Manga Mavericks EP. 198: "Yona of the Dawn"
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It’s the dawn of a new podcast adventure as we’re embarking on a journey into one of the most epic modern fantasy adventure manga, Mizuho Kusanagi’s Yona of the Dawn. And joining us on our quest are some legendary dragons of the fandom, Marion, host of the Good Friends Anime Club, Saturday Night Shoggy, MHA Podcast, Shaman King Podcast, & The View From the Top!, Caitlin Moore, editor for Anime Feminist and writer for Anime News Network and her own blog I Have a Heroine Problem, and Olive St. Sauver, writer for ButWhyTho?! Yona of the Dawn follows the journey of the eponymous Yona, the crimson-haired teenage princess of a pan-Asian amalgam of Korea, Japan, & China called Kohka. Yona is in love with her first cousin Su-won and has a love-hate relationship with her bodyguard Hak, both of whom have been her longtime childhood friends. She confesses her love for Su-won on her 16th birthday, but when she goes to tell her father about her feelings, she finds him being murdered by Su-won himself. Su-won has staged a coup against King Il because the latter’s pacifistic and non-interventionist policies have put the country in dire straits and as revenge for murdering his father, Yu-hon. At the urging of his advisor, Kei-shuk, Su-won also nearly executes Yona, but she is rescued by Hak and they go on the run. Over the course of her journey and after meeting and befriending the legendary Dragon Warriors, Yona gets stronger and more confident in her battle skills. She realizes that the people of Kohka are suffering from a ton of problems due to her father’s mismanagement, so rather than reclaim the throne, she resolves to do what she can as a wandering nomad going around the kingdom to help improve the living conditions of the people and stamp out criminals and corrupt government officials exploiting them. But as Yona and her companions achieve results in helping improve things in the Kohka kingdom and neutralizing foreign threats, their reputation grows amongst the people who believe in the legend of the dragon warriors and start worshipping her and them as godly beings, dividing the loyalties of the people between Yona and Su-won and threatening to factionalize the unified kingdom that the latter so desired to create... We discuss our thoughts on Yona’s growth as a heroine, the complicated relationship between her, Hak, and Su-won, and how the series challenges the concepts of prophecy and the divine authority, exploring what it means to be a leader and what it takes to lead. We also gush and argue about our favorite Dragon Warriors, and champion our favorite supporting characters like Yun, Riri, and (perhaps surprisingly?) Tae-jun! We also speculate about the direction of the story, debate the merits of the Xing arc, explore Yona’s obliviousness and Hak’s brazenness in their slow-burn romance, and explain just why Yona is both a throwback to the 90s shojo fantasies of yore while also being the best possible version of them, and why it satisfies a craving for more action-focused shojo fantasy works that’re so few and far between these days. Yona’s story and world are so rich with detail that we couldn’t contain our discussion to just one podcast, so look forward to another equally meaty Q&A podcast next week to go over even more of our thoughts and theories on the series! For a complete list of links and Community Shout-Outs mentioned in this episode, please visit this podcast's webpage at: With the recent news of the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court and thereby nationwide abortion rights protections, we’re also providing a list of links to abortion funds and organizations to help spread awareness of ways pregnant people can find safe access and financial aid for abortion services. We will keep our eye open for other Abortion access funds and organizations to shout out and promote in the future as this situation dev
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