that Hiryuu – or his descendant/reincarnation – would show up and give meaning to his life.  And immediately we see a rivalry forming between he and Hak, which is hardly surprising.  Ki-ja sees the dragons as the only companions Yona needs and tries to buy Hak off with a sack o’ gold, but the Thunder Beast (here depicted as a tiger) will have none of that.  And when Yona makes it clear that it’s Hak she still considers her indispensable companion, he looks as happy as he has any time in the series.

At this point it’s pretty much down to the farewell feast and the tearful goodbyes, which are by the book but have their amusing moments (most courtesy of Obaba, who tries to include a bishoujo in the swag she tries to get Ki-ja to take with him).  Fortunately for the screenwriter Ki-ja has the ability to detect the presence of the other dragons (“almost like siblings”) via his claw, which will give direction to the plot for the next phase.  What’s going to be interesting is seeing how the new four-way dynamic of the Yona party breaks down (though of course it’s not going to last for long).  Will we see romantic tension between Yona and Ki-ja, adding to the potential for conflict between he and Hak?  Or is inter-dragon canoodling absolutely a no-go?  And how will Yoon manage to stay relevant in the presence of those physically far more formidable than he is?

Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -8 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -9 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -10
Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -11 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -12 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -13
Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -14 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -15 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -16
Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -17 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -18 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -19
Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -20 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -21 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -22
Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -24 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -25 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -26
Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -27 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -29 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -31
Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -32 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -33 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -34
Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -35 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -36 Akatsuki no Yona - 10 -37


  1. G

    I am watching ESPN about Lester while reading your Yona blog. I feel for you and the Cubs

  2. Hey – this is the one day in a decade you don't have to feel for us…

  3. c

    This is apropos of nothing, but I just discovered that Hak and Fukutomi from Yowapeda share the same voice actor. Mega Shock! They sound nothing alike. Consider me impressed.

    Yoon is a handsome genius; he will always be relevant! No, but really, he's the rare male in the cast who can't or isn't willing to fight. I consider that the emotional counter weight if anything, at least to one side of Yona to the other "beasts" so to speak.

  4. m

    I realised the voice actor's resume last week and laughed my socks off ^^;

  5. Y

    It's not that Yoon can't fight — he already mentioned last episode that he knows how to wield a bow — it's just that he dislikes violence very strongly; hence, he prefers to avoid it for as long as he possibly can. Nevertheless, he is willing to assist the others in combat if the situation desperately calls for it, albeit in a much more "unimpressive" manner. It's one of the things I genuinely like and appreciate about his character — the juxtaposition of his "genius mind" and "practical normalcy".

  6. J

    I'm genuinely surprised I'm the first person to make the "I am strong" joke here…

    It is a versatile voice though.

  7. w

    I'd say the strength of Ki-ja's character lies in the scars on his back. 'More than meets the eye' is a pretty common thread for characters in the Yona-verse, so whatever his back-story is will probably make or break him.

    Also, isn't Yoon set up to be the doctor? Like a bunch of fighters could keep such a handsome genius from shining

  8. K

    Why does CR translate Hakuryuu yet keep Hiryuu?

  9. T

    I'm so happy Kija has officially arrived. ^_^ *Kusanagi drew a doodle on her twitter with Yona, Hak, and Yun telling Kija sorry for keeping him waiting >_<*

    As for Kija boredom you can't blame the guy when you look at the his predecessors I mean can you imagine waiting for centuries and centuries for the one your supposed to serve to arrive? That is tough when your entire life is centered around waiting and serving a great entity that will come looking for you when that entity needs you but you don't know "when" that will be. That's tough :/

    Its rare to see anyone get Hak a little peeved so that was entertaining.

    Even though Kija is really adamant about fulfilling his role as Hakyuryuu its nice to see that he appreciates that Yona sees him as an individual by asking him what is his name and wants to get to know him beyond his role as a dragon. It's clear kija is eager to please and prove himself as the dragon of legends, but he does also want to be seen as himself too.

    Oh Hak any little thing that Yona says about you makes you want to jump over the moon. *pats on the back* good for you bro that's progress LOL

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