「ちぎれた絆」 (Chigireta Kizuna)
“Torn Bonds”

Betrayal all around.

I’m really happy to have received the chance to cover Yona here, and pretty damn pleased with the way the adaptation is looking from here on out. I have a few concerns, mostly over the use of flash-forwards (*cough*spoilers everywhere*cough*), but otherwise I’m genuinely enjoying the ride. I often like to think about Yona’s development in the stages of grief, though it is a flat way of looking at a dynamic change. After her father’s death at the hands of her beloved Soo-won, Yona is firmly routed in the stage of denial; she refuses to believe her father could have died, and even more so that the boy she had grown up with and admired could have become a cold blooded murderer.

In truth, however, Soo-won isn’t necessarily cold-blooded. In fact, what drives him is revenge for his own father’s death, which he claims was at the hands of King Il himself. There is no reason given for the fratricide, but it’s possible that Il killed his brother in the name of peace; Soo-won’s father was a war lord, and thus would have spread suffering among the people through violence and all its consequences. Perhaps Il was simply jealous or insecure in his position as King despite being the younger brother. Whatever the reason, the murder became Soo-won’s driving force, and he claims he never was the warm and kind person everyone else thought he was.

For Yona, however, it’s impossible to comprehend just how her cousin, raised by her gentle father, could ever point his sword at his uncle or at her. She does have base instincts of survival and she does run for her life, but it isn’t really important to her in the midst of her grief. If it weren’t for Hak, in fact, Yona probably would have embraced the death planned for her. She’s gone numb from shock, and it all feels like a horrible nightmare to her.

Unfortunately for her it’s not a dream, and while she’s lost in her grief, Hak and Min-soo, the servant, don’t have the luxury of mourning. Hak does what he can to get the princess out of the castle alive, and Min-soo even sacrifices his own life in order to protect Yona’s. Hak and Yona use the opportunity to flee into the forest, but for Yona it’s all the same; what is she supposed to live for now that her father is dead? Now that Soo-won is no longer the one she has fallen in love with?

Perhaps it sounds a bit shallow, but it’s important to understand that Yona’s life was exceedingly sheltered and planned out. All she knew was life in the castle, a life of luxury and peace where everyone treated her and her father with kindness and respect. She knows how to give orders, but nothing about how to live on her own. She always believed she would marry and become the wife to the next king, and she accepted this as her inevitable reality. Her only hope was that she would get to choose someone she loved to marry, but otherwise she didn’t care to fight her fate. Now, in the blink of an eye, she’s lost everything she ever knew and cared about. She has no family, no home, no future, and it seems like her own life is forfeit. She only has Hak to cling onto now and that doesn’t change the fact that she feels lost and without purpose. What does a princess do when she loses everything? What should she do when her entire life is obliterated and everything she knows or believed is no longer valid?

What reason does she have to survive? It’s this question that fuels and changes Yona from here on out.




  1. I loved this episode too! I also agree on the flash forward scene comments. Having not read the manga, I would have rather been surprised at the scene of the princess cutting her hair or at a fresh display of her future supporters abilities. Oh wells.

    1. As it is an adaptation of shoujo manga, having Yona’s overpowered friends’ combat abilities revealed so early is for me a clear try to win some typical shounen audience for the show, before they drop it for the “no battles no fun” reason.

  2. I don’t really like the flashforwards, but I am also otherwise happy with this so far. I can’t really place what made the manga stand out so much to me, but I am so excited to see it in animation. I really fell in love with the characters and their relationships. It’s one of the few series that I feel very invested in the fate of all of the characters (even the traitorous ones).

    But, the flashforwards are really irritating and a cheap way to draw interest. Once was enough to pique curiosity, twice and it just feels like they’re shoving it in our faces.

    1. Personally I like the flash forwards. If we didn’t have them you would think that the entire show would have a wimpy simpering princess being dragged around by her hero. Instead we get to see one point in the future where she has regained her bearing and has something to fight for. Sometimes knowing the destination, or at least some way into the journey can be good.

      And I just have to say that I absolutly LOVE the soundtrack of this show. It perfectly fits the setting and stamps the show as NOT IN JAPAN.

      1. I can definitely understand that. But, her character actually develops pretty quickly and the characters are introduced organically throughout the manga. Part of experiencing a story is growing with the characters. Seeing them at their final stage of growth from the very beginning takes away from that for me. If they had to do it that way, they should’ve shown only her and Hak and maybe a vague impression that they are surrounded by allies. I really enjoyed the pacing of the manga and I feel like part of the reason I love the series so much is being surprised by the princess.

        And I totally agree about the soundtrack! It really drives home the setting and is absolutely beautiful.

    2. I can agree to a well paced manga but this is an anime and certain changes need to be made in order to grab the attention of the new audience whom are just being introduced to the show. We have the privilege to know what will happen in the future but the new audience might not feel the same way. You’d be surprise how many have a positive reactions to the flash forward. With any mediums certain things have to be changed and there were added scenes here that were not in the manga but it did add atmosphere to the environment.

  3. [b]Random Thoughts:[/b]

    No, Min-soo! I liked him. He was more than a servant, he was a friend to Yona and Hak.
    I’m super happy that you are covering [i}Akatsuki no Yona[/i], Kairi, congratulations again!
    If I was in Yona’s position, I would not know where to begin either.

  4. This is a great show.

    Min-soo’s sacrifice will not be forgotten. Very brave of him.

    So, really, who’s manipulating Soo-won? Yona’s father was a kind King, to the point where he avoided conflict as much as he could. I can’t believe that he’d kill his own brother. Not to mention that his brother was a war lord…
    It’s all highly suspect.

    Also, nice animation during the Soo-won and Hak fight.

  5. This is what I love about this show it leaves you wanting more!!! its funny even though I knew what was going to happen I felt tense and the suspense was killing me. But its interesting to bring up the point of what the relationship between Soo Won and Yona father was like. I don’t doubt that Soo Won believes II killed his father but judging from how he was as a person I have to wonder about Soo Won father death. If he did kill Soo Won father why did he do it? If he didn’t then WHO did? There is a lot of mystery in this series and that is one of the many reasons I keep coming back!!!

    As for the flash forward I’m ok with it if its just this once so that the new anime viewers can get a glimpse of the future and can get hooked. I have seen positive reactions to this episode so much so that many folks are officially hooked and that alone makes it worth it.

  6. I’m honest to god TRYING to like this show, but the premise and storyline so far are so painfully contrived that I cannot wrap my head around how anyone could enjoy it. I mean, seriously: I’m a wonderful, wholesome person my whole life but JK your dad may or may not have killed my dad and now it makes total sense for me to kill my uncle to gain the throne… EVEN THOUGH I COULD HAVE JUST MARRIED YOU TO ACHIEVE THE SAME GOAL (minus killing). I can’t.

    1. The King didn’t want Yona to marry Soo-won, so it was probably difficult to overcome that barrier. Soo-won may have even killed him for this very reason, it’s unclear as of now. As to why he would take the violent way, he simply wanted revenge; he probably lived with a lot of hatred in his heart after finding out that his father was killed by someone who supposedly loved peace.

      1. The king who is established to be a complete push-over says one word of argument against her marrying her cousin, and it’s assumed everyone should just give up on that future? That’s EXACTLY why I’m struggling to like this show so much; the characterizations are just so completely inconsistent and yet one-dimensional at the same time.

        Soo Won is a super nice guy… EXCEPT FOR WANTING TO MURDER YOUR DAD. It was so completely random, I was expecting Aizen to jump out of the corner and be like “all according to plan!!!” His motivations (thus far) are so weak that I literally can only assume he’s being brainwashed, and likely by that dark-haired lackey of his who is apparently a walking encyclopedia about Hak.

        I’m also sincerely confused about why I should CARE about some of these characters, especially the heroine. I’m a HUGE Fushigi Yuugi and Inuyasha fan, and as soon as I saw the previews for this, I was immediately psyched for what looked to be a good new take on a shoujo action-adventure. I mean, bishounen? Pre-industrial setting? Great artwork? Sign me up! But Yona? Sorry, but Soo Won should have taken her out first. And you might say that “she gets better later on,” but a quick flash-forward to her with short hair still having men fight for her (oh wait, my bad—she fires A SINGLE ARROW at the camera. COOL. #not) just doesn’t cut it. Like maybe if she had gone Princess Mononoke and rode a wolf solo into battle, that’d be awesome, but yeah no. Just a hair cut. And maybe her development IS better portrayed in the manga, but it sure as hell isn’t a job well done here in the anime.

      2. It’s entirely possible Soo-won was attempting to convince the king he should marry Yona and that negotiations went sour. That being said, I think he just killed him because of revenge and he took time to build up support before doing so. If you read the manga, there’s a lot of people against the king’s peaceful ideas and it was probably a lot better to have those people on his side first than just killing his uncle whenever.

        I’m not sure why you’re saying Yona isn’t as good as the Fushigi Yuugi and Inuyasha heroines; I’ve read and watched both those series and both those girls are damsels in distress WAYYY more often than not. And yes, they learn to fight too, but rarely on the front lines. As I’ve said, I could do without the harem boys used to protect a heroine in any series, but as for Yona, she’s pretty much a classic shoujo heroine like the others. Also, more reasons to dislike the flashbacks imo, Yona does a little more than just shoot an arrow here and there.

        Actually, I feel like Yona is similar to Red River’s Yuri; there’s a bunch of guys around her always saving/kidnapping/helping her (because *sigh* it’s really hard to find a shoujo without that trope), but Yuri is still smart and adaptive, and becomes a powerful leader in her own right. Yona too.

      3. I’m not saying Miaka and Kagome were more on the front lines than Yona is, I’m just saying they’re more LIKABLE than Yona. Both Miaka and Kagome are supposed to be “normal” modern girls, so their weaknesses (1) make sense and (2) still don’t overwhelm the good aspects of their characters, like Kagome’s empathetic and responsible personality or Miaki’s comedic timing. Yona’s a brat who’s in love with her cousin, and I really, really don’t understand how this is supposed to make her enjoyable to watch. I suppose that’s the point; you’re not supposed to like her until she goes through some hardship and matures a lot, but the anime isn’t portraying her growth in way that is either endearing or convincing. Watching the flashbacks feels like the animators are trying to give us something to look forward to, but without proper development, it just feels random and extremely contrived.

        Clearly, I’m just going to have to read the manga if I’m going to enjoy this series at all, however.

      4. @randomly

        “Yona’s a brat who’s in love with her cousin, and I really, really don’t understand how this is supposed to make her enjoyable to watch. I suppose that’s the point; you’re not supposed to like her until she goes through some hardship and matures a lot, but the anime isn’t portraying her growth in way that is either endearing or convincing.”

        Apart from the flash forward, The events shown so far have taken place over a period of 2 days. I’m not sure how you expect there to be growth of Yona from pampered princess in that period without at least giving her a chance to mourn the loss of her way of life. Basically you’re asking for something that you’re going to have to wait for. At least we have 2 cours for this to happen.

        I also think ‘brat’ is a little unfair. She’s just had a carefree existence and is just a simple girl in love .. and then finds that the world is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

    2. I don’t think Soo Won care about the title. I don’t think he even wants it. The throne is his simply because of duty and his obligation as his father’s son.

      Killing the king is his real goal. He wants revenge and he wants it in blood. The throne is simply an extra. That’s why marrying Yona amounted to nothing…

    3. Soo-won’s motivations will become more clear, but I think it’s pretty obvious even at this point that his primary goal was revenge, not the throne. It is also that he also found the king to be a very weak leader under whose rule the people had suffered. It seems to me that he also feels a bit of disgust at the idea that such a weak individual was ever able to kill his father in the first place. Had our princess not wandered into the scene, he would have most likely married her and fabricated the cause of her father’s death. However, she unfortunately stumbled in at the wrong time and he knew she loved her father too much for it to ever end any other way.

      I mean, it’s not a revolutionary show. I would describe the manga as “fun”. The characters are what make it for me. A lot of the main plot and driving force behind some of the events are still unexplained. But I feel like Soo-won’s motivations were pretty clear even early on.

      1. I have to agree with everyone early on King II didn’t want Yona to marry Soo Won so I can imagine he made his point on that note quite clear. Plus aside from restoring the stability to the country it is clear Soo Won primary goal was revenge. Soo Won father was by all accounts an amazing leader,intelligent, and a fair person so the idea that his father was killed by II who supposedly was an advocate for peace was truly hypocritical to Soo Won.

        But this is all from Soo Won perspective. Where did he get that information? There are a lot of questions in the fandom about this particular backstory and what was the relationship between their fathers. Also even in real history backstabbing and murder was a common aspect in royalty to achieve the throne so I was not really surprised about how bloody this series got and how a “peaceful alternative” i.e. marrying Yona was never an option for Soo Won.

      2. Yeah I wonder why people immediately consider he was manipulated. Its was pretty clear to me that Soo-won is a sly individual.

        It would be interesting if he turned out to be a good king.

    4. I can’t reply to your deeper comment, but you are being extremely judgmental for what is the second episode of the series. You are also comparing characters which have radically different backgrounds. This is its own series, not Fushigi Yuugi pt 2 or Inu-Yasha the continuing journeys. Inu-Yasha has some of the most stereotypical cardboard cut-out characters that has ever graced an anime so it’s interesting that you choose that series in particular. Don’t get me wrong, I watched it and loved it when I was a kid, but the characters are incredibly one dimensional especially in the beginning. Yona is a young princess who has been sheltered her entire life. She has known nothing of strife. The person who betrays her is one of the people who have shaped her since she was a child. She’s in shock and she’s hurt. Who wouldn’t be? Honestly, people like you are why the flashforwards were put in for the first place because you’re too impatient to give a character more than two episodes to develop.

      Also you still seem to be completely ignoring the fact that Soo-Won didn’t kill her father just for the throne. He killed him for revenge. He had people inside the palace who were obviously working with him to usurp his uncle. This was not a moment of rage brought upon by being rejected as Yona’s husband. This was a cold, calculated rise to power that he executed with assistance from people who found the King’s pacifism to be distasteful.

      1. Relax, there’s no need to start making assumptions about my character now. For the record, I usually give a series six episodes before I drop it, and this one is no exception.

        If the creators of the anime put in those flash forwards for viewers like me, then they failed horrifically. I would have much preferred to see some gradual growth (though it would have helped if she had any redeeming qualities to start… right now, as a non-manga reader, you need to remember that the only things I know about her are that she’s a brat and obsessed with her cousin).

      2. @ randomly
        “If the creators of the anime put in those flash forwards for viewers like me, then they failed horrifically”

        Exactly!!! I wouldn’t say this is a bad adaptation, not al all. But there is defintiely a lot of depth, charm, and hidden motivations to a lot of these characters. It’s still early, but it should be shown that Soo-won is struggling with killing Yona, but still feels justified for reasons that aren’t known to the audience yet; Hak is horrifically angry at Soo-won since they are childhood friends, because he is loyal to the king, and because for Yona, a girl who at the very least he’s been protecting for years; and Yona is struggling with denial and even processing current events. These are emotional characters and for Soo-won this is the culmination of years and years of lies and holding back. I think the dilemma of a young reliant-naive princess who can’t even walk far in the woods, waking up to the reality of a political situation that is greater than her own wants is an interesting set-up. She’s being dragged-over-the-shoulder into the wilds and at least for me it was enough to want to know what happened next. I don’t think it was necessary to show that future scene again at the end of this episode to reassure? viewers that she’ll toughen up and that there will be more characters.

        Show Spoiler ▼

    5. You have to remember yes kagome was likable but she was also a powerful priestess and in time she learned how to use her powers and was able to learn archery for the sake of protecting her friends. As for Fushigi Yugi it was a great premise that was wasted. Yes, Miaka was a product from the modern world thrown into ancient china, but she was essentially useless throughout the series and never tried to make an attempt to learn how to fight within her capabilities to support her friends. Yes, she worried about her best friend Yui but otherwise it was always her screaming tamahome all the damn time and never tried to better herself. Thanks to her inept nature a lot of her friends died trying to protect her.

      Yona is coming from a period where women were not expected to learn how to fight and needed to display lady like qualities since she grew up in the royal family. If anything the flash forward (which I don’t believe was a bad thing) presents that she WILL wise up and even learn how to fight via archery or learning how to use a sword to fight along side her friends within her capabilities in order to survive. And yes we will see the journey of that development and if anything the show is also saying people will have to be patient because this is a BIG story that is not even finished yet. At least the people behind the anime are putting a lot of love in this series because it is an interesting story that is worth the investment considering the person they got to do the soundtrack for the series.

      I seriously think everyone is too uptight about the flash forward I think it was ok and that it reassured the audience where this is going.

  7. I’m simply speechless this show is absolutely amazing… Story has been so good. Nice music, OP sequence, etc. What a breath of fresh air…

    “I have a few concerns, mostly over the use of flash-forwards (*cough*spoilers everywhere*cough*)”

    Yeah same. That was the only ‘red flag’. Anyone else watched Tokyo ESP Anime last season? Anyway this show seems very solid so I am sure everything will get handled proper. Thank you for covering this 🙂

    Rick Anime
  8. Love it, but too many spoilers for new viewers. I also pictured her eyes being more numb/darkened out, Yona’s spirit being more broken, and in general the whole scene was less colorful in my imagination. 😛

    Poor Yona though… when she was remembering how she thoughtlessly didn’t even thank her dad. 🙁 Also the way she cringed on reflex when Hak slit Soo-won’s shoulder, even though Soo-won’s the bad guy.

  9. i love the protagonist, yona and hak is not the usual annoying as hell MC but i also love and understand Soo-won’s purpose and character.
    this might be only a minor detail but, i dont like non-japanese names in any anime that i watch.

    1. “this might be only a minor detail but, i dont like non-japanese names in any anime that i watch.”
      That’s oddly specific. 😀 What about Lelouch, Louise Vallière, Fai D. Flourite, Edward Elric, Simon, Lucy, Nadia, Sinbad Oz, Syaoran, Erza Scarlet, Eren, etc. etc. etc. @_@ Are you sure you don’t mean Korean names. :3

    2. There are non Japanese names because its not set in Japan. It is set in a fantasy version of Korea. Using Japanese names would be just as silly in this setting as using western names.

  10. The fighting choreography was really good overall. There was one part where Soo-Won’s sword should have cut into his hand thanks to the pressure Hak was using, but other than that it was solid. Yona’s characterization was spot-on as well.

    However, I was disappointed with the flash forward. We already had hints about Yona’s development in episode one; we don’t need more. If people are too impatient to wait for character development, then I say let them leave. Don’t go spoiling what happens later! I would much rather see a gradual development without knowing the outcome than seeing said outcome ahead of time and waiting for it to arrive. Plus, the sudden introduction of supernatural elements in that fight scene felt a bit forced and unnatural- something that could have been incorporated better by sticking to the present and explaining as they go.

    Despite that annoyance, I did enjoy the episode, and overall I think it was solid. I do hope they quit with the glimpses into the future, though.

  11. I’m sad about the scene at the end too. After episode 1 I fell in love with the show and decided to read the manga, and was happy with what I got. But coming back to the anime that got me into this series in the first place and seeing the flash forward scene made me quite upset(a part of me liked seeing that though). I would say I prefer the manga (well, I personally feel many mangas of this genre are better than their respective anime) but I think the anime is pretty great too. Plus I love hearing the characters talk 😀 Will be looking forward to your review next week too!


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