RePlay: A Sweet Single-Volume Baseball BL || Review

A brief spoiler-free review of the single-volume BL manga “RePlay,” story and art by Saki Tsukahara, published in 2020 by TOKYOPOP.


Out of the Game

Although Yuta and Ritsu have been playing baseball together since they were children, a devastating defeat in a local tournament the summer before their senior year results in the “married couple’s” retirement from the high school team so that they can focus on university entrance exams. Yuta still yearns to play baseball again, but even when he’s given the chance, the game just doesn’t have the same appeal without Ritsu. Whenever Yuta brings up the sport, however, Ritsu seems to distance himself further.

What does baseball mean to Yuta, and why should it matter whether Ritsu is there or not? As the boys begin ask themselves these questions, feelings that have always been present are realized, and the bond between teammates develops into something far more affectionate and intimate.

This has got to be one of the most satisfying BL manga I’ve ever read. To Saki Tsukahara—where can I read your other works??? I had so much fun getting to know the history of this couple, as well as watching Yuta and Ritsu realize their feelings for each other. A surprising amount of character depth is crammed into this book, and the ending beautifully rounds out this story of compassionate love and fresh starts. The final pages (following our one sex scene, of course) left me happily content and hopeful about their future. Older audiences may also appreciate the high-school-to-college shift—along with the “separation angst” of changing friendships—that Tsukahara tries to capture.

Teammates to Something More . . .

Since we mainly take in the story from Yuta’s perspective, let’s talk about him first. Yuta Mizuhara is your typical loudmouth, food-snatching, panic gay who can’t seem to understand that others may actually like him. A lot. Defs the jumpy uke type. Still, he’s got a really cute face and them ATHLETE ABS THO, and most readers will enjoy him if even just for that. Compared to Ritsu, Yuta has to try a lot harder in his studies, especially if he’s wanting to attend the same university as Ritsu. I’m glad that his studying habits (or lack thereof) play a prominent role in the plot.

As for Ritsu Mashino, the dude’s RIPPED and ready for college life. The smart, quiet, handsome-type seme. Because he can get into practically any university, he spends a lot of his time going behind Yuta’s back to prep “surprises” for him. (If I say anything more it’s spoiler territory, so my lips are zipped.) Anyway, he’s also got a cute hairstyle and face to match, and I simply can’t express enough how PERFECT Saki Tsukahara’s characters look! The whole manga is just plain pretty. (And for my friends wanting something steamier, RePlay is fairly tame, save for the occasional shirtless scene and the last couple pages . . . )

The only part of the manga I found a bit cringe was how Yuta and Ritsu’s fellow teammates and classmates would keep calling them the “married couple.” They’d even refer to themselves in this way, and it’s such a weird term, even for manga. Like, when you’re this adamant on calling each other the school’s married couple, you’re not even queer-bating at this point—they both might as well just come out to each other already. At first, it’s a cute label, but it becomes harder to take even as a joke with each repetition.

A Satisfying Single-Volume BL

RePlay explores the attraction between two high-school seniors who are trying to sort out their long-withheld (or unrealized) feelings for one another while also preparing for university life. Since both boys have graduated from club activities, the sports element mainly serves as a backdrop to the soft and sweet story about the fear of growing apart. The volume reads like a sports anime fanfic, yet also has a sense of completeness that is rare for this kind of manga.

Saki Tsukahara’s lovely art remains consistently light and gorgeous, and their character designs match my tastes to a T. If you’re a fan of childhood-friends-to-lovers romance and are looking for a BL that looks fondly back on high school life as its characters make plans for college, I highly recommend RePlay as one of my new favorite single-volume BL manga!


“On the field, we understood every facet about each other, but now . . . “

Yuta Mizuhara


Afterword

This was such a great read, my goodness. Thank you to all who recommended this manga to me! If my enjoyment wasn’t obvious enough in this post, RePlay is a certified “Caffe Mocha” manga here at the cafe, a rating reserved for my favorite reads and watches! I’ve got a growing list of TOKYOPOP single-volume BL manga that I plan to pick up soon, so hey, if you liked this post, I’ve got more on the way! Drop your thoughts on this manga review (or your BL single-volume recommendations) down in the comments! Thanks for reading, and ‘til next time!

– Takuto

BL Metamorphosis: A Blossoming Relationship || Manga First Impressions

First impressions for volumes 1 of Kaori Tsurutani’s manga series “BL Metamorphosis,” published in 2020 by Seven Seas.


The Start of Something New

After the sad discovery that the coffee shop Ichinoi used to frequent with her late husband has closed down, the 75-year-old calligraphy teacher decides to cool off from the heat in a local bookstore. It’s been at least a year since she was last here, and while searching for the since-relocated cookbook section, an unsuspecting volume of BL catches the old lady’s eye.

The high school girl who rings up Ichinoi’s order at the register knows this BL series well. From this initial encounter, the two go on to form an unlikely yet endearing friendship. BL binds them, but is there a deeper lesson to be learned?

I’m going to keep this post short if only for the fact that it’ll quickly turn into a fanboy ramble about this sweet friendship. I totally see parts of myself in young Urara’s groggy eyes. She loves boys love manga, yet is ashamed to let anyone know—and I get it. There’s no worse feeling than being judged for liking something. Thankfully, Ichinoi is there to shine a light on the joys of living without shame.

And let’s talk about Ichinoi. Y’ALL, I love this lady. She doesn’t really understand BL, but she’s rooting for the boys anyway, and that’s all you need to say to win my heart! She’s also really kind, warm-hearted, and observant of others’ feelings. Sure, her approach is a little dated (like when she buys fruit for Urara as a thank-you gift, or how she decides to call when late to an email). But, the sentiment is always well-meant, and I wish there were more people like her in the world!

Living Vicariously through Manga

When you think about it, Ichinoi and Urara are living the dream. Two friends, both passionate about the same book genre, are making their way though the increasingly large and foreign world of BL and its collective fandom. They won’t need to hide anything entirely anymore because they have each other to gush over their favorite books and characters. I’m envious of their budding friendship just as I am happy they found each other! ;_;

Like how I find myself living vicariously though Ichinoi’s awakening to BL, I’m also noticing how Ichinoi is recalling her own life’s experiences through her friendship with Urara and the manga they read together. At the end of this first volume, Ichinoi faces the intense crowds of a comiket-like event. The last time she was here was when the building was built, some 30 or 40 years ago. She refused to ride the “world’s fasted elevator” here with her husband, saying that she didn’t want to wait for the line. Time caught up to both of them, and the “someday” she promised him slipped before her eyes.

It’ll be moments like this that make the manga worth reading. At face value, yes, the mutual fangirling is lots of fun, and it will keep me all warm and fuzzy until the final page. But, I hope BL Metamorphosis continues to reflect on Ichinoi’s life like this. Naturally, there’s a lot in this manga that you’ll want to pluck off the page and tuck away in your pocket for safekeeping.

In For a Penny . . .

So far, BL Metamorphosis is just as cute and endearing as everyone was telling me it’d be! I love Ichinoi so much, and I’m excited to see her catch her “second wind” in life with BL. ❤

While I’m hoping that subsequent volumes don’t go down the ~sad~ lane (if you know, you know), I do look forward to further exploring how this newfound friendship changes Ichinoi and Urara for the better. They’re like two peas in a pod, wandering souls in need of a friend like the other. I’m so glad they met.

Yes, I will be picking up all of this manga. And YES, you should read it! You don’t even have to necessarily like yaoi manga to appreciate the story that Kaori Tsurutani is trying to tell—though, a dash of BL and bittersweetness certainly makes the experience all the more exciting!


“Urara-san . . . Let’s get in that line!”

Ichinoi


Afterword

So yeah, read BL Metamorphosis. It’s a lovely manga. Thank you to all those who recommended this manga to me—I’m enjoying it immensely, and I hope to pick up the rest of it in my next Seven Seas haul and binge it in one sitting. Oh! That reminds me, I probably need to make sure I add them to my cart!

I’ll try to get out an update post here in a couple days. Same for more manga posts. School’s been slowly killing me, but hey, only one month left! Thanks for reading, and ‘til next time!

– Takuto

Evangelion Manga Reading Vlog!

TODAY WE GET IN THE ROBOT

Hey guys! With the theatrical release of Evangelion 3.0+1.0, I couldn’t think of a better time to bust out Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s Evangelion manga than now! Plus, I found myself with a free weekend to just chill and read for a bit :3

Did you enjoy this manga read-with-me vlog style video? Share your thoughts about the vid or your love for Eva down in the comments!

Interested in more anime, manga, or K-pop content? Subscribe to stick around!

Thanks for watching~!

– Takuto

March 2021 Manga Reading Log

It’s been a while since we last talked about manga! ☘️

Hey guys, today we are go over all the great reads I was able to enjoy during spring break! I was fortunate to be able to start a few new series, each of which I’ll now be picking up until they finish!

Interested in more anime, manga, or K-pop content? Subscribe to stick around!

Thanks for watching~!

– Takuto

Battle Angel Alita is SOOO GOOD!!!

SAVED FROM THE SCRAPS 💥🦾

Hey guys, I’ve been wanting to try out this new style of manga video for quite some time now. So, today we are diving headfirst into the chaotic world of The Scrapyard in volume one of Yukito Kishiro’s classic manga, Battle Angel Alita.

I decided to try this new video with the Alita post that just went up yesterday! Basically, the blog post here serves as the script for the video. If you like this format, let me know! 🙂

Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the manga or this video down in the comments! I’m excited to pick up more and see where Alita’s journey of rediscovery takes her! 💥

Interested in more anime, manga, or K-pop content? Subscribe to stick around!

Thanks for watching~!

– Takuto

Battle Angel Alita: The Original Cyberpunk Classic || Manga First Impressions

First impressions for volumes 1-2 (Deluxe Edition Volume 1) of Yukito Kishiro’s manga series “Gunnm” or “Battle Angel Alita,” published in 2017 by Kodansha Comics.


Saved from the Scraps

Only the few and the fortunate are permitted to live in the shining space city of Zalem, a utopian metropolis which floats high above a desert wasteland. What trash and unnecessary dealings the people of Zalem find expendable are tossed into The Scrapyard, an enormous stockpile of waste below the city which is surrounded by a clustering of ghettos and shacks. This is where the rest of humanity–flesh and cyborg alike–eke out a living, surviving by grit and brute strength alone.

While scavenging a pile of discarded android parts, Daisuke Ido, a cyborg repairs doctor, finds the head of a young female cyborg amid the scraps. Dr. Ido builds a new body for the head and names her Alita. Although Alita’s memory upon activation is foggy and lost to her, she still wishes to stay by the good doctor’s side.

The caring relationship between the two is challenged when Alita discovers Ido’s night job as a hunter-warrior, a bounty hunter working for The Scrapyard’s government, and she decides to become one herself against Ido’s warning. While pinning down wanted criminals in the shadows of the slums, Alita awakens to her forgotten knowledge of fighting techniques. As it turns out, Alita is a warrior, though her origins are still unknown. With her newfound strength, Alita determinately fights for justice, recovering bits of her fragmented past to rediscover her original identity.

Lawlessness and Chaos

I love cyberpunk. Whether the clean-cut, glowing neon feel or the technologically clustered vision (as with Alita here), I enjoying seeing how different artists approach their worldbuilding. Whereas Ghost in the Shell is more cerebral-focused–showing how cyber enhancements in the brain transform humanity’s relationship with the Internet–Alita sticks to altering the physical body. The toughest of cyborgs that enjoy fighting in the arena are equipped with metal arms capable of lifting megatons. Might makes right in The Scrapyard.

When not admiring the glorious physiques of the various strongarm hunter warriors, we can look to the background art for cyberpunk influence. Often, pages of the comic will pass with little to no dialogue, leaving the reader to simply awe at the setting artwork and detailed landscape imagery. Yukito Kishiro structures the worldbuilding aspects of the series with elements of action or moments of self-discovery, imbedding the story of The Scrapyard within key character backstories or set pieces.

I’m especially referencing the ghastly yet vast and mazelike conditions of The Scrapyard’s sewer system–a seemingly bottomless world of gross infestation and hellish living for any creature. The bubbling bog’s curious plumes of stench contrast fantastically against the arid and metallic cityscape of the surface world. What binds them, however, is a prevailing sense of lawlessness and chaos.

If You Liked the 2019 Film, You’ll Love This

Despite having come to the manga from watching the 2019 live action film, I found Alita to read incredibly easy on its own. Each story element flows to the next well enough to warrant having the series on your shelf along with the film’s Blu-ray. Both the film and the manga have their own subtle differences (mainly concerning changes to the appearances of certain characters, or their omission entirely), but again, they both hold well on their own.

Perhaps the only major crime (as a film watcher) is the sad discovery that motorball isn’t in the manga at all! Or, at least not in the first couple volumes (*cries anyway*). Kodansha’s first Deluxe Edition volume ends on the film’s climax, so I’ll have to see how that cliffhanger is resolved in the manga. I wonder if it’s anything like the cool ending of the film . . .

Alita is, by and large, one of the most important titles in the cyberpunk genre. Its influence extends far beyond the main genre it belongs to, including the realms of action, adventure, science fiction, and even dystopia. What I discovered from my read of the first 10 or so chapters of the manga, however, was that all of the praise for Alita is well-deserved. Whether you liked the film as much as I did or not, you’re bound to love the empowering female narrative of the Battle Angel Alita manga even more.


“I believe that every human can choose her own way of life! We can choose to be ugly or beautiful!”

Alita


Afterword

I’m sure you’ll hear more about my Alita journey as I pick up more volumes, but we’re off to a fantastic start so far! Now the question is whether I should continue the series in the Kodansha Deluxe hardcovers or move to digital since, you know, it’s cost-effective (and saves a ton of shelf space)! I’ve got lots to think about.

One last thing! With all the cyborg skull-crushing and limb-smashing violence, Alita does lean more on the graphic side. Just wanted to let you know in case you are entirely new to the franchise. 🙂

Have you ever tried out this classic cyberpunk manga? Let me know in the comments! So far, I love the world and the characters in it, and that’s enough to keep me throwing money at this franchise. Thanks for reading these first impressions, and ’til next time!

– Takuto

Manga Love Readathon Recap Vlog! || FEB 2021 #mangalovereadathon

Hey guys!

Here’s just a short vlog video discussing all the manga I read for the Manga Love Readathon this past weekend. I’ll try to review some of these titles on my blog over the coming days! 🤞

What did you read this Valentine’s Day weekend? Did you finish the readathon? Let me know in the comments! ❤️

Interested in more anime, manga, or K-pop content? Subscribe to stick around!

Thanks for watching~!

– Takuto

Manga Love Readathon TBR! || FEB 2021 #mangalovereadathon

Hey guys! I had other plans for the weekend (like a Gunbuster marathon for my annual V-Day Special—don’t worry, it’s still coming), but when I saw Shae’s first video for the Manga Love Readathon go up, I couldn’t resist the temptation to just sit down, bundle up, and read some manga this weekend. Soooo here we are! 💕

Sub to Shae’s Channel: https://youtu.be/gfj1ltk2MK8

Follow Shae on Insta @ shaegeeksout
And the hashtag #mangalovereadathon! ✨

What are you reading this weekend? Are you participating in the readathon? Let me know in the comments! ❤️

Interested in more anime, manga, or K-pop content? Subscribe to stick around!

Thanks for watching~!

– Takuto

The Four Dragons Assemble: Yona of the Dawn 7-9 || 25 Days of Manga

After years of sitting on my shelf collecting dust, I finally finish reading Yona’s first nine volumes.

Loose thoughts on volumes 7-9 of Mizuho Kusanagi’s manga series “Yona of the Dawn,” initially published in 2016 by VIZ Media. Spoilers will be present.

CLICK HERE TO READ MY THOUGHTS ON VOLUMES 4-6


History is Made at Night

Unlike the past few volumes of Yona, volume 7 opens with action. Yona and Yun begin their escape to the upper deck of Kum-Ji’s human trafficking ship along with all the other women aboard. I love this opening chapter because it gives us a glimpse into Yun’s calculated thought processes. He really is a strategist, always assessing the situation for both himself, his enemies, and now, his friends. Before, all he had was Ik-su the shepherd. Now, Yun doesn’t just look out for himself; instead, he worries about Yona, Hak, and everyone else in the party. Point is, he’s already grown a lot from when we first met him. Even though he can’t save the princess on his own, we all know that Team Yona would’ve been doomed from the start without Yun’s genius. Praise for the pretty boy!

Anime watchers will immediately recognize the downfall of Kum-Ji as the moment where Yona takes on the mantle of power and courage, officially making a name for herself among the Awa port town residents. This scene is drawn so impressively. The backgrounds may be plain, but this allows Yona to literally leap out of the page with with her sharp gaze and even sharper arrow tip. Such a legendary scene. And I’m witnessing Kum-Ji die for the second time is just the icing on the cake.

A startling reunion with Su-Won tosses the main conflict at hand–reclaiming the thrown–back into the picture. The new king sure does have a handsome face, but Yona has changed a great deal herself. Though she crumbles after their encounter, she did muster the courage to attempt reaching out for Su-Won’s sword. I don’t think she could’ve killed him. Well, maybe . . . The remainder of the volume is full of joyous celebration and, likewise, bittersweet goodbyes. The scene of Yona running back to Gi-Gan to embrace the maternal figure one last time will never fail to break my heart.

War Games

Volume 8 is by far the most different volume in the story, both in terms of narrative focus and storytelling style. The first few chapters introduce a normal campfire evening with the party. Suddenly, Yona is joined by an innocent traveler radiating the light of the sun. Little does she know that her new companion is actually the Yellow Dragon! His name is Zeno, and he’s a bit of an oddball (which is really saying something, given that this is the same team with Gija and Sinha in it). But he’s kind, caring, and observant, and these qualities mark him as a dragon even if his abilities are yet to be realized. The anime ended with Zeno’s introduction, so I’m excited to see what he does from here on out.

Shifting focus, the next few chapters are told from Su-Won’s perspective. His ventures traveling the Kohka Kingdom have shown him small ways to make major changes in a village’s prosperity, as seen in the work he does in the Earth Tribe capital. The general there, Lord Yi Geun-Tae, has enjoyed a lazy lifestyle since King Il took the throne. Lately, however, the general craves combat, as battle is the only way Geun-Tae believes he can prove his worth to the kingdom. Su-Won provides him this long desired action, but in the form of a festival celebrating the Earth Tribe and its general. We get a laydown of the festival war game rules, the entire “battle,” and even the aftermath. It turns out the festival was a way to stimulate trade in the capital once again. Whether for tea, minerals, or even soldiers, Su-Won sure knows how to encourage the masses.

Off in the forest, Team Yona reunites with Ik-Su to seek instructions on the prophesy originally bestowed upon Yona. I’m not sure if the “Shield” and “Sword” they will eventually meet refer to Hak and Su-Won(?), but regardless, Yona wants to train. Desiring to take up the sword, she is met by humorous resistance from the party. However, we all know that our dear princess always gets what she wants–even if it’s skill of swordsmanship!

The Dark Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch

Despite taking a dark turn in the middle, this is by far the funniest volume in the series yet. Each chapter had something that made me laugh out loud, or at least crack a pretty big smile. We get to know more about Yun, how he grew up trading with local villages in the Fire Tribe lands while also supporting them with food and health needs. Watching Yona, Hak, and the Dragons bumbling through the village insisting on helping was just the sort of mood-lightener we needed.

Quickly, Yona resolves to put together a team of “bandits” to push out greedy Fire Tribe officials. In the name of happiness and hunger, the crew strive to protect inhabitants in this roundabout way so that they can prevent the villagers themselves from rebelling (which is punishable by the selling of one’s children, yikes!). I find it interesting how Yona’s team endeavored to bring safety by wounding (but not killing) the officials’ guards. This is in direct–and definitely deliberate–contrast to the previous volume, where Su-won essentially brought the same results without the use of any violence or manipulation. Is this what the power of the true king can do . . . ?

As previously stated, volume 9 does take a brief dark detour in the midst of the action. Forced to use his forbidden ability for the first time in 14 years, Sinha awakens to a newfound desire for power spurred on by his dragon eyes. The imagery here of the giant shadow dragon devouring the guards was the stuff of legend, I absolutely loved it. It’s nice to see best boy get the glow up he deserved, though the cost is surely great. Lastly, Fire Tribe prince Kang Tae-jun is up to no good once again–especially considering that he’ll soon find out that the princess he “killed” months ago actually survived the fatal fall!


IK-SU, THESE PEOPLE YOU PREDICTED WOULD SHAKE KOHKA UP ARE ALL IDIOTS. BUT, THEY’RE IDIOTS WHO CAN LAUGH EVEN WHEN THEY’RE HUNGRY. WHEN THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH BIGGER PROBLEMS DOWN THE ROAD, I BET THEY’LL FACE THOSE WITH A SMILE TOO.” — YUN


Afterword

After YEARS of these books sitting on my shelf collecting dust, I’ve at last finished reading the first nine volumes of Yona of the Dawn. Although I’m done for now, you can bet my next RightStuf purchase will include the next dozen or so, as I simply love this series and its characters with all my heart! We’re finally getting past what the original anime covered (I believe . . . it’s been years since I saw it), and I’m excited to see where the story goes. If it’s as my fellow blogger and mangatuber friends are telling me, I’m in for the ride of my life! Thanks for reading, and ’till next time!

– Takuto

The Start of a Long Journey: Yona of the Dawn Manga Volumes 1-3 || First Impressions

First impressions and loose thoughts on volumes 1-3 of Mizuho Kusanagi’s manga series “Yona of the Dawn,” initially published in 2016 by VIZ Media. Spoilers will be present.


A Terrible, Terrible Birthday

I’m no stranger to the beautiful and cruel world of Yona of the Dawn. I followed the anime when it first aired many years ago. Loved it. Since then, I decided to pick up the first NINE volumes of the manga to hopefully quench my thirst for a sequel we’ll probably never get. Wellll, you know how I do these things—the manga sat on my shelf for a good couple years, untouched, and the dust started to collect.

Until now! My rekindled love for manga has motivated me to tackle my shelves before buying new titles, which naturally placed volume one of this long-awaited read in my hands. And guys, what can I say that hasn’t been said already? Yona is a wonderful shoujo fantasy series with a compelling cast of characters living in an interesting Asian-inspired world. BANG. What more could you want?

But in case you know nothing about Yona, the shoujo manga follows the titular Princess Yona, whose bright red hair makes her the crown jewel of the Kohka Kingdom. After her doting father, the king, is murdered in cold blood by her childhood friend and lover, Su-won, Yona flees for her life with her faithful guard Hak. Now, Yona sets out on a journey to reclaim her country with hak, which includes tracking down the four dragon warriors of ancient lore.

Out on the Run

Right off the bat, I think the most striking thing about Yona’s world is the choice to use Korean-inspired names instead of the typical Japanese names. In fact, the series draws more inspiration from Korean culture than it does Japanese, making it an intriguing blend of both cultures. The series carries with it a heavy traditional feel, but also contains a surprising amount of fun and comedic moments despite the tragic start.

Following their flee, Hak seeks out his home village of Fuuga to avoid further pursuit from Su-won’s soldiers. The village’s chief (and Hak’s foster grandfather), Mundeok, is an admirable figure who I’m sure could’ve taken in Yona and raised her very well—but that wouldn’t be much of a story then, would it?

No, instead, Yona puts her foot down and decides to leave the village herself, demanding Hak continue to stay at her side. (The audacity, I know!!) Shortly after, Yona and Hak confront their pursers, and we get the powerful scene where Yona slashes her own hair—which she is adored for—to free herself from Kang Tae-Jun’s captivity. If that’s not symbolic of a woman choosing strength and independence over frailty and vanity, I’m not sure what is. The passing of Yona’s cut lock to Su-won leads him to believing that Yona has truly perished, which deeply hits him, interestingly enough. Like, Su-won isn’t a good guy, but, is he truly bad . . . ?

She with the Crimson Hair

Volume 3 is where we finally start to get a glimpse of the overall plot Yona is about to take up. Now that we’ve become acquainted with Yona’s rare fiery side as well as Hak’s reliability and loyalty on and off the battlefield, we are introduced to Ik-su, a lackadaisical priest who fled the capital when the regime changed years ago, and Yun, a haughty young pretty boy whose talents in cooking, fashion, and herbal remedies will prove incredibly useful on their journey going forward.

Ik-su tells Yona (and the reader) a great deal about the world, the legend of the dragon warriors, and Yona’s role in all of it. He prophesizes the assembly of the four dragon warriors, and how their coming together will awaken the monarch and resurrect the red dragon of dawn. The spirit of the dragons is passed down through four individual bloodlines, each of which still bear fealty to their beloved crimson dragon even to this day.

After a sad parting, we leave behind Ik-su, and Yun joins us in traveling to the White Dragon Village. There, in the land of the wind, we meet the first dragon warrior, a beautiful young man named Gija who possesses the “arm of a dragon,” scales and all. Although Gija bumps heads with Hak, the pain in Gija’s arm makes him realize that joining Yona is his life’s calling—and the destiny that has been passed down his family for generations. Another bittersweet parting between Gija and his grandmother sets us on the long quest to finding the other dragon warriors.

A Fantastic Historical Fiction Drama

Mizuho Kusanagi’s art style is the stuff of legends. Almost flawlessly, she recreates an era in time that dates back to the Three Kingdoms period of Korea. Mind you, it’s all historical fiction, so none of the setting is real, but Kusanagi reimagines this period from architecture and fashion style to customs traditional of this period. It’s such, SUCH, a gorgeous manga.

All of Kusanagi’s characters are beautiful (as one might expect in a shoujo manga), but also brazen and fierce. There’s a fire in Yona’s eyes that is unmatched; in Hak’s, a gaze of strength and familiarity; and in Su-won, a dark, melancholic sadness. Each cover piece alone is a work of art, as the coloring is so pretty and vibrant, much like Yona’s captivating red hair.

So, will I be reading more Yona of the Dawn in the future? Well, duh—I already bought the first nine volumes, or did you already forget? Haha! Seriously though, if I didn’t already have them, I would’ve placed an order immediately following the second volume. Yona has a lot of promise, which comes as little surprise given how highly talked about this series is. I’m excited to embark on this long journey with Yona, and I do hope you’ll be tagging along for the ride.


If it were a person . . . if this were a battlefield . . . I’d need my arrow to fly true. Drawing your bow means taking a life—or letting someone take yours.Yona


Afterword

I could talk on end for how much I love Hak, how much I love Yun, and how endearing of a protagonist I find Yona to be growing into. But, I’ll save that for future manga write-ups. After all, this is only the first three volumes, and there are well over 20 volumes available in English! I do hope you’ll continue with my reading of Yona of the Dawn. What are your thoughts on this highly beloved series? Let me know down in the comments! ‘Till next time!

– Takuto

CLICK HERE TO READ MY THOUGHTS ON VOLUMES 4-6