「選んだ扉」 (Eranda Tobira)
“The Chosen Door”

This episode is pretty much everything I could ask from a good writer.

Though not as action packed or necessarily central to the story as this episode is, it does something fairly important that not so many anime are interested in doing nowadays. Way back when, it was usually expected that most, if not all, of the characters in a show had some kind of backstory; you were supposed to know at least something about how the character became who they were, and what that meant about the kind of person they would be in the midst of the plot. True, some stories overdid it a little and perhaps you can think of a few where the focus was lost a little because of it, but I think Yona is doing a solid job with Yoon and Ik-soo’s story.

In the first place, not that many narratives today are all that interested in fleshing out parent-child relationships unless there’s some shock factor or negative twist, and while that’s fine, it’s nice to see a positive relationship between a child and their parent-figure. Parent and child or brotherly, the fact is that Yoon and Ik-soo are a family of sorts, and they look out for one another in their own special way. We already knew that Yoon looked after Ik-soo’s clumsiness, but now we also see that in exchange, Ik-soo provides companionship and care for his intelligent and capable charge.

For the first time, we’ve also been exposed to the state of Kouka outside of Yona’s palace and the Wind Tribe. Yoon grew up in abject poverty, so much so that he lived in a desolate and run down village, constantly on the verge of starvation. The fact that Ik-soo traveled around giving away (and being robbed) his worldly possessions to the needy also seems to imply that at least in the not so distant past, Kouka was suffering terribly. There’s not a whole lot said about the cause, but we can definitely wonder at the state of the country and whether or not this had to do with King Il’s reign.

Yoon becomes attached to the traveling priest after an attempt to rob him goes awry, and after giving Ik-soo medical attention, Ik-soo teaches Yoon how to make straw sandals. Though the boy lives alone and in poverty, he’s a gifted child; not only does he learn the craft quickly, he is also literate, and as he tells Yona, he can remember a book after reading it only once. When Ik-soo leaves, Yoon takes it upon himself to earn an honest living as a seller of sandals, but when the priest returns sometime later, he realizes just how lonely he had been since Ik-soo left. Yoon ends up accompanying Ik-soo into hermitage, where Yona and Hak have now found them.

The relationship is simple and sweet; Yoon is an amazingly smart kid who longs for companionship and Ik-soo is the overly kind and rather useless person who ends up taking him under his wing. Simple though it is, it’s quite heartwarming, and it makes the fact that Ik-soo wants Yoon to leave with Yona all the more saddening. Clearly Yoon is going to be important to Yona’s destiny (and personally I find their relationship to be quite great, they’re a bit like siblings), but that doesn’t make leaving Ik-soo behind any less sad.




  1. I’am so ready for the next episode!!!!!! i like that we get an idea of what the rest of the kouka kingdom is like outside of the wealthier areas. I love Yoon character and its great that we now know more about Iksoo and him that makes us care about these characters. I like how subtle Yona is in this episode. She is learning to listen and understand other people’s feelings which is an amazing sign that she is growing up.

    i want to go back to the prophecy a little bit. Towards the end its mentioned after the dragons are gather the sword and shield will appear to protect the king. Now I’m wondering what are the sword and shield exactly? are they objects or living beings? Discuss

    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

  2. Good for you to like this anime, & thank the stars that everything came out OK with the adaptation.

    The original mangaka of this show is one of the few more story driven shoujo mangaka around. So its great the anime came out fine.

    Yes, Akatsuki no Yona is characterise as a shoujo-love story, you would never notice.

  3. Hak, please value your life more!
    Not that I don’t find what he is doing for Yona admirable, but reevaluating the people in your life is very important!
    Though being in love does put a damper on objectivity

  4. Back to a slow burn. =)
    Enjoyed this episode, as always. My friend (non-manga reader) absolutely adored seeing the fatherly relationship Ik-Su has with Yoon. I enjoyed it, but was a bit impatient, haha. I hadn’t expected them to spend a full episode on Yoon’s backstory – more like half of it, or possibly a touch over. Still works well, though.

  5. I think they added a little stuff in, but it was good. I do hear some people say this episode didn’t do much for the show even though they liked it, but I think more people actually like how the story is progressing. I’m just glad the adaptation is going decently well – please let it stay that way T_T

  6. That intro scene was so adorable. When she’s being silly, Yona might rival Chiyo from Nozaki-kun as a cutest character of the year.

    Other then that, I wasn’t sold on Yoon and Ik-soo YET but after seeing this episode I would have bought 5 of them. This show is so good at character building and introductions and I love it so much for that.

  7. I’m so happy to see that there are no negative comments about AnY this time round! Although I accept that everyone has different opinions, and of course a different taste, it’s always wonderful to know other anime watchers are enjoying the show as much as I am.
    To be honest, I was actually quite surprised that they decided to dedicate one whole episode to Yoon’s backstory (I was at most expecting it to take up about half of episode 8), but I must say I’m very pleased that they decided to take it slow and let us know more about Yoon and Ik-soo. I can understand why AnY’s pacing might seem slow and draggy (especially to anime fans who want to “hurry up and get to the point!”) but it’s precisely because the anime bothers to flesh out the side characters and that the manga develops them slowly and surely that I love AnY so much. Yona’s character development, in particular, is much more realistic this way and shows through little actions, such as her crouching down to listen to Yoon this episode, and thanking him and requesting for him to tell her more about what he knows in the last episode.
    I definitely hope the anime keeps it up, and the pacing remains good. I’m kind of worried that they’ll end up rushing through the last few episodes.


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