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Akatsuki No Yona is successfully demonstrating how to blend a Debut Queue with Character Development, with a side order of giving the villain an extended Pet the Dog moment.

This show is continuing to improve, and more people should be watching it.

The Plot Structure

This has settled down nicely into a mostly sequential flow. The awkward time skips and flashbacks of the early episodes have basically disappeared[1].

There is some parallel A/B plot work happening with Yona’s quest to find the four dragons being the A-plot, and Soo-Won’s quest to save the kingdom by mundane means being the B-plot. The latest episode was all Soo-Won though, so I’m looking forward to seeing a Yona focussed episode next week.

The Debut Queue and the Character Development

Fortunately Akatsuki no Yona is a two cour series so it has the space to dedicate two to three episodes to the introduction of each the Dragons. This has strengthened the world building, and highlighted different views of inherited powers and destinies.

Along the way it is the Blue Dragon[2] who probably grew the most in his spot in the debut queue, but Yona’s character development has not been neglected.

Yona is still trying to become someone who can protect others, but has to face the fact that this isn’t what her pacifist father would have wanted of her.

Even so, somewhere along the line the spoiled brat became the compassionate young woman who truly deserves the loyalty of her destined dragons. Watching Yona grow and learn is driving a lot of my enjoyment of Akatsuki no Yona.

Isn’t Soo-Won supposed to be the Villain?

As mentioned in my first thoughts post, Soo-Won rejects the will of the gods and is seeking to rebuild the kingdom by his own strength. The two latest episodes have focussed on that nicely, and show that Soo-Won is much more than a villain.

He is not trying to rule through terror, he is trying to govern by building the strength of his potential followers, to win their loyalty by bringing prosperity to their doors.

All the while doing it subtly enough that it seems accidental unless you’re paying attention.

Nice work there Soo-Won, and very much a Pet the Dog moment. More important though is that Soo-Won is relying on his brains and his own efforts to achieve success, there is no waiting for the gods or destiny here.

What were they thinking? Were they thinking at all?

There is however one major problem with the second cour.

The new OP.

This might be a good OP for another series[3] but is utterly sucktastic for Akatsuki no Yona. I can’t see this growing on me the way Database did for Log Horizon, it’s just awful in context and will remain so:

Just to wash that out of your brain here’s the original OP (which will only prove my point):

The Continuing Verdict

With that one[4] exception of the new OP, Akatsuki no Yona has continued to improve, and is definitely a series that needs more love from the internet. If you’re not watching Akatsuki no Yona then you should be.

[1] Thankfully.

[2] Not actual dragons, more human descendants of dragons with some draconic powers. Naturally they are Colour Coded For Your Convenience.

[3] Although I’m not convinced of that.

[4] Well, two exceptions, but the second isn’t nearly as dire.