It’s the dawn of a new podcast adventure as we’re embarking on a journey into one of the most epic modern fantasy adventure manga, Mizuho Kusanagi’s Yona of the Dawn. And joining us on our quest are some legendary dragons of the fandom, Marion, host of the Good Friends Anime Club,  Saturday Night Shoggy, MHA Podcast, Shaman King Podcast, & The View From the Top!, Caitlin Moore, editor for Anime Feminist and writer for Anime News Network and her own blog I Have a Heroine Problem, and Olive St. Sauver, writer for ButWhyTho?! 

Yona of the Dawn follows the journey of the eponymous Yona, the crimson-haired teenage princess of a pan-Asian amalgam of Korea, Japan, & China called Kohka. Yona is in love with her first cousin Su-won and has a love-hate relationship with her bodyguard Hak, both of whom have been her longtime childhood friends. She confesses her love for Su-won on her 16th birthday, but when she goes to tell her father about her feelings, she finds him being murdered by Su-won himself. Su-won has staged a coup against King Il because the latter’s pacifistic and non-interventionist policies have put the country in dire straits and as revenge for murdering his father, Yu-hon. At the urging of his advisor, Kei-shuk, Su-won also nearly executes Yona, but she is rescued by Hak and they go on the run. 

Over the course of her journey and after meeting and befriending the legendary Dragon Warriors, Yona gets stronger and more confident in her battle skills. She realizes that the people of Kohka are suffering from a ton of problems due to her father’s mismanagement, so rather than reclaim the throne, she resolves to do what she can as a wandering nomad going around the kingdom to help improve the living conditions of the people and stamp out criminals and corrupt government officials exploiting them. But as Yona and her companions achieve results in helping improve things in the Kohka kingdom and neutralizing foreign threats, their reputation grows amongst the people who believe in the legend of the dragon warriors and start worshipping her and them as godly beings, dividing the loyalties of the people between Yona and Su-won and threatening to factionalize the unified kingdom that the latter so desired to create…

We discuss our thoughts on Yona’s growth as a heroine, the complicated relationship between her, Hak, and Su-won, and how the series challenges the concepts of prophecy and the divine authority, exploring what it means to be a leader and what it takes to lead. We also gush and argue about our favorite Dragon Warriors, and champion our favorite supporting characters like Yun, Riri, and (perhaps surprisingly?) Tae-jun! We also speculate about the direction of the story, debate the merits of the Xing arc, explore Yona’s obliviousness and Hak’s brazenness in their slow-burn romance, and explain just why Yona is both a throwback to the 90s shojo fantasies of yore while also being the best possible version of them, and why it satisfies a craving for more action-focused shojo fantasy works that’re so few and far between these days. Yona’s story and world are so rich with detail that we couldn’t contain our discussion to just one podcast, so look forward to another equally meaty Q&A podcast next week to go over even more of our thoughts and theories on the series!

With the recent news of the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court and thereby nationwide abortion rights protections, we’re also providing a list of links to abortion funds and organizations to help spread awareness of ways pregnant people can find safe access and financial aid for abortion services. We will keep our eye open for other Abortion access funds and organizations to shout out and promote in the future as this situation develops. We’ll do our best to get involved in other community efforts to support the fight for abortion rights and stay informed and educated on what’s going on and how to best use our platform to help spread awareness as best we can. Even if there’s a limit on how much one of us alone can do to challenge the Court’s decision, donating to these Funds and Organizations fighting the good fight and helping people in your own community who needs access to clinics and resources can make a difference, and even if that’s all you can do right now, sometimes that’s more than enough to matter. 

Download here!


00:00 – Abortion Access Resources:

05:35 – In Memoriam:

  • Minori Matsushima
  • Tokuo Yokota
  • Fujiko Fujio A

11:22 – Intro & Podcast Overview 

14:10 – Yona of the Dawn Discussion

14:47 – Guest Introductions & Our Dragon Powers
19:58 – The Appeal of Yona of the Dawn and Bucking Stereotypes About Shojo Manga
22:25 – The Plot of Yona of the Dawn
26:22 – How We Got Into Yona
26:36 – LumRanmaYasha
27:23 – Caitlin
28:45 – Olive
30:39 – Marion
33:06 – Colton
34:50 – Thoughts on the Yona Anime
36:00 – Yona’s Character Growth
40:00 – Su-won as an Antagonist and Contrast to Yona and Hak
49:07 – The Complexity of Yona’s Politics and Characters in Contrast to Rei Toma’s Works
50:36 – Su-won vs. The Crimson Dragon King Legend, Rejecting Divine Intervention and Divine Authority
57:20 – The Sword and the Shield
1:00:15 – Yun, the Team Mom
1:01:45 – The Xing Arc  
1:12:16 – Su-Won’s Imperialist Ambitions
1:16:35 – Yona and Hak’s Relationship
1:20:20 – Thoughts on Other Ships
1:22:44 – Thoughts on the Dragon Warriors
1:23:22 – Hak, the “Dark Dragon”
1:27:52 – Sinha, the Blue Dragon
1:28:15 – Jae-ha, the Green Dragon
1:31:12 – Tae-Jun’s Redemption arc
1:36:03 – Jae-ha’s Relationship with the Other Dragon Warriors
1:38:45 – The Bonus Chapters
1:39:55 – Zeno, the Yellow Dragon (MAJOR SPOILERS HENCEFORTH!!)
1:46:10 – Kusanagi’s Artwork & Depiction of Violence
1:47:40 – Thematic Connections Between NG Life and Yona
1:48:47 – Zeno as the Watchful Eye of the Group
1:52:36 – The Dehumanization of the Dragon Warriors
1:54:17 – Riri and Yona as Contrasting and Complementing Leaders
2:00:07 – Relationships Between Women in Yona
2:02:33 – Friendships Between Men and Women in Yona
2:09:47 – The Relationships Between the Dragon Warriors and Yona
2:14:54 – Final Thoughts on Yona (AKA, Have You Heard the Good Word?)
2:23:40 – Q&A: “Do We Think Yona Would Be a Good Choice For a Stage Production?”
2:27:04 – Guest Plugs

2:34:31 – Community Shout-Outs:


2:41:16 – Wrap-Up 

Enjoy the show, and follow us on twitter at @manga_mavericks, on tumblr at, and on Youtube! You can also follow the hosts on Twitter at @sniperking323 and @lumranmayasha. If you’d like to help support the show financially you can pledge to our Patreon and receive some awesome rewards like our Patreon-exclusive Bonus pods! If one-time donations are more your speed you can donate to Colton’s Ko-fi here and LumRanmaYasha’s Ko-fi here, and if you want to support LumRanmaYasha’s art and other projects you can follow them @siddartworks on Instagram and Twitter and donate to their personal Patreon. Don’t forget to also like and subscribe to us on Youtube and iTunes and leave us reviews to help us curate the show and create better content!

Music Featured:

“Yona of the Dawn” by Kunihiko Ryo
“Night” by Vistlip 


About The Author Siddharth Gupta

Siddharth Gupta is an illustrator, animator, and writer based in Minnesota. They graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Animation from the School of Visual Arts, and have worked on projects for the University of Minnesota and the Shreya R. Dixit Foundation. An avid animation and comics fan since childhood, they've turned their passion towards being both a creator and a critic. They credit their love for both mediums to Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, which has also defined their artistic and comedic sensibilities. A frequent visitor to their local comic book shop, they are an avid reader and collector, particularly fond of manga. Their favorite comics include The Adventures of Tintin by Herge, Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed, and pretty much anything and everything by Rumiko Takahashi.

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