Lit Tuesday: Yona of the Dawn

Not everything I read is just a bunch of words on a page (and let’s be honest, reading isn’t ever just “words on a page”).

When I was younger, I was really obsessed with manga and anime. I still really enjoy those mediums/genres, but not to the extent that it was before. One of my favorite ones recently is Akatsuki no Yona/Yona of the Dawn.

The character development in this series within just 130 chapters is astounding. I tend to get emotionally invested in characters more so than plotlines. If I really like a character, I can look past what’s just not a good plot (*coughcoughFairyTailcough*).

Yona starts off with a young 16 year old princess that acts the way you’d expect a princess that’s an only child to act: somewhat vapid, focused on herself, focused on who she loves, and so on. She’s preparing for her childhood crush/cousin to come to the palace to celebrate her birthday and spends some time complaining about how her red hair is wild and unruly and never does what she wants it to.

On her 16th birthday, her friends and father and court come together to celebrate. She passes the evening enjoyably, despite her father telling her that she can never marry her cousin or someone she loves because it will end in sorrow and he won’t inflict that on someone who will become the king after him. Her cousin gives her a beautiful hair pin and tells her that he has always loved her hair. Just like that, she loves her hair and determines that she’s going to talk to her father about letting her marry her cousin.

She goes to her father’s room and comes upon her cousin killing her father. From there, she has to flee the palace with her loyal guard, Hak. They wind up in Hak’s village and, through a series of events, meet up with a seer who sets them on the path of finding the Four Dragons, the men blessed with the power of the dragons that used to protect the kingdom’s founder, Hiryuu. Legend says that they will all come together again when the red dragon, Hiryuu returns. Or something like that.

The character development that Yona undergoes is astounding. She has become a strong-willed, independent character that actually thinks things through like anyone would want in a leader. I do always love finding series with strong female characters. This manga fits the bill perfectly. I only wish I could find some more out there.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions on other anime/manga series with strong female characters? I also love Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon, and Pretear!

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