REVIEW: ‘Yona of the Dawn,’ Volume 27

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At this point, Mizuho Kusanagi’s work in Yona of the Dawn should be considered a masterclass in, well, everything. Yona of the Dawn Volume 27 is no different. The fantasy shojo series is published in English by VIZ Media under their Shojo Beat imprint. Its English adaptation is by Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane and translated by JN Productions. It features touch-up art and lettering by Lys Blakeslee. The series follows exiled princess Yona and her companions as she traverses the country solving its problems.

The last volume at long last ended with a confession that didn’t occur in a way any reader would expect. However, this is perfect for Yona of the Dawn Volume 27. The morning after Hak has exclaimed his love for Yona, Yona doesn’t know what to do. Hak is acting as though everything is normal, except for being openly flirtatious and honest about his feelings. Hak plainly states he has zero expectations (he is still convinced Yona doesn’t see him in that way). It is absolutely brilliant. Kusanagi manages to continue the misunderstandings and love foibles in an honest way for these characters.

What also makes this volume excel is that it highlights a long arc of Hak’s emotions. While he is often the butt of the joke for unrequited feelings, it has never been done in a malicious way towards Yona. Hak’s respect for emotional consent is huge, and unfortunately, not as commonly seen in romance as we’d like. Hak even explains to a puzzled Jae-ha that he feels better having been honest with Yona. He had never planned to say anything because he wanted to respect her as she coped with trauma and grief. Hak doesn’t expect a response from her and clarifies that there isn’t any emotional pressure.

Yona of the Dawn Volume 27 is, as said earlier, a masterclass in showing the pinnacle of consent in the romance between two long-term friends. These characters have so much to deal with: trauma, war, and politics, to name just a few. It is heartbreaking once you dig in further past the initial humor. The Four Dragon warriors, especially Jae-ha, also have growth and feelings around this moment. Once again, everyone respects the concept of emotional consent towards the rest of the cast. It isn’t hammered in our faces, but it is there. It is beautiful.

The other major portion of Yona of the Dawn Volume 27 is that The Fire Tribe is being invaded, and Yona and friends decide to return there. Tae-jun helped them out in the last arc, and Yona wants to return the favor. The politics around these moves are getting progressively more and more critical. The more Yona and the Dragon Warriors appear in key conflicts around the country, the more rumors spread. People are beginning to see Yona as a reincarnation of the Crimson Dragon King, a major religious figure in The Fire Tribe. To quote Keishuk: “Someone is being hailed as the God of our Nation… and it isn’t [Su-won].” There are so many great character moments: Jae-ha truly being the “big brother” of the group, Riri coming into her own agency at the palace, Tae-jun growing up, and even revelations about Su-won.

This is a volume that is building up to a much greater conflict. Kusanagi brilliantly utilizes shadows to create tension in panels. As characters come to realizations, the panel behind their faces will often fade from gray to heavy black in the corner. Also, Kusanagi must be continuously commended for making action sequences clear and easy to follow while still feeling fast-paced and exciting.

Yona of the Dawn Volume 27 focuses on revelations and building to greater conflicts. It beautifully tackles the “love confession” and shows how the series has spent 27 volumes respecting emotional consent and character boundaries. Yona of the Dawn is one of the best manga on the market right now. It consistently gets top scores because it is that good.

Yona of the Dawn Volume 27 is available now wherever books are sold.

Yona of the Dawn Volume 27
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TL;DR

Yona of the Dawn Volume 27 focuses on revelations and building to greater conflicts. It beautifully tackles the “love confession” and shows how the series has spent 27 volumes respecting emotional consent and character boundaries. Yona of the Dawn is one of the best manga on the market right now. It consistently gets top scores because it is that good.