Wednesday, February 1, 2017
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: Legendary Edition - Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia
MANGAKA: Akira Himekawa
TRANSLATION: John Werry, Honyaku Center, Inc.
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Steve “Stan!” Brown
LETTERS: John Hunt
EDITORS: Mike Montesa; Joel Enos
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8960-2; paperback (January 2017); Rated “A” for “All Ages”
404pp, B&W with some color, $17.99 U.S., $24.99 CAN, £12.99 U.K.
The Legend of Zelda is a high-fantasy themed action-adventure video game series published by Nintendo. Since 1986, Nintendo has published over 20 Zelda games and spin-offs. For two decades, Nintendo has also officially endorsed and commissioned manga adaptations of The Legend of Zelda. The Legend of Zelda revolves around Link, a brave knight/warrior, and Princess Zelda of Hyrule, who guides, encourages, instructs, and summons Link to battle evil.
The first Zelda comic was published in 1992, a full-color comic, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which was loosely based on a 1991 game of the same title. Mangaka Akira Himekawa has also produced Legend of Zelda manga based on video games. Himekawa created a multi-chapter serial for each of two Zelda video games, Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, games that were first released in Japan around 2001. VIZ Media reprinted each serial in a graphic novel edition back in 2009.
Now, VIZ has returned these two graphic novels to print in an oversized paperback edition, The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition – Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages. In Oracle of Seasons, we are introduced to Link who has been raised by his grandmother and his grandfather. The grandfather was formerly a brave knight of Hyrule, and that is what he wants Link to be.
Although he wants to chart his own destiny, Link leaves home to participate in a tournament of knights, but he ends up in the land of Holodrum where meets Din the Dancer. Din turns out to be the Oracle of Seasons, who is being hunted by Onox, General of Darkness. If Onox can capture Din, he will also have possession of the powerful relic, the Rod of Seasons. Of course, Link, with the help of brave allies, must stop him.
In Oracle of Ages, Link gets caught up in the quest to find Nayru, the Oracle of Ages. Veran, the sorceress of shadows, also wants Nayru, and eventually takes possession of her body. Veran then travels through time, deep into the past of the land of Labrynna, where she uses her dark influence to build a tower that shall reach the skies. Now, Link and someone with a surprising connection to him must stop her, a long and arduous campaign of many twists and turns.
As I have said before, I am not sure if I ever realized that there were comics and manga based on The Legend of Zelda, although I was aware of the 1989 American animated television miniseries. Apparently, there are lots and lots of Zelda comics.
If the rest of these comics are like The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition – Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages, I want more. These two stories are even better than the colorful (but kind of simplistic) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Oracles of Seasons and Oracle of Ages are some of the most enjoyable all-ages manga that I have ever read.
I like the clean drawing style of the art, which makes for clear storytelling. There are some shifts in setting – by either time or region – that seem arbitrary and contrived, but for the most part, this straight-forward quest fantasy and epic adventure proves to be delightful. This isn't “Game of Thrones” or Lord of the Rings, but Akira Himekawa isn't wary of offering a bit of darkness and character drama to the story for the sake of making the narrative stick with the readers.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"
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