When you’re done playing the game, then it’s time to go read the manga.
In FOUR SWORDS, Link finds himself broken into four different versions of himself – Green, Red, Blue and Violet Link – and pitted against a fifth, the malevolent Shadow Link who has kidnapped Princess Zelda. The Links must find the Four Sword, the only thing that can combine them so that they are strong enough to stop Shadow Link and save the princess – and the world!
A few months back, I was fortunate enough to review a Super Mario graphic novel called Super Mario Adventures. It was wacky, at times really goofy, but nonetheless visually pleasing and respectful to the source material. A high bar had been set for Nintendo material translated to graphic novel/manga form with SMA. So, this time around, the good folks at VIZ sent us The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords – Legendary Edition manga and boy is it an upgrade from Super Mario Adventures. A new bar has been set and let me tell you why.
First and foremost, the story included in the latest Legendary Edition of the VIZ Zelda series, a 10-volume manga series from Akira Himekawa, is faithful and respectful to the actual game’s storyline. In addition to being respectful, it actually adds a bit more depth and development to the main antagonist Vaati, who is an evil spirit, giving him some much needed dastardly dialogue to drive home the point of how evil he truly is in the storyline. Seeing the story unfold in manga style with a touch of kid-friendly Nintendo sprinkled into the mix makes this story of the Four Swords a little bit more meaningful and epic in comparison to the game (I know, blasphemy, but you’ll be okay). To help give you the entire story properly, the manga actually breaks it up in short chapters, I would imagine to keep the attention span of children intact, and keeps the action rolling from start to finish. You’ll feel like you’ve gone on an adventure by the time you reach the conclusion. In short, the story is good, the characters are well-developed and you’ll feel like you’re going on an epic journey.
Story aside, the overall visual appeal to this manga is beyond impressive. The book is stylishly put together with a solid amount of influence from the Zelda series. It looks like a book you would find in a Zelda game somewhere (update your Breath of the Wild game, Nintendo, and put this in there). On top of the outside looks, the inside is a small amount of color pages to start the manga off and then blends into black and white pages the rest of the way. The color certainly captures your senses and gets you into the world for the rest of the ride. It looks quite stunning to tell you the truth. The art inside is also quite good, but you should expect no less from Akira Himekawa, whose works include an Astro Boy manga (you have to be good to do that series).
As for the price, I was assuming that this type of quality, story and style, would come at a premium, but it honestly doesn’t. You’re able to pick this manga up for around $17.99 (US), which isn’t bad at all. I thought it would be in the $30-40 range, but thankfully it is not. It would be a tough sale above $25, in my opinion. As it stands, it’s a solid price for a great piece of material.
Overall, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords is top-notch in terms of story, quality and style. VIZ certainly has a home run on its hands for any Zelda fans that want to put down their controller briefly, but still reside in Link’s wonderful world.