Akatsuki no Yona Ep. 9: Shoot to kill

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Anime always makes me hungry.

— Apparently, King Il was too naive, and this allowed greed and corruption to take place right beneath his nose. I’m still trying wrap my head around his portrayal, though. He was this nice guy so this bred weakness, but at the same time, he murdered Su-won’s father because he felt threatened? Something here just doesn’t quite add up in my opinion. In any case, if corruption and greed were truly rampant under King Il, then perhaps it was a good thing that he was deposed. Unfortunately, this was not done legitimately. This should be the people’s revolution, not some violent takeover from yet another despot.

— In reality, Yona is gathering an army to lead an insurrection against the man who killed her father in cold-blood. But on the way there, let’s tease each other and have silly, light-hearted hijinks! No, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, but I just think the contrast is funny. Not only that, the storytelling is funny. I mean, think about it. This is really a violent story at its core, but the way it’s told, we meant to think Yona will just gather some hot bishies, and with their magical bishie help, she’ll become the people’s princess!

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— Who’s really better for Kouka? Shrug. On her travels, Yona will finally get to see the kingdom with her own eyes, but that doesn’t mean that she’ll be a capable leader. What does she know about enacting fair and equal laws? What does she know about eliminating corruption in the government? What does she know about the proper distribution of wealth to ensure that her people won’t die? What does she know about educating her people, promoting health, so on and so forth. You get my point. She’s a 16 year old girl who doesn’t even know what a field of wheat looks like. Seriously, she has to ask Hak about it in this week’s episode. Sure, sure, she’ll learn a lot of things on her journey, but enough to be a ruler? C’mon. If we’re going to be realistic, when she does inevitably get her kingdom back, she’ll just be a figurehead. She’ll have a bunch of old fogeys to advise her on what to do, so it’s not about an infusion of new, idealistic blood in the kingdom. It’s just going to be the same old guard running the show, but now they have a cute, pretty princess to hide behind. And at the end of the day, that’s pretty depressing.

But that’s what storytelling is all about. We spend time with her, we travel with her, we laugh with her, and we cry with her. Does any of this means that she’ll be a good ruler? No, not really. It just means that she’s a nice, likeable person. Nice people don’t necessarily make good leaders. Nevertheless, we’re on her side. On the other hand, Su-won sits behind the palace walls, says mean words about Yona’s father, and looks sad because he’s lost his love and friend. We’re supposed to think that Yona will be a better ruler than him, but I don’t really know about that. It’s hard for me not to see this as just a couple of squabbling family members fighting over the chance to rule the lives of countless of people they’ll never meet. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who runs the show. If you’re a fisherman or a farmer, do you really care who rules you? It’s just going to be the same, old shit.

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— But enough being a downer! Let’s go back to our bishie-hunting tale!

— So did I get this right? Hak doesn’t get Yona a weapon of her own, because he thinks protecting her is his sole duty? And what if you die, dude? Should she go down with you, too?

— How is this going to work if she’s the only person in the entire kingdom with her trademark red hair? She will see the kingdom with her own eyes, but she can hardly interact with any of it without arousing suspicion. If she was truly brave, she’d just shave it all off, but this is anime and anime characters must always have the most perfect hair.

— Hak dramatically covers up Yona’s mouth from behind because he’s afraid she’ll make a noise. On the other hand, I guess Yun is smart enough not to scream out or something.

This is exactly what I had just talked about. Of course, we’re meant to think that Yona will be different. She’ll care and understand her people! But even if she does reclaim her kingdom, what can she really do? She doesn’t know how to rule, and she’s still just a monarch. Let’s be real, here.

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— Hak’s reasoning is silly. He says he won’t teach her swordsmanship, because he doesn’t believe she has the heart to kill. So? She doesn’t necessarily have to kill anyone. Training her will simply give her the means to protect herself. C’mon, if I sign up for a karate class, it doesn’t mean I want to be able to kill people.

— He then offers up a strawman argument: “Oh, they won’t run away! The only way to stop them is to put them down permanently!” Pfft, more bullshit. Like hell people won’t run away if their lives are threatened. But we all know what’s going on here. Hak sees himself as this big, strong bishie who will always be there for his love. It’s patronizing.

— His compromise? He’ll teach her how to shoot the bow and arrow instead. C’mon, learning how to swing a sword won’t kill anyon–… whoops, wrong choice of words, but you get my point. I’d at least give her a short sword for melee combat. With just a bow, she’s a sitting duck if anyone can get past Hak. As strong as he thinks he is, this is not exactly an impossibility.

— Man, there sure are a lot of traveling montages in this episode. It’s easy on Pierrot, too, because these montages are full of still shots of them walking along some generic trail.

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— Yona’s current difficulty is that she has problems taking the lives of even forest animals. Naturally, Hak is also learning how to teach others, because he’s never had to do so before. Anyway, Yona’ll have to get over her fear eventually, but c’mon, she just started. I don’t expect her to be a natural born killer out of nowhere.

— Poor pig will probably get its wound infected and die a painful death that way. Way to go, princess!

— Hak: “I told you to think of me as a tool. You don’t have to worry about your tools.” That is eye-rollingly dumb.

— Eventually, Yun goes missing, and our couple is beset by defenders of the white dragon… tune in next week to see just how hot this white dragon can be.

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8 thoughts on “Akatsuki no Yona Ep. 9: Shoot to kill”

  1. Even homeless people in anime manage to make me jealous of what they eat, fuck life.
    The overall show is just all over the place, the comedy relief moments are just so obvious it really stands out, not awful but it could be handled better.
    I also like the idea that even a tyrant would probably be a better ruler than Yona, but you know, anime, here we fight evil and live happy ever after.
    It’s even worst because Su-won could easily marry Yona and become king anyway so I imagine there’s still some things we don’t know.
    Also, Yona’s hair sucks, I want 2nd hair back ;_; at least she wears a hood a lot, that’s good, I guess.

    1. Even homeless people in anime manage to make me jealous of what they eat, fuck life.

      Well, they’re not exactly homeless, but yeah, they seem to have all the ingredients they need to have a kick-ass meal.

      1. It looks like some kind of congee with lots of meats and nuts and vegetables, which is a pretty damn nice meal for someone without a fridge. You can make something of that quality yourself. On the other hand, I’m surprised that you could actually cook food in a pot thing, wouldn’t that thing carbonise or burn first?

        Also, if you want a good show which is like this (but significantly better), try Seirei no Moribito.

        1. Oh man, Seirei no Moribito. I was first attracted by the awesome spear choreography and fights (which are actually few and far between), but I stayed for the story. And that female main character… in the anime world suffused with moe, tsunderes, yanderes, kuuderes and xyzderes, a character like Balsa could be considered an endangered animal species.

        2. I’m surprised that you could actually cook food in a pot thing, wouldn’t that thing carbonise or burn first?

          Wouldn’t know. Not many vessels like that around here to cook with.

  2. It’s not just anime. Basically in every films, books, cartoons that aim for the mass, good people became good leader, despite the fact that they never ever learn anything about leadership. But I guess those stories was never mean for serious analysis anyway, they are for escapism.

    1. If you want an interesting take on what a leader could be like, try out Terry Pratchets Discworld novels, if you haven’t already. Lord Vetinary, the patrician of Ankh Mophork (the main metropolis of the Discworld) is by no means a good person. But hell, if he isn’t an effective leader.

    2. It’s a very specific kind of storytelling that is grounded in the old mythology of ruler ship. Rulers arint just people who can rule they are divine agents who are the only ones who can rule. The idea is that a usurper on the throne is a betrayal of that divine covenant, the gods will curse the Kingdom and the Kingdom itself will know that someone not ‘right’ is ruling them.

      In these kind of stories the question of wither there a good leader or not is moot. The land and people will prosper under their leadership regardless to what they actually do, but for the purposes of the story will act honorably and nobility to demonstrate why they are a good leader.

      These old stories play out more like family drama’s then the fate of nations. The suffering of the Kingdom is more akin to a metaphor for justice not being served, and what happens when you don’t do the ‘right’ thing.

      Akatsuki no Yona’s failing is not recognizing that it is following the above story method in a world where things are not black and white. If things are more complex, and the ‘bad’ guy isn’t even that bad for the nation, striving for justice almost becomes a selfish desire rather then an empathic one for the nation.

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