Manga / Yona of the Dawn
aka: Akatsuki No Yona

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/AkatsukiNoYonaPage_6674.jpg

Yona, The Girl Standing in The Blush of Dawn

King Il of Kouka, a country said in legends to have been founded by dragons, has no male heir, only a young daughter named Yona. As the sole princess she is living the luxurious and carefree life as a princess should. She has it all: the finest clothes and cosmetics, the most divine sweets, a loving emperor as a father, and the hottest cousin crush, Soo-Won, anyone could ever hope to have. Now, if only her bodyguard and childhood friend, Son Hak, wasn't so annoying, her hair wasn't so red and her father would allow her to marry Soo-Won, everything would be just perfect.

But on the day of her sixteenth birthday, her nearly perfect world shatters. The man she loves, Soo-Won, murders her father and the path to his ascension to the throne is assured. Hak escapes with Yona, and they retreat to his hometown Fuuga, the capital of the Wind Tribe. A man living near those lands, a priest called Ik-Soo, tells them of a prophecy related to her and the country's future. So Yona resolves to keep on living, to fight and reclaim her place as the true ruler by finding the "dragon warriors", those who have inherited the mythical powers from their ancestors, who helped the legendary dragon king Hiryuu establish the Kouka Kingdom.

The manga is written by Mizuho Kusanagi whose previous works include NG Life and Mugen Spiral.

An anime adaptation was produced for the Fall 2014 Anime season by Studio Pierrot. It was licensed by FUNimation for both streaming and home video, although Crunchyroll still possesses streaming rights as well. Viz Media's Shojo Beat imprint announced it licensed the manga in October 2015, with the first volume set for release in August 2016.


Akatsuki no Yona contains examples of:

  • Action Girl:
    • Yona is shaping up to be one. She's become a fantastic shot with her bow and arrow, and she is learning how to use a sword.
    • Lili's bodyguards Tetora and Ayura are extremely capable with swords, and regularly take on opponents far larger than them in battle.
  • Actual Pacifist: Emperor Il hated weapons with a passion and wouldn't even let Yona touch one. He also gave away large parts of land in Kouka to avoid war with neighbouring countries.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the manga, Zeno's powers are revealed at the climax of an arc, which then segues into a flashback arc detailing his backstory, with a Framing Device of him falling asleep and dreaming after the battle. When his backstory was animated for a short, two half-hour episode OVA, Studio Pierrot skipped revealing it to the other characters, and instead used the extra chapter "From Good Morning to Good Night," about the cast having a drinking competition, as the framing device.note  The flashback happens when Zeno falls asleep during the drinking contest, letting the animators get to it faster while also giving the rest of the characters some spotlight.
  • Adorkable: Kija and Shin-Ah.
  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: Shin-Ah is terrified of using his eyes since he can paralyze someone to death with his power. And he has.
  • A Friend in Need:
    • When Yona is attacked in the castle after witnessing her father's death, Hak is one of the only people (along with Minsoo) who protects her from Soo-Won's soldiers, demonstrating his absolute loyalty to her.
    • Later, as Yona and Hak meet and seek out the rest of the Happy Hungry Bunch, Yun and the four dragons decide to follow and protect Yona despite her status as a fugitive, and soon grow to become True Companions.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Yona was in love with Soo-Won, although he didn't seem to return her affections the way she wanted. Tae-Jun made it very clear that he wanted to marry Yona, but she turned him down. Then there's Kija, Jae-Ha, and Hak, all of whom either have a crush on Yona or are starting to fall in love with her. How she feels about them, however, is still ambiguous.
    • Later subverted with Hak, as Yona admits in chapter 124 that she probably likes him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The standard treatment of the Dragons, besides Hakuryuu.
  • Almighty Janitor: Yona used to be the princess of the kingdom and Hak a general. Now they are just ruffians that travel the country incognito; however, they are helping more of their people than ever before, confronting issues that never even came to their attention when they were within Hiryuu Castle. They even manage to beat Soo-Won to the problem more than once.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • In-Universe in regards to King Il. Yona always saw him as a loving, if somewhat ditsy, father. Soo-Won believed him to be the murderer of his father and unfit to be king. Several regular citizens regarded him as weak and a coward due to his pacifistic nature. Hak remained loyal to him even after death and knew he was no coward.
    • Also In-Universe with Yuhon, Su-won's father and Il's older brother. Within Kouka, he is generally seen as a war hero and the best candidate to be King. Guen-Tae harbours huge admiration for him, and Su-won adored him as a child. However, Xing sees him as an Evil Prince who killed their defenseless prisoners during a brutal war, of which Kouka was the victor. The enmity is so bad, when Su-won rose to the throne 17 years later, Princess Kouren started immediately preparing for war.
  • Annoying Patient: Everyone is this to Yoon.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: He may have killed her father and attempted to kill her as well, but Soo-Won is visibly shocked when an equally distraught Tae-Jun informs him of Yona and Hak's supposed deaths.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Hak presses a kiss on Yona's forehead a few times, even though there have been a few instances he was close enough to kiss her. It's implied that he knows that Yona still harbors unresolved feelings for Soo-Won and a kiss to the forehead is a safer route for him to coping with his feelings.
  • Art Evolution: As the manga has been running for seven years, it's natural that the mangaka's art style has shifted since the earliest chapters. It's barely noticeable if you read the manga chronologically, however the difference is much sharper when comparing recent chapters with the first few volumes side-by-side.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Yoon is able to look convincing as a girl. It helps that he gets mistaken for a girl constantly. Kija... not so much.
  • Badass Adorable: Yona grows to be as lethal as she is lovely.
  • Badass Crew:
    • The pirates of Awa. They are a formidable crew who has caused havoc to the corruption of Awa for many years.
    • Princess Yona's six-man crew. The four dragons are formidable foes and Hak is a Badass Normal able to hold his own against many enemies.
  • Badass Grandpa: Mundok, who is a retired general and war-hero so reputable that Yun knew him by name, despite being from a different tribe altogether. He also had a hand in training Hak, the reigning greatest warrior in Kouka.
  • Badass Normal: Though traveling with a bunch of dragon-humans, Hak is one of, if not, the strongest in the group.
  • Battle Butler: Tetora and Ayura serve as Lili's attendants and bodyguards.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Played with. While the main cast are either cute or Bishounen, the equally handsome Soo-Won was the one who murdered Yona's father. Jerk Ass Tae-Jun started out very self-centered but eventually Took a Level in Kindness.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Seriously, don't hurt Yona if you know what's good for you. Hak and the rest of the Dragons are fiercely protective of her, but it was the sweet, shy Shin-Ah that viciously attacked the bandits who harmed her in chapter 50.
    • Hurting any member of the Happy Hungry Bunch is a very bad idea with Zeno around. He has absolutely no reservations in activating his powers to defend them.
    • Su-Won acts as one of these for Hak. The mere sight of him sends enrages him.
  • Betty and Veronica: Su-Won and Hak, and Yona as our designated Archie, at first appear to follow this trope—right down to the Blonde, Brunette, Redhead colour-scheme. We have the gentle, kind-hearted and fair-haired Su-won, and then we have the roguishly handsome, mischievous and dark-haired Hak. It is, however, averted, when we find out our "Betty" isn't as sweet as he let on.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Played with on an extreme level. Su-won, who appears to be our Betty, murders Yona's father and usurps her throne. Hak, who appears to be our Veronica, gave up his entire life as a general and a 'Son' in order to follow and protect Yona... Who is supposed to be the sweet and kind one again?
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Jae-Ha takes the job of looking after the other Dragons. In one of the extra chapters, he went after Kija and Shin-Ah who blindly jumped into a river and protected Zeno when a bear was attacking him.
    • Kija also has a big brother instinct when it comes to Shin-ah. When a strangely-acting Shin-ah didn't know where Ao was, Kija was the first one to realize that this wasn't Shin-ah. After he learns Shin-ah is being possessed by the ghost of a previous Seiryuu, his demand is explicitly "Give back my little brother," and he offers himself in Shin-ah's place.
    • Zeno has a more subtle version towards all the dragon warriors, because he sees them as Abi, Shuten and Guen's children.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Kija wants to be this to Shin-Ah.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hak appears out of nowhere to save Yona in the second chapter/episode right before she was about to be killed by Soo-Won's soldiers.
  • Bishounen: Most of the male cast.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lady Lili meets with a woman whose son mysteriously vanished while Lili is looking into the nadai drug being smuggled into her tribe. That woman is a merchant whose job is to kidnap people to make into slaves for her country, the one supplying the nadai.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Shin-Ah's eyes, once activated, are hard to control. If he uses them for too long, the effects backfire on him and he collapses, to counteract just how one-sided it is as an attack.
    • Zeno's immortality has a few layers of this: he never gets sick, he's still 17 even after ~2,000 years, he has a Healing Factor, and any really substantial injury causes his body to regenerate as impenetrable dragon scales, but he's also outlived all of his friends and loved ones, people are uncomfortable with the way his appearance never changes, and he has to go through a lot of debilitating pain and injury before his body is strong enough to put up a fight. And even he's disgusted by the unnatural way his body refuses to die, no matter how many times he's dismembered.
  • Bling of War: Justified and played with. When Soo-Won "plays" war with Geun-Tae, he makes sure that they are wearing custom made jewelry. Turns out he was advertising gemstones from the local quarry to stimulate the economy.
  • Blood Knight: The Earth Tribe's General, Lee Geun-Tae, really likes fighting and is more than thrilled when Soo-Won seemingly plans to start a "war".
  • Bodyguard Crush:
    • Hak's loved Yona even longer than he's been her appointed bodyguard.
    • Kija, one of Yona's dragon warriors and therefore sworn protector, is plagued with frequent cases of Crush Blush every time she praises him and wonders why her desire to sleep close to Hak makes his chest tight.
    • Though he isn't sure whether it's his own feelings or an effect of the dragon's blood, Jaeha—another one of Yona's dragon warriors—also harbors some attraction toward her. He uses the fact that Yona is only sixteen and he's twenty-five as a reason not to pursue it.
    • There are a few subtle clues that Shin-ah, another dragon warrior, also has an innocent crush on Yona. He tries to give her a hairpin like Soo-Won did, and the idea of her rejecting him stings him more than anyone else.
    • Vold may have some feelings for Princess Tao that stretch beyond that of a servant, if the Luminescent Blush he got from her hug was any indication.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Despite her growth, Yona still needs bodyguards. Hak? Not so much, but she insists they protect him too.
  • Body Horror: Zeno's power has elements of this.
  • Broken Bird: Yona but not for long
  • Bullying The Dragon: Quite literally.
  • Butt Monkey: Kang Tae-Jun, at first. An omake shows what would have happened if he'd married Yona and become king: Soo-Won runs things, Yona is entirely clueless about his feelings and still loves Soo-Won, and to top it all off, Hak follows them everywhere to make sure he doesn't try anything perverted... on Yona's orders.
  • Cain and Abel:
    • If Soo-Won is to be believed, then Il killed his older brother Yu-Hon.
    • You could count Soo-Won as the Cain to Yona's Abel... Though Yona had more than sisterly affection towards him, at first.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: For all the Dragons but Zeno, who knows where the Call lives and just shows up to join.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Few men are ever drawn to be ugly. At best, they are non-descriptive.
  • Catch Phrase: Yoon's is "I'm a handsome genius". He also gets a lot of mileage out of "This is so troublesome."
  • Celibate Hero:
    • Kija in particular doesn't have an interest in girls, mostly because the aggressive advances of the village girls frightened him off.
    • Hak, with one exception. Despite being a major Chick Magnet, he tends to reject or flat-out ignore the attention he often receives from interested women.
  • Character Development:
    • Yona changes from Spoiled Sweet to a Badass Princess.
    • Hak goes from being overprotective of Yona, to wanting to show the person she's become off to the world.
    • Yun was once only concerned with his own self-preservation, but now he's willing to take hits for his friends.
    • Jae-Ha changes from wanting nothing to do with the dragon brotherhood, to acting as the four dragon's big brother.
    • Spoiled Brat and Jerkass Taejun Took a Level in Kindness and became a better person who cares for the poverty-sticken citizens of the Fire Tribe.
  • Character-Magnetic Team: Seriously. It gets to the point where Zeno just shows up at the group's campfire and decides to stay.
  • Chick Magnet: Hak and Jae-Ha are the ones who get girls swarming over them most often, but all of the male members of the Happy Hungry Bunch are shown to be popular with girls one time or another. Jae-Ha is the only one who seems to revel in it.
  • Childhood Friends: Yona, Hak, and Soo-Won grew up together as children. One flashback even features all three of them becoming sick at the same time.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Just like Yona has been in love with Soo-Won since childhood, Hak has been in love with her since then too. Yet he always supported a relationship between the two since they were both equally important to him.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Jae-Ha has spent a lot of his free time at brothels, but he is nothing less than a gentleman to the women there and anywhere.
  • The Chosen One: Yona. Legends said that one day a red-haired royal would bring together the four dragons once more. Confirmed by Zeno in chapter 102.
  • Complete Immortality: Zeno, as a part of his powers as the Yellow Dragon.
  • Cool Old Guy: Son Mundok, Hak's adoptive grandfather. He's a strict but extremely honourable Retired Badass with the tendency to take in and care for orphaned children.
  • Cool Old Lady:
    • Captain Gi-Gan, the leader of a Ragtag Band of Misfits of pirates. She's a gruff but caring mother to her men who wields throwing knives with decidedly un-deadly accuracy.
    • Kija's grandmother, who's raised several generations of white dragons and appears to be one of the most spirited individuals in the entirety of Hakuryuu village.
  • Costume Porn: The mangaka puts lavish amounts of detail into clothing.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Tae-Woo and Han-Dae cover Tae-Yeon's eyes when they witness Hak getting very close to Yona (to provide her with a cover story to hide her identity).
  • Creepy Child: Mizari is rather young, likely no older than Yun, and is rather unsettling with his Slasher Smile and creepy eyes.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
    • Zeno. In his first appearance, he crumples like a wet paper towel when Hak punches him, but while the punch hurt, Zeno's power would have healed it quickly. In his backstory arc, we find out that after Hiryuu's death, he functioned as a One-Man Army, staving off invasions all by himself.
    • Later we have Algira. He's a strange, Adorkable guy with an obsession with cats and the tendency to tack "nyan" onto the end of people's names. He's also one of Xing's five stars—aka, the strongest fighters in Xing.
  • Cry Cute: Mostly Yona, but the others have their moments.
  • Cuddle Bug: Zeno has a habit of glomping or cuddling with the nearest person. Apparently, he likes to sleep close to Shin-Ah (because his fur piece is warm).
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Anyone fighting against Hak and/or the Four Dragons will result in this.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Ik Soo is a male example.
  • The Cutie: Tae-Yeon, Hak's little brother.
  • Cycle of Revenge: King Il supposedly killed Soo-Won's father, so Soo-Won killed him... in front of his daughter. Whether Yona will actually continue the cycle has yet to be seen.
  • Dance Party Ending: The end of the Awa arc has the entire village celebrating. Though the happy mood is soured (at least for Yona and Hak) when Yona unexpectedly runs into Soo-Won.
  • Death Glare:
    • This is Shin-Ah's special ability where if activated, he is able to target and paralyze limbs and organs.
    • Yona delivers an epic one to Kum-Ji after he kicked Yoon to the ground.
    • Hak has had a pretty gnarly one for years. He even managed to intimidate a grown man with it at the age of nine, and a decade later, that same man is still scared of him and still cites his Death Glare as a big reason why.
  • Debut Queue: The first few arcs are spent introducing and establishing all of the members of the Happy Hungry Bunch and the main antagonist.
  • Determinator: Crawl along an impossibly high cliff where one false move means certain death? Tremble and cry in fear while trying not to be flung to said certain death by high speed winds? Okay. But Yona will get those herbs, even if she has to do it a second time.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Jee-Ha wanted Hak to join his pirate gang but asked him by holding Hak's hands and telling Hak that he wanted him. When Hak naturally declined, Jae-Ha started hugging Hak, saying Hak was a handsome man and that they should continue their conversation in private. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • In the extra chapter "Please excuse us for our carelessness", after Ao accidentally fell into a river, Shin-Ah jumps in with Kija following right behind, neither realizing they didn't take off their clothes or how fast the water was going. Jae-Ha promptly rescued them with annoyance.
    • Immediately after that, Jaeha tries to protect Zeno by fighting a bear. Zeno has to remind him later that he's immortal and Jaeha basically did it for nothing.
  • Dragons Are Divine: The four dragons (blue, white, green, and gold) are essentially gods that provided blood to create the dragon warriors in order to protect their master, a red dragon who incarnated as a human and became king. Each generation produces a new dragon warrior of each type except for Zeno until such time as the red dragon's descendant comes looking for them.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In an extra chapter "Sleep tight tonight" that took place before the events of the manga, Yona revealed to Hak that she had a dream of them leaving and running away from the castle. Now whether the second part of her dream where she cradles a badly injured/dying Hak will come true ...
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: While there are plenty of beautiful men, it is only the self-proclaimed "genius pretty boy", Yoon, the one who is repeatedly mistaken for a girl.
  • Dying to Be Replaced: Once a new "dragon warrior" is born, the previous one slowly loses his powers and subsequently his life.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The Four Dragons all have varying degrees of this:
    • Kija mostly had a happy childhood, practically being spoiled by his village due his status as the White Dragon. But an extra chapter revealed that his father attacked and left a scar on his back when he was born. Consequently, Kija was kept away from his father for most of his life.
    • Shin-Ah was isolated and hated in his village with only Ao as his friend. His own mother committed suicide once she found out she gave birth to the new Seiryuu.
    • Jae-Ha spent most of his childhood chained by the previous Green Dragon so he wouldn't run away.
    • Zeno due to his immortality, outlived everyone he cared about, knowing that he will never be able to follow them. He's also heavily disturbed by how unhuman he is.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Fire Tribe rebels against Soo-Won, and Yona and co. must help prevent the coup from disturbing the country.
  • Engaging Conversation:
    • Yoon gets marriage proposals by several people once they try his cooking. Mostly from men.
    • In chapter 95, a twelve year-old boy asks Yona to be his bride after she impresses him with her archery—a proposition which she promptly rejects. The kid starts off rejecting her rejection, but soon moves on to proposing to Yoon after deciding he was nice.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Shin-Ah first appeared rescuing Yona, a stranger to him, from a kidnapper and helping her return to her friends.
    • Zeno's first appearance, in which he shows up out of nowhere because he smells food, offhandedly confirms that he's the Yellow Dragon as everyone else flips out, and accepts the offer to join the group before Yona even finishes asking, makes it very clear very early on how silly and spontaneous a character he is. Also sort of played with, in that while all the above is true, many of his strange acts (him supposedly smelling food that isn't even cooked yet, or him joining the group the fastest out of anyone) are actually clues that he's been following them the whole time.
    • Hak's very first appearance, in which he claims there was nothing wrong with Yona's hair but rather her head, firmly cements him as the Deadpan Snarker he is. Not only that, it reveals his role as Yona's bodyguard and the casual manner of their relationship.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • Everybody at the palace, save King Il, could see that Yona was head over heels in love with Soo-Won, who was also oblivious.
    • It's obvious to most people that Hak has feelings for Yona, despite that he does his best to hide it.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Shin-Ah was only known as the "Seiryuu", his birth parents didn't bother to give him a name, not even the previous Seiryuu, Ao, who did care about him thought of giving him one.
  • Facial Composite Failure: Hak and Jae-Ha get wanted posters up after causing trouble in Awa. Jae-Ha finds Hak's hilarious, but when he sees his own he immediately burns it.
  • Fallen Princess: Yona all the way.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The series takes a lot of inspiration from ancient China and Korea, with some Japanese culture thrown in. The setting for Yona of th Dawn is loosely based on the Three Kingdoms of Korea period. The Kouka Kingdom is inspired by the Goguryeo Kingdom. Its neighbor Sei and Xing are based on Baekje and Silla respectively. You can also see that the three kingdoms are located in a peninsula in the manga and that they almost have the same layout as their real-life counterparts.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Hak and Kija.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Yona's huge crush on Soo-Won and his subsequent betrayal has left her with serious emotional baggage.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: That naive princess that shows up on the second page? The first page has her future self acting badass as usual.
  • First-Name Basis: Shin-Ah was the first of the Dragons to start calling Yona by her name and not "Princess". Afterwards, the others asked her if they could do the same too. Subverted with Hak, as Yona specifically requested him to continue to refer to her as "Princess" so she wouldn't forget that she is the daughter of the king.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Regarding Zeno, there's a lot once you backtrack. All of it points to his true nature as the immortal, original Yellow Dragon from history, who followed Yona to see whether or not she was worthy of the Dragons' power.
    • He asks her point-blank what she plans to do, now that she has the power of the four dragons, whether she plans to take revenge against Soo-Won and restore herself to the throne, and when the others object that they don't have the power to do that, he's certain that they do. The four dragon warriors haven't been together since Hiryuu, so there would be no way for him to be so confident without having been there and witnessed their power for himself.
    • He recognizes people like Soo-Won and Tae-Jun, even though he should never have had the opportunity to meet them. He's been following Yona from the very beginning.
    • There's a one-off gag where he refers to an old grandmother as "young lady." He's 2000 years old. Compared to him, everyone's young.
  • Frame-Up: Soo-Won deliberately placed suspicion of the murder of Yona's father on Hak after he and Yona "mysteriously" left the palace. Hak's grandfather didn't buy it for a second.
  • Friendless Background: Shin-Ah had it the worst where his whole village shunned him and his own mother killed herself when she found out she gave birth to the next Seiryuu.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The kind and sweet Yona was the one who shot and killed Kum-Ji.
  • Happily Adopted:
    • Hak and his little foster brother Tae-Yeon were adopted by Mundok.
    • Yoon was also sort of adopted by Ik-Soo.
    • And Ao was the only parental figure Shin-Ah had.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Heang-Dea and Tae-Woo, the guards from the Wind Tribe, who are always together.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Yona suffers through one when she saw her father being murdered by the man she was in love with. It takes some time and with help from Hak and the Wind tribe to break her out of it.
  • Hitchhiker Heroes: Yona and her friends must track down the Four Dragons and recruit them one by one.
  • Holding Hands:
    • In chapter 20, Shinah leads Yona out of the dark tunnels of his village and back to the safety of her companions this way.
    • In chapter 60, Hak and Suwon do this as children as they navigate the busy streets of Hiryuu castle's town. Suwon even comments that it felt like what he thought having a big brother would be like.
    • In chapter 111, Hak leads Yona through a crowded festival and back to the others this way. This ended up triggering her Crush Blush, as she had just experienced a Love Epiphany regarding him the previous night.
    • In chapter 131, after Kouren's plans for war with Kouka begin to seem inevitable, Hak does this to comfort Yona.
  • Hopeless Suitor:
    • Kang Tae-Jun, the second son of the General of the Fire Tribe, in regards of his crush on Yona.
    • Hak believed that he'd be one if he tried to pursue Yona due to her feelings for Soo-Won, so he never bothered. Subverted much, much later, as we see her slowly but surely fall for him over the course of the series.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Yona tells Hak a variant of this when he attempts to convince her to leave him for dead, surrounded by soldiers, injured and dangling off of a cliffside.
    Hak: You idiot... Run away!
    Yona: No! NEVER! If you die, I'll never forgive you!
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
    • Hak stands at a fairly impressive 6'1, while Yona stands an entire foot shorter and without half the muscle.
    • Guen-Tae is a rather tall and bulky warrior, but his wife, Yuno, is very petite.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Heuk-Chi for Tae-Jun, most notable before Tae-Jun's Character Development.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Shin-Ah wished to have friends ever since he was a young child, but he was an outcast in his village, hated and feared by everyone.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • By the time the present storyline starts, Hak had been in love with Yona for years. However, he refused to act on his feelings for her because he knew Yona was in love with Soo-Won, who was his best friend and who he desired to be king, and he ultimately wanted to both to be happy. Even now, he can't bring himself to make a move on Yona as he still believes her to have feelings for Soo-Won.
    • Kija decided a long time ago that he would support Yona with whomever she decided to be with. When it becomes apparent she has likely chosen Hak, he makes a point of not disturbing them while they are together.
    • Jae-Ha has always been the biggest supporter of Yona and Hak as a couple, despite his own attraction toward Yona.
    • Funnily enough, Yona is shaping up to fall into this trope as well. She intends to someday release Hak of his responsibility as her bodyguard, and has stated she doesn't want to get in the way if he "found someone important".
  • Ignorant of the Call: Shin-Ah didn't know about the Four Dragons, and was told all his life he was cursed instead. When he met Yona and Kija he had no idea about what was going on.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Hak seems to think Yona still keeping Soo-won's hairpin is a sign that she is still in love with him. However, while Yona may still have some complicated feelings toward Soo-won, romantic love is no longer one of them. It is possibly the reason he doesn't react at all to her not-so-subtle hints about her newfound feelings toward him.
  • Important Haircut: When Yona and an injured Hak are surrounded, Yona is captured by the son of the Fire Tribe's general as he held her by the hair. After seeing Hak fall off the cliff into a raging river below and realizing she was too weak to do anything, she cuts her hair, freeing herself from her enemy, the last link to her old life, and taking the first step to the Badass she will one day become by jumping off the cliff to save Hak.
  • Ill Boy: Tae-Yeon.
  • Infant Immortality:
    • Averted when a child is killed by bandits in chapter 49 and later, a funeral is held for him.
    • It happened before, in chapter 29. The officers from Awa beat up a kid until he stopped breathing.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Yona is the only girl in a group full of guys and on occasion, she shares a tent with one guy (mostly Yoon).
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: After briefly reuniting with Soo-Won unexpectedly, Yona was in such a daze that after she spilled some porridge on herself she started unbuttoning her outer shirt in front of everyone. Hak was quick enough to cover her with his jacket.
  • Intimate Healing: After Yona gets some thorns stuck in her hands, Hak pours honey over her wounds and licks the honey off her fingers.
  • Internal Reveal: In chapter 125, Yun, Jaeha and Kija find out about Yona's hairclip and about Yona's feelings for Su-Won, which were facts the audience has always known. In addition, they receive the unspoken reason for why Hak has never been quite able to spit it out.
  • In-Series Nickname: Hak is known as the "Raijuu" note  of the Kouka Kingdom.
  • Insult of Endearment: Hak calls Jaeha and Kija "Droopy-eyes" and "White Snake". At first, it was meant as genuine insults. However, as time went on, and the three of them became Fire-Forged Friends, Jaeha and Kija began responding to the names normally.
  • In the Back: Drug lord Hiyou had no problem stabbing Tetora from behind, not caring if he could have hit his own men. Later, another of his men slashed Yona from the back.
  • Jumped at the Call: Kija was ready to join Yona the moment he see her, justified as he was raised to aid his master, and as a Dragon he has the physical urge to do so.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: "The Dark Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch" attack only the Fire Tribe soldiers and give food and medicine to the local villages.
  • Kissing Cousins: Yona has been in love with Soo-Won for a long time.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Kija resolves to do this in a rather bittersweet moment, when he spots Yona and Hak together.
  • Like A Grandchild To Me: Mundok has always cared for Soo-Won and Yona as if they were his own grandchildren.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Yona and Yoon. Their relationship is more like that of best friends than anything possibly romantic, they even sleep together side by side!
  • Living Emotional Crutch:
    • Yona for Shin-Ah. She was the first person to reach out to him and harming her will unleash a feral, violent side of him that frightens him.
    • As the story progresses we get to see Hak is one to Yona.
    • In the same way, Yona is this for Hak as well. She is, after all, the only one who managed to calm him down after he hit his Rage Breaking Point.
  • Longing Look:
    • During Yona's dance in chapter 65, Hak gives a sad one as he watches her. A woman who was earlier intending to jump Hak noted it was the first time she had seen such harrowed eyes and immediately gave up on Hak.
    • Yona had unconsciously been doing so toward Hak for some time, often mirroring his smiles, or intently watching other girls swarm him. This is pointed out to her in chapter 95 by the twelve year-old Kalgan, who wonders if she "likes that guy" since she watches him so often—the accusation prompting a pretty intense Luminescent Blush from Yona.
  • Love Confessor: Yona confesses to Lilli about her feelings toward Hak in chapter 124.
    Lilli: Well do you like him?
    Yona: ...Most likely.
  • Love Potion: In a side chapter the gang comes across a scale claimed to belong to the "White Dragon Warrior" that when made into a potion can cause the drinker to fall in love with the first person they see. Yoon decides to make a small batch to see if it has any worth and hilariously more people than intended end up under its effect. First Jaeha has a small taste and gets SUPER touchy-feely around Kija and even starts kissing him, then Shin-Ah gets some poured on him and he starts stalking Jaeha. Finally, poor Kija accidentally drinks what's left of it and his feelings for Yona get amplified to an intensity that terrifies him into thinking he'll assault her. Thankfully, the effects don't last long.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: In spirit "The Dark Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch" somehow became this.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: According to Soo-Won, his father, was murdered by emperor Il like this.
  • Man Bites Man: Yona has taken a habit of doing this when things get rough and she is low on options.
  • Mark of the Supernatural: Kija's right hand is a dragon claw and Shin-Ah's eyes have red markings underneath them.
  • May–December Romance: Geun-Tae and his wife Yun-ho are 13 years apart from each other; when they married, she was 19 and he was 32.
  • Mayfly-December Friendship: It's revealed that Zeno is the original Yellow Dragon and therefore much, much older than the rest of the gang.
  • The Medic: Yoon.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Yona's mother was killed by a rebel when she was a child.
    • An even darker example: Shin-Ah's mother couldn't accept the fact that she gave birth to the next blue dragon, so she took her own life.
  • A Mother To Her Pirates: Pirate Captain Gi-Gan is just like a strict but caring mother to her men. This extents to Yona too.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Kija's grandmother.
  • Mood Whiplash: A lot of the series humor is derived from something funny being done to kill an otherwise serious or dramatic moment.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: While the Happy Hungry Bunch are some of the most heroic character, only a few antagonists can count as pure evil. Soo-won is an Anti-Villain, Kan Soo-jin loves his family, and Princess Kouran of Xing is a justifiably concerned ruler of a neighboring nation. Only a few, like Hiyou, can truly be called evil. Also, later chapters reveal that characters previously thought of as "good" weren't nearly as benevolent as previously thought.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: When Kija nearly fell off a bridge, he remarked how he only saw his granny flashing before his eyes.
  • Mystical White Hair: Kija, justified since he is the white dragon.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Captain Gi-gan. Who do you think taught Jaeha how to use those throwing knives?
  • The Nicknamer:
    • Hak calls Kija "White Snake" and Jae-Ha "droopy eyes".
    • Zeno calls none of his companions by their names. Yona is "Miss", Hak is "Mister", Yun is "Lad", and he calls the other dragons by their dragon titles.
    • Argila likes to tack "nyan" to the ends of the names of people he's fond of.
  • No Name Given: Shin-Ah was only known as the "Seiryuu". He remains unnamed until Yona decides on one.
  • No One Could Survive That!: A seriously wounded and poisoned Hak falls over the edge of a cliff with Yona, which prompts the enemy to declare them dead since there's no way they could survive the fall. They're both up and about a few chapters later, only a little worse for wear.
  • Noble Fugitive: Yona, who is a princess, and Hak, who as the Wind Tribe General is considered part of the nobility. Until he renounces his status as general anyways.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted in chapter 128, where Yona unexpectedly starts hers while eating dinner. It leaves her unexpectedly weak, and prompts her to smack Hak in the face when he gets too close. Fortunately, the girl acting as their host helps Yona cover up and gets her away from the menfolk.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Yona and Yoon find Hak at a brothel. The reason for this is because he was dragged there by Jae-Ha, who disappears before Hak can explain the situation fully. Potentially making things worse from Hak's perspective is that Yona, Oblivious to Love as she is, defends Hak from the others and says that if he wanted to go to such a place he can just say so.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Yona, Yona and Yona. She is particularly oblivious to Hak's not-so-indirect hints, though the obliviousness does appear to be genuine. Even now when she's begun to return his affections, she still believes he remains at her side out of loyalty and nothing more.
    • As the series progresses, Hak is shaping up to be this as well. Although in his case, it's likely a product of having been a Hopeless Suitor for so long.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Soo-Won, much to Lee Geun-Tae's chagrin.
    • Also Zeno, who normally behaves like a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, appears to be more serious and he seems to know more than he lets on.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Kija doesn't look like he is 20 and Zeno looks like he is 14-15 rather than 17. Of course it turns out that Zeno is much, much, older as he has been alive since Hiryuu's time.
    • Yun-ho, the wife of Earth Tribe's general, is 25 years old, yet she looks like she is still 15.
  • One-Man Army:
    • When his powers are active, Zeno can genuinely take on an entire army single handed.
    • Hak, Kija, Shin-Ah, Jae-Ha have been known to be able to take down ridiculous amounts of fighters on their own.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Played with in regards to Hak after he was badly injured after fighting Fire Tribe soldiers and falling off a cliff. It took him a few days to get back on his feet. And though he was still able to fight, he collapsed immediately after said fight and needed more time to recover.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Zeno drops his carefree and cheerful personality, it's a sign that something big or serious is happening. Especially in chapter 101 where he casually annihilates a squad of soldiers and reveals he is the original Yellow Dragon.
  • Parental Favoritism: The General of the Fire Tribe favours older son Kyo-Ga over Tae-Jun.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: King Il didn't approve and outright objected at the idea of Yona getting married to Soo-Won.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Mundok took Hak and Tae-Yeon as his adoptive grandsons.
    • Ik-Soo more or less adopted Yoon, who was an orphan living in poverty.
    • Ao, the previous Blue Dragon, was the one who raised Shin-Ah.
    • Gi-Gan is like a surrogate mother to her pirate crew.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building:
    • The Dragons pull this in a chapter, escaping their tent, under Yoon's nose, to join Hak in battle against Kai's rogue soldiers despite being ill and feverish. It does not go well.
    • And then Zeno joins the fray and it only gets worse.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Kye-Sook, Soo-Won's advisor, and Jae-Ha.
  • Plucky Girl: Yona slowly grows into one. The Water Tribe General's daughter Lili is also one.
  • Prevent the War: Often times the simplest solution to the most recent social unrest cannot be taken without risking war descending upon the kingdom. Despite Yona's best efforts, war is declared anyway.
  • The Quiet One: Shin-Ah.
  • Raised by Grandparents:
    • In Hak's case he was raised by an adoptive grandfather.
    • Kija was also raised by his grandmother after his father tried to attack him at his birth.
  • Reality Ensues: When the dragons are feverish and weak, despite their power, they are eventually overwhelmed by the sheer number of attacking soldiers.
  • Red Is Heroic: Yona. It's even a plot point because her hair color is so rare and matches the legendary dragon king Hiryuu note , who was the founder of the Kouka Kingdom.
  • Refusal of the Call: Jae-Ha tried to avoid Kija and Shin-Ah, knowing they probably were with their master and that he would have the urge to join them, despite his desire for freedom. However, the moment he met Yona, resistance was futile, and all his attempts were just delaying the inevitable.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Reading the manga knowing that Zeno is at least a thousand years old brings a lot of his actions in a different light. For instance, when the Kai army is attacking Saika, he claims that he knows a secret passageway because he made friends with people from the slums even though Yun says that he never saw him do that. It's more likely that he just remembered it from when he was last there.
    • Rereading the manga becomes even more amusing when you look for Ao the squirrel somewhere in the manga panels. She's often seen reacting alongside characters, stealing food, offering her omnipresent peanuts and acorns to the ill or injured, tucking herself into clothes, and so on.
  • Romantic False Lead:
    • The manga begins to set one up for Hak in chapters 64 and 65, through a girl living in Senri Village named Aro. Her spirited declarations about how she plans to "jump him" even marks the first instance of Yona being outwardly bothered by Hak's Chick Magnet status. The trope is, however, subverted when Aro merely has to see the Longing Look Hak watches Yona with once to be convinced to give up on him completely.
    • Su-won was a pre-series one for Yona. The interlude chapters that detail Hak and Yona's childhood beyond imply that Yona had feelings for both Hak and Su-won, but for whatever reason, she only noticed the ones she had for the latter. It seems that there are a combination of factors for as to why these feelings for Hak never surfaced, Su-won just being the most obvious one.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • As the next king Soo-Won plans to restore their country to its former glory, and as we can see with what he planned when he "plays" with Geun-Tae. The entire "Game" not only boosted moral to Geun-Tae's troops, but increases his tribe's economy by the jewelry Soo-Won had all the players wear for the match is now known and spoken of.
    • On the other side Yona, who only recently started to become aware of the difficulties that the inhabitants of Kouka face day by day, helps the people in need that she encounters.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Hak, who loves to tease Yona yet his loyalty towards her is absolute.
  • Ship Tease: Plenty with Yona and Hak, being childhood friends and Hak's Bodyguard Crush. Yona/Kija and Yona/Jae-Ha have their moments too.
  • Shout-Out: In Episode 12 of the anime you can see kids wearing Lock, Shock and Barrel masks in the Blue Dragon's village.
  • Slasher Smile: Mizari is almost always wearing one and it is incredibly unsettling, to say the least.
  • Sleep Cute:
    • Chapter 52 provides an adorable image of most of the gang sleeping in pairs, Yoon with Shin-Ah, Kija and Zeno and Yona with Hak.
    • The title page for vol. 19 shows Jaeha dozing under a tree with Kija and Shin-ah asleep on his shoulders and Zeno and Yona on his knees. The next page has a sketch of Hak poking him while he moans about being numb from head to toe.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is it "Soo-Won" or "Su-Won", "Yoon" or "Yun", "Heang-Dea" or "Han-Dae", "Mundok" or "Mun-deok", "Yu-Hon" or "Yoo-Hong", "Min-Soo" or "Min-Su", "Joo-Doh" or "Ju-do"? A bit more understandable than most examples, however, given the various romanization systems of Korean.
  • Spoiler Opening: The first opening already revealed who the Four Dragons were.
  • Stalker Without A Crush: Zeno reveals that he's been watching Yona for a long time since he suspected her to be King Hiryuu's reincarnation and followed her since she left the castle.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Tae Jun and his older brother. Seriously, the only difference is their bangs' length.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Hak uses this when asked about his relationship with Yona, often stating his pay to be the reason he took up the job as her bodyguard in the first place. Of course, nobody besides Yona herself ever believes him when he does. In fact, she believes it a little too much. So much so that not only does she hold back from confessing to him, but she believes that she will someday have to set him free.
  • Super Toughness:
    • The yellow dragon is supposed to be this.
    • Hak to a lesser degree.
  • Supreme Chef: Yoon, he regularly gets marriage propositions from those who eat his food.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Hak, Jae-ha, and Shin-Ah.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Hak again.
  • Team Pet: Ao, Shin-Ah's pet squirrel. Borderline Action Pet since Ao was crucial in helping Yona and Yoon escape from their ropes and start their plan to attack the mercenary ships.
  • Tender Tears: Yoon is easily moved to tears.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Yona went from meek sheltered princess to a woman who would practice her archery throughout the night, firing hundreds of arrows to become stronger.
    • Yoon went from a self-described selfish boy to being a capable fighter and planner.
    • Lili is shaping up to be one herself. She started out as a somewhat haughty, sheltered nobleman's daughter, but after seeing Yona's strength, she wants to be able to fight too.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • An interesting case where Yona kept the hairpin that Soo-Won gave her during her birthday party... the same night she saw Soo-Won murder her father. Most likely to remind herself what happened that night. The moment she gives it up is significant, for it means that she has finally moved passed what happened that night and moved on from Soo-Won.
    • Zeno keeps a dragon decoration on his headband that was given to him by King Hiryuu.
  • Triang Relations:
    • Before Soo-won's betrayal, Yona, Hak and Soo-won had this. Either type 5, type 9, or even possibly type 2. It's not clear whether or not Soo-won was ever in love with Yona, if he was aware of her feelings toward him or even if he was aware of Hak's feelings toward her.
    • Later both Jaeha and Kija seem to have a variant of type 4 with Yona and Hak once they become mutual (albeit, unbeknownst to each other). Despite it, both seem pretty supportive of the relationship and often make an effort not to get between the two.
  • True Companions: "The Dark Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch".
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Yona, Hak and Su-won until Su-Won's betrayal.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Yona is far lovelier and prettier than her plainer father King Il.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Hak towards King Il and Yona.
    • The original Blue, White, Green and Yellow dragons were so loyal to Hiryuu, that they each gave part of their powers to four human warriors so that they would protect him in their stead. Said warriors also grew to become greatly loyal to the King, and said fealty was passed on generation from generation. This is also literal in the case of the immortal Yellow dragon warrior, Zeno, who spent thousands of years waiting for his King to be reborn.
  • Unequal Pairing: Hak and Yona have streaks of this, what with Yona's father being Hak's boss for years.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Played with with Hak and Yona after chapter 124 and onward. While Hak hasn't particularly moved on from his feelings for Yona, he has appeared to have abandoned all hope of her returning them. Now he appears to be the the one who's Oblivious to Love, and never seems to notice Yona's Crush Blush flaring up only around him.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Hak flies into one when he sees Soo-Won for the first time since leaving the castle.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Soo-Won.
  • Villain Ball: The Nadai smugglers kidnap Lili and Yona to use as slaves building their country's fort for the eventual war with the Water Tribe. They don't realize Lili isn't just some nobleman's daughter, but daughter of the very man they are preparing to fight and Yona is, well, guarded by five men who will move heaven and earth for her safety.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Jaeha constantly teases Hak about his feelings for Yona, while Hak usually retaliates with snark or a swift punch. Hak also only ever refers to Jaeha as "Droopy Eyes".
    • Hak typically enjoys to be The Gadfly toward everyone, but Kija seems to be one of his favourite targets. He also refers to Kija exclusively as "White Snake".
    • In the end, when Hak flew into an Unstoppable Rage upon seeing Su-Won, the two of them are the ones to stop him before he could get himself killed by the other side's guards. Furthermore, when Ju-do threatens Hak over the situation later on, they step in front of him protectively, both wearing a pretty fierce Death Glare. For all their banter, it's clear that the three of them are actually good friends.
  • We Help the Helpless: Instead of using the Four Dragon's power to reclaim the throne, Yona decides to travel the land helping her citizens in anyway she can.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Shin-Ah named his pet squirrel Ao, after his mentor and parental figure the previous Seiryuu. This leads to an amusing gag in the manga where Yona asks Shin-Ah where he learned swordsmanship. He replies "Ao", prompting Yona to picture the squirrel holding a knife.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Hak, Yona and Soo-Won. Obviously things went sour after Soo-Won's betrayal.
  • Wham Line: "It is not my desire to sit upon the throne". From Soo-Won of all people.
  • Wham Shot: Zeno's hand reaching up to touch Yona's cheek after she's just seen him stabbed through the heart.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Seiryuu's eyes are very beautiful to behold but his village terrified of a curse that anyone who looked upon those eyes would become paralyze and die (which wasn't entirely far away from the truth) so Seiryuu always wore a mask to cover his eyes.
  • What the Hell, Townspeople?
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Yoon pretended to be a girl to sneak into a human trafficking ring along with Yona.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ki-ja is terrified of insects.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Literally. The Dragons are all but defeated by Kai soldiers when they contract an illness due to leaving Kouka, which leaves them weak, feverish, and unsteady.
  • World's Strongest Man: Hak is claimed to be the strongest soldier in the kingdom, having earned that title at a young age. It's to the point that he might actually be stronger than the Dragon Warriors themselves; he kept up with Kija when they took out some bandits with little to no issue despite being heavily injured at the time. When trying to kill Soo-Won, he easily brushes aside two foot soldiers and General Joo-Doh, and most likely would have killed Soo-Won had Jae-ha, Kija, and Yona not stopped him.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Kum-Ji and his henchmen don't have a problem kicking or trying to kill Yona. Nor with stepping on Yoon's head, who was dressed as a girl at the time.
    • The Kai soldiers at the fortresses mistreat everyone, be it a man or a woman.
  • Wrong Guy First: Just about the most extreme example of this you could get. Yona spends years pining after Soo-Won, but on her sixteenth birthday he murders her father, thereby proving himself to certainly be the wrong guy. In swoops Hak to the rescue, and after a long break of emotional healing, Yona begins her second love.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Justified. The four dragons (with the strangest hair colors like white, blue, green, and yellow) and Yona all have hair the same color as the dragons they represent. People like Soo-Won and Yoon on the other hand...
  • You Killed My Father: Soo-Won kills Emperor Il as revenge for his killing Soo-Won's father.
  • Your Days Are Numbered:
    • When the new dragons are born the predecessors slowly lose their powers and die. It happened to Ao and to Kija's father, with Kija and Shin-Ah fully knowing what was going on.
    • The previous Green Dragon lived longer than normal, not dying until Jae-ha was nearly a teenager. However, he took his anger at his inevitable death out on Jae-ha.
  • Youthful Freckles: Heang-Dea has some sprinkled across his nose and cheeks.

Alternative Title(s): Akatsuki No Yona, Yona Of The Dawn

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Manga/YonaOfTheDawn?from=Manga.AkatsukiNoYona