Monday, July 24, 2017

Twilight Princess Manga, Parts 1 & 2

I got these last weekend and it's been a while, since I've read the other Zelda manga. It was in 2011, where I bought all ten previous books from the German publisher Tokyopop and it wasn't even on my radar that the first two Twilight Princess volumes were released in Germany already. But Tokyopop did a solid job at keeping it consistent with what I bought six years ago. Only the red unicorn icon (which stood for "fantasy") on the spine is now gone, which placed the author name and Triforce icon lower. The "Zelda" logo on the cover also doesn't have such a strong relief anymore, but otherwise it's quite uniform. I suppose that if you would buy reprints of the other Zelda manga today, they all would be completely consistent.

The content features the typical Akira Himekawa filigreed interpretation of a Zelda game, but it feels closer to the actual game than usual. The very beginning reminded me somewhat of A Link to the Past with an evil figure that resembled Agahnim and a story about the Light World and the Shadow World. Afterwards you are immediately introduced to the true Midna and you get a panel like this:

Shamed be he who thinks evil of it.

This certainly set the mood... And the manga even has a few brutal scenes, like Ilya being shot by an arrow and Link losing an arm, after it got cut off by King Bulblin. I don't remember the other Zelda manga being this dark and bloody. But the rating of the game was even, why the manga wasn't originally published in 2006, because the magazine containing the Zelda stories was aimed at grade schoolers (source). Now, ten years later Akira Himekawa returned to the task and apparently had more freedom with it.

What's also unusual is the length. All other Zelda manga by Akira Himekawa were concluded after one or two volumes. Volume 2 of Twilight Princess brings Link to the point, where he finds the first Fused Shadow. Volume 1 mostly focuses on Ordon Village, while Volume 2 is about Wolf Link meeting Midna and Zelda. At this rate it might take a couple more volumes to tell the story, where apparently four volumes are planned in total. But as already said, they are staying a little closer to the source material, save for the more graphic content.

Of course they don't have Link exploring dungeons (the Forest Temple mostly revolves around the cursed Ook and the monkey tribe) and Link talks like usual, where I found his character not as likeable in the beginning, because he only seemed to care about food and Rupees, while he then blames himself for all the misfortunes around him. They even gave him some weird backstory, where he originally came from a desert town that seemingly got destroyed, because he removed some sword from a rock, which wasn't the Master Sword, but connected to the Hero's Spirit...

There was a nice detail, where they had many souls of the soldiers in the canals below Hyrule Castle (Town). The GDC 2005 Trailer of the game did feature them there in high numbers also, but they weren't as present in the actual game.

Anyway, I'm curious to see, where this will be going. However, this might take a while, because Volume 3 so far is only available in Japan and Volume 4 isn't available yet at all.


wintercoast said...

The souls of the soldiers were the canals in the actual game!
They're encountered throughout the initial exploration of the canals after you free yourself from prison with the help of Midna - on your way to meeting Zelda the first time.

TourianTourist said...

Well, I didn't say that they weren't in the actual game, I said they weren't as present. If I remember correctly, there were only few of them. The trailer had them swarming all over the place, which is what I meant.

wintercoast said...

Ahhh, gotcha! Yeah, the trailer had like an army of lost souls down there. I figured it was a broad strokes thing though – hard to program in that many characters (to do it with Castle Town they had to remove the speaking flags on those characters).