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Akatsuki no Yona – 04 »« Akatsuki no Yona – 02

Akatsuki no Yona – 03

「遠い空」 (Tōi sora)
“The Distant Sky”

D’awwww, such cute little teenyboppers.

Of the three episodes so far, I felt that this episode was the weakest. Don’t get me wrong, the content was great for character building and strengthening the lingering impact of the loss Yona is experiencing, but as far as execution goes, it was more on the rushed side. I felt like the scenes were just flashing by sometimes (and was it just me, but was the music almost overwhelming the voices in some places?) and the episode covered a hell of a lot of material in that time. We got two flashbacks for the price of one, and the episode was done before I realized it.

The first flashback centered more in Hak than on Yona. We’ve been given a few indications that Hak’s feelings for Yona aren’t just those of a bodyguard toward his charge, but this is the first time those feelings are openly acknowledged. A successor to the Wind Tribe’s leadership by adoption, Hak originally refuses the job of looking after Yona (on the excuse that he wouldn’t have time to lay around anymore) until a noble courting Yona steps over the line. Though reluctant at first, he decides to protect the princess from harm, thus devoting himself to her in a roundabout way without having to compete for Yona’s affection. Interestingly, Hak also makes an important observation regarding the deceased King; though considered a coward by everyone, the supposedly peaceful ruler didn’t bat an eye at grabbing an unsheathed blade and slicing through his palm in order to protect his daughter. In all likelihood, King Il was more calculating and far less cowardly than his kingdom seems to have believed. Why was he content in remaining weak and useless in his country’s eyes?

In the present, Hak continues to worry about the Princess’ health and state of mind as she falls further and further into numbness and grief. Her own flashback is a childhood one. She recalls a time when she, Soo-won and Hak caught colds from playing in the snow, and how she felt abandoned when her father didn’t visit her in her room. Yona’s feelings are soothed when Il arrives at night with terrible homemade food for his daughter, and the King proves himself to be a doting, though busy, father.

The memories of King Il only deepen the wound in Yona and Hak’s hearts. The bonds they shared with him, and with Soo-won (a kind and rather airheaded child) have been severed violently, and it’s nigh unbelievable that all those important feelings and memories are now void. Yona can’t give up the specter of the Soo-won she always loved, and Hak is pained but grateful that she at least has this small thing to keep her from completely losing her will to live.

 

Preview

October 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm
35 comments »
  • October 21, 2014 at 8:04 pmrandom viewer

    This episode could have been an OVA or something, since I think the story could do without it. But I am shipping these two so it’s all good:
    http://randomc.net/image/Akatsuki%20no%20Yona/Akatsuki%20no%20Yona%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2012.jpg

    • October 22, 2014 at 10:19 amMgMaster

      No way,I thought this build-up episode was great and does a good job at making it hard to believe “the Soo-Won Hak & Yona knew was a lie”,which is a good thing since it makes me hopefully that there’ll be more depth to his character rather than just being the villain we’re supposed to hate. Granted,I might just be grasping at straws here and he’ll turn out to be just that. It’d also be nice to see things from his PoV every once in a while.

      • October 22, 2014 at 10:50 amTripleSRank

        Exactly. Thank you for that.

        People complain when we don’t have character development and people complain when we do. -.-

        …Not saying RandomMC people are like that, though. This seems like an interesting community. :)

      • October 22, 2014 at 10:12 pmRick Anime

        Yeah I thought this episode was very well put together too. I also agree with the blog though, it did seem to flash between scenes pretty quick. But it didn’t feel poorly done.

        Hm, yeah maybe this episode lost the thunder of King II getting killed and the epic escape. Hard to top those. But we needed to slow down and work on character development.

  • October 21, 2014 at 8:15 pmTripleSRank

    Kairi, didn’t you say you’re a manga reader? I don’t recall. I’m not, and this episode actually seemed to be on the slow side from my perspective. I was wondering if it had to due with the adaption pace or if I’m just looking at it differently.

    Anyway, Hak is carrying the show at this point. That’s not to say nothing else is interesting, but he just seems to be the most interesting part so far. This whole episode was devoted to fleshing out his character and his relationships with the other characters. However, I would disagree concerning the romance: I believe he was simply embarrassed in the screenshot. We were hearing his annoyed thoughts all throughout the first part of the flashback, and even his step-dad noted how irritated he was (by Yona). I saw it as more of a brother/sister relationship with Yona being the annoying little sister he can’t stand to be around, even though he cares for her deep down. The present didn’t doesn’t seem to point toward romance either; at the castle Hak didn’t show the slightest amount of jealousy toward Soo-Won, and he even seemed happy that Yona was getting along with Soo-won.

    As an aside, we finally have a guy that doesn’t act inappropriately around a naked lady. Huzzah!

    Hak’s relationship with Soo-Won was also touched on lightly in the flashbacks, which I think serves as a good basis and contrast to his current resentment. Still, I like how he prioritizes Yona’s safety and comfort over said resentment. He’s a rather mature fellow.

    It was a good episode overall.

    • October 21, 2014 at 8:28 pmKairi

      Ja I am a manga reader.

  • October 21, 2014 at 8:18 pmVsAllGaming

    Its sad seeing Yona so broken but obviously she’ll get accept all this eventually. I’m looking forward to seeing how she comes that strong archer we have only seen a couple of times. Gotta say Im liking Hak, hes really cool and I loved when he stood up to that General and clamined Yona as his own.

  • October 21, 2014 at 8:35 pmhoshi

    “In all likelihood, King Il was more calculating and far less cowardly than his kingdom seems to have believed. Why was he content in remaining weak and useless in his country’s eyes?”

    THAT is a question I think everyone in the fandom has been asking. Its clear that a lot more was going on in the background between the fathers of Soo Won and Yona. I have to wonder what was King II end game regardless if he killed his brother or not. I like that this episode went by quickly because there is still so much story to tell but it did introduce more team players for the series. One we got to see Hak grandfather Mundok Two we got to see more of Soo Won father and last but not least the second son of the Fire Tribe Tae Jun. Plus I love we got to see what goes through Hak head and it must have been difficult for him to hold back his feelings for Yona to the point that I don’t think he ever considered she would ever love him back. As light hearted as this episode was its also really sad knowing how strong these bonds were and for it to broken in that horrific way is so tragic.

  • October 21, 2014 at 8:50 pmMartialBob

    Is every episode going to be dominated by flashbacks?

    • October 21, 2014 at 8:57 pmKairi

      Nope. It’s just the first few that focus on establishing who the characters are and why they were like that. Character development through flashback.

    • October 21, 2014 at 9:11 pmRalicht

      It was really good not to see another flashforward this episode. I really love the relationship between Hak and Yona and it’s heartbreaking to see how close they were in children knowing what has been done. I can definitely empathize with Yona after seeing how strong those bonds were. How does anyone deal with being so capriciously tossed aside by someone they cared so much for?

      I definitely agree that King Il was stronger than he appeared. I have spent a lot of time wondering about his role in these events. Maybe his past was bloody and something that he regretted dearly, and that’s what turned him into a pacifist later in life. Maybe he was as ruthless and cunning as Soo Won but maintained that persona because it benefited him in some way. There are things which make me question either theory in the future so I’m not sure which way I lean on his character. At the very least, his feelings seem to have been very genuine towards the children and I don’t think he ever intended to harm Soo Woon

    • October 21, 2014 at 9:13 pmRalicht

      Oops. I didn’t really mean to reply to you, but it seems like I did. Sorry, the shame is strong… but, as Kairi said, it’s only part of the initial chapters that there are so many flashbacks.

  • October 21, 2014 at 9:13 pmChar

    SPOILER!!

    Next episode, the fan-wielder Tasuki joins the team.

  • October 21, 2014 at 9:25 pmKF

  • October 22, 2014 at 12:07 amSweetCoconut

    My only complaint about this episode was the BG music was louder than the dialogues. But again, I can’t wait for the next episode.

    • October 22, 2014 at 1:12 amErimaki

      Yeah, that got really distracting at times. I first noticed it in the silly parts of Mundok’s introduction.
      My first rection was to check if an add opened on one of my tabs.

      • October 22, 2014 at 10:14 pmRick Anime

        Ah good to see others experienced this too. I thought my web browser pulled up another site that was playing another video while I was watching Yona on Crunchyroll. Then I figured out it was indeed the show. That was strange

    • October 22, 2014 at 1:51 amMormegil

      I watched it on Crunchyroll, so I wasn’t sure if it was the actual episode or Crunchyroll’s fault. But yeah, they need to fix the sound.

      Other than that, decent episode. A few heartwarming moments throughout, but there wasn’t much progress.

    • October 22, 2014 at 3:15 amKiseki

      I don’t know if Funimation has released Yona yet for further comparison, but the sound mastering problems are limited to CR’s releases so far. I compared the ATX raw (I’ve never encountered issues with sound when watching AkaYona live) to CR’s rip for episode 2, and the TV airing’s BGM doesn’t overpower Yona’s voice at the end the same way it does in CR’s master.
      I’ve only compared CR and ATX though, idk if the other TV airings or NicoNico have any issues.

      • October 22, 2014 at 10:45 amTripleSRank

        Ah. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice any problems, then. I was wondering what everyone was talking about since the BGM thing didn’t happen to me. ^-^;

      • October 22, 2014 at 11:13 amMormegil

        Thanks for the info, Kiseki. I had a feeling it was CR’s fault. They had problems with the audio last season on a few shows too.

  • October 22, 2014 at 12:56 amRyuuzaki

    weird, while reading Kairi’s post, “Itooshi hito no tame ni”song played in the back of my mind ♫♪

    • October 22, 2014 at 2:27 amLibélula

      Yes, I also think its pretty similar to Fushigi Yuugi;)

  • October 22, 2014 at 1:19 amJF

    As by this episode, the sound production team is still having problems with the mixing of the voices and BGM, nonetheless, it’s lesser now compared to the first episode.

    Anyways, this episode well explains what goes between the 3. Though I was not expecting to have 2 flashbacks in 1 episode, it was kinda fast-paced… I think, from my perspective (I haven’t read the manga).

    A good episode, hoping the next episode should be in okay with terms of sound production. :-)

    • October 23, 2014 at 6:45 pmScruffy

      Check the comments above. It’s a problem with CrunchyRoll, not the production team. Raw broadcast sources are fine.

  • October 22, 2014 at 2:35 amLibélula

    For me it didnt feel rushed at all. It was a really nice episode.

    What came to mind after having watched this was a certain Shion Astal (long light hair) from Denyuuden. He did everything for his country, became king, and couldnt stop even when he was hated by his best friends. I think the author references Denyuuden even in the name “Soo-Won” vs. “Shion” (sounds similar when they pronounce it) so my guess would be for now, that Soo-Won has his reasons for doing what he does.

    • October 22, 2014 at 10:25 amMgMaster

      ^Lol,exactly! He kind of resembles Shion from Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu,in more ways than one even. As I mentioned in a post above,seeing things from his PoV would be nice as to establish him as more than just the series’ antagonist that we’re supposed to hate. It’s more interesting when a show offer’s no easy answers.

  • October 22, 2014 at 11:33 amwitchhuntress

    I feel like looking weak makes King Il easily passed up as “couldn’t do something violent at all.” If he were to be publicly known as his brother’s killer, he might not be thought capable of doing such things as all, as Yona thinks of him still and some others.

    Was he a puppet king, though? I wonder. For King Il to be king without suspicion of his brother’s death at his hands, I think nobles under him might also strongly support him for their benefit.

  • October 22, 2014 at 1:56 pmZJZJ

    I don’t know if it was rushed, but I too felt the execution wasn’t what I wanted it to be. In the manga I felt these scenes were important since it kind of confirms that Hak does have feelings for Yona, and gives us insight on what kind of a person the king and Soo-won is/was. But I’ve seen many comments where people thought this episode was a filler, and it really saddened me because I really liked this part in the manga. The part where Yona thinks that the sky the three of them looked up at together isn’t there anymore really hit me hard in the manga, but not so here :(
    Still, I liked this episode just for blushing Hak and the cute kids :D

    • October 22, 2014 at 3:24 pmRalicht

      It pretty much followed the manga, though. I think having the flashforwards at the beginning was a way to draw in people who ordinarily wouldn’t have stuck around. I think it’s created mixed expectations for a lot of viewers. I was really happy with this episode outside of some sound issues

      • October 22, 2014 at 6:36 pmhoshi

        I agree with you I have been disappointed with the reception of this series and we are barely 3 episodes in and everyone is already calling Yona the weakest heroine ever without letting the story tell its story. -_- I love this story a lot so it disappointing that its not getting the same amount of comments then other series this season. Yeah I thought the first two episodes were really good so I was surprised that it was this episode that hooked some bloggers I know on other sites. Its a good episode with a lot of insight of several team players but it wasn’t completely strong as the first 2 episodes.

  • October 22, 2014 at 11:57 pmsingingzombies

    If you wondered why there were so many flash-forward spoilers in the first two episodes, I’m guessing the adaptation team realized just how slow-paced the source material was in the beginning, and had the legitimate fear that viewers would get bored and drop the anime before they got the good stuff. I mean, if you didn’t have the flash-forwards earlier, even if they were spoiler-tastic, all you would have seen in the entire FIRST THREE episodes was pathetic whimpering Yona. While it’s understandable given the situation, you basically see the anime team screaming… “Stay tuned!!! She gets awesome!!! We swear it!!!”

    I have to wonder just how slow the pacing is going to be in the future. Do we not even see the first companion for Yona’s party till episode 5 or maybe even 6 since they don’t seem to be cutting anything? That’s slow…

  • October 23, 2014 at 2:16 amewok40k

  • October 26, 2014 at 5:05 amKimboslice

    I thought this was a good episode. I felt it fleshed out all the characters a little bit more.

  • October 30, 2014 at 3:44 pmKirro

    Hmm, I suspect that King Il is innocent (at least in the sense that he’s not the bad guy). I think he might have still killed Soo-Woon’s dad though, given that he never denied it, but probably because Soo-Woon’s dad was evil or something and he had no choice but to kill him (and that’s why he hated violence). Calling it. If it’s not true, color me surprised.