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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • In chapter 52, due to Shin-Ah's injuries, Yona doesn't sleep in the tent and that she will sleep "with Hak". When the others protest, Yona insists "Hak's good".
    • A meta example in the end of chapter 122, in which Yona asks Hak if she can touch him. Needless to say, much of the fandom took her words a little differently than she meant them.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Lili is seen as a closeted lesbian by a number of fans. The ambiguous nature of her feelings for Yona and her over the top crush in a conveniently unattainable man resounds with a lot of queer people who hid their real sexual orientation in a similar way. Her comment on how she would marry Geun-Tae's wife and her crush on him being completely Played for Laughs don't help. (Surprisingly, she isn't seen as a bisexual by such fans.)
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    • Likewise, some fans consider Hak to be demisexual/romantic, due to his complete lack of interest in anyone besides Yona. In that vein, the only other possible love interest he could have would be Soo-won, which is only supported by how badly he reacted to the betrayal.
    • Post chapter 100, Zeno, depending on how you interpret his behaviour. After his wife, Kaya, died, he seemingly did nothing for 2000 years (this could either be seen as wallowing in self-pity, feeling completely unable to change the world, or falling into major depression). While he could possibly have prevented the situations of the Seiryuu and Ryokuryuu from becoming so harsh, that assumes they wouldn't treat him badly as well and it's possible that his run-in with Hakuryuu Village scared him off of the idea for a while. Once Yona was born, he sought out and checked up on his fellow dragons, yet did next to nothing to improve their situations. He did nothing for Hak or Yona until he met up with them.
  • Awesome Music:
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    • The first opening theme which is utmost fitting for an ancient Korean adventure and gets you pumped for the story to follow.
    • The second ending theme, Akatsuki being more along the lines of a traditional Korean piece and above all is very calming.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Soo-won is either seen as a Magnificent Bastard as he was in the right for killing Emperor Il due to his seeming to ignore the lower classes in society. Others however simply cannot forgive him for showing kindness towards Yona since her childhood only to kill her father on the day of her birthday and then attempt to kill Hak.
  • Broken Base:
    • The anime's second opening. It's either a fun, catchy J-Pop number or soulless and ill-fitting.
    • Oh dear, the dub cast. Monica Rial as Yona and Christopher Sabat as Hak are either the perfect voice actors possible or stunt casting of the greatest magnitude. There is no in-between.
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    • The Zeno arc being an OVA instead of being a part of a potential second season. Some are okay with it as they feel its better for one of the best arcs in the series to get adapted right away while others would have preferred if Pierrot went through with making an entire second season instead.
  • Complete Monster: Yang Kum-Ji, the main villain of the Awa arc, rules the titular Awa Port with an iron fist. He has his men terrorize and beat up people regardless whether or not they pay his high taxes for no reason other than to assert his power over them; one of these incidents got a child killed. He also runs a human trafficking ring where he lures women and children out of their homes and imprisons them in his ships, where he arranges for them to be sold as sex slaves for the Kai Kingdom. When Yona and Yun infiltrates one of his ships and set a signal flare for the pirates led by Gi-Gan to attack, Kum-Ji leaves his men at their mercy while he escapes on his own. When the Green Dragon Jae-Ha notices Kum-Ji attempting to flee, he tries to attack him, only for Kum-Ji uses one of his own men as a Human Shield before nearly killing Jae-Ha himself.
  • Crack Pairing: Some fans have shipped Shin-ah with his pet Ao.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Soo-won despite killing Emperor Il is hardly ever portrayed as evil among fans. It really doesn't help matters that Soo-won still has plenty of humorous "kawaii" moments even after he committed his murderous acts against Yona's father. He's still also shown to harbor some feelings of fondness for Yona and Hak despite his actions. And future revelations that Emperor Il was somewhat shown to be a weak and ineffective ruler have only made Soo-won more popular with fans.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Shin-Ah is the most popular of the four dragons for his dark backstory and after joining Hak and Yona's party his adorable antics that contrast his menacing appearance. His introduction is also where many felt that the series began to grow the beard.
    • Likewise Shin-Ah's pet Ao is very popular among viewers because of how adorable she is.
    • Many of the minor characters have gotten a lot of attention among viewers. Particularly Gigan for being Yona's badass mentor in Jaeha's arc, Shin-Ah's former mentor Ao who is very well liked despite only appearing in flashbacks, and Lee Geun-Tae's wife Yuno who has gained a lot of attention despite only being a minor Satellite Character.
    • Algira also has quite the fanbase already, mostly due to his soft-spot for cats and Adorkable tendencies.
  • Evil Is Sexy: While it is up for debate if Soo-won truly is evil, considering his role as the overarching antagonist and his good looks he does fall under this trope.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: It is possible to ship Soo-won with either Yona or Hak.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Snow White with the Red Hair since both are fantasy shoujo series involving red-haired protagonists as they allow their adventures to mature them. It should also be noted that the anime adaptation for Snow White with the Red Hair aired not too long after the anime for Yona of the Dawn wrapped up.
  • Growing the Beard: Its generally agreed that the introduction of Shin-Ah is when the series really started to pick up. From this point on the series shifts from a political period drama to an adventure driven epic with loads of Character Development.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: When Kija gets sick and starts to feel weakened, Jaeha immediately asks if it's because a new White Dragon has been born, prompting a discussion between the dragons about how they are generally short-lived, with the previous Green Dragon living an entire twelve years after Jaeha's birth being considered unusually long. We already know from flashbacks that the previous White and Blue dragons died when Kija and Shin-ah were young children. Zeno doesn't contribute much, but his silence speaks volumes when you learn a few chapters later that he has the opposite problem.
    • After we learn about Yu-Hon's cruelty towards his enemies, Geun-Tae's eagerness to go to war for the heck of it and everyone's hopes of Su-Won being like his father become really sinister.
    • In-universe: some of Jae-ha's early-manga taunts to Hak about Yona turn out to be this (particularly the ones about Hak losing her to another man) when it's revealed to him in chapter 125 that, not only had Yona used to be in love with Suwon, but that Hak has always known it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In chapter 40, Captain Gi-gan mentions that Yona should learn how to cook or clean, since nobody will want to take her as a bride if recklessness is the only thing she offers. In response, Hak says it's fine as long as she finds a husband to do laundry while she cuts the grass. And what do we see in the very next chapter? Hak doing the laundry.
  • Idiot Plot: To an extent, the premise being that Su-Won assassinates the king when the princess already loves him and has vowed to marry him despite her father's orders. Su-Won, despite not having those feelings for Yona, could have accomplished his goals much more easily and with the two most important people in his life, without resorting to murder or risking civil war.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Garou, the previous green dragon warrior. He was physically abusive to Jae-ha, beating the young boy to deal with the bitterness and pain of a lifetime of ostracism and his approaching death. He sacrificed his last shot at freedom to help Jae-ha escape from their cruel village.
    • Ao, who took care of Shin-Ah, came off as more emotionally abusive to his ward. However, he was slowly losing his eyesight as Shin-Ah's improved and he ultimately considered his powers to be a curse, making him far more bitter about his standing in life. Towards the end, though, he still cried tears of sadness at the thought that he would have to leave Shin-Ah behind, showing that he still cared despite his harsh exterior.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
    • Yona has been shipped with Hak, Soo-won, the four dragons, and Lili.
    • Likewise Hak who has been shipped with Yona, Soo-won, and the four dragons... especially Jae-ha.
    • Suwon is getting there. He's been shipped with Yona, Hak, Jae-ha, and recently, him and Lili are gaining popularity as a ship.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Soo-Wun. He is shown to have quite the penchant for strategy, manipulation, and charisma. He's also equipped with Nerves of Steel, and very convincing stepford smile, rarely letting anything crack his mask.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Memetic Troll: A lot of fans have come to consider Zeno a benign troll due to his actions before the group knows of his power.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In Yona and Hak's eyes, Soo-won crossed it when he murdered the former's father and usurp his throne. While his reasons for this are to avenge his father and save the kingdom from decline, it is still considered a heinous and unforgivable betrayal from the person Yona and Hak once considered a friend.
  • Periphery Demographic: Even though it's a shoujo manga, it's popular with males due to being very dark and action-packed.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: The fandom has quite a few. Those who ship Hak and Yona tend to use the name "Hakyona", though "Yonak" and "Hakona" are also used occasionally. "Kaze" appears to be the official and most common couple name for Zeno and his wife Kaya. Jaeha and Kija's ship name is "Jaeki", and Yona and Lili's is "Yoli". Suwon and Yona is usually referred to as "Suyona" and Hak and Suwon tends to be "Suhak". There's also "Jaehak" (Hak and Jaeha, sometimes used platonically) and "Suli" (Suwon and Lili).
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The first OP is a traditional East Asian-sounding piece. The second is a very modern-sounding J-Pop song that many viewers feel doesn't fit the show nearly as well.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Su-won is supposed to be an Anti-Villain who vows to be a better king than his predecessor despite how he reached the throne. There are a number of actions that don't display this grey area:
    • Su-Won waits until he is crowned king to start righting the wrongs in the country, which he could have done as a general's son. Hak mentions that he balances bodyguard and leadership duties, and it's not like Su-Won was buried in work before the assassination. And notably, Su-Won only starts after making amends that Yona and Hak fell off a cliff, when he had demanded to be notified of their presence.
    • The fact that there's no proof that King Il murdered his father, especially with The Reveal that Yu-hon was actually a terrible person and merciless military leader that unceremoniously executed Xing prisoners of war for no real reason. The latter was physically stronger than the former, and Il wasn't as adept in combat. Even Hak, Grumpy Bear cynic, can't quite believe that Il would commit murder, because Il was a pacifist to the point of being an Extreme Doormat. We only have Su-Won's word and belief that Il did the deed. Meanwhile, Yona and Hak due to witnessing King Il's own death know that Su-Won is guilty of fratricide and regicide.
    • King Il didn't want Yona, the crown princes, to marry Su-Won because if Su-Won became king, then it would be a pretext for the country of Xing to go to war with Kouka.Which . . . actually was a good point on King Il's part because Su-Won when confronted believes that his father was justified in his actions due to the necessary cruelties of war. Su-Won's efforts into obtaining the throne could have gone into negotiating for Xing Princess Kouren to support his succession, and to promise not to repeat Ku-Hon's mistakes. Yona in fact points out scathingly that Su-Won is not worthy to be king if he was willing to ignore his father's crimes while she's had to face King Il's flaws everywhere she goes.
    • Yona was already in love with Su-Won and was going to do all that she could to marry him, even though her father wouldn't give a blessing. Su-Won didn't return her feelings, but he valued her friendship as a person. Which means that if Su-Won had tried to honorably win her and the throne, there would be little to no conflict about succession, and he could have become a legitimate ruler rather than a murderer. Yona may not care about the throne anymore, but if she wished to, she could cause enough strife to make Su-Won's regime unstable.
    • Su-Won assassinated King Il on Yona's birthday, hours after giving her a beautiful gift and hearing her declarations of love. She spends most of the escape from the palace in Heroic BSoD because she can't reconcile the kindness with the trauma, and Hak thinks it was especially cruel of Su-Won.
    • Hak after escaping with Yona bitterly flashes back to when as a child, he had made Su-Won promise to marry Yona so that they could all stay together as True Companions. He thinks that everyone "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot if not for the assassination. He would have supported their match, at the cost not being able to marry Yona.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Abi. Word of God clarified that yes, he's a he. Later there's Gobi, who hadn't been addressed as male or female for a good chunk of his time in the manga and whose appearance is ambiguous (mostly due to the cloak he's always wearing). The common assumption was male, and it was confirmed as such in chapter 145 with the use of male pronouns.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Many English dub followers did not respond well to the casting of Monica Rial and Christopher Sabat as Yona and Hak respectively.
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