Sunday, July 24, 2022

Twilight Princess Manga, Vol. 5 & 6

photo of all ten volumes of the manga by Tokyopop

Well, since there currently aren't any news about Zelda, I decided to finally complete my collection of the Twilight Princess manga series, where by now ten volumes have been released. It really got up to ten, where Twilight Princess has as many volumes as all previous Zelda manga combined. And that's not even all of it, where the eleventh volume has yet to be released in English or German. Akira Himekawa really must have loved the setting. Anyway, I will still be going through this two volumes at a time, like I did before, because this feels like a good pace.

The fourth volume ended on a cliffhanger with Zant appearing at Lanayru Spring, which was a cool way of ending one of the books. The "Midna's Lament" part then led to the only appearance of Agitha in the manga so far, where her only purpose was to stir up the other townsfolk after seeing Wolf Link. Maybe she isn't as popular with the mangaka(s) as she was with Omega Force.

Otherwise the manga tries to create more connections between the characters, connections that weren't there in the game, e.g. Auru being Zelda's tutor. The biggest of these new connections is probably between Princess Zelda and Princess Midna, who were able to see and speak to each other as children through some magic well inside in Hyrule Castle, which let young Zelda see into the Twilight Realm.

So, Midna and Zelda are childhood friends in this, which feels weird at first, but you can't really blame Akira Himekawa for adding some more relations, because the Zelda in Twilight Princess didn't really have any. This was always an issue of the original game, where Zelda was only there for some cutscenes and the final battle. She always was one of the most dignified versions of the character and also very pretty, but the game just focused on Midna and her story, while it probably should have been a story about two princesses from different realms.

But their friendship in the manga didn't last long, because when Zelda gets spotted using the well, Auru commands it to be closed, because the Hylians see everything in the Twilight Realm as evil. The manga explores both sides of this whole Twilight Realm idea, where from the perspective of the Twili the people in the Light World are bad, because they use to discard anything unwanted into the Twilight Realm. In the game it was really just Ganondorf and this was only an act of desperation, where the Sages wanted to kill him with their sword first, but then had to resort to other means.

But in the manga they use the Mirror of Twilight as a tool of banishing people on a more regular basis, mainly to create some more conflict, where we even get to see the king and how he commands that Ganondorf is to be banned into the Twilight Realm. Hearing about all this, Link is questioning how the gods let Ganondorf have the power of the Triforce and not differentiate between good and evil. It just doesn't make any sense to him and he sounds somewhat entitled, like the Triforce is only something for "pure" people like Princess Zelda and himself.

At least what's identical to the game is that Wolf Link seems to be the only thing the townsfolk of Hyrule worry about. In the manga it's stated that the barrier around Hyrule Castle can only be seen from a close distance to give some sort of explanation, but it's still silly.

Skull Kid first fights Link in the manga, like he did in the game, but he then starts to recognize him as the hero and says that he has been waiting for him for a long time. That's another nice connection here, where hopefully the manga will acknowledge the Hero's Spirit as the Hero of Time later on.

The sixth volume has only two chapters, where the first focuses on Snowpeak. Ashei used to live at Snowpeak Castle, which makes sense following her little back story that se gives you in the game... And this leads to yet another dungeon duo, where Blizzeta summons two Darkhammers, so that both Ashei and Link get to fight with a ball & chain afterwards.

Actually, it would have made the resistance troupe a lot more interesting if they assisted you like that in the game, basically like Medli and Makar before in The Wind Waker. But since nobody was ever supposed to see how Link can transform into a wolf, this would have been more of a hindrance, which is even a dilemma for Link in the manga.

But I have to say that I like some of the ideas presented here. Usually, I'm not a big of fan of what the manga try to add to the story and that's still true with Twilight Princess for the most part, but some of this would have made an excellent addition to the game.

Another example is Dark Link. The manga explores the concept of how the Mirror of Twilight is corrupting people, like Yeta, a little more. Link gets thrown into this dark void, where he faces his own hubris, taking the form of Dark Link. It's a lot like in Hyrule Warriors, where Akira Himekawa was probably inspired by that game a bit, but the mirrored depiction of Link and Dark Link fighting is absolutely excellent.

And this would have made for a great idea in the game. Image that you get to fight Dark Link after reassembling the Mirror of Twilight at the Mirror Chamber, as one more challenge before you can finally go into the Twilight Realm. It would have been a lot more climactic. They even already had Dark Link in the game, but only for a cutscene... Speaking of, this memorable and very creepy scene, where Lanayru speaks about the Interlopers, sadly didn't make it into the manga. Too bad.

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