Originally released in 1999 (in Japan), The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time became the first and second volumes of a long running manga series based upon the Zelda game series by the team known as Akira Himekawa. In 2008, Viz Media brought these books over to western audiences of the first time. Now, in 2016, all ten volumes will be re-released as The Legend of Zelda – Legendary Edition; a five volume omnibus collection with each volume collecting two of the books with some sketch work and colored pages added. This premier volume collects both parts of the Ocarina of Time manga adaptation.
The book (roughly) follows the story of the Nintendo 64 classic, Ocarina of Time. Link, a young boy, grows up in the Kokiri Forest. Made fun of for being the only one without a fairy, and unbeknownst to all, Link’s destiny must take him out of the forest and across the land of Hyrule. A quest that will take him through time in order to defeat the dark sorcerer Ganondorf and save Hyrule, the princess and the world at large.
I say roughly because it does add and subtract things in order to make it flow better as a manga. Totally understandable. The only problem with that, though, is that certain story elements seem a bit… rushed. Remember all of those epic dungeons you had to fight through, most are condensed into only a handful of pages, roughly around 2-5. So the temple elements seem a bit rushed. Then again, fat had to be trimmed somewhere in order to make it fit into a two volume story, and the temples are where you are, well, alone. I don’t think we need pages and pages of “Listen!”. Speaking of which, each of the volumes follow half of the game, with volume one following Young Link and volume two following Adult Link. Aside from the short temple sections, the rest of the story follows Link as he travels across Hyrule in order to fulfill his destiny to defeat Ganondorf. Since it has been a while since I’ve played the game, I can not say how closely the rest of the story follows it. That being said, the book never felt like it tried to hard and didn’t feel like it didn’t try enough to tell a Zelda story. It was a Zelda story. All those feelings you had when you played the game, they get you here as well. Either that or it is the nostalgia talking.
At the end of each arc, there is a short story relating to that specific Link. The Young Link story revolves around a festival of sorts and a play where Link gets chosen to play the hero and Mido, the jealous jerk that he is, steals Link’s hero mask, which is then stolen by Skull Kid. The Adult Link story revolves around Link trying to help the young prince of tribe of bird creatures to sprout his wings and learn to fly so he can rejoin his flock. The Young Link story was decent, but the Adult Link one just bored me to death. I probably would’ve skipped it if it wasn’t for the fact that I was at the end of the book. One thing I would’ve prefered is if they had moved the Young Link side story to the end of the the book from it’s original position at the end of volume one to allow the story of Ocarina of Time to be read uninterrupted.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say about the art. It is your typical, young adult manga style, yet it still feels like The Legend of Zelda. Even the cutsey, chibi art that happens for some of the lighter, funnier moments. Where the art really is fantastic are the few colored pages at the beginning of the book. The art and the color combined, in addition to the different paper stock, make everything “POP” out more and I wish there were more of them.
So, in a nutshell, The Legend of Zelda – Legendary Edition Volume One: Ocarina of Time is a fantastic retelling of the game’s story. Like with any adaptation it does have it’s pros and cons, but is a fantastic way to relive the story without playing through it again and hopefully might turn people onto the series. While not having read the original printings of the manga, this book might not provide much incentive to double-dip as it appears to only have a handful of colored pages and some of the original sketch work spread throughout the chapters.