Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 21

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.

It can sometimes be hard to remember that Hak, in the context of this series, is a normal human. He does not have any Dragon Warrior powers, but gets by by simply being very, very, VERY strong. This becomes very clear about two-thirds of the way through this volume, where the tension that has been slowly building about how long can Su-Won and Hak get away with not meeting face to face finally breaks – there’s just no avoiding it in the melee battle to save Riri that is going on. Indeed, it’s the unspoken communication between the two that saved Riri’s life, and I really long for some sort of alternate universe where the two of them fight crime. But unfortunately, they are enemies. Ju-Do certainly doesn’t forget that, and he alone is ready to take down Hak for the benefit of the Kingdom. But there’s more complexities going on here than can be dealt with by a murder. Hak and company saved so many lives. They do have to ignore each other right now.

The first half of the book is quite serious and action packed, though I’m not entirely sure Zeno saving Yona by literally dropping himself like a bomb on the enemy can be called 100% serious. Su-Won is once again doing far more than a King should be doing, which to be fair Riri is very grateful for. He’s still not really recognized by his subjects or indeed neighboring kingdoms, which leads to scenes like the one we get here, where a thousand soldiers are taken down by him and his four generals… and yes, the Happy Hungry Bunch, an alliance that makes both uncomfortable. The second half is lighter in tone, starting with Hak, whose nerves are frazzled by having to ignore Su-Won here because of circumstance, becoming a cuddlebug and hugging Jaeha and Zeno, both of whom react appropriately for such an occurrence.

This then leads to a wonderful chapter where, having moved back to the forest to camp out, Hak and Yona try to have a heart to heart. There’s an earnest core here, as Yona has felt fairly “princess in need of rescuing” this arc, which makes her unhappy, and Hak is dealing with her being in danger PLUS Su-Won, so is, as I said, a bit frazzled. But Hak is hugging others, and Yona wants to be hugged… except (she thinks to herslf) she hasn’t had a good bath in a while, so she must stink. Hak has not, in fact, noticed this, and later says she’s been filthier before (not the right thing to say), which leads to an amazing battle between the two of them, Yona avoiding his touch and Hak trying to capture her. It all ends well, though, with hugs being had, and Hak being reassured. That said, though, Yona still is apparently unaware of her own feelings towards Hak. How long will that last?

To no one’s surprise, this is an exceptional volume of Yona, and brings this arc to a close. What happens next? Intrigue? Action? Shenanigans? All of the above? Please read this series.

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