Really great episode this week. I loved it not only for the Yona and Hak moments but for all the introspective dialogue and moments it offered. Often times in adventure fantasy styled series we forget the very human struggles that people struggle with in feudal times. Kill or be killed, which will you choose? Being able to save one person means someone else will die instead. How do you weigh these sacrifices? And what does it mean to have true strength?
Akatsuki no Yona is doing a great job in exploring these themes and ideas. For Yona, who has never experienced the harsh realities of her people nor travelled the country far enough to witness injustices, she has a hard time mustering up the courage to kill. In many ways and in different ways, Hak and Yun have their own share of life experiences. While Hak chose to continue fighting as a warrior, Yun has realized that he’s the type to pick and choose his battles. How can Yona fight without actually fighting or fight only to defend herself without killing others? Hak seems to need Yona’s reliance on him and how will he react when she actually becomes independent? If Yona stops treating him like a tool and like an actual close comrade, Hak MIGHT JUST LET HIS FEELINGS OUT. WHOA THERE THUNDER BEAST. There’s clearly a thing between them (somehow) but Yona of course is still hung up on Su-won’s betrayal. After all, she’s still holding that hair accessory…
I can definitely sense Yona’s frustration at wanting to fight and not being able to. Her subtle sentiments are really well portrayed at the small scenes we get of her reactions. At the same time, she thinks she’s too much of a burden on Hak and Yun, for getting them caught in dangerous situations. As a princess, there are also some class constraints there. I mean, Hak treats her like a gem that must be protected above all. As well, Yona’s father never let her take up any weapons which adds even more to this “to fight or not to fight” debate. Like most of the decisions Yona’s been forced to make in the series thus far, there’s no middle ground. Situations have conspired her to make clear cut decisions about her life, to have one thing or the other, something she’s never had to contemplate in the palace because she grew up with everything she wanted. Now, she’s really learning about the meaning of sacrifice and hard work. Princess be growin’ up.
While Yona is fixated on improving herself, she’s still flawed in that she’s not intuitive enough to others’ reactions. She’s emotionally empathetic to the point where she’s able to cry for others but she can’t read people at all. Take Hak, for example… eight-nine percent of the time she has no idea what goes on in his head. Hak masks a lot of what he’s feeling with banter, sarcasm and snarky jabs at Yona’s princess-like behaviour. Though Yona really doesn’t even have time to figure out what’s going on in Hak’s head, Hak completely understands Yona, to the point where he knows which buttons to push to get her riled up enough to aim a death shot at him. I wonder how Yona would react if she ran into Su-won right now. I still think she’s really emotionally unstable when it comes to Su-won or of any mention of the capital. But DAYUM Hak gets intensely attractive when he gets super badass.
By the end of the episode, Yona, Hak and Yun have wandered into the village where the white dragon resides. Gotta admit though, those last scenes when the guardians of the white dragon are recognizing Yona, the “chosen one”-archetype was really strong with that scene. But you know, more significant characters from the title sequence!! So YAY!!
Last thought- It’s gonna be hella ironic that it’s the characters of the myth that help Yona retake the kingdom cause it contrasts with the moments when Su-won talks to his adviser about reading the tales as a child but states that fairytales won’t help get the kingdom in order. Waiting for those karma moments…
What are you pondering today?