Yona of the Dawn Volume 22 by Mizuho Kusanagi
Volume 22 of Yona of the Dawn follows the tried and true formula of contrasting a hilarious chapter with a deep dive into introspection. The volume opens as Riri is recovering from her and Yona’s latest adventure. Su-Won goes to visit her and it is clear that some of the people that surround them are interested in pushing them together for various geopolitical reasons. However, Riri’s a bit dispassionate at being told to act dignified in front of the king, and Su-Won continues to find her frank mannerisms amusing. I hope for better for Riri than Su-Won though! In a hilarious scene Riri reveals the depth of her crush as General Geum-Tae enters her room. She immediately starts blushing and acting like a shy maiden. In the aftermath, plenty of people inform Riri that Geum-Tae is happily marries, and she’s very well aware, she’s just happy to enjoy her crush. Seeing Riri freak out about how cool Geum-Tae is in front of Su-Won was hilarious.
The reader gets a rare look into Hak’s mind as he struggles with the idea of returning Yona’s misplaced belongings to her, including the hairpin that Su-Won gave her right before he murdered her father. Hak reflects on their past friendship, and Su-Won’s betrayal. He thinks about his own emotions and how Su-Won didn’t seem to care about the pain he was inflicting on other people. The bulk of this volume deals with an adventure to a new land, as people from Xing pop up to ask if Yona and her companions are the “monsters from Kokha.” Yona meets another new female friend when she spends time with Tao, the younger princess of Xing, but she also learns about the extent of political destabilization that is following from Su-Won’s wars, as Xing might be split between two factions. Tao asks Yona’s advice about what to do with Su-Won, and Yona remains awkwardly silent, realizing that bringing her own feelings and opinions into someone else’s political calculations might not be in the best interest of Xing. This volume bridges two story arcs very effectively, with a little bit of comic relief, a glimpse of the emotional toll the journey has taken on Hak, and the introduction of a new land that hopefully Yona will be able to help.