「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.