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It’s not JUST because she’s cute.

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This is my first journey through the “100 Days of Anime” Challenge, an ambitious project that I’ll be taking. For the full list of prompts, click here.

“What is your favorite shoujo?”

A while back I wrote this post on how shoujos have started to become my secret guilty pleasure. I’ve picked up a couple more shows in the genre, like Kiss him, not me! and though I absolutely loved the comedy, I find myself going back to the same choice I started out with. Yona of the Dawn was my very first foray into the world of Shoujo, and its stuck with me even now, three years later.

I fell in love with the concept.

A young, naive princess forced into exile learns about life outside the castle. The buildup from princess to warrior was teased from the very beginning, and had me looking forward to seeing how much Yona changes by the end of the show. But there is one key thing that sets this show apart from others in the genre.

It’s fun when it needs to be.

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The plot is engaging. Filled with a level of intrigue that follows our heroine as she journeys into the world. The dynamic of Yona growing stronger after tragedy is nothing unique. After all, Arslan Senki pulls the trope off with a prince in place of Yona. But where the show shines best is in those thematic transitions as a whole. When the mood is somber, the violins kick in, colors shift to be colder, and we’re put in the shoes of a confused and scared girl. Despite those themes, however, the show doesn’t try to be edgy.

This isn’t “Game of Thrones.” The best moments come from their travels, meeting new people, seeing the beautiful world outside the walls, and sharing a campfire all give off a very free-spirited feel. Sure she’s being hunted down, but the plot doesn’t shove that fact down our throats. The story is interesting without ever losing its adventurous spirit. Without losing sight of what it really is.

A young girl learning what life is like beyond a cage. And the strength that comes with it.

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[45] “Name your favorite anime ED.”