Comic Scope: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Vol. 1 & 2

Is Viz Media’s latest Zelda adaptation a step up from the originals?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 09/08/2017 19:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Viz Media has been publishing The Legend of Zelda manga by Arikawa Himekawa for years now, recently re-publishing the original volumes in a deluxe line called the Legendary Editions. While I’ve truly enjoyed the Legendary Editions, the material contained within them is definitely of a lighter tone, aimed more towards younger readers.

The bulk of the manga that Himekawa have written at this point are adaptations of Toon Link-related material, with Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask the more “mature” fair on offer. It’s this kid-friendly feel to the original ten volumes that was a bit hard for some older Zelda fans to grapple with.

Thankfully, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess manga is a stark departure from those original adaptations. The first thing fans will notice is the more mature trade dress to these volumes. There’s a sophistication to the glossy covers and dark binding that the original run lacked (and the aforementioned Legendary Editions helped rectify). The “Viz Kids” label is also noticeably absent, and with good reason— this is a much darker take on the source material.

Part of that is largely owed to the narrative of Twilight Princess itself. Next to Majora’s Mask, it’s generally perceived as one of the darkest stories in the series canon. Still, Himekawa have previously shown a propensity for softening adaptations in the past, so it’s refreshing to see them stretch their wings here. They even note in the forward of the first volume that they originally had their stories published in a children’s magazine, heavily implying that they can finally tell a more sophisticated Zelda story for the first time.

The creative duo also point out that there isn’t the stringent page limitation that the original manga series were beholden to. This is yet another boon to Twilight Princess‘ adaptation: this series won’t be anywhere near as compressed as the rest! With a story as grand and sweeping as this one, I almost shudder to think how much the narrative would have had to have been butchered to fit within a volume or two. In this first pair of Twilight Princess volumes, Himekawa have truly outdone themselves in utilizing the greater page count and not restricting themselves in terms of tone and content.

This is a much darker and more sophisticated Zelda manga than fans are used to. Here we have a more contemplative Link, one who’s being haunted by something dark in his past. As is custom for the Himekawa ladies, there are story elements at play that aren’t in the game. In this case, Link’s mysterious background is something Twilight Princess never touched upon, but for the purpose of this manga it gives him some solid motivation for his adventure. There’s also some pretty grim action to take in; nothing overly gory, but as I said above, these are some books with bite!

Everything about these first two volumes of Twilight Princess is an improvement over the duo’s earlier releases. Himekawa is finally being allowed to do a proper, serious treatment of the source material for the games, allowing for greater drama and better action than ever before. Viz has stated that as the series is still being published in Japan, they have no way of knowing how many volumes Twilight Princess will fill, but one thing is for sure: no matter how long it runs, let’s hope that Zelda continues to see more adaptations like this in the future.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!