Sunday, July 31, 2022

Twilight Princess Manga, Vol. 9 & 10

The manga of Twilight Princess almost makes the story of the original game feel like some epic saga, where everything is coming together at the end. Volume 9 dives into the Twilight Realm and shows how Midna and Link fight against Zant. In the manga Zant wants Midna as his wife, which adds some weird undertone to it all, but isn't entirely out of character. The fight still plays out quite similar to the game, with Zant taking different forms and Midna using her powers against him at the end.

What's not in the game at all is Link's backstory, where he once lived in a city near the Arbiter's Grounds. There a sword rests, the "Gaurof Sword", which like the Master Sword could only be pulled by Link, which caused the entire city to disappear into the Twilight Realm. And there they are alive and well, waiting to be found in the second half of the ninth volume for some weird scenes.

It's honestly a lot of filler, where the only purpose is to show that the Twili can be also kindhearted, since they've provided the Hylians with supplies to survive. But the manga could have done without all of this and maybe even ended after ten volumes if it weren't for all the unnecessary additions.

Or it could have focused a little bit more on what was already there in the game. The manga creates new things, while the source material already had similar stuff to work with. For example Impaz and the Hidden Village don't appear in the manga at all, while there was this lost village and the girl in the seventh volume, which feels very similar in tone. I guess that a young girl was simply more interesting than some old woman, but this whole part around Ilia's plot was dropped entirely.

And even though Ilia has some nice additional moments, like the one where she shows some empathy towards King Bulblin in the eighth volume, the characters from Ordon don't really play any role any longer. Instead you have Link's new friends from that desert town that never existed... Well, they are there to fight at Hyrule Castle in the great finale, but there was already the Resistance for that.

But credit where credit is due: the manga really makes it feel like a great finale in its tenth volume. Ganondorf unleashes his army of darkness onto Hyrule, which puts all life at stake. In the game no one really cared what happened, since there was no imminent threat to the people of Hyrule, unlike in Majora's Mask for example. The manga changes this and it even gives a sense of desperation, because the force field around Hyrule Castle prevents the Resistance and the knights of Hyrule from achieving anything. It's only thanks to Midna that they can enter the castle, where they storm it with Link at the forefront. Absolutely epic. And it even manages to let Ashei look cool.

The manga also makes use of King Bulblin's change of heart in all of this, where here he follows the strongest in action, not just in words. It's written quite well and proves that Akira Himekawa can make the most out of what the game has to offer. If they had focused more on that instead of adding whole new plotlines and characters, then the manga would have been much better.

Well, it all ends right in the middle of the final battle, so there is one more volume to go. This hasn't been released in Germany yet, so I will have to wait a couple of months for the conclusion.

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