Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 14

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. Translated by JN Productions, Adapted by Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane.

As I’ve mentioned before, Jaeha is my favorite of the Dragons, and I suspect I’m not alone there. He fits into a lot of characterization buckets that appeal to me. Indeed, he frequently puts himself in those buckets, behaving a specific way either because he wants to be seen that way, or in order to distract from how he’s really feeling. And traveling with Yona and company is troubling him, as he’s falling for Yona hard, which would be fine except that a) he totally sees the writing on the wall with Yona and Hak, and b) he worries that it’s his dragon blood MAKING him feel this way for her. As a result, in this volume we see Jaeha at his most reckless, sneaking off to a brothel partly to piss off Hal but mostly as he senses there’s something wrong about the new town they’re in. And unfortunately, Jaeha’s “always save the girl” mode also kicks in, leading him to be drugged with something quite potent.

Fortunately for Jaeha, his attempts at acting like everything is TOTALLY FINE and he is just being a horndog are doomed to failure, so Yona ends up rescuing him. Unfortunately, rescuing the town will take some doing, as its residents are in various stages of addition. Once again, Yona decides to stick around to see if this is something that can be fixed, with relatively little argument for once. Indeed, for part of the volume Yona and company are seen as they might be from the outside – as the most obviously suspicious ones. This is because we’re introduced to the young and idealistic princess of the water tribe, Riri, who is there to remind us of what Yona used to be like back at the beginning of this series. Indeed, she’s even got her own female equivalents of Hak and Jaeha as her bodyguards, though one of them might not survive an end-of-volume stabbing.

I do find it amusing that no one seems to recognize Yona, but instead Hak is the one that they find familiar – he’s not exactly an unknown face either. This ia a fantasy world with little modern technology, which is probably why The Dark Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch can get away with as much as they do, but they’re getting famous too, and eventually Su-Won is not going to be able to run into Yona on the battlefield and just go “whoops”. This series is long-running, and we’re nowhere near finished, but I am wondering what the endgame for it is going to be. In the meantime, Yona is far more concerned with saving Tetra (the Jaeha-ish bodyguard who was stabbed) and showing off that, even if her sword skills are rough and unpolished, facing off against Hak is a lot harder than facing off against nameless goon #2.

I feel like I’m ending each review the same way, but it’s always true. Yona of the Dawn is one of the best series Viz is putting out. You should be reading it.

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