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Dated 15 October 2014: Akatsuki no Yona and Nanatsu no Taizai are not the same show

Hak and Yona
It ain't easy being a princess these days.

I'm watching two shows this season with fairly similar basic plots. The teenage princesses in Akatsuki no Yona and Nanatsu no Taizai are both assembling teams of skillful warriors in order to defeat usurpers. That's about it with regard to their similarities, though. The remainder of this blog entry deals with themes and elements found in the source material for both anime. Although I'll avoid explicit spoilers, readers who wish to avoid learning anything in advance about either of these shows should probably just stop reading and watch both anime to develop their own comparisons. They've got princesses gettin' the band back together! Give 'em a shot!

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Dated 13 January 2015: Qualified praise for Akatsuki no Yona

Hak and Yona
There's also a lot of this sort of thing.

Akatsuki no Yona is really good for sufficiently broad definitions of good. This is a backhanded compliment, but I do admit it's not for everyone. Now in its second cour, this anime adaptation remains true to the original shoujo fantasy manga. Fans of the manga will likely enjoy the anime a great deal, but neither the tonal shifts nor the reverse-harem cast will likely appeal to anime fans who may have expected a more typical princess-in-distress series of canned adventures. Viewers don't need to be primed for squealing, KYAA! BISHIES! in order to enjoy the show, but they'll be better off if they at least aren't put off when more and more spikey-haired boys with large hands keep joining the cast.

Yona
Back away from the princess and nobody gets hurt.

That cast does keep getting bigger, though. An entire cour has passed and Akatsuki no Yona still hasn't finished introducing characters. I hope the anime isn't set to conclude with this second cour, because it's just getting started in relation to the manga. It really is a good adaptation, though. Saito Chiwa is perfect as Yona, and the anime communicates all the emerging fire-hair staredowns perfectly. That's the real reason to watch Akatsuki no Yona. Yona's transformation from a spoiled helpless fugitive princess to a leader of warriors is quite satisfying. I just hope the anime runs long enough to cover it all.