Yona of the Dawn Review

Yona is a princess sheltered in the palace from all harm by her pacifist father, King Il, and her friend and servant, Hak. But when Soo-won, a noble Yona has long been in love with, visits on her sixteenth birthday, she is thrown into a world of conspiracy against the crown by the murder of her father and the call for her own execution. Forced from her protected life, Yona must learn to survive if she is to not only live, but also take back her kingdom from her father’s murderer.

Episode one ends with the murder of a king and there is a decent amount of blood involved. Although pure action shows like FMA still contain more violence overall, this show doesn’t shy away from showing blood here and there. Also, various characters are fighting for their lives multiple times and some are from abusive backgrounds.

Tame by US standards, the worst it ever gets is a few b-sterds and b-tchs here and there. It’s rather rare, but not absent either.

Despite the set up, there is little to no nudity in this show. A few shirtless scenes for the men and more than one threat is made to Yona of a sexual nature. However, none of these threats are carried out and, thankfully, the show stays tastefully away from blatant forms of fanservice.

If the idea of prophecies and people being born with abilities passed down from dragon god-like beings bothers you, this show won’t be your favorite. While we never get the clearest picture of what the dragon beings were exactly, we are told that they allowed their powers to be harnessed by select humans. I was never really sure if only power was passed down or if the dragons themselves were reborn. Regardless, re-incarnation is heavily implied in some form or another, to be sure.

Personal impression:
I expected this to be another typical shoujo, reverse harem, period thingy. Thankfully the first episode ends promising something entirely different and I couldn’t have been more pleased. While the occasional scene here and there still panders to shoujo stereotypes, this show impressed me by never staying there for long. Yona may start out weak enough, but her emotional struggle with both her father’s death and the betrayal of her kingdom, not to mention the reality of her father’s political decisions on real people she meets outside the palace, are shown very realistically. Yona’s love and frustration over those who have betrayed her are clear early on and hold true as she slowly hardens and changes throughout the show.
And speaking of characterization, her journey is slow, but all the more powerful for it. No one learns to defend themselves and others overnight and Yona takes up nearly the entire show before she’s able to not only survive, but also fight for her kingdom. Her journey to master archery, as well as come to terms with being the cause of death for another human being, are taken seriously and as such I was nearly jumping out of my seat once she managed to stand completely on her own.
Unlike other shows where the main character very suddenly becomes a warrior, this show takes a realistic amount of time to get Yona to such a point both physically and mentally.
While the show has a few pit falls (the dependence on magical powers and legends is a bit distracting), overall I really enjoyed this series. It’s one of the most realistic female hero stories I’ve seen in anime and definitely worth a try. I just pray it gets a second season as there’s just far too story left by the end to ignore…

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 24
Language: Sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Adventure, action, romance
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: Crunchyroll and Hulu

Sabagebu! Survival Game Club! Review

Momoka Sonokawa transfered into an all girls’ school hoping to make something of herself. What she never saw coming was being dragged into a bizarre survival club named Sabagebu, filled with gun fanatics with way too much time on their hands.

Even though all the violence is from slap stick and paint guns, the show enjoys showing you what the characters “imagine” seeing, which shows all the gun shots as if they were real. Lots of blood, though often rather comically done. The show is ever reminding viewers via narration that it’s not real, but if the sight turns you off, skip this title.

With the violence ranked up, the language is a bit higher than previous shows too. So more sh-ts and a few b-words flung about. Nothing as excessive as a typical American film, but not PG either.

Due to more than one female character digging another, nearly all the characters being female AND what male characters there are pretty much being pervs, there are a lot of body jokes and implicated sexual references. There are even a few scene with characters getting clothing shot off (no kidding) and whatnot. Although no detail is shown, it’s nothing you can easily ignore. That said, I oddly didn’t find much of the show offensive. Perhaps because everything was so sarcastic and over-the-top. Even so, definitely not PG.

There’s not much to worry about here, besides the usual idle remarks about God or Buddha made in passing. Nothing about doctrine.

Personal impression:
When I started this show up, I didn’t expect to like it all that much. And I have to admit that while I was amused, I was only convinced I was getting something different on episode two. That’s when I realized just how strange and sadistic the main character was and how fun that was going to make this show. If you like heroines that do the exact opposite of what a heroine usually does, you’ll love this title. That said, the comedy is pretty over-the-top at times so I could see how it might turn people off. The art and music are pretty bland, but in a comedy-based show like this it hardly matters. Also, there’s very little in the way of character development, something that actually runs against this show. Because, while it’s amusing, it has little substance and thus can be forgotten rather quickly.
If you enjoy sadistic comedy and/or a show that never takes itself seriously, this is a fun watch. Just be sure you give Nichijou and Pani Poni Dash a try too. They are the real bread winners of the comedy section. And they, shockingly, have development. Which is probably one of the reasons they’ve stuck around in fans’ minds longer.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: PG13
Genre(s): Comedy, slice of life, action
Company: Pierrot Co.
Official streaming: Crunchyroll
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