The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past [manga review]

BreakingModern — Adapting videogames into other media is nothing new. There have been many books written about the Assassin’s Creed series, for example. And an anime was even created for one of my favorite Japanese games Samurai Warriors 4 (unfortunately it wasn’t very good because most of the plot was left out). There was even a full-color comic book adaption of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past that came out 20 years ago.

For those of you who have never heard of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the game was released in 1991 when the Zelda series was barely five years old. At the time, Japanese manga creator Shotaro Ishinomori decided to do a comic book based on the storyline of the game. The comic was originally released for an American audience back in 1992 in the pages of a magazine called Nintendo Power. And now VIZ Media has released an exciting new edition of the long-lost classic as part of its Perfect Square imprint.

If you’ve played the original game, you know there isn’t much of a story involved. It’s basically Link marching through dungeons and fighting various enemies. The comic, however, gives fans a compelling prequel to the game.

It opens with Link getting a telepathic message from Princess Zelda to rescue her. A wise sage then reveals to Link that he’s the legendary warrior that appears in Hyrule every hundred years. After the capture of Princess Zelda, Link goes to find the Master Sword and rescue the seven maidens in the dark world.


The comic essentially sets up The Legend of Zelda world, explaining the origins of Link’s relationship with Zelda and the rise of Ganon (or Ganondorf for those of you who know him from Super Smash Bros.). All of this is explained (somewhat) in the game. But the manga version gives Zelda fans an in-depth backstory to complement the main story.

I will say I’m not the most qualified to judge the quality of manga artistry. Although the art quality is quite nice, it reminds me a lot of the style of videogame graphics from the early 2000s. It very much does the game justice in terms of the way it portrays its characters. And with Ishinomori’s storied background (Cyborg 009 and Kamen Rider), I expected no less from him. If I had to describe the book as anything, I would call it a prequel to The Legend of Zelda series. And, as such, it’s a fun way for fans to pick up the details of the story without playing the actual game. Highly recommended.

For BMod, I’m Puching Zhang.

All Screenshots: Puching Zhang

Puching Zhang

Author: Puching Zhang

Based in Chicago, Puching Zhang covers the gaming beat for BreakingModern.

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