Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 27

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.

While the manga occasionally dips its toes into romance, that’s not its main function. As such, it feels quite refreshing when the end of the last volume and the start of this one focus so much on the feelings that Hak has had for Yona for so long, and finally telling her in one big burst of repression boiling over. This volume focuses on the aftermath, and does a very good job of both being lighthearted and funny about it but also taking his confession and Yona’s response to it seriously. I was worried there would be a “forgot about what happened last night” plot, but nope, Hak knows exactly what he said.As for Yona, while she’s a bit poleaxed there’s no reciprocation here, at least not consciously – she’s still more concerned with doing what they do. Which is good, but it also appears that the days of the Happy Hungry Bunch are being replaced with something a bit more legendary.

We’ve spent the last few volumes seeing the Four Dragons grievously wounded and depowered, and even for the first part of this book they’re still recovering. And while that was a good and important story to tell, it’s a joy and a relief to see everyone getting back to kicking eight kinds of ass. There’s also more humor here, as Hak is trying to alter the legend to add a 5th dragon, though no one’s going along with it. More to the point, though, they’re making themselves known now to world leaders rather than just disgraced princes and poor villages, and the disguise is not working – everyone knows who Yona is. She says, and rightly so, that Su Won knows they’re alive and hasn’t done anything, but they weren’t the chosen ones then.

They’re also not children anymore. Probably my favorite scenes of the book are the conversations between Riri, who is hanging around at the palace mostly as she functions well as Su Won’s beard (something she questions him pointedly on, and he admits a lot of people do think he’s gay). In fact, she’s getting a bit TOO casual with him, as one somewhat chilling scene shows. But there’s a wonderful moment when he goes to look at a mausoleum that he had been forbidden from entering when he was a child. He’d built up this huge idea of it in his head, and is incredibly disappointed to find that it’s just a room. The cast growing up has been one of the most important parts of Yona, and that applies just as much to Su Won as it does to Yona and Hak. Childhood illusions can be powerful, but should not replace the underwhelming reality of life.

Fans of the series don’t have to wait for the next book – my reviews are running behind. But as always, everyone should be reading Yona of the Dawn, and this is a particularly good volume.

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