Zelda no Densetsu: Skyward Sword was published in English by Dark Horse as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in their release of The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, an anniversary book published on January 29, 2013.
For almost 3 decades, the world of ‘The legend of Zelda’ has continued to astound us with not only great gameplay mechanics but with a setting so immersive and well thought out that to this day remains to be a pioneer figure in the video games industry. We are all aware of the hugely impounding popularity of the games, but how does the manga installment of skyward sword fair up to its game counterpart?
Unfortunately that last statement doesn’t hold, there is little comparison between this one shot and its game counterpart. Unlike the other mangas of Zelda that are a retelling of the games’ story,
this one shot tells a completely different story, it’s an expansion of the games’ prologue, telling the tale of the Goddess Hylia and her fight against the demon lord that threatens to obtain the triforce and throw Hylia into darkness. Key elements of the games and references are sprinkled throughout but the thing about this one shot is that it brings a lot more questions to the table than it cared to answer. This one shot not only serves as the games’ prequel but following the chronology of the universe, is currently the genesis tale of the Zelda world, and as such has quite the large pair of boots to fill.
The Goddess Hylia wielding the master sword is in search of a worthy person who can wield the sacred blade, she chooses a young hylian knight named Link, from there on things get…..weird. The length is immediately seen as the biggest problem and this is apparent all through as events unfold with such tumbling velocity that readers may not have a chance to catch a breath. More than once, plot devices are abruptly introduced without reason or meaning, while these events carry a bit of norm to any Zelda enthusiast, as a standalone title, the manner in which they are introduced is poor. The dialect the author chose to use for this may come off as a bit cheesy to some people.
This manga does fairly well in the art department, it looks good, pencil lines are nicely done and expressions on the faces are well depicted. Attention was also given to little details, be it the traditional clothing on link or the design on loftwings, and the demons are covered with a nice silhouette which really brought out their evidently nasty intentions.
If you’re only accustomed to Link’s grunts and shouts in the game, his characterization here may come off as unusual. Link is first introduced to us as the hero of the land who was falsely accused and locked up for 4 years, but released after evidence proving his innocence surfaced. Despite this incident which would have called for harbored feelings of aggravation which would in turn, turn to lust for retribution, didn’t pull through as Link here is presented as a patriot who gives all for blood and country despite whatever squabbles may have occurred in the past, this however didn’t satisfy the writers as they went further enough to introduce the ‘nakama’ tone into the mix of all this, and Link’s dialect didn’t help to alleviate his ailing image.
Average hours of gameplay for Zelda games: 40 hours, average length of Manga: 11 chapters. With these stats it’s easy to see that reproducing a new story from such a complex tale with a one-shot was a doomed endeavor from the get-go, however despite this one-shot’s shortcomings, diehard fans know that in whatever shape or form it comes in, any addition to the lore of the franchise opens up vast number of paths from which future installments can be built from.
When I first bought the Hyrule Historia book, I had no idea that there was a manga hidden in the back. Once I read it (after completing Skyward Sword, because this manga is a companion to read once you finish the game) I was surprised at how much I liked it.
The story is a prelude to the story of the video game, Skyward Sword, and it does a great job explaining the history of the goddess Hilya and the legendary hero Link (who every incarnation of Link and Zelda derive from in the series). It gives
a story to enjoy that ties into the game and gives a broader understanding of how the series started.
The art is beautiful and while it isn't similar to the style of any of the games, it is an interesting take on the series. The detail of the outfits and characters is top notch and extremely nice to look at.
Overall I feel like this manga lived up to the story it portrayed and is a great little one shot that any Zelda fan (who has already beaten Skyward Sword) would enjoy.