Personally, I enjoy the manga much more than I did the game – The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Volume 1 Review
Since The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild just released last week, and I need to stop playing the game but not necessarily get away from Zelda, I’m going to review The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Volume 1. The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess is the manga adaptation of the award-winning game from Nintendo. The manga is divided into 8 chapters and covers the opening portion of the game. I’m going to state this early, the only downside to this is that we’ll have to wait another year for Volume 2…
The story begins with the Midna, the Twilight Princess, and Zant. Their history is explained and the overarching conflict of the story is set up. Then it cuts to Link who is a ranch hand in Ordon Village. Link is a cool a capable figure who is beloved by the town. He is surrounded by friends and family. The manga expands on his relationships throughout the rest of the chapters, while subtly doling out Links potential as a warrior and his larger destiny. The final two chapters has the village savagely attacked and Link doing his best to save as many people as possible, but eventually, he loses and has his arm cut off. Just when it seems like it’s the end, narrative-wise -there are still a good number of pages left- his severed arm glows with the power of the Tri-Force and reattached itself. Link awakens after the battle makes a strange discovery that brings him into the Twilight Realm. The manga ends with Link transforming into a wolf and being found by Midna.
The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Volume 1 covers about half the prologue of the video game. The main difference being that the manga expands on the story and the character, where the game is essentially a well-integrated tutorial. It’s only subtly different, but it’s an amazing perspective of what are essentially the same chain of events. The most intriguing part is the expansion of the relationship Link has with the other villagers. It adds great dramatic effect and gravitas to the situation. Now when these villagers are attacked, it gives the feeling of duty and urgency that the game doesn’t necessarily convey. Overall it is the same story, but something about the manga seems to put the story in a first person perspective. Playing the game, it feels like the story is happening to link; reading the manga, the story feels like it’s happening to you.
The story is told through the art of the panels, as much as it is through the dialogue. It is a seamless flow of imagery and written narrative that causes readers to not realize they are actually reading. I was so enveloped that I believed I saw the action and movements from panel to panel. Akira Himekawa has a very grounded style that uses manga/anime exaggerated emotions sparingly. Their capturing of facial reactions is almost cinematically framed and shaded in the panels. They also masterfully render images outside of the panels to create impactive narratives and transitions. I personally believe the art would allow for the story to be nearly fully understood without any dialogue.
The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Volume 1 is a perfect piece for Zelda fans. For many who want the story of the game and do not wish to play it, this is hands down the best way to do so. Same applies to those who have played the game and would like to experience it from a different perspective. If you’re unaware of Zelda, but enjoy stories of the fantasy genre, this Manga will not disappoint. The only downside is this is scheduled to release annually, and it’s not like a movie that wraps up neatly. It is obvious there is so much more ahead and the wait for continuation is painfully long. Other than that, The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Volume 1 is a masterfully crafted manga, so I give it a 9.5/10
The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Volume 1 releases next week, March 14th, 2017, and is available to pre-order for $9.99.