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Comment: Akatsuki no Yona 147 — Awe

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Whoever would have thought I'd feel something for this chap?

[WARNING!] Spoilers for Akatsuki no Yona 147 (duh!)


Quick Summary

Gobi recognises the dragons he just saw as Kouka's Four Dragons of legend, and is completely blown away, highlighting in his inner monologue how unfair it is that Su-Won has such an asset. Yun starts to panic when he realises the DWs aren't moving, and Xing's soldiers start grabbing at them. When Yona asks them to let go they tell her it's unfair of Kouka to monopolise this power, and that she has no proof it belongs to Kouka in the first place. Gobi decides to use this in his favour and begins to spin a plan to use the DWs to his advantage to stand above everyone, instead of sealing a peace treaty by marrying Tao off to Su-Won.
Just as the soldiers are dragging the dragons away Yun flings himself on top of their bodies to try and prevent it. A soldier is about to attack Yun when Hak steps in and scoops Jae-ha and Kija up. As he tries to pull away from all the hands that are trying to grab the dragons, Hak thinks back on how Jae-ha never fought back when he was attacked in order to protect the peace between Xing and Kouka, and how Yona told Kouren she didn't want their people to suffer any more. He wonders how they did it to throw away their anger, because right now he feels like murdering every single person here, including Su-Won.
Just as Hak appears to be losing his patience Argila and Voldo step in to save the day. As long as they're the ones throwing the punches, there's no need to make it a declaration of war from Kouka. Tao tells Gobi that he is not part of their anti-war faction, and that he is a darkness that poisons peoples' hearts. Gobi tells her her words are futile, as they have always fallen on deaf ears and nobody here can see her. Yona steps in and declares that she is the one who carries Tao's hopes and that she'll make sure they are relaid to Kouka. Just as Gobi is about to order his men to shoot Kouren down Mizali appears and starts slaughtering all of Gobi's hired mercenaries. Kouren sees that he's bleeding profusely and orders him to stand down, but Mizali tells her he promised Negur he'd slay all of Kouren's enemies, and that he's here to protect her.
Meanwhile, at the Wind Tribe's campgrounds, Yotaka finally awakes and Su-Won arrives with the Sky Tribe troops.

Comment

Today, in how to make your heart race with fear for everything you love...
by Kusanagi-sensei :)

In case 146 wasn't enough to have us on edge, here comes a chapter ram-packed with anxiety. Though I feel that AkaYona is not at the mercy of arbitrary deaths the same way Game of Thrones is and we still have the "this is a shojo manga" safety net bellow us, it's hard not to get carried away by the palpable tension and fear in this chapter, especially with everyone wanting their own piece of the Dragon Warrior cake.
Just as the ending of 146 hinted, Gobi is fully aware of Kouka's foundation myth and has identified the dragon babies as the Four Dragons of legend. Reading his inner monologue throughout the ordeal was rather disturbing, because not only does he admit to wanting to send Tao over to Kouka as a hostage —proving what we've always known, that he only have his own-self interest at mind— but  also speaks of the DWs as if they were tools. What's even more disturbing is seeing the people of Xing further dehumanising them by questioning Kouka's claim on them. The scene feels like it could lead to a tug-of-war with the dragons in the middle, and I couldn't help but flashback to Zeno's arc when we were told Abi was kidnapped by people who wanted to make ill-use of the dragon powers, or how Hiryuu was almost executed by his own people. It's a very jarring situation, because though the dragons are extremely powerful they are still at the mercy of the crowd, which feels like further nudge from Kusanagi into the dark theme of the twisted nature of human beings.
It's an especially hard theme to miss when we're directly confronted with Hak's inner thoughts as he saves Kija and Jae-ha, and oh boy... it becomes quite the scene.
I feel that it'll be causing a lot of debate in the fandom, especially because for a moment Hak comes THIS FUCKING CLOSE to backpedalling on all the efforts our cast has made to avoid this war from starting, and it's a tearing moment that's both HOLY FUCK YES and HOLY FUCK NO.
It's HOLY FUCK YES because it's a reminder of how attached Hak has become to his new comrades, even though he questioned the merit of trusting people time and time again after Su-Won betrayal cut him open—but I think that this is a fact we were already well aware of after the Sei arc, when he openly tells us so in his inner monologue, so it's not really telling adding any new knowledge.
It's a HOLY FUCK NO moment not just because one wrong move could give Gobi and his henchmen the perfect excuse to give the war the greenlight, but also because it highlights that when confronted with his enemies... well, Hak isn't as good as Yona at keeping his chill. We knew Hak would be facing this inner conflict sooner or later, because in 145 he literally questioned whether he could be capable of confronting Su-Won head-on the same way Yona has, but it's impressive how Kusanagi has slapped us in the face with this near-answer: No, he can't. When faced against unbeatable odds, Hak loses himself to the overpowering desire to defend what he cares about, forgetting about the bigger picture. It's a reality Kusanagi quite shockingly portrays by turning all the arms reaching out to grab Kija and Jae-ha into indistinguishable shadows, as if that's all they were. In a way you could say he's doing the same thing the Xing soldiers did to the dragons—he's dehumanising them, and all he sees are enemies, enemies, enemies, losing himself the same way he did when he saw Su-Won in ch.91.

I noticed a few people were quick to point this out as a step backwards in his character development, but I don't necessarily see it that way. We can all agree that what this scene boils down to is Hak's inability to put aside his anger towards Su-Won for the greater good. So far it hasn't really been a problem to address, because even during the Sei arc Hak's collaboration with Su-Won was a product of his desperation to save Yona, and we can all agree after this scene Hak will go to the ends of the world and back again to protect those he cares for. As uplifting as the Sei arc was, it was still Hak being selfish.
I feel that people are confusing disappointment with backpedalling character development. If anything, the scene further pushes Hak's development forward by allowing us to see such an ugly side of him. He's not the hero we want him to be — he's not selfless like Yona or Jae-ha. He's flawed and he's openly admitting to it, but it's still worth noting that though he clearly thinks himself incapable of putting aside his anger, he doesn't actually swing his sword at anybody. Sure, it might be we have Argila thank for that, but we don't actually know whether he would have done it or not. Kusanagi still hasn't given us the answer.
(by the way can we talk about how in bringing Jae-ha up with Yona, Hak is all but saying he admires this skill in them both? BOTH. JAE-HA INCLUDED. Oh, if only Jae-ha knew...)

Anyway guys, that's all for today from me. As a throwaway comment I'd like to say I really felt for Mizali when he appeared all drenched in blood and told Kouren he'd promised Negur he'd slay all her enemies, and that seeing Yun break down in tears at the thought of the DWs never waking up again put a thousand needles in my heart. We still need an explanation as to what on Earth were those smoke dragons we saw, and don't really know what toll it'll taken on their bodies, but I sure hope they're back in the game by the time Su-Won hits the scene! Chapter 148 will be published on the 5th of October my lovelies — see you then!

(Also yes, I am aware I haven't yet posted my 143~145 comment. I suck, I know, please don't throw tomatoes at me)

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Posted on: 21/09/2017



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10 comments:

  1. WOOOOW! I can not wait for the next chapter! Thank you very much for your comment. Un abrazo muy fuerte y gracias de nuevo ^^

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  2. MY HEAARTTTTTTTTTTTT!! This is getting so intense, I just can't... OMG OMG OMG WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?! AND SOO-WON IS HERE NOW TOO ARGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!

    But man, I really really hate Gobi..what a sick freak.. and I hate that this is like exactly what happened with Abi, Shuten etc... it feels like a replay and it seems inevitable.. :/

    I'm a bit confused as to Zeno though.. isn't his wounds meant to heal? and doesn't he never get tired? How is he in a near-death situation?

    As for Hak, I'm so so glad to see this character development. It's so touching to see how close he is with the DWs and Yoon - especially since he was wounded that bad psychologically by Soo-won and he has serious trust issues now. I think his character is so meaningful. Some things are just not so easy to get over- that's human nature. His inner monologue really showed his inner struggles - you can tell he really wished that he could be like Yona and Jeha, seeing the greater good and overcoming his personal feelings, but he can't do it. No matter how much he wished he could, he just can't do it. He can't keep his cool, but that's so meaningful because it shows he's so loyal and he loves his new family so much. I think it's maybe also because he feels that they're the only people he's living for now too. The wind tribe isn't his to take care of anymore and he's so used to protecting people that he just can't help getting angry over anyone that would harm his precious family. I'm just hoping he will be able to take the confrontation with Soo-won.

    Anyhow, I'm so glad we only have to wait 2 weeks for the next chapter. I am dying to see what happens next!! Please please please be compassionate Soo-won! It'd be so meaningful to see a sad gaze (even for one tiniest fraction of a second) on Soo-won's face at seeing the dire situation Yona and Hak are in.

    THANK YOU FOR THE TRANSLATIONS AND COMMENTS LAURA! YOU ARE AWESOME

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  3. I feel like dying after reading this chapter..
    I can't stop wondering what will happen next.
    The thing is everyone here is mostly injured and tired and tensed and..and..and..in such a HUGE mess.
    Suwon is the only one who is still untouched and when he joins the crowd later..WHAT ON EARTH WILL COME TO THIS MESS?
    I have the feeling that the coming of Mizali will somehow make the mess itself messier :"""D

    Anyway, Laura, thank you so much for the translation!
    May I know how you started learning Japanese? ^^
    I really want to learn Japanese without taking a formal course but not sure how to start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I picked up Japanese on my own too before formally joining a class. The internet is full of free resources you can use to get started! I recommend using YouTube videos to learn the numbers, days of the week, months, etc etc because visuals really help you memorise things and establish a solid foundation. If you can, pick videos that use catchy melodies or songs to teach vocabulary, because you memorise it so much quicker like that!
      I also suggest picking up hiragana and Katakana so that you start wrapping your head around how Japanese looks and how it's written.

      If you go on my tumblr and search through my tags list, you'll see I have a section titled "Japan&Japanese." I have a "learning Japanese" tag under that where I've answered a few similar questions, and perhaps you'll find those posts helpful! Good luck!!!

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    2. I've found a few apps that have helped me learn Japanese.
      The first one I like is simplykearnlanguages.com/japanese/
      & a Kanji Flash card app.
      I like the first one because I really like how it has multiple levels & different ways to study. Plus I can use it on my phone. I also bought a few different books & flash cards that I can practice writing out characters.

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  4. aaaaaa! Jaeha would be absolutely tickled pink to find out Hak was looking up to him!

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  5. I read your comments before reading the scans and I think your descriptions are sometimes better than the actual manga scenes hahahaha

    I'm really in love with Hak's development. Nobody needs to be selfless to be a good person to be good. Nobody is perfect. And thats exactly what Hak shows here. He is good, protective and hold grudges against the bad. He is totally human and think about killing doesn't make you a murderer (who never?). The thing is that, by not acting with impulse - in the opposite of that time against Suwon, and thinking about the situation is a great development. He learnd a lot with the DDHHB.

    And about the Dragons... im still trying to recover myself from the cute Kija and Jaeha cover ❤️

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  6. WHOA...Tu analisis es asombroso como siempre. Lo disfrute tanto como leer el capital. Muchisimas gracias por siempre tratar de tener estas traducciones y comentarios. Al menos lectoras como yo lo aprecian mucho! Me parecio que lo que dijiste de Hak es dolorosamente acertado y tampoco siento que fue un retroceso a su personaje. Ma's bien lo have más humano, more relatable since I'm sure a bunch of us readers feel like him. Having the urging desire to kill and not actually doing it takes a WHOLE LOT OF FUCKING BALLS too. No puedo esperar por el siguiente! Estaba leyendo el capítulo en el bus, sintiendo cada página, y por supuesto haciendo caras. La gente me miraba raro, pero no me importó porque disfruté cada momento. Thank you so soooo much for your hard work with this manga, Laura. Perdona el spanglish jajajaja

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  7. Muchas gracias por tu comentario Laura, soy to fiel lectora y fan de AKA Yona. Espero que estes muy bien y con ansias estare pendiente cuando subas tu comentario del siguiente capitulo. Eres una rockstar!

    ReplyDelete

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