Yona of the Dawn Volume 14 by Mizuho Kusanagi
I always put down each volume of Yona of the Dawn feeling like Kusanagi has just served up a master class in plot and character development, but I felt that way even more in this volume, which shows Yona traveling to visit the Water Tribe and confronting some very serious issues along the way. As soon as they arrive on Water Tribe land, Jaeha takes the opportunity to invite Hak along to visit the Red Light District, because the women of the Water Tribe are legendary for their beauty. Yona’s cloaked reactions as this conversation unfolds underscores how much she cares. Hak turns Jaeha down, and Jaeha heads out to explore the city solo, sensing that something is very wrong with the town. He meets up with a couple ladies, who burn some suspicious incense and offer him some of the special local rice wine. Jaeha goes along with everything, as he suspects that someone is watching both him and the girls.
Yona and her crew rescue Jaeha and go out to investigate, learning that the Kai empire is flooding the town with a drug called Nadai. Yona is determined to stay and fight the drug traffickers, even though Jaeha urges her to leave. The leadership and confidence Yona has developed over the course of 14 volumes has me confident that she’ll leave the Water Tribe lands in a better state than when she arrived. Yona’s group also attracts the attention of some local dignitaries, Ladi Riri and her two companions Ayura and Tetra. Riri first thinks that Yona is suspicious, but eventually realizes that the groups have similar goals. Seeing Riri’s assessment of Yona shifting as she learns more about her just serves to underscore Yona’s strength. There’s time for a little bit of situational comedy as Riri is horrified that Yona routinely sleeps outside, surrounded by men.
After some army battles in the last volume, there’s a return to close action sequences featuring Yona’s determination as well as the unique abilities of her protectors. This volume ends on a cliffhanger, but I’m very curious to see how Yona and her companions change and grow after being challenged by the situation in the Water Tribe kingdom. I’m also happy to see Yona getting some more female friends as she continues her travels.