Nintendo boasts a slew of legendary titles, but very few hold the same weight as The Legend of Zelda. Zelda’s reputation increased when the first game was released in 1986. Although The Legend of Zelda is excellent as a PlayStation game icon, Legend of Zelda’s manga adaptations are also famous.
As the gameplay is stripped from the formula, Zelda inevitably sacrifices something; however, the franchise’s multiple manga versions help revisiting the series’ storyline to be more intriguing. Yet, not all adaptations are worth your time! In today’s article, I will rate 8 Legend of Zelda mangas from worst to best for your reference.
8 Legend Of Zelda Manga Adaptations From Worst To Best
Unlike other mangas (Attack On Titan, for example), where the manga is the source for anime and game adaptations, Legend of Zelda takes the opposite approach.
Indeed, since 1998, Akira Himekawa has been turning the Legend of Zelda video game franchise into mangas, beginning with The Legend of Zelda and moving on to Ocarina of Time, Majorca’s Mask, Phantom Hourglass, and Four Swords.
They are often faithful renditions with a few additional sequences and, of course, sleek manga artwork instead of the previous video games’ 8-bit graphics. In this section, I will rank 8 Legend of Zelda mangas from worst to best based on my own experience with them.
The Minish Cap
It’s a shame how crappy the manga version of The Minish Cap is. Although the gameplay itself is on the brighter side of Zelda’s storylines, it’s still a heartfelt story that doesn’t steer away from dealing with complicated matters like mortality.
Yet, the manga entirely thins out the Minish Cap’s rough edges, to the extent where Vaati manages to justify himself at the finale.
It’s pretty ridiculous how cheaply The Minish Cap is portrayed, and it’s the type of adaptation that will only fail supporters who love the game enough to look for a manga version. Thus, The Minish Cap has to be the worst Zelda manga ever for those reasons.
It’s surprising to see the adaptation of one of the best 3D games on Nintendo here. Indeed, the game itself has taken the whole world by storm, getting fans excited to see its adaptation then failing us all.
Since Majora’s Mask focuses mainly on Zelda’s inner soul, which is most closely linked to the gameplay format (re-experiencing the same 3 days repeatedly in a restricted, simulated environment), the manga inevitably lacks a lot of what makes the game exceptional in the manga making phase.
Indeed, it’s difficult to empathize with Termina when not directly controlling Link, notably because the manga can’t emphasize the detail that defines Majora’s Mask.
The outcome is a manga that rushes throughout the game’s 4 dungeons, struggling to take advantage of several phases and neglecting to highlight most of the side missions.
Note that Anju and Kafei’s side mission is still replicated, although not well, and the manga removes much of the conceptual and context depth that the game’s plot offered. Nevertheless, Majora’s Mask is still worthwhile to read, but only for curiosity.
Ocarina Of Time
Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are undoubtedly the top 3D Zelda video games; therefore, it’s a bummer both of their manga versions are so poor.
The Ocarina of Time manga can not and will not be as good as the video game version, but it does set a better example than Majora’s Mask, thanks to its faithfulness to the original content. For the most part.
What lets me down the most is that The Ocarina of Time manga ironically takes 3 chapters just to lay out the plot’s prologue before rushing through nearly every pivotal plot moment.
Moreover, Zelda is downgraded to a damsel in distress who doesn’t even get the opportunity to live as a Sheik, while the Water and Shadow Temples are only flashbacks. To be fair, Link himself is beautifully done, and the storyline is at least more logical than Majora’s Mask.
Triforce Of The Gods
Triforce of the Gods, a relatively loose version of A Link to the Past, gets great respect for recognizing its limitations as a rendition. It does not attempt to summarize A Link to the Past’s whole plot into 4 parts; instead, adding a new personality, Ghanti, and reframing Link and Agahnim’s bond as a driving factor.
Sad to say, 4 chapters are insufficient for a storyline situated in the universe of A Link to the Past.
Although Triforce of the Gods stands out on its own thanks to a semi-original narrative and innovative structuring, hardly any of the manga’s main topics seem well worked out, and Ghanti’s progress feels fake. Nevertheless, Triforce of the Gods, for the most part, is an intriguing twist on the Zelda manga format.
Phantom Hourglass is surprisingly the only Zelda videogame in the adult narrative to have a decent manga version, which is highly confusing given that The Wind Waker would become a nicer adaptation than most Zelda game titles.
Still, Phantom Hourglass adapts remarkably well to manga, accentuating the lovely universe at the core of the storyline.
Linebeck, for example, remains one of the best-written Zelda supporting characters, while Link’s portrayal in Phantom Hourglass is endearing. The manga does assume that the readers have already completed The Wind Waker, but this just serves to improve the overall story flow.
Unlike the title, this is not a manga version of Four Swords but instead its GameCube follow-up, Four Swords Journeys. Regardless, it’s entertaining and among the best Zelda mangas owing to somewhat delightful storytelling. In addition, each of the 4 Links has its own personality, and it’s never boring to see them interact with each other.
Four Swords undoubtedly picks up the comic tone as a manga. However, there’s still tremendous personality growth for Shadow Link of all individuals, and the manga’s extended length offers more than enough room to spread its wings. Four Swords is undoubtedly a brief adaptation, but it’s one of the most in-depth in the franchise.
Oracle Of Seasons & Ages
The Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages adaptations, like Four Swords, succeed in conveying thorough and detailed narratives.
Oracle of Seasons took place sequentially and does excellent work interpreting the game. Onox is, till now, the most horrifying of the manga antagonists, and both Oracle sequences do an outstanding job with character development.
Oracle of Ages starts immediately after Seasons and adopts its Linked Gameplay. Oracle of Ages builds on what happened in Oracle of Seasons, finishing with one of the best Zelda manga version endings, closing with Nayru finally getting to achieve at least something.
Even at their finest, hardly any of the Zelda mangas is memorable. They’re entertaining and quick readings, but they’re often short of actual content, even at their best. Excluding the Twilight Princess, this critique can be leveled against all manga adaptations of Legend Of Zelda.
Indeed, since Twilight Princess chose to go a longer and more detailed route, it offers comprehensive content. So, how long is Twilight Princess? Six volumes up till now, making it the longest Zelda manga adaptation up to this point.
Yet, instead of being lengthy, the version is truly fantastic. The manga is far edgier than the videogame, but the game title’s vibe is undoubtedly wholly expressed.
Battles aren’t granted much attention, but story development is, including some adaptational changes made to guarantee that Link and Midna are steadily developing throughout their adventure and as people. For such reasons, this Twilight Prince adaptation is a manga that all Zelda lovers should read.
Sneak Peek At The Legend Of Zelda Manga Box Set: What’s Inside?
As a Zelda fan (both the game and a few mangas), I’m truly excited to have The Legend of Zelda Manga box set on my hands.
True to the description, the Legendary Edition of The Legend of Zelda manga sequences, authored and painted by Akira Himekawa, stays nicely in the premium box set of unique hardback publications from VIZ Media.
This stunning and huge set includes Akira Himekawa’s 5 best-seller publications of The Legend of Zelda – Legendary Edition manga sequences and an exclusive original artwork made by Akira Himekawa that is not obtainable anywhere else.
In this manga set, you will discover the fight for Hyrule and the Sacred Realm as a teenage guy called Link attempts to vanquish wickedness on his prolonged, deadly adventure to discover the mystical gems that carry the secret to the Triforce and give them to Zelda, the ruler of Hyrule.
This is indeed a lovely collection when it comes to the look! The hardback covers are relatively simple, having a tiny cover picture of Link from the manga book back. I appreciate how the bright gold text on the outer contrasts and pops out against the vivid colors of the volumes.
It’s important to note the high quality and value of the books in this box set. The manga in this box is printed considerably bigger than those in the initial editions. In addition, the beautiful hardbacks are stitched and fastened rather than just adhered to the manga.
The paper quality of all the books is excellent since the mangas are printed on a sturdier material than typical books. The volumes also feature some gorgeous slick full-color pages at the start of the mangas.
The box has been one of my favorite parts of this special edition. I appreciate that the container for this set is a real treasure trove, much like the ones in the Legend of Zelda videogames. The treasure trove is even built with an actual lock.
The lock, on the other hand, might be challenging to unlock. As a result, it would be helpful if you were gentle when unlocking the box so that you did not break it. The most incredible thing about the treasure box is that when you unlock it, it sings the same song that appeared in the games.
How Old Is Zelda?
Because her aging has been stopped, she always seems to be 17 years old despite being actually 117 years old.
She kept Ganon imprisoned for about 100 years when the Great Calamity occurred, leaving her the oldest recorded existing character in Zelda, partly owing to not growing older at all for 100 years.
How Can I Pass Zelda’s Sign Of The Shadow Quest?
You’ll encounter Kaas playing his accordion at the highest part of the Gerudo roof. Talk to him, and he will hum the following song:
“As light shines from the northwest skies,
From the tower’s shadow, an arrow flies.
Pierce heaven’s light to reveal the prize.”
As Kaas chants, the set camera lens unveils your target: an overhang far under Gerudo watchtower. As shown in the image below, you may paraglide there.
Once you arrive, start a bonfire (using flint and wood), rest until it gets dark, and stand in line for the moonlight to cross with Gerudo tower. (We may also do it in the daytime, around 3 and 4 p.m., when the sun meets the watchtower.)
After you launch an arrow at the watchtower, the Sasa Kai shrine will come up from the earth, finishing the Sign of the Shadow shrine mission.
Has Twilight Princess Manga Ended?
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a long-spanning manga version that is coming to a close. The manga’s authors, an author and illustrator duo who have blended into a unified hivemind pen name titled Akira Himekawa, announced that they have completed a preview of the last chapter and are beginning to work on it.
色々な想い…— 姫川 明 原画展1/22〜4/10石ノ森萬画館開催中！ (@AkiraHimekawa) December 16, 2021
The ending will most likely recreate the game’s pivotal scenes, from the dramatic last combat with Ganondorf to the famous scene of his death and the unveiling of Midna’s actual form as she comes back to the Twilight Realm. Well, if you’ve finished the game, you already know what’s going to happen.
But that doesn’t mean it has nothing more to offer. Indeed, you can still discover extra events that didn’t appear in the gameplay, like Link’s in-depth portrayal and Midna’s personal story in the manga.
What Legend Of Zelda Manga Goes First?
Akira Himekawa’s manga studio has been making manga versions of The Legend of Zelda console titles in Japan since 1999, starting with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which Shogakukan initially released.
Akira now releases manga versions of over 8 Zelda titles (containing both Oracle titles), the most recent being The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
In Northern America, Viz Media is now the official publisher of English versions of Akira’s Zelda series, starting with their version of Ocarina of Time, which was released in Oct 2008.
Soleil Manga has been publishing a French version since July 2009. A Link to the Past was the first to be released, accompanied by Ocarina of Time 1 & 2. They officially converted the rest of Akira’s Zelda comics into French in 2010.
Akira’s manga, published in Japan from 1998 to 2009, was also translated into German by Tokyopop from 2009 to 2011. They sold over 3 million units of the first 10 tankobon editions globally.
After a 7-year break, Akira Himekawa revealed on their homepage and Nintendo’s Japanese Facebook account that a new manga was in the process, with an Aug 2015 launch date in Japan. The manga series was subsequently confirmed to be a version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess from February 2016 until January 2022.
Legend of Zelda is an icon in the PlayStation world – the game franchise got nominated and chosen as the best title anytime a new part is released. That being said, no wonder Legend of Zelda’s manga adaptations got that much attention.
However, as most adaptations are quick readings, a few mangas couldn’t deliver the essence of Zelda’s adventures, failing those who want to get to the core. Thus, I would only recommend Four Swords, Oracle Of The Seasons & Ages, and Twilight Princess.
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