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Comment: Akatsuki no Yona 157 — Inextinguishable Admiration

Aaaand I'm still not tired of the Dark Dragon joke. I want m o R E.

[WARNING!] Spoilers for Akatsuki no Yona 157 (duh!)

Quick Summary

Yun&Zeno join the rest of the gang and urge everybody to help the fallen soldiers. Things pick up and soon the entire HHB is helping out. Kyo-Ga, unable to stop them, looks upon the scene warily, still convinced that his fathers claims were all lies. Suddenly he gets a report form one of his men, saying that the captured prisoner enemy soldiers have said that the army isn't Li Hazara's, but one from a powerful clan further up north. Kyo-Ga leaves to confirm this for himself, and in an inner monologue remarks he will report everything that has happened to Su-Won.
Meanwhile, at the palace; Lili asks Su-Won why he's stopped asking her to go back home as of lately, and Su-Won tells her it's because she is the esteemed daughter of the head of the Water Tribe. Lili then asks him whether he has bodyguards with him when he roams around the palace and questions the whereabouts of General Ju-Doh. When Su-Won tells her Ju-Doh is very busy with his duties as the commanding officer of the SKy Tribe troops, Lili calls him careless for moving around without and escort. What would he do if she were an assassin? Su-Won laughs at the notion, as Lili would make a terrible assassin, and Lili dives in to jokingly strangle him. Suddenly she feels the air charge with hostility. Su-Won pulls her into an embrace, looks towards a shadow hiding behind a wall, and reassures said shadow that it's fine—they're just fooling around. Su-Won tells Lili that these people are said bodyguards Lili was talking about, who follow him always at a distance. When Lili asks why they've let her do as she pleased up until now, Su-Won reveals that it's most likely because they think he and she are romantically involved. Moreover, it seems Lili is being celebrated as a candidate for queen amongst the people of the palace.
Lili loses her shit at this. Why would they do this, when there's plenty of other women in the palace? Suddenly she realises she hasn't seen Su-Won around many woman, that even with the court ladies he keeps his distance, and that it's actually Ju-Doh or Kye-Sook he most sticks around with... is that the way he swings? Su-Won explains that it's precisely because others have also made this assumption that he welcomes Lili's presence here: when she's around people stop pestering him with marriage talks. Lili laughs at how relieved these people must've been that Su-Won didn't pick up a male lover, but then asks whether they're ACTUALLY planning on marrying them. Su-Won says that seeing as relations with the Water Tribe are favorable there is no reason for him to marry her. Lili then suggests Kouren or Tao, and though Su-Won agrees that these marriages could solidify relations with Xing, Lili has the feeling he's not on board wit the idea. She wonders to herself whether he's searching for a better candidate. Unswayed by religion or woman and always pursuing the most beneficial path for the kingdom, Lili remarks that Su-Won is truly the ideal king... but when she thinks of Yona she has mixed feelings.
Kye-Sook walks in and informs that they've just received a report for the Fire Tribe. As Su-Won and Kye-Sook retreat to Su-Won's office, Lili remarks that Kye-Sook is the one person who definitely isn't welcoming her here. She thinks to herself that though she's probably come to agree with the fact that Su-Won took the throne, the fact that she allies with Yona makes her seem contradictory.
Meanwhile, on their way to Su-Won's office Kye-Sook urges Su-Won to send Lili away, as they never know when she'll run her mouth again. Su-Won tells him to chill, because if they keep her here they can at least watch her movements, and besides there's nothing she can do that would affect them deeply.
In their office, Ju-Doh and Kye-Sook inform that In Kuervo, a man from a powerful northern clan in Northern Kai, has invaded the Fire Tribe. Su-Won wonders if this means whether Li Hazara's capital of the Province of Sen has fallen, but then concludes In Kuervo and Li Hazara must've joined hands. Northern Kai is entering a chaotic era of warring states, and though it works in Kouka's favour that the Emperor's power is weakening, they cannot have the clans getting carried away and attacking them. This is precisely why they made Xing and Sei their vassal states.
Kye-Sook the tells Su-Won that the reports also informs of the involvement of Yona, Hak, and the Four Dragons in this battle, and that according to the report it was mostly due to them that the enemy was defeated. When Su-Won says he doesn't see what the problem with this is, Kye-Sook tells him that according to what his men have investigated about the Four Dragons, they've been involved in Awa’s illegal market strife, the Fire Tribe’s rebellion, the Water Tribe’s Nadai issue, the war at the two Sei forts, the insurrection within Xing, and now this. People are saying that the red-haired girl and the Four Dragons are the gods of legend themselves, and though Su-Won tries to dismiss this as superstition, Kye-Sook warns that the problem here is the hearts of the people that would whisper about such things. It is akin to someone other than the king falsely claiming to be this kingdom's god.
Back with Yona&co.; Yona is exhausted from helping and decides to take a break. She leans against a tree and falls asleep. Hak comes, sees her, sighs, and lends her his shoulder.
↑ "Quick" summary, she said.
(in my defence though, this chapter is CRAMMED with text)


Fire soldier fanboying HARD because THE Ryokuryuu is carrying him on his back.
Bless his cotton fire socks.

Wow, what an AkaYona overload these past few days have been for me, what with only just reading 156 a few days ago and the simultaneous release of volume 26 and chapter 157...

Bless the Heavens, it seems we are getting it going with Kai! Detective Hak's deductions were spot on: Su-Won has united Kouka, Xing, and Sei under the same flag in order to fight back against a possible Kai Empire attack, which now seems very real. In Kuervo イン・クエルボ (which is a rather odd name, because 'cuervo' means 'crow' in Spanish) ((now I'm imagining a crow in Chinese diplomat clothes...)), apparently some dude from a powerful clan further north than Li Hazara, is the orchestrator behind this invasion, and according to Su-Won these two baddies might've joined hands to possibly attack Kouka. I'm back to vibrating excitedly at what Kusanagi may throw our way with this new arc!

But hey-ho, who cares about that, let's talk about the stuff that actually matters, like— 

Ok guys where are dem gay ships at.
That's a green-light if I ever saw one, GO GO GO (σ゚∀゚)σ

Okay, so, for the record: I get the feeling that when Lili says this she means it in a "he isn't interested in worldly pleasures" kind of way, especially seeing as she also remarks that he isn't swayed by religion, either, making him an ideal ruler. Plus Su-Won has always registered in my mind as more on the aro spectrum, though I do speculate he might've been in love with Yona... which is why all this talk of a marriage of convenience, brought out of the blue, seems a bit fishy. Much like Lili, I'm stuck here wondering if Su-Won has a better candidate in mind that could secure a much more beneficial alliance than, say, what Kouren & Tao could offer with Xing. Unless Southern Kai suddenly brings out a princess, I don't see this lad marrying anytime soon. Others have pitched the idea that this could lead to talks of Su-Won and Yona getting married to avoid further trouble, and as nuts and crazy as that sounds, though I do not believe they would ever actually get married (because I'm sure we're heading to a happy HakOna ending), I've begun to wonder if someone high-up would be screwed enough to suggest it...
I'm wondering if there's any chance Lili and Su-Won could be endgame, after all this kerffufle. I wasn't too sold on these two when Kusanagi first dropped in the idea of their marriage for comic relief in 109, but you know what? They've grown on me. Su-Won really, truly does not seem interested in her, but romance can still bloom between them — especially in light of the fact that he's openly told her she's one of the only people he can chill around. Su-Won, my dearest egg, you're dangerously close to getting bitten by the love-serpent. Do not underestimate its prowess (ʘ‿ʘ✿)

And seeing as we're talking about Lili; I really like the trip Kusanagi is taking her character on. Lili's inner conflict is engaging, and once again in tune with the series's theme on the subjectivity of justice and evil: she accepts that Su-Won's usurpation of power, but still sides with Yona. It's contradicting when viewed from the outside, and it's no wonder Kye-Sook mistrusts her.

However the part of this chapter that had me most befuddled was Kye-Sook's report to Su-Won... and everything that's been said of Yona in this chapter. Much as Ogi identified in 156 (and picking up on the thoughts I introduced in that comment) Kye-Sook is also quick to pick up on the fact that it isn't so much the truth in the rumours that claim Yona&co. are the gods of legend that is problematic, but the hearts of the people that would whisper such things. He warns of the danger in this, as it is akin to someone other than the king falsely calling themselves the god of this kingdom, but in truth Yona is doing no such thing.
This ties back to what I said in my 156 comment about twisting truth and people believing what they want to believe — It's very possible that regardless of what Yona tells the Fire citizens, they'll still label her a god, and by the way she hides under her cloak it doesn't seem like she's too comfortable with the adoration they're showering on her. Is this, perhaps, what happened with Hiryuu? I toyed with the idea of Hiryuu not being entirely who we thought he was in 155, in light of Zeno's strange comments, but what if it goes beyond just finding the Dragon Warriors an annoyance? Perhaps even the very idea of Hiryuu descending to earth to become king and build a nation is a misconception, a narrative that was forced upon him by the people. Maybe that was never actually what he wanted. Is history repeating itself with Yona?
Moreover, it's interesting to note that when Kyo-Ga speaks of Fire's adoration of crimson-red hair, favouring the legend of it over their new sovereign, Yona and Su-Won are depicted with their backs facing each other as opposite sides of a spectrum... with Yona haloed in sparkles and light, and Su-Won submerged in darkness. There's a certain poetic irony in people admiring a legend that we know is not in fact as wholesome as it seems. With Zeno seemingly questioning Hiryuu's love for the DWs, the fact that the Dragon Gods have subjected generation upon generation of Dragon Warriors to the tragic fate of a short life, and Zeno to 2,000 years of tortuous immortality, has become pretty hard to ignore. The glorified legend is a far cry from the cursed tale the Dragon Warriors of the past would tell you. As I mentioned in 155— should we just accept the Dragon Gods' decisions as correct simply because they are gods? (●・̆⍛・̆●)

Yet the part that strikes me the most in this conversation is Su-Won's reaction. When Kye-Sook says people are saying Yona&co. are like the gods of legend, Su-Won disregards this, after a pause, as "superstitions" (迷信). He gets away with it because Kye-Sook has not in fact seen the DWs in action, but oh boy, the fact that he specifically stresses that these are superstitions even though he's seen Kija's hand for himself is suspicious as fuck. And here Kye-Sook is calling Yona's supposed claims "false" (騙る kataru, meaning "to trick people" or "to falsify one's identity and social status"), whilst Su-Won, who was told by Il himself that Yona was Hiryuu incarnate, stands around making a conspicuous I Am An Angst Boy™ face (seriously though, that's his go-to face every time Yona gets brought up). I can't help but think that Su-Won's reaction here is spurred by the fact that he knows these aren't false claims... that Yona is Hiryuu. All this time a part of me had assumed that, like Kyo-Ga in post-daddio rebellion depression, Su-Won thought Hiryuu and the gods nothing but myth and fabrications of the past... but perhaps he does actually believe in them, and just doesn't trust them with the handling of a country.
Yet Su-Won stated in 117, "I have no desire to sit on the throne. My objective is but one: to make this kingdom a powerful nation capable of withstanding any invasion. Becoming king was just a means to that end." Could it be that in this scene in 157 he's reconsidering Yona's rightful claim to the Crown? Food for thought.

Well then my lovelies, that is it from me! The next Hana to Yume issue, out on the 2nd of May, will come with a Pukkyuu pencil-case of sorts and will include an extra chapter, not 158. I presume we'll have to wait till issue 12 to see the continuation to this mess. Additionally! Remember that Kusanagi is publishing another extra story in the Za Hana to Yume magazine issue to be released on the 25th of April, that also comes with Yona freebie — a book cover that I'm assuming fits the newly released volume 26. According to Kusanagi's little side comment in 157 it's gonna be "a very strange extra story about Yona&co." so brace thyselves, children. I'll see you around for that!

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Posted on: 22/04/2018

PS. Am I the only one who thinks Kye-Sook's stare has been amped an extra 20% with evil? Like, why does he look so constipated?

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  1. Well way back in the beginning Soo-Won did say he wanted Hak, so I say that Soo-won same sex ship sailed long ago.
    He does have feelings for Yona, just not romantic. Back in Awa he stated she was one in a million. Plus his inner monologue when being crowned he was upset that he betrayed the only 2 people in the world he cared for, but he had things to do. Guessing uniting the country but not really looking after the peoples best interest which is where Yona & DW come in. Which might be why Soo-Won is okay with them wandering around helping the people.

    Also Yona never introduces herself as a princess. That was something that made me angry with the dub in episode 13 when monica rial wrongly says the translation "my name is Princess Yona" to the Blue Dragon & yet a few scenes latter we have the heart to heart of where Yona specifically states she ONLY wants Hak to call her Princess in order to honor her father & she doesn't care nor desire the others to address her as "princess" because she did not meet them as a princess.

    Kye-Sook is a paranoid asshole spreading discontent AND at the same time I can't help but wonder if he was a spy planted by an enemy country (possibly Kai) years ago because of all the manipulation he has done in the castle. Plus encouraging the regicide of both the king Il & princess. It's probable he even had a hand in General Yu-Hon death & Yona's mother.

    I agree that there is a problem with the heavens & gods meddling with people's lives. We've seen this problem in other series like Noragami & Kamisama Hajimemashita. The gods are flawed & yet they can never admit to making a mistake but very skilled at blaming everything & everyone else.

    Your theory about King Hiryuu not wanting to be a god is interesting, but when he was about to be killed by the humans, he told the other dragon gods to not interfere because he loved humans. Perhaps he did just want to get away from the other dragons because of their obsessive love. Considering what Zeno said about Hiryuu, it is likely that Hiryuu didn't like the gods & was annoyed that they made loyal human warriors suffer with the powers generation after generation.
    However I don't believe he disliked the dragon warriors and wanted to make life better for them as much as his powers could. The short lifespan of DW after Hiryuu died was something the other dragon gods did so that whenever the reincarnation happened, the DW would be at their peak of strength & endurance. The first DW did live long full lives but they went into hiding because of human greed. I believe that the current DW will also live long full lives, I also hope for their sake that the power transfer curse will be lifted so we have a nice happy ending.

    1. "Well way back in the beginning Soo-Won did say he wanted Hak, so I say that Soo-won same sex ship sailed long ago" <- THE TRUTH, EXPOSED.

      Also, about the dub; eesh, I had no idea they'd done that. It's very un-Yona like to introduce herself as a Princess... I don't remember what the original anime cast said, but as far as I remember she definitely doesn't add -hime in that scene of the manga.

      Concerning the whole Zeno & Dragon Gods malarkey: yes, my approach to the matter right now is that it wasn't the DWs themselves that Hiryuu disliked (as in, the poeple they were), but the CONCEPT of them (humans gifted supernatural powers by a few gods' wanton). I suspect that this'll be the last generation of DWs, that Yona will put an end to the cycle by finishing off whatever her Red Dragon soul has come back to do, and wave a giant "fuck you" to the other gods, freeing the DWs from their curse and finally letting Zeno die *sobs*

    2. I do think that King Il really killed his brother. It seemed like Soo Won had talked with King Il before he murdered him

  2. Considering your question if people should follow the gods wishes...I think that depends heavily on the relation between these two fractions. In most religions the gods are the creators of the world, including the human beings and therefore are able to "use" them however they want.

    Surely they are also religions where the gods/god is a merciful being, but excuse me, I don t believe that this is the case here.

    The Dragon Gods were so ready to get rid of any human beings in Hiryuu s way and the circle of Dragon Warriors...No...I don t believe that they care for the human beings one bit and frankly I do understand Soo Won s point of view in that context.

    I really believe that he thought that they didn t concern the life of the human beings, since they might not even exist and if they exist than they were so indifferent about the lives of the human beings that that wouldn t matter.

    I think just when with Yona
    a) there is a confirmation that the gods did exist
    b) seeing how Yona (more or less a former god) did influence the events/There is also the thing that he heard that she was protected by a sort of magic, I guess, but I am not sure about that.

    So suddenly a factor his predecessor worshiped and that he believed to be irrelevant turned out to be a major point.

    Well just my 2 cents.

    1. Hiryuu loved humans, but all we've heard about the other Dragon Gods is that they loved Hiryuu :))) I think you're spot-on when you say they don't have a mote of sympathy for humans in their holydragon souls AT ALL.
      (I'm really starting to loath them now, actually??)

    2. To be fair, I cannot blame the gods for not loving or caring for a bunch of greedy humans who tried to kill one of their own. Hiryuu is beyond generous in that he still cared for the humans who betrayed him. Likewise, I think Yona is way too kind for being so willing to sacrifice her life and for going to the extremes for all those who turned their backs on her when she was in deep distress. Not one of them even felt sorry for her. Unless the legend is false and people never treated Hiryuu that horribly, I'm not sure that I can really fault the gods for their views or to bring myself to really sympathize with Soo-won's point of view. That's just my personal opinion.

  3. Thanks again for the translation! The ending page with Hak lending Yona his shoulder after a long day was so cute. Your theory about King Hiryuu is super interesting! Seeing how soldiers and other villagers are treating Yona and the Happy Bunch really shows that it was probably a lot more prominent with King Hiryuu. I don't know though. My memories on the series as a whole is blurry but super intrigued to see how this plays out. And how Su Won will handle the rising admiration Yona and the Four Dragons are getting from 'his' people.

    Thanks again for the comments! They really make me consider a lot of scenarios I wouldn't otherwise. Take care!

  4. What I want to know is how Yona is coming with her sword training. We haven’t really seen that in a while and I kind of miss her quest to become stronger. I wouldn’t mind seeing how that quest has changed since Xing.

  5. To the anonymous:

    Of course it depends heavily on the person, what kind of opinion somebody has concerning these issues. If you tend to agree with Soo Won or think that committing genocide as the Dragons wished for in the past would be the correct answer.
    But I love to elaborate my point of view:

    The gods literally don t care for human beings. They didn t even really differentiate between the human beings that betrayed him and the one who didn t.
    They were just eager to get rid of the human beings due to them being a possible threat to Hiryuu.

    The Dragon Warriors were used just and only for the purpose of serving King Hiryuu.
    Their lives were not important at all. They were just a means to "achieve their goal of protecting King Hiryuu."

    2000 years of life of Dragon Warriors that lived and died in vain. They often just lived up until their 30 year of life if they were lucky. Garou, for example, died sooner.
    The first Dragon Warriors were asked, the other generations just had to "abide by the rules".

    Now it would have been at least nice, if King Hiryuu had been thankful, but it seems lik that had not been the case here.

    The existence of the Dragon Warriors at least if we wish to believe Zeno were a thing that was pressed on Hiryuu by his brothers.

    So in short: The existence of the Dragon Warriors was just an occurence that was wished for by the Dragon Gods and nobody else.

    There is also the question if wiping out a whole lot of people is an appropriate action, since the reasons for this occurence are unknown. I just doubt that it is as simple that the people suddenly turned vile.

    If we wish to be truthful, we do not know the exact reason why a god came down to earth.
    What were his reason to begin with to meddle in the affairs of people?
    What made King Hiryuu special, since the other Dragon Gods frankly are not interested in the least in the wellbeing of people.

  6. It might be possible that this "In Kourvo" is a girl right? Su-won might get hitched there ;p
    That apart, I think as he said he had no interest in the throne, he's probably planning to give it away to Yona in the end.
    It will be most ideal, if Su-won improves/develops the country to it's bounds and across and then accept his crime(of killing Il) and give away the crown to Yona, who'd forgive him(or give him a light sentence) and make him her 2nd in command (something like Prime minister).
    But that is just my fantasy, Kusanagi Sensei always goes out-of-the-box and surprises me quite outstandingly.
    Thanks for sharing the translations and thanks for the summary, even if it's not "quick", it's the way we like- without missing any important points. So thanks again & have a good day!(^^)

    1. I can't see Yona becoming queen at all, truth be told... but lately, the more I think about I can't see Su-Won as king either. I'm increasingly more and more sold on that theory about Tae-Jun becoming the new ruler these days xD

  7. If Tae Jun becomes king, Kouka will be in trouble. He is not the brightest candle on the cake.

  8. I used to think that Soo-won was into Hak, but now I wonder if he's just asexual since he mentions that he "doesn't really understand love and romance".

    1. My general theory is that he was in love with Yona, but cut off his feelings when he discovered the "truth" behind his father's death.
      I still also agree with the aro spectrum reading of his character though... He doesn't really register as someone that does relationships at all.

  9. I feel like an idiot saying this, but I'd say Soo-won loves Yona, he just has an unique way to express it. (By attempted murder, But maybe it's different from Hak's love, less possessive and romantic, and probably more platonic. Might be the only Sooona shipper left though .. but a girl can dream (though I totally see were HakOna comes from, it just..kind of never worked for me but my opinion does not count here lmao)

    1. I'm not a Soo-Won / Yona shipper, but it's the kind of angsty ship I'd normally be all on board for. I have feeling that Su-Won DID have a bit of a crush for Yona, so I'm with you on that one.


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