Yumiko positioned herself as a leader within the Hilltop after her group’s arrival. Season 10 of The Walking Dead looks to bring internal conflict into her story as she balances her loyalty to her core group and to her new friends.
Yumiko is a fighter. There’s no doubt about that. From her initial appearance in episode 905 of The Walking Dead, it was established that she will go to great lengths to keep her people safe. During the first half of season 9, we see her try to advocate on behalf of her group to Michonne. She can understand the reluctance of Alexandria to accept newcomers and she empathizes with the pain they have experienced from their many losses. Magna deals with the dilemma in an extremely hot-headed and combative way, but Yumiko has a gentler approach.
A moment in which Yumiko really proved her dedication to her new friends was when she and Magna rushed to the graveyard alongside Michonne in episode 908. This proved to everyone that she was willing to pull her weight and risk her life to help out. Sadly, Jesus was lost during the first altercation with the Whisperers and Yumiko assisted in bringing his body home for burial.
As season 9 of The Walking Dead wraps up, we really see Yumiko step up and embrace the united communities more so than the others in her group. During the Fair, she decides to go along with Michonne, Daryl, and Carol to search for survivors from a Whisperer attack. She later finds herself witness to Alpha’s act of brutality in the pike massacre of ten survivors. This will surely factor into the story as she is one of the few characters that was actually forced to see the wrath of the Whisperers with her own eyes.
The season 9 finale provides a major hint at her role in the future of the story. Yumiko has stepped into a leadership role on the Hilltop council now that the community is without a singular leader. She certainly has shown an ability to lead her own group through some tricky moments, so this will certainly be a fitting position for her.
With season 10 of The Walking Dead quickly approaching, it was recently announced that Eleanor Matsuura has been promoted to series regular status. Further hints for her upcoming elevated role are teased in her official character bio for the season:
“Yumiko respects and upholds the wartime rules the communities have in place to protect themselves from the Whisperers. As tensions rise, Yumiko’s inner circle expands as she aims to protect the communities. She finally has a home and will fight to protect it and everyone in it, but her approach proves to be more complicated than she images.”
There is quite a bit to unpack from her bio. For starters, it seems as though Yumiko is more inclined than Magna to be in support of the plans set in place to deal with the Whisperers. Being that she is now in a leadership position at the Hilltop, it is her obligation to respect the charter that each of the communities signed.
We’ve seen Yumiko interact with other characters outside of her core group, which is massively important in establishing relationships that will help keep her and her friends alive. The fact that her “inner circle expands” hints to the fact that we will likely see Yumiko heavily involved in the council’s decision-making process while also consulting with various other characters.
It is entirely possible that we may see Yumiko embrace life at the Hilltop more so than Magna. This may cause some tension between these two lovers as they have different ways of viewing their place in the community and the larger post-apocalyptic society. Whereas Magna’s bio for season 10 of The Walking Dead hints to her protecting her core group first and foremost, Yumiko’s bio makes it seem as though her focus is keeping everyone safe. Regardless, it looks as though this archer is about to have one powerful season as she rises in the leadership ranks.