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Comment: Akatsuki no Yona 160 — Kye-Sook, Looking Down

For a chapter that started with so much DORK to spare, that sure was what I call a dramatic exit.

[WARNING!] Spoilers for Akatsuki no Yona 160 (duh!)

Quick Summary

Tae-Jun heads to Yona's room to wish her a good night's rest, and finds the HHB and his mother + his naked, unconscious brother there. Perplexed and taken aback, Tae-Jun is incapable of comprehending the situation at first, but a quick summary of the events from Yun leaves things clear.
Suddenly, Kil-Sung walks into the room and tells Tae-Jun that the Sky Tribe troops, lead by Kye-Sook, have arrived at Saika Castle. They're on their way to the northern border to strengthen their defences. The castle is in a oanic because nobody knows where General Kyo-Ga has disappeared to (the HHB sweats nervously in the background), and Kil-Sung tells Tae-Jun that he must meet with Kye-Sook instead. Tae-Jun is reluctant, but his mother leaves the room (supposedly to meet Kye-Sook, and after telling Yona to stay in this room and leave under no circumstances, Tae-Jun too heads off with Heuk-Chi.
Tae-Jun meets with Kye-Sook and tells him his brother, general Gyo-Ga, is indisposed and cannot meet with him. Kye-Sook asks if he was wounded in battle, and on the spot Tae-Jun tells him that he was. When Kye-Sook insists on meeting the general to express his concern for his well-being in person, Tae-Jun insists he's in no condition to meet anybody. The excuses go on until Kye-Sook asks Tae-Jun if he's hiding something. He tells him that he suspects that Princess Yona is somehow related to the beacon that was lit from Saika Castle, and that he thinks someone within the Fire Tribe is connected to her. Tae-Jun brushes off the accusations, saying that's not possible. But Kye-Sook goes on and uses the fact that Yona and the Four Dragons appeared during the battle with Northern Kai as proof of it. Yet again Tae-Jun brushes this off, saying he was too busy fighting the enemy to notice anything else. He tells Kye-Sook that it was him who lit the beacon, because he sensed in advance that Kai would invade. At this, Kye-Sook snickers.
"Had it been General Kyo-Ga behind it I might have conceded," he says. "but if you really had such splendid power of foresight, Lord Tae-Jun, I would think you would have seen through your father’s plans. Or dare I suggest that you knew of them, and yet did nothing to stop him?"
The jab hits deep, but Tae-Jun brushes it off, tells Kye-Sook to get some rest, and excuses himself. On the way out Heuk-Chi catches a soldier tailing Tae-Jun, and Kil Sung tells Tae-Jun that perhaps he should refrain from heading directly towards Yona's room.
Meanwhile, a soldier leads Kye-Sook to the Honoured Guest Chamber, ignorant of the fact that Yona&co. are there. The court lady that served Yona tries to stop them from walking in, but Kye-Sook realises something is off, and forces his way in. The room is empty. They draw the curtains to the bed and there—... they find General Kyo-Ga, unconscious but breathing, and, mysteriously, naked. Kye-Sook and his men are puzzled, wondering if this is Kyo-Ga's idea of a welcome. Kye-Sook orders the room be searched, and just then the candles blow out. His men scream and moan, and Kye-Sook turns around, only to come face to face with Shin-ah... who takes his mask off and looks into him. Shin-ah asks, "Who... are you? Are you Yona's enemy?" Kye-Sook freaks out. There's a voice ringing through his head, and it's like a monstrous eye is looking into his mind. Suddenly he hears the window open and turns, but before he can react Jae-ha, carrying Zeno on his back, jumps out and flies off. He flies off, and Kye-Sook is stunned. He hears the door clatter behind him and turns around, only to see Shin-ah and Kija, his claw out, running away, catching only the barest of glimpses of Yona and Hak's backs.
He stares, frozen. Those were the Four Dragons.


Yona, most literally slipping through Kye-Sook's hands.

Yeeeeeeeee boi, that's what I'm talking about! Chapter 160 may also be a giggle fest of Kusanagi comedy, but beneath all the jokes at poor Kyo-Ga's expense lie some very interesting developments and nudges towards character depths that I am more than delighted to see. The entire scene with Kye-Sook and often-overlooked dorky Tae-Jun has me shookith (ʘ‿ʘ✿). Not because Kye-Sook is close to obtaining solid proof that Tae-Jun is aiding Yona, or because our gang is in danger (though yes, that was quite exhilarating too), but because when Kye-Sook has the gall to downplay and belittle Tae-Jun's capabilities, instead of losing his temper, Tae-Jun brushes off the jab and keeps his cool (a reaction that draws a smile from Proud Mother Hen Igni). 
Tae-Jun is a character that is often pulled onto stage for the jokes — most of his on-screen time since the incident at the cliffs that killed (but-not-really) Yona&Hak, he's been a clown-type character that more often than not gets woven into the story for shits and giggles. If a chapter has a hefty dose of Tae-Jun, ya'll know it gonna be a good time. Heck, even 160 kicks off with a few pages of Tae-Jun dorkyness, what with him running wild fantasies through his head about his dear Princess Yona and how much she clearly must be missing him. Tae-Jun, the stupid second son, the one who disobeyed orders and winded up near-killing Princess Yona, the one who's running around working the fields like a farmer, reading through enemy plans before anyone else did? Unthinkable. It's no wonder Kye-Sook isn't fooled by the uncanny coincidence that Kai's actual invasion turned out to be.
Yet this arc has decisively begun to show us a different Tae-Jun: one that stands firm for his beliefs (ch.156) and does not bite back at the insults his enemies pettily throw at him. Even Kye-Sook is taken aback by how casually Tae-Jun walks out on him, and I can't help but be reminded ever so slightly of Su-Won in this scene, and how he always manages to keep his true emotions hidden behind a mask of indifference and composure. Tae-Jun the good macaroni is still a good macaroni and he's ageing like wine, folks. I'm looking forward to what new depths this arc will explore with his character. We might be in for some surprises...

Every inch of my body is also itching, by the way, to know more about Mysterious (Possibly Meddlesome and Possibly Clever) Proud Mother Hen Igni. 160 did not offer all the answers to our questions, and it turned out she didn't just randomly pop into Yona and Hak's room but rather followed the Suspicious™ Dragon Circus as they toddled off with her eldest son's body, but 160 was nonetheless a chapter I felt shed some light on her. That smile? That smile says a lot. It's one of pride, yes, but it feels like it's also one of knowledge. Does she know the truth? That her son is on Yona's side? She just heard that entire exchange and at the end just... smiles. Does she approve of her son's decisions? Oh Mama Igni, Mama Igni... I cannot wait to see more of you soon.

But though Tae-Jun's composure was a big surprise, and Mama Igni has me thirsty for more Mama-action, oh boy... Those last 10 pages? They were chilling!!! What intensity; what excitement!! Yona&co. disappear into the darkness with a secretive and mystifying impression befitting of the legends that have sprouted here and there about them. The gang makes clever use of the night and makes a quiet escape, sneaking out through the window and slipping out through the front door. Kye-Sook feels and witnesses the power of the four dragons for himself for the very first time, and though he very clearly catches a glimpse of every dragon, in the end all he sees of Yona herself is her receding back...
Ugh, I cannot put into words how badass this night escape was, how mystifying the gang is portrayed as, slipping right through their enemy's hands. Honestly, when I turned to the last page, the first thing my mind screamed was BATMAN!!!! But perhaps it would be more appropriate to compare them to a mafia gang of sorts, what with the Robbin Hood-type activities they've been carrying out.
Yet what's most worrying is how Kye-Sook will react now that he's verified the power of the Four Dragons. Will he panic and initiate Plan Annihilation? (Beep, Exterminate.) And what will he do with Tae-Jun, now that he's practically confirmed his suspicions? (Then again, he did not, in fact, see Yona's or Hak's faces at all.) What's more, he's in Saika. In Saika, where Gobi also happens to be. Are the predictions about these two joining hands going to come true after all…? I feel that this meme very accurately represents my feelings right now.

That's all from me, my lovelies! I'm terribly sorry for the delay in my post. As I explained in my last post, I'm in Okinawa and the HanaYume magazine takes a few extra days to get here. To top it off a pretty big typhoon is wrecking southern Japan right now, so it took even longer. It's heading our way today, so we're all bracing for impact...
Chapter 161 will be out on the 20th of July! Also, remember that Hakusensha is still taking in questions to publish in the fanbook until the 19th of this month. I've already sent quite a few of mine (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧. Additionally, AkaYona will have another Drama CD published with issue 18 of the Hana to Yume. Plus, volume 27 will be coming out on the 20th of August! Next month will be an AkaYona blast. See ya!

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Posted on: 10/07/2018

PS. With this chapter I've been reminded that though Shin-ah is our baby boy and Best Cinnamon Roll, his power is also the most intimidating and invasive of the lot...

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  1. IDK I ACTUALLY THOUGHT IGNI WAS KINDA EVIL like don't know if she's on their side yet or not. Was she an accomplice in them vanishing off though? Thanks for the summary Laura!

    1. i dunno, the intense side-eye she's giving Kyesook and tiny proud smile she gave Taejun leads me to believe she's not evil.

  2. What an exciting chapter. Can't wait for more!

  3. Am i the nly one that finds thet mom rather interesting? there is some mystical about her


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