Yona of the Dawn Volume 1 Manga Review: The Story Begins


This is a manga I’ve been recommended endlessly and I’ve actually really wanted to give it a go because the anime just kind of left me wanting the rest of the story. That said, there’s a long way to go before I get to anything new so how does volume 1 go at making me want to read on?

Anime Review: Akatsuki no Yona


Shoujo isn’t really my style and while there are a handful of romances near and dear to my heart, it isn’t exactly a genre I go out of my way to track down. Yona of the Dawn as an anime I found interesting, but I’ve never been the die-hard fan so many have become and in terms of red-headed heroines I would have taken Shirayuki over Yona any day. The reason for this I outlined quite clearly in my anime review. The story wasn’t finished. What we got was a very long introduction into what seemed like an amazing tale and then we never found out where it went. That kind of soured m overall enjoyment of it as it all just felt incomplete.

That issue isn’t solved by reading volume one of the manga and I knew I was committing to a far more long term project when I decided to try this manga but I don’t think I was prepared for how little would be covered in this first volume.

We meet Yona, Hak and her father and all three of these characters are as interesting as they came off in the anime and their relationship is interesting to see in action before Su Won comes along and pretty much crushes Yona’s world in an instant. It’s great to read and visually this manga is really quite gorgeous to look at, one of the few times I actually think I prefer the visuals here to the anime as there is a real richness to the detail in so many of the panels that seemed lacking in the anime.


However, the first volume ends and we’ve barely seen Yona and Hak escape the palace and they haven’t even really gone anywhere yet. This pacing may very well kill my enthusiasm for finding out what lies beyond the end of the anime if it continues this slowly. Then again, it isn’t as though the book feels empty.

The anime did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life, but like with the visuals, there’s just a little something extra in the manga. A more nuanced approach to each character that makes them feel a little more real and a little more grounded, and all and all it was quite the pleasure to read.

If I had any disappointment it would be the book ended and I kind of felt I hadn’t got very far into a story I really do want to reach the end of at some point. Of course, if I’d read this without knowing the anime, I’d probably be equally disappointed in the heroine. She doesn’t come off looking all that great in this volume. And while I know that she is going to undertake a fairly wonderful tranformative journey, this starting point might have seriously put me off if I hadn’t gone in with the knowledge that this weak Princess was going to grow.

Hak on the other-hand comes off as a great character from the word go and Su Won remains a character I am endlessly intrigued by. I’m really hoping future volumes flesh out both of these characters more than the anime ever did as I really am keen to know more about them.

That said, I should thank everyone who has pushed this title at me as to be honest I’m pretty sure I will love reading forward. I have the second volume already though I haven’t read it quite yet (I have quite the stack of reviews to get through first of other books I’ve read), and depending on how that goes I might try to get two or three more volumes covered by the end of the year, but again, I’ll see how it goes.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this manga but please don’t spoil future volumes for me as while I’ve read heaps about this story already I’m trying really hard to take each volume as it comes.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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7 thoughts on “Yona of the Dawn Volume 1 Manga Review: The Story Begins

  1. That’s some gorgeous art work in the manga. Only seen the anime, though surprised the manga is slightly slower paced considering how well episode 1 of the anime did in establishing its story. I wasn’t much of a fan of the anime so I look forward to reading what your thoughts on the manga will be in comparison to the anime.

    1. I am very much looking forward to more of this though the slow pace is likely to remain a complaint of mine unless it noticeably speeds itself up. Still, given I am going in expecting it to be slow at this point I should probably just be happy that it is fleshing things out quite nicely.

  2. Oh, c’mon! First Irina, then me, now you are covering Yona of the Dawn in the span of a week? That’s it, we should keep this train rolling.

    Anyone who sees this comment should make a post about Yona and link it in response to my comment. I wanna see how long the Yona-thon can go!

    1. I thought it was pretty funny when Irina’s post came out because I knew I’d scheduled this one for this week. Then yours came out and I realised that this happens a lot online. No one will talk about an anime for awhile and then suddenly you’ll catch a whole group of posts about it and then it will disappear again.
      Still, Yona of the Dawn is worth talking about.

  3. I absolutely adore Yona of the Dawn! After watching the anime and feeling similar to how you felt, I decided to pick up the anime. I also agree it is quite slow to start, but it gets so much better as you progress.

    I’m currently on Vol. 8 and have stopped at the point where the anime ended as I decided I wanted to revisit the anime before reading further. The English version of Vol. 12 is out in September so I’m hoping to get back into reading soon!

    1. I’m going to keep going with this but I’m going to slowly work my way through it in amongst other reading projects. It may very well take me the rest of my life to catch up but at least I’ll always have something to look forward to.

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