With Hak mortally wounded, his body full of poison, and the Fire Tribe about to finish them off, things got a little… weird in week 5 of Akatsuki no Yona.
Will Princess Yona have to suck the poison out of Hak’s arrow holes? Will he survive even if she does that? Will her shattered pyche ever return to her body?
What the heck is even going on?
Episode five starts with Yona laying in a ditch, dazed with blood on her hands. “Is she hurt or has she hurt someone else?” the narrator asks, but only the haunting crackle of static and crow-song answers.
Then we flash back to the Wind Tribe’s castle and watch Yona watch the injured merchants die one by one. (These were the poor fellows attacked by the Fire Tribe in the previous episode)
It’s a sad scene but, as the one before it, we don’t really know what’s going on and, even though we see Yona’s hair, we never see her face. That creepy static and bird shrieking comes back again too and, again as before, the scene fades into a pulsing red before popping back out into the next.
And the next scene is even weirder, because it features the Fire Tribe and it’s all about the laughs. They’ve cornered the Princess and Hak, but, because they address Hak as a General (which he’s formally given up being) he and the princess pretend they aren’t being talked to and wander off to watch some birds from the cliff side.
Instead of being angry, the Fire Tribe suddenly turned all chibi-style. Super deformed with sweat bubbles flailing around, apologizing they didn’t know about Hak’s change of status.
Then Hak kills like a million of them.
But all goes wrong when Yona trips and Hak has to shield her from a storm of poison arrows. He coughs blood onto her lap, all the while Yona is screaming she needs him, and then he blacks out.
It’s a bizarre scene, if I’m being honest. I guess the studio decided to sort-of-censor themselves by adding lots of red ‘rocks’ flying everywhere when the arrows hit to make it look like blood, but not blood. I don’t know why they did this but it works, in so far as I assumed it was blood until I reviewed my screen caps afterward.
So… that happened. Action we got, finally, but it was a bit clunky. Characters developed too, especially Yona, who’s come to terms with the fact that she really was spoiled and useless as a head of state. She doesn’t even know where she is, or if the land around her is common to her own Kingdom. That honesty was refreshing I guess.
I’d give this week’s episode a higher score if it actually unfolded the way I describe above. Instead, it was mostly adequate, but slow, with an evil teenager villain who doesn’t even really have a plan or any more idea what he’s doing than Yona.
S’okay, though. This was probably the best Yona we’ve seen so far and, if next week continues down this path, it will reach a 7 in no time!