Akatsuki No Yona Yona of The Dawn 暁のヨナ; Ep. 1 Review, Synopsis, Summary - Is This Series Worth Watching?

Akatsuki No Yona 
Yona of The Dawn Review 暁のヨナ;

Action, Adventure, Historical, Shoujo, Romance, Fantasy

Episodes: 24 - 1 OVA 
Licensed By Funimation

This anime starts out showing a girl looking at an army of soldiers pass by with a group of 6 young male fighters. 

We learn in this scene who this woman is, where she came from, and why she is watching the soldiers pass by in secret. This anime then takes us back to the past, and we learn here that the young woman is Princess Yona, and they are in the Kingdom of Kouka. Princess Yona used to live in the castle in this kingdom with her father, the king. She had no mother or brother living there with her and her father. Princess Yona's father became king 10 years ago, when the previous king, his father, died.

The Kingdom of Kouka is a small nation surrounded by many powerful nations, so there have been many wars, but in the last 10 years, things have been peaceful. 

Along with her father, Princess Yona is also very close to her childhood friend, Hak, who is also one of the five generals who protects the palace from the Wind Tribe.

Another person that we also learn about who was close to Princess Yona since they were children, was Prince Soo Won. Prince Soo Won is also Princess Yona's older cousin. We get to see Prince Soo Won's personality here. Prince Soo Won seems kind, a bit silly, and he babies Princess Yona. Prince Soo Won is visiting the princess in order to celebrate Princess Yona's 16th birthday. Princess Yona was really looking forward to seeing Prince Soo Won; she even dressed up and even wore perfume to appeal to Prince Soo Won physically, but he didn't notice at all. Prince Soo Won is completely unaware that Princess Yona has a crush on him.

As children, Prince Soo Won was so loving towards Princess Yona. He even helped her get over the death of her mother, and he even used to sleep together with Princess Yona. The bond between these two characters was extremely strong. For Princess Yona, Prince Soo Won is the most important person in her life to her.

Later on the following day, Prince Soo Won and Hak compete in an archery competition. Princess Yona feels left out and asks to join them, so Prince Soo Won allows the princess to ride with him. While riding with him, the princess asks Soo Won about women he has been with or if he has any engagements currently. Princess Yona gets upset that Prince Soo Won doesn't take her seriously, so she says that she has received offers as well, and she mentions Hak as one of those who made an offer of marriage to her. Prince Soo Won congratulates her, and this hurts her, so once Princess Yona gets back to the palace, she tells her dad how much this bothers her. 

Unfortunately, Princess Yona's father says that it may not be a lie because Hak would be the best marriage partner for her. Princess Yona refuses to accept this though, and she tells her father that she wants Prince Soo Won. Her father tells her that that is impossible because the one who marries her would become the next king, and Soo Won cannot be the king of their kingdom. 

Princess Yona lost her mother to rebels, who kidnapped and killed her, so her father is very cautious about choosing the next king. Princess Yona's father does not want rebels to take over their kingdom and take his thrown. This news is devastating for Princess Yona.

While Princess Yona is crying alone outside after talking with her father, a strange man tries to take her. She runs, and Prince Soo Won catches her and saves her. Having this experience right after hearing about the death of her mother again, causes a lot of trauma for Princess Yona.

The fear from the experience Princess Yona just had causes her to tell Prince Soo Won that she wants to be with him, but then she remembers what her father told her earlier, so she pushes him away saying that she can't be with him. Prince Soo Won gets upset and misunderstands her, so he walks away from her. In order to stop him from leaving, Princess Yona confesses her love for him, and he ignores her, and acts like she didn't say anything. Prince Soo Won even knocks her hand away and tells her not to touch him.

Prince Soo Won believed that he misheard Princess Yona, so he asks her to confirm it. She says that she truly meant what she said, so Prince Soo Won becomes flustered, and he admits that he saw her as a younger sister; he tells her that it won't be good to see her as a woman. Prince Soo Won also admits that knowing her feelings has changed things, and that they can't sleep together holding hands anymore like they used to because he would be too nervous now that he knows about her feelings.

Five days later, we see the princess' birthday celebration. Prince Soo Won came to the celebration, and he gave the princess her birthday gift, which is a hair ornament to match her beautiful red hair color. 

Princess Yona really hates her red hair because it is unruly and stands out from others, but Prince Soo Won tells her how beautiful her hair is, and this makes Princess Yona very happy.

Hak appears while they were talking because he was looking for the princess. Hak talks with Prince Soo Won after Princess Yona leaves, about increasing security because it feels off in the palace, as if someone has gotten in. Prince Soo Won agrees, so Hak gets to work checking on security and asks Prince Soo Won to stay with the princess. 

Later that night, the princess goes to talk with her father again about marrying Prince Soo Won, but she finds no guards in the palace, and her father's door is open. Princess Yona walks in and witnesses her father being killed by Prince Soo Won. The princess can't process this, especially since Prince Soo Won acts like nothing happened, so she asks Prince Soo Won to get medical help for her father, but he tells her that her father will never wake up again because he killed him. Prince Soo Won says this as simply and easily as one asks for a glass of water. It is very unnerving.

During this time, Hak is patrolling, and the princess is dragged out by a group of soldiers to be killed. Hak appears though right before the killing blow is given. The shock and betrayal from Prince Soo Won is too much for Princess Yona to handle, so even as she is about to be killed, she still calls out Prince Soo Won's name; still believing that he would come to help her, and that what she is seeing isn't real.

Prince Soo Won was watching nearby as all this happened; he was going to watch Princess Yona be killed, and this is where this episode ends. This first episode ends with Hak asking Prince Soo Won for an explanation for what is going on, so the rest of the anime will follow Princess Yona's escape from Prince Soo Won, her life outside the palace, and her relationship with Hak.

Anime Review 映画レビュー
Is It Worth Watching?

This is a great historical anime that shows the innocence of youth protected by one's parents, as well as their growth, maturity, and relationships with others. This anime is about romance, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal; it has some violence in it, but it is not intense, and the violent scenes are mild, short, and are far and few between.

The very nature of this anime will appeal to teens, historians, and older adults. This is an anime that many people will be able to relate to on some level, and you can really feel for Princess Yona as a person; you develop a love for her because of all that happens to her in this series.

If you are into historical action animes without too much violence and fighting, then you will likely enjoy this anime.

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