Sensei and Natsume

2018 Fandom Year in Review

Late at doing this again as usual. I already posted my favorite things from 2018 on Twitter but Live Journal is still better for archiving.


I am not trying to make this nice just making a list of favorite things this year and not following any template


Favorite Movie of 2018 Favorite watched in 2018 that I can remember is Florida Project (which actually came out the year before). Favorite that I saw in theaters is a bit trickier. Think I will say the two Free! Movies. One I saw in the theater, the other at Otakon.


Favorite Anime I didn't really have one strong favorite this year so I think it was a 3 way tie between these three series
1) A Place Further than The Universe
2) Banana Fish
3) Yuru Camp

Didn't really have a new favorite live action TV series this year so I'll skip that. And I realized I said the same thing last year. Guess I need to watch more TV.


Favorite Book Read Lonesome Dove

Favorite Manga Overall The Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha (definitely one of the best things from the modern Dragon Ball franchise). As far as series go I think the best series I started in 2018 has been To Your Eternity the new series from the manga-ka of A Silent Voice.


Main Fandom of 2018 Dragon Ball is still going strong


Favorite Male Character Vegeta if I said anyone else I would be lying

Favorite Female Character Rin from Yuru Camp. I love that she is travels solo and the series does not judge her for this. Even though I am not a camper I identified with her in many other ways.


Favorite Relationship Ash and Eiji from Banana Fish (I just wish it had a better ending)


Favorite Games Dokkan Battle and Dragon Ball Legends. In many ways this was the aspect of Dragon Ball fandom I enjoyed the most (hasn't been good for my wallet though lol)


Favorite Song Blizzard the Dragon Ball Super Broly theme song.

Best Fandom Moments of 2018

1) Going to Paris and Versailles in France and Meeting many friends from the Versailles Family
2) Meeting Ryo Horikawa (the voice of Vegeta) at Kameha Con. I've wanted to meet him for years so it was great to finally do so and he was so sweet. I asked him to take a photo with my Bulma figure and he said "My Bulma" to it. Made my convention
3) Seeing Hironobu Kageyama, Hiroshi Kitadani, and Shoko Nakagawa in concert in NYC at Anisong Matsuri. The former two I had seen in concert before but they sang a lot of songs from DB and One Piece they hadn't before and Shotakan sang all her Gurren Lagann songs, it was great
4) Meeting Shouji Kawamori, one of the main creators of Escaflowne at Otakon
5) Getting a Photo with Michelle Gomez and Peter Capaldi and finally meeting William Russell at ReGen Who

Theater I saw in 2018

Only one, The Ferryman and at the end of the year with my friend Mary and it was brilliant.

Favorite Audio Drama of 2018 Cicero, War Master and ATA Girl


What I am looking forward to in 2019

So far the only major thing I definitely have planned is going to Texas to meet the Princess Tutu creators. Hopefully there will be more exciting things that develop as the year progresses.
Sensei and Natsume

Fandom of the Year Meme 2017 Edition

I actually did start this in 2017 but then life got in the way. Still this is the one thing I like to post on LJ because it is easy to access and I can look back year from year whereas Twitter and Tumblr you can't really save your posts.

1. Your main fandom of the year:

I only really got into one fandom in 2017 and I didn't get into it until the last part of the year but if you follow me on Twitter its pretty easy to guess that its Dragon Ball. Well actually its an old fandom that I got back into. I never really expected to fall so much in love with DB again. In fact I would even say I have become sort of "snobby" in my tastes with anime and usually avoid long running shounen. But I guess there is something to say for nostalgia. I only meant to watch the episode when Vegeta and Bulma's daughter was born. Next thing I knew I was marathoning the whole series and rewatching DBZ. This was really the only big "new" thing I've become obsessed with this year.



2. Your favorite Film this year:


Films that I saw in the theater
Your Name (honorable mentions Wonder Woman & In this Corner of the World at Otakon)

Older Films I first Saw in 2017

Hitchcock's The Lodger


3. Your favorite Book read this year:

My favorite novel was probably the Handmaid's tale. My favorite thing I read overall though was probably the Kamisama Kiss manga which I probably started in 2016 but finished in 2017. It's funny after the first season of the anime I might have dropped the series but the 2nd season came out when I wasn't watching much and I liked it so much more than the first. Then I read the manga where the anime left off and loved that even more than the anime. It just goes to show sometimes first impressions are wrong. I drop a lot of series quickly because I don't have time to keep up with something that doesn't interest me but I guess I am lucky I did pick up this series again.

Other than that I've been reading and enjoying DB fanfiction: My favorite was this very long Vegeta and Goku focused fanfiction called A Good Man which I just finished at the end of 2017. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9901820/1/Dragon-Ball-Z-A-Good-Man

Ki Blind was also a really good read. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/745618/1/KiBlind


Both these stories explored things I know Dragon Ball never will: Vegeta's past and the characters not being able to use their powers. I honestly don't read fanfiction for every series I enjoy but with Dragon Ball there is so much the series can't explore because of the type of series it is that fanfiction lets me enjoy these characters from new angles. And of course I also read some Vegeta & Bulma fanfic

4. Your favorite Album or Song this year:

I loved the Boogie Back ending for DB (lots of Vegeta and Bulma) and also I listened to the Your Name songs quite often.


5. Your favorite TV Show this year:

Anime-
The best anime for me was still definitely Showa Rakugo Genroku Season 2 which was a fantastic followup from the first season. But if I am being my honest the one I had the most joy watching was Dragon Ball Super, hence my main fandom of the year.

I didn't watch a lot of anime this year but I also highly enjoyed March Comes in like a Lion, Natsume Yuujinchou S6 & Eccentric Family Season 2

And I am currently enjoying Ancient Magus Bride and now that is 2018 Ive finally started Great Passage and Made in Abyss two series Ive wanted to watch for awhile but couldn't (more on that below)

There weren't any new favorite live action TV shows I watched this year (just continuations of old ones) which is actually somewhat surprising for me. At least not that I can recall



6. Your favorite Community this year:

Still the Versailles Family :)


7. Your best new Fandom Discovery of the Year?

That I still love Dragon Ball lol



8. Your biggest Fandom Disappointment of the Year?

I was going to say Anime Strike lol but amazingly enough in 2018 Anime Strike is no more. So what was one of the worst things about 2017 is already much better in 2018.

I guess other than that despite loving the series I am not too fond of the DB fandom. Don't get me wrong I've met a lot of really lovely people but I met just as many immature ones which can be frustrating especially when for the past few years I've only been involved with the friendliest of fandoms ( Yona of the Dawn, Doctor Who/Big Finish, Versailles, etc).

Edit: And I almost forgot finding out the news about the Kenshin manga-ka. Not going to elaborate but google if you don’t know.

And also DB related losing Hiromi Tsuru the voice of Bulma


9. Your favorite Fandom Boy of the year:
Vegeta



10. Your favorite Fandom Girl of the year:


Bulma & Bill from Doctor Who


11. Your biggest Squee moment(s) of the year?


Going to London and seeing Alex and George on stage and meeting the Versailles Family
Gallifrey and meeting Scott Handcock
Regen Who and meeting Robert Shearman


12. Your Fandom that you haven't Tried Yet, but want to?


I am determined to start Star Blazers/Space Battle Ship Yamato this year. I was going to start it this winter but the winter anime season is busier than I thought.

And will this be the year I finally finish LOGH (I am on the last season)


13. Your Biggest Anticipations of the New Year?


Going to Paris to the not-Versailles con (well its a Versailles convention in everything but name). Actually I am most excited about finally going to France and hanging out with my friends from the Versailles Family than the con itself. The con is only a day but I will be in Paris for a week.

14. Your Favorite Written Relationships of the Year


Vegeta and Bulma from DB Super. I never expected to get so much Vegeta/Bulma goodness in Dragon Ball which is one of the reasons I got pulled back into DB in the first place. They were my first anime ship too.

As for non-romantic I just loved Steve and Dustin from Stranger Things


15. Favorite Game

I only started playing it at the end of the 2017 but it was inevitable that it would be Dokkan Battle

16. Favorite Audio Drama

I listen to so much Big Finish through the year I know I will forget some but for me some highlights were

* Hamlet and King Lear
* Cicero
* The Shape of All Things
* Hex's return to the Main Range (I just love Hex)
* The War Master Box-Set


17. Theater I saw in 2017 (because I want to keep track)

* La Ronde and Pitchfork Disney in London
* Little Foxes and Farinelli & the King in NYC

Nothing planned yet for 2018 but I hope to see something this year.
Sensei and Natsume

Dragon Ball Z/Super

I don't know how it happened but somehow I've gotten completely absorbed back into the Dragon Ball fandom. DBZ was the first anime I watched 17 years ago. I would not be an anime fan if it wasn't for DBZ. Well actually I think DBZ was the start. It was series like Inuyasha (the Ranma manga), Yu Yu Hakusho and Kenshin that showed me DBZ was not just a fluke and that yes I loved anime. But I haven't watched any Dragon Ball in years and I have to say my tastes have really changed. I tend to avoid long running shounen series these days. I just don't have the patience for them. If I watch any shounen it tends to be Sports series not action/fighting.

But accidentally I was completely pulled back into the Dragon Ball world. And literally I can't stop watching or thinking about it. I am watching AMVs, reading fan fiction, collecting the series on Bluray and buying figures. So I can't say this is a casual interest.

Well okay I kind of know how it happened I read that Vegeta and Bulma's daughter was born in the new series. I was only going to watch that episode but then I started watching clips on Youtube. Next thing lead to another and I ended up watching the 2 most recent movies and started to marathon Super during the Labour Day weekend. And you know what I just had so much fun watching Super. Of course it's not a masterpiece and there are plenty of flaws. But it made me terribly nostalgic (actually wanting to feel nostalgic probably started from re-watching Gurren Lagann for its 10th anniversary which I also loved). Watching Super made me realize how much I still love the Dragon Ball characters. I find Super just incredibly charming. More importantly I absolutely love how Super has written Vegeta. I don't think DB needed another series after Z (and I hated GT) but if they were going to give me another series this is exactly what I would want.

Vegeta was always my favorite DB character and that hasn't changed 17 years later. I think he had the most interesting story arc in DB. He was the reason why I became a fan of series. I had started with the Saiyan saga but despite thinking Gohan was adorable it didn't make me a fan. It was only when I found out in the Cell arc that the villain had somehow become a father that I became intrigued. The villain being redeemed is of course a very common trope (and one I admit I have a certain weakness for) but Vegeta was the first time I ever saw this trope so he will always be a somewhat special example. Has this trope been handled better in other series? Well definitely but I still loved the character development Vegeta got over the course of DBZ. It took a lot of time (in fact he didn't finally truly become good until the second half of the final arc) but I was satisfied where DBZ left Vegeta in the end. He finally accepted his place on Earth, his love for his family, and the fact that yes Goku is better than him and maybe that is not the end of his world.

But in Super Vegeta is now fully one of the "good guys" and it's just wonderful for me to see him fully in this role. He can still be arrogant and he is not giving up becoming stronger than Goku. But you can also tell the negativity that surrounded his character in Z has been replaced by something positive. He wants to better himself and he knows that Goku is what makes him stronger. Vegeta also gets to be a lot more humorous in Super than he was in Z. It annoys some fans but I think they need to lighten up.

Plus I could never imagine how many Vegeta/Bulma scenes we are getting in super. Some of this stuff I thought I would only get in fan fiction. From a pairing that pretty much came from nowhere it has become the best pairing of DB. Toei and Toyataro (who is drawing the manga) are both clearly fans as there are tons of fantastic scenes in the manga and anime between Vegeta and Bulma. Vegeta has become the ultimate Tsundere when it comes to Bulma lol. They are definitely getting the most development of all the DB couples (although what I love about Super in general that in between the battles and main plot there is down time and slice of life moments which helps develop all the characters more).

So basically pretty much out of nowhere and completely unexpectedly Super has become one of the my favorite new things I watched this year. And now that I am caught up I am going back and rewatching favorite moments/episodes of DBZ as well. I guess sometimes nostalgia is a very powerful thing.


Edit: Plus one of the new characters (introduced in the Battle of the Gods movie) is a god of destruction who looks like a Purple Sphynx Cat. He decides not to destroy Earth because he loves the food so much. It's just genius. XD.
Sensei and Natsume

End of Year~ Fandom Meme

Ah 2016 not the best year in some respects and I am scared for the future but fandom wise it was actually a very strong year. Happy New Years!

1. Your main fandom of the year:
Continuing from last year 2016 very much started off with Akatsuki no Yona & The Confessions of Dorian Gray. Both of which I still love with all my heart. And on general level I would say I am still very into Big Finish.

However something magical happened this year and I would say my main fandom ended up being Versailles. I watched and enjoyed the show towards the end of 2015 never realizing how much it would take a hold over me in 2016.

2. Your favorite Film this year:


Films that premiered in 2016
Moana

There are still some films from 2016 I need to see but in general not my favorite year for movies.

Older Films I first Saw in 2016

The Search: A fantastic post-war film which I am surprised I had not heard of before
Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star- The last two Gaynor/Farrell films I needed to see directed by Borzage.

3. Your favorite Book read this year:
I read very few books this year but of what I read I highly enjoyed them all. Probably my favorite was the most challenging and thus rewarding: the biography on Hamilton.

However in close second would be Roy Gill's two novels  Daemon Parallel & Werewolf Parallel.

Right now I am 50% into a book called Imperium which I am also loving. Hope this is a good sign for my reading of 2017.



4. Your favorite Album or Song this year:

The best album was definitely Hamilton, a masterpiece from start to finish and I was a bit obsessed with it during the summer.
As for song that would have to be History Maker the incredible Yuri on Ice Opening


5. Your favorite TV Show this year:

Anime- Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Yuri on Ice, Haikyuu, Natsume Yuujinchou Go, (weak year for anime but the fall season saved it)

Regular TV- Stranger Things, Poldark, Vikings, The Middle (got really into this through reruns), The Crown (although still have 3 episodes left)

Only reason Versailles is not here because I watched it in 2015 but I got into the fandom for it in 2016. I did cheat and list it in other categories though



6. Your favorite Community this year:
Versailles Family on Twitter an amazing community of people from all over the world who I have grown very close to.


7. Your best new Fandom Discovery of the Year?
Versailles Family once again.



8. Your biggest Fandom Disappointment of the Year?
Amazon not streaming the Great Passage.

Also we lost so many great people this year.


9. Your favorite Fandom Boy of the year:
Dorian Gray & Philippe both played by the amazingly talented Alexander Vlahos

As far as anime characters go my favorite was Yakumo or Kiku in Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

And also special mention to Lin Manuel Miranda who I've come to really admire

10. Your favorite Fandom Girl of the year:

Lagertha from Vikings and Demelza from Poldark two characters who I adore
Also Sue Heck from the Middle. I love Eden Sher's performance here.

11. Your Favorite Cast of the Year

I added this question because the entire cast of Versailles deserves a major shout out.

Also honorable mention to the cast of Stranger Things.

12. Your biggest Squee moment(s) of the year?

There were so many once again
* Giving a fanbook to Kusanagi-Sensei and she actually acknowledged it
* Seeing Gillian Anderson in Street Car, David Tennant in Richard II, & Crucible
* Hanging out with all my friends at Li Who 3, got to sit with Paul McGann  at dinner and he bought wine for the table. He was a real gentleman.
* Enjoyed doing a Confessions of Dorian Gray relisten before series 5
* Getting so many  holiday cards from around the world from Versailles Family.
* Seeing Paul McCartney in concert (can't believe I forgot this it's been a dream for so long)

13. Your most Missed Old Fandom?
I feel bad that as the year went on I spent less and less time in the Akatsuki no Yona skype chat.

Also technically this will be next year but I am going to miss not having a new Confessions of Dorian Gray series to look forward to.

14. Your Fandom that you haven't Tried Yet, but want to?
Hannibal

15. Your Biggest Anticipations of the New Year?
Well I will be going to Gallifrey in February where I can meet Scott Handcock so I can say how much I love Dorian in person
And then in March I will be going to London to see Alexander Vlahos and George Blagden on stage and meet several of my friends from the Versailles Family.  Honestly it feels surreal this is is happening.

There is a lot politicallyI am not looking forward to this year but can't wait for those 2 things. Late March I will also be going to a more local Who con called Regen Who in Baltimore.

And of course I am looking forward to more Versailles and quite a lot from Big Finish: Cicero. Hamlet, all the HG Wells stuff, and countless Doctor Who releases. Plus no release date yet but I expect the new Dark Shadows miniseries Bloodline should be out in 2017.

16. Your Favorite Written Relationships of the Year

Romantic

Victor & Yuri~ Yuri on Ice
MonChevy~ Versailles
Ross & Demelza~ Poldark
Janet Gaynor & Charles Farrell~ In their many films together

Friendship/Family

Philippe & Louis ~Versailles a complex relationship between two brothers
Yakumo& Sukero ~ Showa Genrou Rakugo (I know some will put this under romance but it's ambivelent enough I will keep it here)
Cameron/Morgan/Eve~ Parallel Novels

17. Favorite Game
Pokemon Go although I am certainly playing a lot less now than I played in the summer as the game is getting a bit repetitive I do still play and I was definitely quite obsessed with it for awhile. It was definitely part of my 2016 year.

18. Favorite Audio Drama
I listen to so much Big Finish that it would be wrong to not do this. But it was also very hard to limit myself.

Doctor Who Audios
The Peterloo MassacreAbsent Friends (story in Doom Coalition 3) Tenth Doctor Adventures, The Third Doctor Adventures Volume 2

Doctor Who Spin off
More than This, Made You Look, Bernice Summerfield Unbound Universe

Non-Doctor Who Audios
Blood & Fire, Dracula,  and last but certainly not least The Confessions of Dorian Gray Series 5

With older releases I got into Dark Shadows, Torchwood, and Survivorsthis year. And for first time older Big Finish listens I think Master & the two unbound stories with David Warner stand out. 
Sensei and Natsume

My Pokemon Go Journey

So like the rest of the country I've been overtaken with Pokemon Go fever. I should say I have a lot of friends that are into Pokemon but besides watching a little of the anime when it first came out in the US I was never really a fan. I am not much of a gamer so I never played the game. My knowledge of Pokemon is pretty rudimentary. I didn't expect to get obsessed with this game either. But hey it was free and everyone was talking about. Mainly I loved the idea that you had to go outside and walk around to catch Pokemon.

My first day was a disaster. I saw one rat and missed it and it didn't seem there were any Pokestops near me.  Then the game crashed for the rest of the day. My first thought was this was it.
My second day was a bit better. I went out volunteering delivering boxes of food and that day I caught a few Pidgeys and Spearows. But it was that evening or maybe the next where things really turned around for me. I discovered the playground across from my house has a good number of Pokestops and this was where I discovered lures. That 2nd or 3rd evening I caught a good number of not regular Pokemon including a Scyther. Granted he was a really low level Scyther but I was pretty low level myself.


Then during the week I work in the city and as expected cities are much better than neighborhoods to catch Pokemon. There are tons of Pokestops on my commute to work and there is a really great park a block from my work with tons of Pokestops and Pokemon and there always seems to be lure on when I go.

But the real kicker is I can reach a Pokestop from my desk at work and somtimes there is even a lure. I caught some pretty rare Pokemon (well at least news articles say they are rare) just sitting at my desk at work. Although the GPS screws up quite often.

Right now I am at Level 18, caught 77 types of Pokemon and already evolved a bunch. Oh and I am team Mystic. I mainly chose this team because I like to evolve Pokemon. I still haven't challenged any gyms though. There doesn't seem to be many near me that I can easily access (the ones that look like they are close always say they are too far away) and frankly I am a bit intimidated.







Sensei and Natsume

Fanbook to Kusanagi Sensei~A Success

So as I mentioned on my 2015 year post I was one of the organizers of a birthday fanbook to Kusanagi-Sensei the manga-ka of Akatsuki no Yona. It was just a random idea I came up with in the Akayona Skype chat. Luckily it came a success because Panda stepped up and volunteered to help in a big way translating all messages in English and Spanish in Japanese and she had an artist roommate who helped stitch together a lovely book.

Another reason I believe this venture was so successful is the Akayona fandom is one of the absolute loveliest fandoms. Everyone was really excited and we got some amazing submissions full of creativity.

Also special mention to appaku who drew awesome chibis for the opening page of the scrapbook (very glad to discover we are in this fandom together).

Anyways in exciting new Kusagani did get the scrapbook and she tweeted about it not once but 3 times.


https://twitter.com/mori18y/status/695611497964183552
https://twitter.com/KusanagiMizuho/status/695614045676679168
https://twitter.com/KusanagiMizuho/status/695614802857578496

Panda posted a translation of the tweets on tumblr

But bottom line Kusanagi-Sensei was thrilled by the book and that makes me so happy. Granted even if we had not heard back from her organizing the project was still a lot of fun but it is nice to be acknowledged like that and I was happy for all the fans that participated who now know their messages, art, and photos got seen by Kusanagi.

Of course the project isn't entirely over as now I am working on the e-version of the book to share with fans.

But if anyone is interested there are more pages of the book here
Sensei and Natsume

Dorian Gray

So recently (Id say around late spring/early summer) I started listening to the Big Finish range Dorian Gray

Being a Big Finish fan since the end of 2013 I had known about the range for awhile but I wasn't too interested. While I enjoyed the novel I didn't really think an entire range with Dorian as the main character could be that interesting.

However I decided to give it a chance this year because it was on sale for a very low cost. I thought why not? (Big Finish sales are dangerous things).

Despite getting good reviews I of course never expected to love this series as much as I do now. With most other ranges I wait for more sales to catch up; with Dorian I couldn't wait and I ended up ordering and preordering everything that was available. At this point I can't even wait to get to work (where I usually listen to my audios) to listen to the newest release.

It definitely was not at all what I expected. For one thing Big Finish's Dorian is way more compelling a main character than I could ever believe played beautifully by Alexander Vlahos. Most of the series is narrated by Dorian in 1st person (hence the confessions in the title) This ends up making Dorian somewhat sympathetic compared to the novel version. He shows vulnerabilities & feelings we don't get from the novel character.

This doesn't mean Dorian is "good" he's still makes many mistakes and hurts many people (unintentionally or not) also the fact that we hear the stories through his POV we can't entirely say if he is always a reliable narrator.

In this story Dorian is immortal and the tales take place during all time periods and in many different locations. We see how the world changes around Dorian while on the outside at least he remains constant. (Note: The 3rd series is not narrated and all the stories take place in the modern time and lead into one another)

There is a horror/supernatural element to the story but it has a strong element of the human condition too and that is what makes the stories so fascinating.

Of course I would recommend it but not without warnings. As it says on Big Finish main page this is not for children. I can't even begin to give trigger warnings because there are probably so many. But I never feel the story is excessive or just trying to shock you. At times it takes you to dark places but beyond those moments of darkness and terror there is beauty, meaning, and hope.
Sensei and Natsume

Akatsuki no Yona

Upon her sixteenth birthday, the cheerful Princess Yona intended to tell her doting father of her love for Su-Won, but her life was turned upside down after witnessing the man she loves cruelly assassinating her father. Heartbroken by this painful betrayal, Princess Yona fled the palace with her loyal servant Hak. Now, she will take up the sword and the bow on a quest to gain new allies and protect her beloved people.- Synopsis taking from Funimation.

I don't post in months and then I make two posts in one day but I really wanted to post more about Yona of the Dawn. Yona will pretty much definitely be my anime of the year unless something major happens from now onto the end of the 2015, which I doubt (technically the series started in 2014 but as it was unfinished until this year it still counts).

A lot of people prejudged Yona as a modern Fushigi Yuugi because they are both reverse harems and the fact that the female protagonist has to gain her reverse harem based on a prophecy but other than that I don't see much similarity between the two series (and I enjoy Fushigi Yuugi but it's more a guilty pleasure for me).

Yona on the other hand has way less melodrama and while there is some romance undertones it's definitely not the focus of the story. The romance is more in the background. Say it would be FY instead of the Tamahome/Miaka/Yui triangle the focus would be way more on the family/friendship aspect of Miaka and the Suzaku 7 that would be closer to what Yona of the Dawn is. There is strong bond between the main characters of Yona that reminds me of the bond of the Straw Hats in One Piece. The characters really love each other like family making me love them as well. Although there is an interesting aspect of free will vs destiny in why some of the other characters follow Yona.

Also Yona's personal growth is way more important to the story than it was Miaka's. If anything as a protagonist I would say Yona shares more in common with Youko and especially Shoukei from the 12 Kingdoms.

Although as I said in my previous post the anime of Yona of the Dawn is more or less an introduction: All the main characters of the story come together and Yona discovers her personal goal. It's only through the manga do you see Yona start to put that goal in action and while there is definitely the start of character development and relationship growth between the characters in the anime it gets even stronger as the story goes on in the manga (one of the main characters isn't even introduced until the very last episode of the anime).

The manga also develops side characters and even the " main villain" (if you can even call him that) is extremely complex.

If there is one flaw as a reverse harem the series does lack female characters. There are plenty in minor and supporting roles (and they are all well written) but the main characters besides Yona of course are all guys & they don't necessarily have to be (one of the guys is even mistaken for a girl at times) but then it is a reverse harem.

Also I don't know why but people associate "reverse harem" as something negative. For me it is just a descriptive term of one girl surrounded by a lot of guys (romance does not have to be a focus) and this is one of the best examples. Well Yona is more reverse harem epic fantasy adventure.