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Customer Review

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional new take on timeless epics, January 26, 2012
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This review is from: The Legend of Zelda Box Set (Paperback)
I have a confession to make: While I do enjoy watching anime both obscure and well-known, I've never read a manga before this box set by the duo group Akira Himekawa (I love comics, but that's quite different). I had to learn, from this box set, how to read Manga properly. That's how green I am when it comes to this form of decidedly niche entertainment. I do, however, love the Legend of Zelda. It is by far my favorite series in video gaming, a hobby I personally consider my favorite pastime. That said, when I saw samples of the Zelda manga online and the glowing reception it has received, I took the plunge and bought this box set. From the perspective of a devout Zelda fan, was it worth it? Oh yes, it most certainly was. This is an exceptional rendition of eight different Zelda classics (plus some extra/bonus content), to be sure.

Obviously whenever you try to convert a story between two different forms of media as vastly different as video games and manga, there will be liberties taken with the stories. Temples/dungeon will obviously be shortened and narrative complexities will be added to make reading the story more relatable and compelling. There are details and events added that never existed in the games, and there are details or events in the game that are completely left out or remixed and tweaked for the mangas. Generally speaking, think less action, more exposition, and you've got a general idea of what to expect here. Again, I am a Zelda fanatic, and I did not mind these changes one bit. On the contrary, as the differences between these mangas and the games make for very compelling ideas and concepts that can add depth to stories you may have thought you knew everything about. Really great work here.

It's not just details or events in the stories that have been changed. The characters all have more explored personalities and the relationships between them is developed quite deeply. I really enjoyed this too. Nowhere is this more evident than in Link's character. No longer the silent protagonist, Link is a fully fledged character with a distinct personality, understandable motivation, and a voice! Just as the games make him a main character we rally behind, the tomes in this set make him a character we understand and root for. To translate that conveyance of great character, despite the radically different methods of connecting the audience to Link, is no small feat, but they did a great job here. What's even better is that every story has a Link that, while having similar core personalities, are quite different from each other. A Link to the Past's Link is quite different than Ocarina of Time's Link, for instance. The two-part volumes for Four Swords Adventures has four Links, and each of those are *greatly* different from each other, making for a seriously entertaining and fascinating story. Link's awesome characterization is one of the greatest strengths of this whole set. I love it!

The work done to translate these works into English was done exceptionally well. As I've already said, the dramatic aspects of these manga are great and the translation work was very well done, but so is the humor and none of it is lost in translation. Although I'm not used to the type of quirky nuances of manga in general, I am familiar with the sort of humor you would encounter in any silly, over-the-top anime. That said, I found myself chuckling quite frequently throughout reading the volumes and that was a positive aspect that I had not foreseen before buying the volumes. It's very quirky, to be sure, and some may be put off by it, but I found it to be incredibly endearing.

Lastly, there's the art. The visuals of the manga are, in short, spectacular. Character models and environments are drawn and shaded masterfully and, much like the writing, it not only captures the original focus and style of the game, but adds new depth and characterization to them as well. The duo of Akira Himekawa do have their own distinct art style, and it is beautiful. You can tell they poured their heart and soul into these works, and that they were constantly cognizant of the greatness of the original art design for the games. They emulate that style well, whether it is utilizing the "Toon" aesthetics from The Minish Cap or Phantom Hourglass, or whether it's the more mature style of Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask. Very well done overall, and the versatility on display here is fantastic.

So, as a die-hard Zelda veteran and a complete manga noob, I would heartily recommend these tomes. They're really exceptional, and have piqued my interest in a comic entertainment medium I had never really given the time of day before. You can really tell that, in every aspect, the authors/artists loved every second they spent crafting these stories, and that really makes these volumes a delight to take in. The writing and art is spectacular, Link's characterization is completely awesome, the translation work is fantastic, and overall, these mangas are just an absolute joy. It is worthy of the highest recommendation, with no hesitation. Buy it, take in the splendor of these tomes, and enjoy a new take on timeless tales of good prevailing over evil in the magical land of Hyrule.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 11, 2015, 9:41:38 PM PDT
Cindy says:
Relytia, you shine once again in this review. It's clear you truly love the Legend of Zelda and are an honest reviewer. That's why you made the top 1000. I completely agree with you here. No fan could possibly regret purchasing this box set. I find all of your reviews very easy to read and helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2015, 10:52:37 PM PDT
Relytia says:
Cindy, thank you so much for that incredibly kind comment. I've gotten so discouraged by the rampant negativity and hate on the internet over the past several months that it's stopped me from reviewing as much as I used to. Words like yours' are a real pick-me-up and remind me why I loved writing reviews in the first place, to engage with others and celebrate the things we like in common. Seriously, thank you. I'm really glad you enjoy my reviews. It means a lot. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2015, 12:01:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 13, 2015, 9:20:46 PM PDT
Cindy says:
Oh, it's no trouble. I'm glad I could make you feel better. Please don't be discouraged by any negativity you may get out there. Keep doing what you do, because you're good at it and there will always be people out there like me who can appreciate that. People like honest reviewers who they can trust to show them what products are worth their time. I haven't seen many people who go into as much detail as you do. On top of that, you're incredibly polite and courteous to everyone, which is a rare thing to find these days. You ought to be proud of your accomplishments here. You're in the top 1000 for a reason. I hope someday my reviews can be even half as helpful as yours have been for me.
P.S. Don't feel too bad about getting so much negativity; I believe i just met someone here on Amazon who doesn't like me much, either -- a reviewer by the name of S D. I left a comment on that reviewer's Twilight Princess (Wii) review, and I guess I offended that person somehow, even though I hadn't meant to. I was confused by S D's description of the gameplay. Anyway, I apologized, but I don't think I've been forgiven.
Anyways, sorry about the long message. Just saying, it happens to everybody, I guess.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2015, 9:24:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2015, 7:36:10 AM PDT
Cindy says:
Sorry about that super late reply, by the way.
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