Monday, June 27, 2011

Ocarina of Time Manga

Why is it, that Ocarina of Time is usually called the best Zelda yet? Is it the gameplay? The story? The atmosphere? The music? The level of freedom? The world and dungeon design? The combination of all these factors? No, actually it's none of this... the true answer is, that this game is in the Harem genre. Every halfway attractive girl is a possible love interest for Link. Guys dig that anyway and female Zelda fans love to write kinky fan fictions, of how a certain relationship would have turned out. And there's something for everybody, the farmgirl next door, the dolled up blonde for those who like trouble, the never aging childhood friend for pedophiles, the fish girl for zoophiles and an entire tribe of hot Latina thieves for those who just can't get enough. That's the whole secret of Ocarina of Time!

Unfortunately the manga doesn't play out that card too well. Actually I would have thought that the whole love interest thing would be intensified, but girls like Malon or Ruto give up like after one panel. There isn't even anything going on between Link and Nabooru, who looks really cute in the manga, even though the game there originally played its "suggestive themes".

Well, I'm just kidding here. ... or am I? However, Ocarina of Time was Akira Himekawa's first Zelda manga and it is probably the most well known one in the series. But it's certainly not my favorite Zelda manga. The problem is, that the original game's plot is already quite good. You can amplify the story, add more details to it, but there's no real reason to change anything. But that's what Akira Himekawa did in a lot of occasions. Too many occasions.

Okay, there's some stuff to add more emotion to the story. For example Young Link buys Volvagia as a baby and they become friends, but then as an adult he has to fight the same dragon. Well, but does Link really have to connect with a dragon on an emotional level instead of being badass slaughtering the evil creature? On the one hand his relationship to girls like Malon or Nabooru isn't really developed - actually there's more going on in the game than here in the manga. But on the other hand he starts befrieding with man-eating dragons? What happend here?

And they changed so many things. The Shadow Temple or Bongo Bongo don't appear in the manga, but instead Link fights Shadow Link in Kakariko, who came out of the well. He also finds Epona in Kakariko and the whole story around the Lon Lon farm got changed to the worse. It all reminds you of the old Zelda cartoon, the Ganondorf's minions including Ingo report to the King of Darkness in his castle and of course he doesn't always like what he hears. Among those minions is Shiek, he works for Ganondorf now as a double agent and gets caught up between the fronts a lot. He then reveals his true identity to Link at the Spirit Temple, where they fight against Twinrova. Zelda has pretty much taken Nabooru's place there, except for the part, where she gets brain-washed and stuffed in a Iron Knuckle's armor. And Link never travels through time, he gets send back at the end, but he does never time travel on purpose. But why is he even called Hero of Time then? Because he likes to waste time fishing? (He actually does that in the manga, I'm not kidding!) Well, I could go on and on about the changes... after Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask Himekawa focused more on the handheld releases, the side projects. Games like Oracles or Four Swords don't have much story going on during the game, so it's easier to change and add stuff without destroying the original game's plot. I remember that I really liked the Oracles manga, when I read it about seven years ago. But I'll see if it lives up to my memories soon.

However, the second book got two extra chapters. The stories are terrible, yet those chapters are really interesting, because they somehow foreshadow and foretell stuff from upcoming games. Young Link's story focuses on his friendship with the Skull Kid and features a lot of masks. Okay, there's also the bad Bagu Tree, who is the Deku's Tree rival, and stuff, but overall it looks likes this is feels like a bridge to Majora's Mask. The manga was published in 2000, so it might not be all too surprising, that they added something like it. But it gets more interesting. In adult Link's side story, he meets the bird boy Roro from the Watarara, a tribe of bird people. He's the prince, but he has yet to grow his wings and face adulthood. Does this remind you of anything? Like for example the Rito and prince Komali in The Wind Waker? Well, the design of the Rito is far more developed and likeable, however, you have to pay your respect to Akira Himekawa for coming up with very similar ideas long before Nintendo. Aonuma even acknowledges this in an interview with Himekawa at the end of the A Link to the Past manga.

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