By Mizuho Kusanagi. Released in Japan as “Akatsuki no Yona” by Hakusensha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Hana to Yume. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by JN Productions, Adapted by Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane.
After last volume’s tragic Zeno backstory, I was ready for a change of pace, and I ended up getting two. Bad things happen when Sinha is possessed by a former Bluer Dragon seemingly out for revenge, and our heroes end up in a cave filled with the spirits of the unquiet dead, which are drawn in a very creepy way. It could almost be horror… were it not for the fact that these are some of the funniest chapters of Yona to date. Every third page seems to have a new and better gag. Sinha’s possession is taking as him entering a “rebellious phase”, Yun’s Team Mom personality is constantly called into the light and dragged around for all to see (rice balls!), Hak, who has the dead pressing against him so hard he’s feeling weak, assumes that waking up in Yona’s embrace means he’s having one of THOSE dreams; and of course we get “hold on to me” as an excuse for a giant group hug. It’s wonderful.
It’s also only half the book, though the other half is a bit more serious (save for the discussion of why Su-Won hasn’t gotten married yet, which is a strange combination of hilarious and incredibly awkward). Yona and friends meet up with Riri and her bodyguards, who are still trying to protect the Water tribe by ferrreting out the source of the drugs still filtering into the cities. Well, Riri is, the other two are just following her and trying to ensure she doesn’t get kidnapped or killed or anything. This is actually a much bigger job than they’d like, especially as Ayura is still injured, so the bodyguards hire Yona and company to help protect her and also find out what’s going on. Of course, Yona being the type of series it is, this leads to a cliffhanger where she and Riri are captured by the bad guys, but if there’s one thing Yona has taught us to date it’s that this is not a series where the heroine stays put and waits to be rescued.
Another fantastic scene involves Yona and Riri discussing Su-Won, what he’s doing for the countries, and what Yona’s actual goal is. She’s seen what her father’s rule was like, and what Su-Won is doing, and has come to an understanding about it, though that doesn’t necessarily mean accepting it. But she still thinks that Hak will never forgive Su-Won, and I suspect she’s right there. There’s also a bit of romance, as Yona and Riri spend the night in bed together./. wait, wrong romance. Yona gives Hak a charm, and is clearly in love with him but unaware of her feelings. Hak, on the other hand, is very much aware of his feelings, but is not going to be doing anything about them anytime soon and is content to simply be by Yona’s side. I can’t wait till this eventually boils over.
So another stellar volume of Yona of the Dawn. You know the drill. Buy it.