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SPOILER ALERT!

This article contains details from the manga that are not covered in the anime. Proceed with caution.

Soo-Won (スウォン, Suwon) is the current king of Kouka Kingdom, and the 11th king of the Sky Tribe as well as the anti-hero of the manga and anime series, Akatsuki no Yona. . He is the son of the deceased General Yu-Hon and Lady Yong-Hi, the older cousin of Princess Yona, and the childhood friend of Hak. He murders his uncle, Emperor Il to avenge the alleged murder of his father.[5] Currently, he is resolving the internal conflicts of Kouka in order to bring the country back to the strong nation it used to be during the reign of Emperor Joo-Nam.

AppearanceEdit

Soowon appearance
Soo-Won is a tall young man with soft, delicate features. He has sea green-blue eyes, light skin, and dark blond hair extending slightly past his shoulders, usually tied into a side ponytail using a gold ornament (initially a small ribbon in the manga). His bangs are parted in half and some strands are longer and wavier than the normal cut.

As a child, his hair was free and extended to just his shoulders, and he was considered by Yona to be "cute like a girl", but as he grew up, his features became more manly, while retaining some of the same softness. He is considered very handsome by his people after ascending the throne.

In the anime, he dons a simple white robe held by a purple sash under a mauve overcoat with purple hemlines. Throughout the manga, Soo-Won is shown to wear high-class robes marking the nobility, including a yellow haori worn by Kings.

PersonalityEdit

Soo-Won is a kind, gentle, and friendly person with a calm demeanour. Despite being composed most of the time, he sometimes displays moments of naivete and acts bubbly whenever he sees fit, leading some to underestimate his abilities and mistake him for an airhead. Additionally, he also has a habit of changing or dodging the topic if someone notices his lies or questions his intentions.

From a young age, he has been extremely sociable. Finding people in general fascinating, he has the ability to approach anyone as he never judges a person for their appearance or status.[6]Thanks to this, he is able to establish connections with various people, even with those who appear to be crude. It is even due to this that Hak sees his potential to become a great King and admires him to the point that he is willing to be his right hand man.

Due to his uncanny charisma[6] he often forms bonds based on his hidden intrigue. However, despite all his socializing, he is still clueless about romantic love.[7] He fails to see someone else’s feelings towards him and when he does notice, he dismisses it as a misunderstanding.[8] However, he does understand how adult interactions between men and women work, seen where he states to Yona that he can no longer sleep and hold hands with her like when they were kids.

With his frail looking build and lack of appearance in combat, he is viewed by some as weak and is often contrasted with his childhood friend Hak, a martial arts protege.[9] In truth however, he never shows his real strength unless he needs to. When he does display it, he is seen to be a swordsman even capable of threatening Lee Geun-Tae. He can also produce effective battle strategies that will lead his men efficiently and manipulate his enemies effortlessly. Moreover, he has a highly determined attitude, such that he will even challenge divine will if he needs to.[10]

He holds great admiration towards strong people, especially his father, Yu-Hon,[11] and aspires to be just like him, despite his father's cruel methods when in battle. However, after his father was killed, he was devastated. Afterwards he became a more secretive person and schemed revenge for years. For this reason, he was willing to tear himself away from his friends and destroy his relationships with Yona and Hak to pursue his ambitions. Despite his heartless actions towards them, he still genuinely cares for them, as was made evident when he learned of Yona’s apparent death[12] or how he was rendered unable to unsheathe his sword after seeing the anger and pain with which Hak attacked him.[13] Also, Soo-Won admired his father so much that he was willing to look over the cruelties that he committed when he was alive for example the war with the kingdom of Xing where his father Yu-Hon promised to release the prisoners to Xing, but instead decapitated their heads and dumped their severed heads at the gate of the castle. 

It is known that Soo-Won deeply cares for his childhood friends, Yona and Hak, despite everything that has happened. In Chapter 90 of the manga, it shows that Soo-Won still cared for Yona. He readily defended Yona from arrows, which shows how much he still cares for her. Even though Yona and Hak seem to despise him very much, he does not retaliate, even thinking that he deserves it. Although very handsome and having a great amount of charisma, Soo-won appears to have some problems with having relationships with women, and becomes easily abashed when he is insinuated to have had one in Awa. As of now, he doesn't appear to be thinking about finding a consort.

BackgroundEdit

Soo2

Soo-Won as a child.

Soo-Won always joined his father when he visited Hiryuu Castle in order to play with Yona and Hak when he was young. Together with Hak, he looked out for Yona’s happiness and was always ready to help her out. For instance, he comforted Yona and substituted as her “mother”, doing some of the things that the late empress did for her.[14] When Yona was kidnapped, he and Hak asked the thugs in the town just to stop the kidnappers from selling his friend to the Kai Empire. His relationship with his friends made him happy and he wished that their bond would forever stay just like that.[15] However, achieving this little dream of his became impossible when he was forced to choose between his friends and his revenge .

When he was nine,[16] his father was murdered by Emperor Il, though the murder was covered up as an accident.[17] Since then, he harbored a secret hatred of the emperor and plotted his revenge in order to fulfill his father’s dying wish to become the king.[17] Knowing that this desire of his would eventually tear him, Yona, and Hak apart, he remained silent about his plans and continued as if nothing had changed until the day he could carry out his plan. At some point Emperor Il told him that Yona was the reincarnation of King Hiryuu and that he (Soo-Won) was different.

AbilitiesEdit

As the King of Kouka, Soo-Won has the power to rule over the people and land. He has full control of the kingdom. Soo-Won is able to excellently wield a sword and other weapons, from his swordmaster and later bodyguard, Hyu-Ri. Son Mundok taught him archery and spearmanship at a young age, along with Hak. This is confirmed in the when he shows surprising ability in the mock battle against Geun-Tae, the Earth Tribe general known to be one of the most powerful generals. Soo-won also demonstrates great political competence when dealing with the five generals as well as skill in strategy as seen in the mock battle.

Soo-Won is a highly intelligent and cunning individual; these traits made him one of the best - if not the best - strategist shown so far in the series. One example of his ability was dress his soldiers' horses like tigers to scare the enemies this tactic gave his men time enough to attack before the opponent could even react. His intelligence and charisma, as well as his skills as a warrior were enough to gather the support of four of the Five Tribes (with the Wind Tribe remaining as the only exception due to their loyalty to Hak) and consolidate his authority as the ruler of the kingdom. Politics seem to be his preferred ground, and he showed amazing skills in dealing with people; that does not mean, however, that he is not a great warrior himself. Although shown in the beginning of the series that he his not as strong as Hak, he has shown be be at-least near his power. As Hak has the martial ability to rival a dragon warrior, even challenging him is a considerable accomplishment.

QuotesEdit

  • (To [source needed]) "It does not matter to me if there is someone watching us from the Heavens. Because what I want is not the power of Gods, but the power of the people. I will rebuild the Kouka Kingdom into the powerful kingdom it was when the ninth king was the ruler. If anything, even a god, gets in the way, I will bring it to the ground!"[18]
  • (To Yona) "But I love your hair, Yona. It's a beautiful crimson... just like the blush of dawn."[citation needed]
  • (To Hak) "Quit talking so politely. Call me Soo-Won, like you used to."[citation needed]
  • (To Hak) "It's because you were there, Hak. You're always so strong, Hak. Dependable... and cool. I wanted to be like that. After seeing you, I wanted to get closer to you. I wanted to become more like you. I always think that. It's frustrating. Even though we're so close... I don't feel like I can reach you at all. Everything about you... is my goal."[citation needed]
  • (To Yona) "King Il will never open his eyes. I killed him."[citation needed]
  • (To Yona) "You don't know. Yes, I loved King Il too. Even though people called him a coward for fearing conflict, I used to think that was his kindness. But I was wrong. I was so wrong."[citation needed]
  • (To [source needed]) "Kindness is not a crime. But sometimes it awakens the weakness and greed in others."[19]
  • (To Yona) "I thought that one day, I would stand alongside my father on the battlefield, and give my life for my father's sake. But after King Il succeeded the crown, he killed Yu-Hon, his own brother. Do you understand? King Il, who supposedly hated weapons and evaded strife, killed my father with a sword. Princess Yona, that is why I have lived for this day, for 10 years.To avenge my father's death, and to carry on his will, I will become Kouka's King!"[citation needed]
  • (To Yona and Hak) "I regret it. I wanted the three of us to rest together like we did when we had our colds... forever and ever."[citation needed]
  • (To Kye-Sook about Hak) "Sir Kye-Sook, do you know of the Thunder Beast from the Wind Tribe? I believe he may become the strongest solider of 100... no, 1000 years. Though I can't hope to keep him as an ally."[citation needed]
  • (To Hak) "I sent King Il to Hell moments ago."[citation needed]
  • (To guards about Hak) "Stay back. Your heads will fly off if you get any closer. Standing before you is the trump card of Hiryuu Castle, one of the five Generals... Son Hak."[citation needed]
  • (To Hak) "This nation... has no need for a weak king."[citation needed]
  • (To Hak about the future) "Yes... that is a fortunate dream. Hak, please... protect Yona... okay?"[citation needed]
  • (To Hak) "The Soo-Won you knew never existed. I will strike down anyone who gets in my way. Anyone."[citation needed]
  • (To Kan Soo-Jin about Hak) "Hak is no idiot. If he spreads the truth and causes commotion, Princess Yona's life will be in jeopardy. To protect the princess, he is most likely lying low for now."[citation needed]
  • (To Son Mundok) "Thank you... I'm glad that you thought of me as a grandson, Master Mundok."[citation needed]
  • (To [source needed]) "The Crimson Dragon Castle is a symbol of the king of Kouka Kingdom. I swore to myself that I would return to this castle one day."[citation needed]
  • (To [source needed]) "When I become King, Yona and Hak will not be at my side. Warm days like today make me doubt myself a bit. But now my right arm is gone. And so is the girl who gave me warmth... I have made it this far by casting them off and crushing them underfoot. So I will doubt myself no longer!"[citation needed]
  • (To Yona about Hak) "You're safe and sound. That must be because even now, he's risking his life to the end to protect you."[20]
  • (To Yona) "Do you wish to kill me? It's only natural that you do. But I cannot die right now, because there is something I must do. Farewell... Yona."[21]
  • (To Yona about Hak) "He's there, isn't he? The Thunder Beast. Then, whatever comes at us, we will not lose."[citation needed]
  • (To Kija) "It is not my desire to sit upon the throne. I have but one goal: to make this country strong. Enough so that it won't be invaded. I only became King only as a means towards this purpose. Your existence is intriguing, and I won't refute your claim, but it is also true that I have no need for you. Because what I want is not the power of Gods, but the power of humans."[citation needed]
  • (To Lord Kushibi) "We, with a 'mere handful of troops,' triumphed over a thousand soldiers"[citation needed]
  • (To [source needed]) "I cannot stop now. I must keep this kingdom alive."[citation needed]


TriviaEdit

  • He ranked 9th in the character popularity poll conducted by Hana to Yume in December, 2014. He scored 389 votes in total.[22]
  • Soo-Won is the 11th person from the Sky Tribe to be heralded as the king.[23]
  • He and Mizuho Kusanagi share the same birthday.[24]
  • Soo-Won looks very much like King Hiryuu, who is later revealed in the manga to be his ancestor.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 43, Page 7
  2. Akatsuki no Yona Volume 17
  3. Akatsuki no Yona Fanbook
  4. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 189
  5. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 02, Page 13
  6. 6.0 6.1 Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 61, Page 9
  7. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 01, Page 48
  8. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 01, Page 46
  9. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 45, Page 11
  10. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 11, Page 19
  11. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 02, Page 11
  12. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 10, Pages 28-29
  13. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 92, Page 27
  14. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 01, Pages 20-21
  15. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 04, Page 23
  16. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 61, Page 3
  17. 17.0 17.1 Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 01, Page 12
  18. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 11, Pages 18-19
  19. Akatsuki no Yona Episode 09
  20. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 39, Page 8
  21. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 39, Page 17-19
  22. Hana to Yume (花とゆめ), 2015/1 edition
  23. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 11, Page 14
  24. Mizuho Kusanagi - Anime News Network profile

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