Get ready for tears and bishies.
— Not surprisingly, Yun will be tagging along with our heroes. Or, at least, that’s what Ik-su would want. Whether or not Yun agrees, however, is another matter. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course he will agree to go see the world with our princess. It’s just a matter of when!
— Again, I’m reminded that the story has no major female characters outside of Yona. Hell, we don’t even have that all-important female relative for Yona to potentially rely upon. It’s just… odd.
— Escapism is one thing, and honestly, having Hak is already escapism enough. And just because the reverse is true in harem anime, i.e. the harem lead surrounds himself with nothing but haremettes, that doesn’t make it right. After all, a story that wants to be taken seriously like Akatsuki no Yona should aim a little higher than “Well, harem leads get to do it, so why can’t we?!” I mean, c’mon, are we really comparing ourselves to harems? I just expected better from this show.
— Yun gives Yona a new set of clothes. As you might already have noticed from the OP, it looks like she’ll be wearing this outfit for the majority of the remaining story. He claims he just had extra cloth lying around… that he conveniently dyed red to match Yona’s hair. Yun then gives Yona’s hair a trim, but also complains about having to do it. Then, uh, don’t do it. People like that are annoying. But he’s probably just going to be another tsundere character, which is really lame.
— I just don’t think it’s actually kind to do Yona a favor but then also complain about it. I think that just makes him a wishy-washy character who can’t stand by his convictions.
— Well, this seems a bit unnecessary. He had overheard Yona talking to Ik-su about you know what. Naturally, Yun feels a bit betrayed that Ik-su would even want him to leave to begin with. Still, I don’t see the point in slamming Ik-su against the wall over this. It’s not even slapstick, because this scene isn’t meant to be funny. So I’m not sure what the anime was trying to accomplish here other than to make me think that Yun has some serious anger issues.
— It always amuses me when anime characters catch some fish and just start cooking them over an open fire. I hope those fish are at least gutted and scaled…
— Hak: “When you protect someone you want to keep safe, do you always weigh your own life against theirs?” I would. I mean, if we’re going to be honest, he’s only going this far to protect her because he loves her.
— We now get a flashback about Yun’s difficult childhood, because this show — and anime in general — loves flashbacks. And back then, he was so hungry that he was willing to rob and kill the next person he came across. Luckily for him, he ran into Ik-su. As expected, Ik-su’s kindness not only kept Yun alive, it also deter the kid from ever wanting to rob and kill again. If it had been anyone else, would Yun have become a criminal? Or even worse, would he have just died? After all, he was a kid attempting to rob a grown adult. Someone else would’ve just killed him. And that’s the thing: sometimes, the key to redemption comes down to nothing more than luck.
— I’m amazed that a kid or anyone for that matter can turn some loose straw into what you see above.
— Man, this flashback is long. Ik-su briefly left, but he eventually returned to Yun. He even wanted to bring gold and books to the impoverished kid, but he was robbed and beaten up on the way back. Basically, this just touched Yun’s heart even more. But to me, this is just more of the same. I thought it was neat when Ik-su sold his own shoes just to feed a kid that had tried to rob him. It echos a lot of similar teachings from across many different religions, i.e. love your enemies, blah blah blah. But now, the story is just laying it on thick. I feel that I’ve already got the gist of Yun and Ik-su’s backstory, so I don’t really want or need to see more. Here’s a quote about food that, in my opinion, should apply to storytelling as well:
“The more you have of something, the less you like it,” says [Thomas] Keller. “So our goal is to give the guests an experience that leaves them wanting a little bit more. Certainly with the food, you know, one, two, three, four bites – if that dish is finished and you say, ‘God I wish I had one more bite,’ that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
Since Akatsuki no Yona’s going to be a two-cours series, it probably feels that it can afford to slow down and take a closer look at these characters. But you still have to do it right. I don’t want so many looks at the same “Ik-su is a good person and he saved me!” story. There’s nothing particularly complex or insightful here. It’s just a flashback that has gone on for far too long, and I’m ready for the story to move onto bigger and better things. In fact I think the last two episodes should’ve been condensed into one.
— Back in the present, Ik-su finds Yun and they share a few words, a few tears, and a few sandals. Yeah, sandals. Ik-su manages to not fall on his face for once, and this seems to give Yun the courage he needs to leave the monk’s side. Even then, however, he claims he won’t leave unless Ik-su commands him to do so. But Yun looks so awkward, I can’t help but cringe during what is supposed to be a touching scene.
— But that’s that. Yun will accompany our heroes on their bishie-hunting quest. I think this could’ve happened a lot sooner.