Akatsuki no Yona Original Sound Tracks – An Eastern Fantasy Adventure

Akatsuki no Yona OST

Album Title: Akatsuki no Yona Original Sound Tracks
Anime Title: Akatsuki no Yona
Artist: Kunihiko Ryo
Catalog Number: MJSA-1153
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: March 18, 2015
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia


Tracklist

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Track Title Artist Time
01. Akatsuki-no-YONA Kunihiko Ryo 3:09
02. Road to Kouka Kingdom Kunihiko Ryo 2:56
03. a place in the sun for HaK Kunihiko Ryo 2:08
04. Tribe of Fire Kunihiko Ryo 2:19
05. YUMIKURABE Kunihiko Ryo 1:50
06. Akatsuki-no-YONA (Melancholy ver.) Kunihiko Ryo 3:07
07. Peaceful days in Kouka Kingdom Kunihiko Ryo 2:01
08. Decision of YONA Kunihiko Ryo 2:15
09. Lamento Kunihiko Ryo 2:45
10. Childhood in Kouka Kingdom Kunihiko Ryo 3:52
11. King ‘Il’ Kunihiko Ryo 2:36
12. Gun-gi Kunihiko Ryo 2:01
13. Power of Four Dragons Kunihiko Ryo 2:16
14. Akatsuki-no-YONA (Morning Dew ver.) Kunihiko Ryo 2:59
15. Priest ‘IkSu’ Kunihiko Ryo 2:26
16. Tales of Blue Dragon Kunihiko Ryo 3:13
17. Jeaha, Elegy of Moonlight Kunihiko Ryo 2:25
18. Yun & IkSu, Farewell Kunihiko Ryo 2:22
19. Akatsuki-no-YONA (Promenade ver.) Kunihiko Ryo 3:05
20. Village Fu-Ga Kunihiko Ryo 2:24
21. Dai-Kai-Sen Kunihiko Ryo 2:17
22. Dear, Blue Dragon Kunihiko Ryo 2:29
23. Akatsuki-no-YONA Final Chapter Kunihiko Ryo 3:51
24. Legends of Four Dragons Kunihiko Ryo 3:02
25. Akatsuki-no-YONA (Short ver.) Kunihiko Ryo 1:36

Review: The plot surrounding Akatsuki no Yona isn’t quite as otherworldly as what happens to Yoko Nakajima in The Twelve Kingdoms, but they are similar in that they thrust girls into new environs where they must quickly adjust. If anything links these two fantasy anime together, it’s Kunihiko Ryo’s steady hand unveiling the epic adventure through music. Akatsuki no Yona‘s soundtrack doesn’t expand Ryo’s capabilities so much as exemplifies what he’s always done: competently delivering an enthralling score.

In Akatsuki no Yona, Kunihiko’s main theme, “Akatsuki-no-YONA”, lays the foundation for the soundtrack through two distinct motifs. The first motif has grand undertones as the strings impart a regal aura through its steady tempo. Then, with a dramatic shift in the middle, the musicians of the Korean Symphony Orchestra introduce rumbling, percussive measures to transform it into grandiose music fitting of an Eastern fantasy adventure. Here, the flute solo stands out most with its beautiful, tranquil rendition of the intense melody. The entire ensemble then follows suit, playing with gusto, all the way to the ominous end.

Akatsuki-no-YONA

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With that foundation set, the focus turns to the setting: the Kingdom of Kouka. In “Road to Kouka Kingdom”, the atmosphere is unsettling with a grim introduction that foreshadows tragic events. However, this mood doesn’t last long; the piece undergoes a shift when swelling strings, followed by a buoyant zither melody comes in, putting you into the midst of a bustling medieval city. The city comes to life through “Road to Kouka Kingdom’s” ebbs and flows as Ryo succeeds in capturing the people’s busy lives as well as their quieter, laid-back moments.

Road to Kouka Kingdom

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The other “Kouka” tracks focus less on the people and more on the protagonist’s past. In “Childhood in Kouka Kingdom”, the harp cultivates a quiet joy filled with carefree moments. When the flute enters during the second half, its tranquil atmosphere maintains the overall tone of the protagonist’s childhood exuberance. No discussion of the Kingdom is complete without touching upon Kouka’s leader, King Il, the protagonist’s father. In setting King Il’s personality to music, Ryo’s stately theme is soft and warm, instilling an aura of sincerity throughout. The piece is guided further along by a bubbly and optimistic string and woodwind melody which captures King Il’s benevolent and idealistic nature.

King ‘Il’

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King Il’s theme isn’t the only character theme to grace this soundtrack. Iksu’s character materializes through a mellow piece featuring a languid flute and guitar melody. The two instruments then combine with the chime bells to evoke images of an old, modest shrine, along with a kindliness and dedication to duty. The dragons are also represented. In “Tales of Blue Dragon”, the woodwinds weave a mysterious-sounding melody followed by a brooding feeling of loneliness that radiates from the guitar to give the piece an introspective, tragic air. “Jeaha, Elegy of Moonlight” follows with a delicate harp introduction before the erhu amplifies the album’s traditional Asian flavor resoundingly through the use of the pentatonic scale. I particularly like the middle part of the track when the tempo’s increase injects a sense of purpose that’s in line with the anime’s plot.

Priest ‘IkSu’

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Jeaha, Elegy of Moonlight

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While the tracks depicting the setting and characters give this soundtrack its storytelling attributes, it’s the main theme that ties Yona‘s grand adventure together. For example, the “Melancholy version” moves at a slower tempo, allowing the normally epic motif to wrap listeners with its introspective and heartrendingly beautiful tone. The “Morning Dew version” carries a softer touch through the piano and string accompaniment which evokes a warm morning. But my favorite is the “Promenade version” which, true to its name, ambles along innocently, without a care in the world, propelled by a lively pizzicato. Finally, the epic motif is also used in “Legends of Four Dragons” to set the scope of the adventure while lending a introspective air to close out the soundtrack. The thoughtful manner in which the orchestra performs this piece is lovely and this use of the main theme stands out as my favorite.

Akatsuki-no-YONA (Promenade ver.)

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Legends of Four Dragons

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Kunihiko Ryo’s Akatsuki no Yona soundtrack is about as traditional as a traditional anime soundtrack ought to be. In lieu of throwing epic piece after epic piece in listeners’ faces, Ryo weaves a mix of action fare, musical depictions of the setting, and character themes, all done through music that’s both fitting and charming as it delights listeners with its simplicity while capturing the breadth of the unfolding adventures in Akatsuki no Yona.

Rating: Very Good

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

10 thoughts on “Akatsuki no Yona Original Sound Tracks – An Eastern Fantasy Adventure

  • May 18, 2015 at 11:29 pm
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    What a wonderful soundtrack! I love anime osts that are strongly influenced with Asian instruments and tones! I desperately need to finish this anime, too! :)

    Reply
    • May 25, 2015 at 11:27 pm
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      It does seem to be a touch above shows like Inu Yasha, based on the plot synopses that I’ve read. Hope you wind up enjoying it!

      Reply
  • May 23, 2015 at 12:43 pm
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    I love the mixture of fantasy and orchestral……really wild and soothing at different points. Nice list, I enjoy the snippets.

    Reply
    • May 25, 2015 at 11:25 pm
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      Thanks! I’m not sure who recommended that I give this soundtrack a go, but I’m glad they did. This one delivered in spades, which is nice since having a plate full of good soundtracks to listen to is always a plus!

      Reply
    • May 25, 2015 at 11:24 pm
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      Well, I enjoyed Kunihiko’s other work, Twelve Kingdoms, which definitely has a bit of the Asian instrumentation you’re looking for, especially in that momentous opening theme. Beyond that, Mononoke, Ayakashi, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya are all series that have that Asian feel.

      Keep an eye out for this week’s radio show and you should be able to find some gems since the episode focuses exclusively on traditional Japanese music.

      Reply
      • April 26, 2016 at 9:51 pm
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        Hi, sorry if this reply is a tad bit late.

        You could also check out the OST for Shigurui that evokes a traditional japanese setting when Samurai were prominent (not for the weak hearted for gore and violence) and Planetes for a mix of western and asian instrumentals.

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