Well, it wasn’t quite the ending I wanted for Akatsuki no Yona (ignoring the fact that I didn’t want any sort of ending), but it was still a nice comma in the longer sentence of the show, a catching of the breath, if you will, for a second season we tragically may never see. But let’s save the lamentations for later and simply enjoy what we have for now.
I really, really, really don’t want this show to be over. If you take out the slower early stages of the Awa arc and the less-than-inspired feel of Su-won’s Earth Tribe tour, Akatsuki no Yona has basically been consistently excellent—and so the return to form in the last few episodes, but this episode specifically, has been glorious and joyful to watch. Last week’s episode was a quality offering in terms of an epic climax, but this week’s sort of cool down episode was emblematic of the elements of Akatsuki no Yona that made it my favorite show through most of Fall 2014.
Let it never be said that Akatsuki no Yona can’t do cliffhangers when it wants to do them. I thought last week’s cliffhanger was bad. HA! Laughable! Child’s play! The easiest of easy modes compared to the cliffhanger Akatsuki no Yona dropped on us this week! I almost don’t want to review the other events of this episode and just talking about that, but I’m sure if I tried to do that now it would come out as a blast of incoherent ramblings—so let’s see what this episode had for us.
Ah, good Akatsuki no Yona is back and it feel really great. The very, very, very slow-winding spool of the past few episodes is finally start to spin out, fast enough that the episode truly flew by, leaving me cursing when the ending credits rolled at the cliffhanger. Curse you, Akatsuki no Yona! You think you can slouch through three or four consecutive episodes and then suddenly ramp up your pace to the fastest it’s been all show & expect me to just go along with you? Well, I did, but I’m still a bit grouchy. But a good grouchy. Grrr.
Well, not my favorite episode of the show, following up an episode I also didn’t think was all that great. Akatsuki no Yona‘s had slow pacing throughout the show, but these recent episodes have slowed down the progression of events to a pace that is starting to work against my enjoyment of the show. I think I said this last week, but Yona‘s never been as good at externally motivated conflicts as it’s been at character-driven conflicts. We’re kind of in full plot mode right now, and the action is driving our characters, rather than the other way around.
Well, maybe we won’t actually get to the final dragon before the end of the series. This episode stretched on a bit longer than I expected and, while I generally enjoyed it, Akatsuki no Yona‘s best moments don’t come from high stakes, life-threatening situations, but from the interpersonal relationships of its characters and their respective ways of seeing the world—and nowhere was this more evident than in the final scene between Hak and Yona.
I think “Ties” was a good title for this episode, but I also felt like we spent a lot of time treading over thematic ground that was already covered last week. Jaeha, Ki-ja, and Hak all remain entrenched in their respective ideologies, although it was neat to see Jaeha and Ki-ja’s respective worldviews come into direct contact. Of more interest this episode was Yona herself, which is actually a focus Akatsuki no Yona hasn’t had in quite a while.
Man, was this one of Akatsuki no Yona‘s best episodes yet or what? Great character comedy, some cuteness, ideological and thematic tension, a new character, plot progression—it was all here and with the freshness that only a new setting can bring. A port town is the perfect place for a stare down between destiny and freedom and I’m incredibly excited to see how Yona brings Jeaha into the fold. (Oh, and the new OP got me real hyped this episode—consider acclimation complete.)
Well, to be totally honest, this episode would have been a total disappointment if not for the post-festival scenes and, even then, this was probably one of the weakest episodes Akatsuki no Yona has produced. Unlike the comparable comedy-laden, mostly plotless episode spent in Ki-ja’s village, there were not cultural constructions at work until the very end—meaning that, due to the relatively dull nature of the war games, the episode was relatively boring, something Yona‘s never really fallen to even in its weakest moments.
So, I realized that, as far behind as I was, if I tried to write individual posts for these episodes I would never ever ever catch up. I’m also not sure I could really make full episode posts out of each of these episode (14, I could have, I think), so it’s nice to be able to just focus on a few moments from each and then move on to the next one. In any case, we’ll be back on schedule next week. Woo!