Thursday, March 14, 2019

Akatsuki no Yona OADs

This release is a double pleasure: it completes an orphan series, and it allows me to revisit one of my favorite shows of all time, Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn). I'm really pleased to announce the completion of the Akatsuki no Yona OADs (original animation discs). This project started in FFF (a terrific fansubbing group) but was shelved when the group went semi-comatose, with the first episode released, the second episode QC-ready, and the third fully translated. I was really unhappy about this because I had edited both the series and the OADs, and I had bought the OADs themselves out of pocket. When more than a year had passed with no activity, I asked the former leader of FFF for permission to finish the OADs in Orphan and release them. He graciously agreed, so now here they are, at last.

If you're not familiar with Akatsuki no Yona, then go watch the series first, because the OADs assume you know the characters and the story. (You can read my blog post on the original series as a cheat, but it's really not sufficient.) The first OAD is a side story adapted from a pair of chapters in volume 12 of the manga, "On That Back" and "Ki-ja." It tells some of the backstory for Ki-ja, the current White Dragon. The second and third OAD are a summary of volumes 21 and 22 of the manga and tell the backstory of Zeno, the Yellow Dragon, who was only introduced in the last episode of the TV series. The first is humorous and shows off the camaraderie of Yona's little band, but the second and third epitomize the traits that made the series itself such a standout: complex characters, power politics, and  an overarching, compassionate humanity.

A brief note on staffing.
  • Translation: deltakei (all)
  • Timing: Naine (ep1, ep2), Yogicat (ep3)
  • Editing: Collectr (all)
  • Typesetting: Eien (ep1), kme (ep2), kme and Collectr (ep3 - kme did the hard stuff)
  • QC: FFF (ep1), BeeBee (all), Nemesis (ep2, ep3)
  • Encoding: Eien (all)
  • Raw acquisition: Skr (all)
Ep1 is basically the original FFF release with a few minor tweaks; ep2 was QCed in Orphan; ep3 was finished in Orphan from timing onward. Apportioning credit (or blame) is too complicated, so all three are joint FFF and Orphan releases. I want to thank everyone involved from both groups for bringing the project to fruition.

In the OADs, the core voice actors all have their moments to shine.
  • Saito Chiwa (Yona) played leads roles in the Aria franchise, the Broken Blade franchise, Kokoro Toshokon, Read or Die (TV), Dears, Midori no Hibi, Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase, Sunabouzu, Brave Story, and the -monogatari properties, among numerous other roles.
  • Maeno Tomoaki (Hak) played Abeno in both seasons of Fukijen no Mononokean, Saku in Sora no Manimani, Junichi in the Amagami SS properties, Touya in White Album, and Camus in the Uta no Prince-sama franchise. He appeared in Super Lovers, Sousei no Onmyouji, ACCA, Gakuen Babysitters, and many other recent series.
  • Suwabe Junichi (Jae-ha, the Green Dragon) played Fuuma in the later X properties, Archer in the Fate Stay/Night franchise, Ren in the Uta no Prince-sama franchise, the titles roles in Cuticle Detective Inaba and Space Dandy, Yaichirou in Uchouten Kazoku, Worick in Gangsta, Hayama in the Shokugeki no Souma franchise, and Bonten in Amatsuki (an Orphan release), among many appearances.
  • Morita Masakazu (Ki-ja, the White Dragon) played Ryuuji in the Ring ni Kakero properties, Keiji Maeda in the Sangoku Basara franchise, Barnaby in Tiger and Bunny, Tennouji in Rewrite, Satou in the Major franchise, and many other roles.
  • Okamoto Nobuhiko (Sin-ha, the Blue Dragon) played the male lead in Persona: Trinity Soul, Asu no Yoichi, Yumekui Merry, Mayo Neko Overrun, Sekaichi Hatsukoi, the Ao no Exorcist franchise, Acchi Kochi, Hagure Yuusha no Aesthetica, Code: Breaker, and many other shows.
  • Shimono Hiro (Zero, the Yellow Dragon) starred as Hiro in ef: A Tale of Memories, Jin in Kannagi, Tetsu in Cencoroll,  Haruka in Yosuga no Sora, Ryuuji in Dragon Crisis, Hayao in 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku, You in Ben-tou, Seki in Tonari no Seki-kun, Jirou in DAYS, Jean in ACCA, Popuko in Pop Team Epic, and numerous other show.
  • Minagawa Junko (Yun) starred as Shingo in Uninhabited Planet Survive, Thoma in Fantastic Children, Ritsuka in Loveless, Ryouma in the Prince of Tennis franchise, Ren in Super Lovers, and lots of other roles.
  • Kobayashi Yuusuke (Su-won) only appears briefly in the epilogue. He starred in Selector Infected WIXOSS, Nozo x Kimi, Shimoneta to Iu Gainen, Comet Lucifer, Witch Craft Works, Arslan Senki (2016), Bubuki Buranki, Imouto sea Ireba Ii, Re: Zero, Gundam Build Divers, and many other recent series.
The director, Yoneda Kazuhiro, also directed the most recent Hoozuki no Reitetsu series. The spare and sometimes haunting background music is by Ryou Kunihiko, who wrote the scores for other fantasy epics, including The Twelve Kingdoms, Saiunkoku Monogatari, and Tegami Bachi.

One translation note: the ending song in episode 2 includes a brief prelude, first heard in episode 24 of the TV series. It is not in Japanese. Some online sources believe it is Chinese and have provided a translation on that basis, but Mandarin speakers I've consulted are uncertain. So the prelude has been left untranslated, just as in the TV series.

Is this the (anime) end for Yona and her merry band? I'm very much afraid that it is. There's more than enough manga material for another 24 episodes, but there's no sign of a sequel. Shoujo epics are out of fashion, I guess. Meanwhile, you can get the Akatsuki no Yona OADs from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on


  1. Thanks dudes, this reminded me that I've been meaning to rewatch the main series for a while. Also I had a listen to the ending prelude in the 2nd OAD, it certainly sounds Chinese but that doesn't necessarily mean it was Mandarin, in any case I don't think it's sung by a native, the pronunciation of the r/zh sound is way off.

  2. Oh wow! Great job guys :) I guess this warrants a rewatch of the whole series ehehe.

  3. The TV series has been on my "to watch sometime" list for quite a while now...