REVIEW: The Legend of Zelda The Ocarina of Time Legendary Edition

A young boy named Link must defeat evil at every turn on his long, perilous quest to find the Triforce and deliver it to Princess Zelda!

The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition contains two volumes of the beloved The Legend of Zelda manga series, presented in a deluxe format featuring new covers and color art pieces by Akira Himekawa. The battle for Hyrule and the Sacred Realm has begun! A young boy named Link must defeat evil on his long, perilous quest to find the spiritual stones that hold the key to the Triforce, and deliver them to Zelda, princess of the land of Hyrule.

Young Link embarks on a perilous quest to find three spiritual stones that hold the key to the Triforce, the wielder of which will rule the world! Link’s plan is to deliver the stones to the Princess of the mystical land of Hyrule, Zelda. But obstacles abound and his long journey has only just begun!

Title: The Legend of Zelda; The Ocarina of Time
Author: Akira Himekawa
Artist: Akira Himekawa
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Legend of Zelda series holds a special place in my heart, and it’s not often that I get a chance to talk about it. I mostly discuss books, and it’s only with one or two friends both in real life and online that I get a chance to talk about the series. But I’ve loved the games since I was a kid, starting with Ocarina of Time in fact (though Wind Waker and Majora’s Mask remain my absolute favorites).

I’d also known about the manga adaptations for a long time now, but never really invested the time since I wasn’t sure if the story could be accurately represented across just two volumes. Plus, if I’m being honest, Ocarina of Time isn’t my favorite of the Zelda games. It’s a classic, but it’s also still heralded and hyped as one of the greatest games ever and… well have you seen that game recently? It hasn’t aged well. The 3-D rerelease is much better, but that original version… whew boy.

But with the new collectors editions of the manga adaptations slowly coming out, and a buy 2 get 1 free manga sale at Barnes and Noble, I finally took the plunge.

The Ocarina of Time manga and video game make the perfect companions for one another, because each will enhance the others flaws. Not to say that each doesn’t stand on their own, or that you need to play the game alongside reading the manga, but if you know the story of the game there is so much to enjoy here.

The manga fills in the gaps left by the game, fleshing out relationships between Link and others more, providing more backstory to the lore and the people of Hyrule, it also humanizes Link by actually giving him a voice and personality besides ‘stoic, brooding hero’. I mean, I love Link, but lets face it, the OoT Link has the personality of a loaf of bread.

Now unfortunately this does mean that story wise, things do suffer, which is why I’d say this would strictly be for fans of the franchise. Of course I doubt you’d check out a Legend of Zelda adaptation unless you were a avid fan of the games, but I digress. Boss battles pass in panels; the legendary Temples are reduced to a handful of locations that Link will bypass in mere pages (and in some cases like the Forest or Shadow Temples, they’re dropped completely). Which might not be a bad thing when we talk about the Water Temple; but in other, more iconic locations, you might not get what you’re looking for here. None of this really detracted from the story for me however, which is why I think this works incredibly well as an adaptation, especially when paired with the original source material.

The authors knew who they were crafting this story for, and let’s face it, a 10-volume series about Link moving through dungeon after dungeon probably wouldn’t be that entertaining. The game is meant to be played, meant to be interactive. You are the hero. The manga is meant to be read, you are a passive party. They work well in conjunction, and on their own.

And like I said the characters are so much more fleshed out. Link and Zelda are given more dialogue, and developed so much more than in the game; as are all of the side character’s and their relationships and interactions with Link. Plus Link is given humor, dialogue, and Zelda is given more agency and more to do in her role as princess and as Sheik. There was even a fun change to Sheik’s character that I won’t spoil, but it added a nice little twist.

The art is also superb, and actually makes me eager to read the Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess adaptations. There’s life in the expressions, faces, and actions; though there were a handful of times during action scenes were it was hard to follow, especially during the final battle with Ganon. But the style is the perfect mix for a series like this, providing levity where necessary, but also suitably hard and angular during the action. This particular edition also begins with a set of color pages that were stunning, and made me wish the whole story was in full color.

I can’t recommend this adaptation enough to fans of the franchise. If you even think (like me) that Ocarina is a so-so game that’s overrated now despite paving the way for 3-D games, you should definitely give this a read. You don’t even have to buy the collectors editions. Both volumes can be purchased for around $13 on Amazon, though if you can find this edition on the cheap definitely pick this one!

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