Story & Art: Akira Himekawa
Translation: John Werry, Honyaku Center, Inc
English Adaptation: Steven “Stan!” Brown
Lettering: John Hunt
What They Say:
Link’s adventures across Hyrule introduce him to two powerful allies—the Oracle of Seasons and the Oracle of Ages—and pit him against a pair of nefarious villains—General Onox and the Sorceress of Shadows. To win they day he must journey from winter to summer and beyond the veil of time itself.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I’m in the awkward position where I have to review a Zelda manga having never completed a Zelda game or having had any nostalgia for the franchise in general. That said, I quite enjoyed this manga release, combining the Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages manga into a single volume, even without the strongest background in the series or its lore.
The volume starts off with Oracle of Seasons, painting Link as a very Luke Skywalker-esque hero that stumbles into adventure, but is also “the chosen one” due to his mysterious birthmark on his hand that just so happens to resemble a the series’ iconic Triforce. The setup is as hokey as it comes and for the most part the story as a whole plays things very straight. You’re soon introduced to Din, a beautiful dancer that’s part of a traveling troupe only to find out she’s the Oracle of Seasons. Once she’s captured by the evil General Onox, it’s up to the valiant Link to save the damsel in distress. The story would be as by the numbers as you’d think if it weren’t for its slight tweaks—mainly in its cast. After Din’s kidnapping, Link meets a talking kangaroo and a young witch. And while Maple the witch feels a bit more at-home with the, Ricky the kangaroo sticks out like a sore thumb. You could argue that such only better underlines their ragtag team dynamic, but it’s never played up as much as you’d expect it to be. Regardless, each character is instantly likeable, giving off the kind of charm that you’d expect from a Nintendo-originated story, and making up for the story’s occasionally stilted pacing.
Oracle of Ages definitely feels like manga artist/author Akira Himekawa was more comfortable adapting the source material, as things just flowed a lot smoother. This time around, the titular Oracle of Ages is less the damsel in distress and more the inciting incident that otherwise gets shelved for the rest of the story. And while that’s bad for her character, it does make the plot feel a lot more focused. With time-travel as the story’s central theme, it allows for a simple thread for each character to connect to, whether it be Link’s Hylean ancestor, or the Skeleton Captain with a lost love from years past. Each character does feel admittedly more bland compared to Oracle of Seasons, but at least has some kind of connection with time, making the story all the more enjoyable because of it.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages Legendary Edition feels like one of those old anime OVAs you’d find randomly at a videostore, and I mean that in the best way possible. While both stories clearly have to deal with adapting a larger story within the confines of a short manga, they at the least succeeded in maintaining the feel and charm of each character, giving that classic Nintendo charm and making for an adaptation that isn’t half bad.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: All Ages
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: January 10, 2017