Viz Media’s recent re-release of the manga adaptation of The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past by Shotaro Ishinomori is a true reminder of why the characters of the Zelda universe remain adored. The manga series was originally published in Nintendo Power Magazine in the ’90s, with an obvious nostalgic feel by the art and colors.
A Link To The Past returns fans to the origin of our hero Link, showing the iconic warrior before he embraced his adventurous destiny. Link is summoned by Princess Zelda, who is being held captive by the evil Anaghim. Link is initially characterized as a goofy/ditzy young man who, over time, begins to realize his real capabilities and trusts in his own survival skills.
Over the course of his quest, Link discovers the three amulets of virtue that bring out characteristics essential to Link’s transition to full-fledged heroic figure. I enjoyed noticing more than physical strength and bravery as important factors to being recognized as a hero, and Link could be referred to as a hero who differs from the typical protagonist mold. Zelda isn’t featured as prominently, but does receive a noteworthy moment towards the final battle that is deserved for the captive princess.
A Link To The Past introduces a very similar plot to the game of the same name, but does a slight retelling to accompany the original story while still providing fans with enough differences to keep their interests. The story successfully introduces a cast of supporting characters that make for a fun dynamic, with my favorites being Epheremelda and Zora, partners who are known to rebel the rule of Anaghim and Ganon (of the dark world). After Link’s journey seems to be nearing its conclusion, he will be thrown a wrench that hinders his missions, and eventually leads Link to wander the depths of the dark world.
Besides the fun, adventurous vibe the story carries, I enjoyed the depiction of the dark world the most. Being brought into a realm with a skull-shaped moon and purple sand might be considerably fun, until you factor in the many large creatures Link must go up against. At that point, the stakes are raised and a slew of new villainous beasts arrive to slow Link down or attempt to stop his goal of saving the princess. The writers additionally succeed alternating with the introduction of these new creatures that have different strengths, causing the story to only move forward, not just pushing one specific portion of the tale.
The story between Zelda and Link remains on the back-burner, however it is often reminded of their surprising connection. Just as you think the ending seems predictable, the actual conclusion leaves you with a surprise between the main characters that is realistic yet disheartening, but ultimately makes sense as the ending to a specific relationship. OverallA Link To The Past is a fun story that has the idealistic traits of a Zelda story, and successfully alternates between humor and seriousness, with an over-arching plot about growing up makes thisZelda tale a must have for fans, and a necessity for ’90s lovers like myself.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past is available May 5th by Viz Media. Make sure to pick up your copy when the classic tale is re-released in an exclusive bundle edition.
The artwork from A Link To The Past is provided by:
TM & C 2015 Nintendo.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST C 1993 ISHIMORI PRO/SHOGAKUKAN