The squirrels in this show used to be cute. Used to be… Anyway, we’re still focused on Guen-Tea and what he thinks of Suwon. He gripes at first, but the show’s predictable so you know he’ll be impressed with the king when it is all said and done. Y’know how it is. Guen-Tea will put too much emphasis on Su-won’s lack of physical prowess, and in doing so, he’ll fail to realize that Suwon more than makes up for it in other areas. The problem, however, is that the show does such a good job of convincing me that Guen-Tea is a loser that I don’t really care what he thinks. So he’s a good warrior and Suwon likes his spirit. Meh.
I think the intention is for the audience to come away with newfound respect for both characters, but personally, that doesn’t really happen. I already knew what Suwon is capable of, and Guen-Tea being a great warrior means nothing to me. I mean, it’s anime so they’re a dime a dozen. And as the episode will suggest, Guen-Tea is a piss poor, incompetent leader who is always angry with everyone. Even in the most light-hearted moments, he never really softens all that much. Nevertheless, he has 100% of his people’s support. I just don’t see what there is to be proud of. The end result is a flat, uncompelling episode. Then again, that’s just par for the course with Akatsuki no Yona, huh?
Stray Notes & Observations
— RAWR, STOP HAVING FUN. RAWR, WE NEED TO FIGHT. WE NEED TO PICK WARS WITH NEIGHBORING COUNTRY. RAAAAWWR. But when we were first introduced to Guen-Tea, he was just sitting there, doing jack shit for his tribe. So what exactly is it time for?
— I could take the time to explain the rules of the mock battle, but I don’t really think that’s important enough to bother with.
— The “action” commences, but really, it’s just characters running really fast in one direction, and this somehow causes people’s plates to shatter. Again, it’s uncompelling stuff. There’s no action, there’s no humor, there’s not much of anything. Just a bunch of characters going through the motions, and at the end of it all, we’re supposed to marvel at Suwon’s brilliance and foresight.
— In the meantime, Suwon puts forth the worst acting job ever, but it’s not like Guen-Tea is smart enough to notice.
— Yeah, well, a leader deciding to go 1 vs. a thousand won’t save his kingdom either.
— The gist is that even though Suwon and his army can easily defeat Guen-Tea and his army, the former will let the latter win because this will boost the Earth Tribe’s morale. Obviously, Suwon isn’t wrong. But pride… or principle… or whatever gets in the way, and the rage-consumed Guen-Tea will not back down without a proper duel. ‘Cause, y’know, only a duel can allow you to assess a man’s worth. Suwon’s ability to manipulate the masses and their perceptions mean nothing. This certainly explains Guen-Tea’s pig-headed insistence that Kouka should just throw itself into war, because we all know war is a sure thing. All you need are warriors.
— Anyway, it takes two to tango, so even if Guen-Tea wants a proper fight, it’s not like Suwon will oblige. So needless to say, the pathetic Earth Tribe leader wins.
— He later finds out that while he was sitting there, bitching and moaning about Suwon, the king had gone and promoted both the specialty tea and stones of the region, thereby bringing in trade to the once-stagnant Earth Tribe. Oh boy! You mean there are other things for a leader to do than fight?
— So finally, we reach that point where Guen-Tea’s opinion of Suwon has done a complete 180, but like I’ve said, he’s such an idiot, who cares what he ultimately thinks? Besides, the story lays it on too thick with just how brilliant Suwon actually is. I mean, really, the entire tribe is just that incompetent? Gosh, look at these worthless stones! Don’t even bother to polish and market them! Just leave them sitting there! Then Suwon just came along and polished them… then voila!