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Manga / The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (2004)

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Kanzenban edition cover featuring both volumes.

The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords is an adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (the Viz translation uses the name Four Swords, however it's not an adaptation of that game).

Link is a promising young swordsman in the Kingdom of Hyrule, but refuses to work with older knights and fights by himself. When Princess Zelda is kidnapped by the demon Vaati and an evil version of himself, Link is forced to take the magical Four Sword and is split into four identical heroes. The dysfunctional groupmates compete against each other as well as their enemies as they work to save Zelda.

In 2017, the manga was rereleased in English as the Legendary Edition, featuring the entire manga, a new cover, and interviews.


This manga contains examples of:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Princess Zelda rules over her kingdom as a preteen. Also counts as Princesses Rule.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Shadow Link looks like a regular boy as opposed to the pitch black Living Shadow he was depicted as in the video game. According to his original character sketch, he was more similar to the game version at first.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Shadow Link actually redeems himself here. In the game, Shadow Link was a monster who was Made of Evil per Zelda's own words, and who used countless copies of himself from the Dark Mirror to cause trouble all across Hyrule until they were defeated once and for all by Link with Zelda's help. In the manga, Shadow Link redeems himself by smashing the Dark Mirror, an action that results in the defeat of Vaati, but also ends in his undoing too.
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  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Zelda's hair is a yellow blonde, unlike her strawberry blonde game counterpart.
  • Adaptation Expansion: We get separated personalities for the four Links, a characterization for Shadow Link, and some insight on everything that was going on, as well as proof that Zelda was mentally strong.
  • All There in the Manual: Why don't all four Link's colors match with the personalities associated with those colors? (Blue is normally a calm color, but Blue Link is anything but.) If you had read the author's note in the second volume Himekawa's Ocarina of Time manga (published 6 years before), you would know that the authors saw the computer-controlled Links of each color in Super Smash Bros. as behaving the way the same color Link does in their Four Swords manga.
    Note: Because of Ocarina, I wanted to have control of Link, so I bought Smash Bros. If you make all four characters Link and have a battle, it may just be my imagination, but Blue Link appears to be the most cruel, ruthless, and brutal. The next strongest one is the calm Purple Link. Next is the passionate Red Link. Hang in there, Green Link!
    • All in the Game: However, though it advertises itself as a manga for the remake, the plot point with the Maidens is only ever explored twice; we see them captured, they free two of them, and that's it. If it weren't for the game, no one would really know their use.
  • Alternative-Self Name-Change: Each of the Links are given names based on their tunics. They go by Green, Red, Blue, and Vio (short for Violet).
  • Ambiguously Human: Shadow Link plays this straighter than his game counterpart. Although takes the form of a healthy, flesh-and-blood copy of Link, he is referred to as a "phantom hero" created by Ganon. When he's feeling particularly angry, he sports fangs and claws.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Mildly. Blood appears in the manga but the original game features Bloodless Carnage.
  • Broken Aesop: Played for Laughs. Link learns the value of teamwork over the course of the story, but only amongst his doppelgängers. His final panel shows him leaving the Hylian knights in the dust to fight without them.
  • Canon Foreigner: Link's father. This is the only manga where Link's father is still alive. it's subverted with the reveal that he's actually the Green Knight miniboss from the game.
  • The Chessmaster: Subverted. Vio tries to be this by pretending to join Shadow Link and non-fatally taking out Green, and then getting Shadow to avoid going after the Links by suggesting that they can get worn down fighting Vaati and Ganon so that they can take over Hyrule after the fighting is over. He does all of this in the hopes that he can destroy the Dark Mirror and shut down Shadow's army. However, he gets caught anyway and has to be saved by the Links.
  • Chick Magnet: Link gets attention from Princess Zelda, the village girl Erune, and a Hylian woman he saves while fighting off pirates.
  • Child Soldiers: Link is of the "precocious type", being a knight at his very young age.
  • Cloning Blues: Brought up occasionally in the beginning, while the four Links are still getting used to working as a team. Blue takes the thought of being a copy the worst out of the four Links, insisting that he’s the only Link and that he doesn’t need the others.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Done with a twist, given that the illustrations are all black and white; the colored Links are identified by their color in name only and address each other as Green, Red, Blue, and Vio (short for Violet — the purple one). Also, a different texture is used for each Link's tunic. (For more on how to tell them apart, see Twin Desynch below.) In addition, there are differences in their eyes.
  • Creepy Doll: After being possessed, Erune's doll begins speaking and intimidates the girl before sending her to the Dark World.
  • Dark World: "The Dark World" is a twisted dimension that Shadow Link can teleport things and people to and from.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Shadow Link serves as The Heavy for most of the game, but the Links defeat him right before they move on to Vaati and Ganon.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: All four Links get distinct personalities.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: After regenerating from the Dark Mirror, the previously unstoppable Shadow Link is barely able to breathe and can't walk under his own power. When he sees Zelda staring at him, he screams at her that he won't accept her pity.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Red gets these after mistaking Green and Vio for dead. He snaps out of it when Blue saves him from a monster.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The personalities of the four Links are foreshadowed when the original Link appears in Chapter One. He singlehandedly defeats a team of pirates without fear (Green), blows off his father's insistence that he work with a team (Blue), has a tender moment with Zelda where he gives her a flower (Red), and hides from both Zelda and his father without either of them knowing at first that they have an eavesdropper (Vio).
  • Evil Twin:
    • Shadow Link, as in the game. Subverted when he pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Downplayed with Blue and Vio, who are functionally Jerkass Twins. Although on the side of good, they are pettier and smugger than either the original green Link or Red, and both need a bite of humble pie before they're truly on the level.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
    • Cynic —> Green Link
    • Realist —> Blue Link
    • Optimist —> Red Link
    • Apathetic —> Purple Link (Vio)
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine —> Green Link; according to Vio, Green is very focused, motivated and almost equally as stubborn as Blue (albeit, a bit nicer than him). His personality is supposed to be similar to the original Link's. He's courageous and determined, but can be prone to acting rash. He can be anxious and headstrong while Blue can be extremely arrogant and short-tempered which leads to arguments between the two. He nonetheless attains the role of leader (since he's wearing green) throughout the adventure and is very driven in rescuing Zelda from the clutches of evil.
    • Choleric —> Red Link; he's the compassionate, optimistic and childish Link who is usually meddling with Blue in terms of comic relief. He's shown to be very cheerful, excitable and highly emotional. Although he can be somewhat as stubborn as the other three, he's clearly the nicest out of the four Links and usually likes to look on the bright side of things. He hates seeing the other Links fight each other and will usually speak out and try to act as the mediator though he ends up dealing with Blue, who tends to bully him around. One clear trait of his is that he's very dependent on the other three and doesn't do too well by himself. He can easily end up feeling depressed and unsure of himself when he’s all alone. He's a warm and considerate person who's the perfect foil for Blue, who rejects the others with his harsh personality.
    • Supine —> Blue Link; he's the arrogant, brash and self-centered Link. Compared to the other Links, he's very short-tempered, impatient and argumentative. He and Red are usually the comic relief of the group in which he's antagonistic towards Red's happy-go-lucky personality and sometimes resorts to hitting him. He can be terribly single-minded and comes off as being insecure. He believes himself to be the original Link (despite not wearing green) and out of jealousy, questions Green's competency as a hero, gets easily flustered by Vio's condescending attitude, and constantly bullies Red. He further thinks he can do well by himself instead of cooperating with the others. Despite his rude behavior, he's deep down a loyal individual who deeply cares about the other three and is just as determined as Green in saving Zelda, along with the kingdom of Hyrule.
    • Melancholic —> Purple Link (Vio); he's the analytical, calm and thoughtful Link who plays a big role in the story because of the usage of his intellect to trick Shadow Link, learn about his weaknesses along with the grand scheme of everything, and try to put a stop to him by destroying the Mirror Of Darkness. While he can be very helpful and insightful, he can also be a tad bit condescending and arrogant. He is judgmental towards the other Links and enjoys keeping to himself instead of having to deal with constant fighting (mostly between Green and Blue). He's even manipulative when it comes to his interactions with Shadow Link and shown to be a bit of a bookworm.
  • Fake Defector: Vio pretends to join Shadow's side, hoping to find a way to disable his army from within.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Shadow gets a pep talk from Zelda after he regenerates from his fight with the Links, noting that he doesn't have to be so different from them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Shadow Link in the end during the fight with Vaati. While the four Links manage to hurt him, Vaati proves unstoppable while the Dark Mirror is around, which Shadow smashes even though it means he'll die along with him.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Link taking the Four Sword splitting him into four Links with their own personalities, and each of them having just as much of an ego as him.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: One of the sketches gives away that Tetra from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is Princess Zelda.
  • Literal Split Personality: Each Link supposedly represents a facet of Link's personality. In Vio's words, Green is focused and motivated, Blue is hotheaded and aggressive, Red is innocent and optimistic, and Vio is calm and collected.
  • Market-Based Title: This manga is an adaptation of Four Swords Adventures, but the Viz localization uses the title Four Swords which actually refers to a different game. In Japan, the title is Four Swords Plus which actually refers to the correct game.
  • Medium Awareness: Just one moment, after Red thaws out Blue with the Fire Rod - and scorches his rear:
    Fairy: You did that on purpose! You're as mean as Blue!
    Red: The readers expect me to get even... a little!
  • Missing Mom: Link's mother is never mentioned.
  • Neat Freak: Blue is revealed to be one in an omake. He can't sleep at night unless he knows his clothes are neatly folded before he goes to bed.
  • Ocular Gushers: After defrosting Blue, Red sheds so many tears that Blue uses an umbrella to shield himself.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Subverted, at least in part with Link. We never see his mother but we do see his father, who is one of the plot important knights of Hyrule!
    • Zelda's parents are presumed dead.
  • Punny Name: While Link's name is not meant to be a pun, it hasn't stopped the English translators of Four Swords from having some fun with it. Some examples:
    Shadow Link: There's a new Link in this chain!
    Vio (about to duel Green): Green is about to learn who the weak Link is.
  • Puppy Love:
    • Red crushes on a girl named Erune.
    • Link has some Ship Tease with Zelda..
  • Purple Is Powerful: Vio wears a purple outfit, is the smartest of the four, and is the only Link to decisively beat another Link in a fight.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Red is the most emotional and weak-willed of the four Links, and wears a pink undershirt to match, but he is still a swordsman who gets magical powers the others don’t have.
  • Rescue Romance: A Hylian girl falls for Link when he saves her from Jago's bandits, and cheers him on in the final panel. Link himself doesn't seem to notice her, however.
  • Screw Yourself: Played for Laughs when Red starts acting like he has a crush on Blue after he rescues him
  • Ship Tease: The re-fused Link walks away from the Four Sword hand in hand with Zelda. It's also very subtly implied that Zelda was a mitigating factor in Shadow's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Link resembles a younger version of his father with a lighter shade of hair.
  • Sword Fight: Green and Vio have a match while Vio is pretending to betray the group. While Green is able to get the upper hand at first, Vio manages to overpower him with a series of blows before non-lethally taking him out with a pommel strike.
  • Token Good Teammate: Although all four Links are heroes, they often bicker and quarrel with each other despite their mission. Red is the only one without any moral faults and the only one who never gets into fights with the others.
  • Twin Desynch:
    • Although he is meant to be a reflection/shadow of Link, Shadow looks very different from Link.
    • A non-evil-twin version of this is employed when Link later splits into four. You can tell each one apart by looking at their eyes, tunics and sleeves (a bit later), which are done differently:
      • Green has a light gray tunic with black sleeves, his eyes have two shiny spots, and he has prominent dark pupils and smaller white (or light grey) irises.
      • Red has a dark gray tunic with white sleeves, his eyes have one shiny spot (when he's not crying...), and his eyes are dark all over (like a puppy).
      • Blue has a gradient tunic with grey sleeves, two shiny spots in his eyes, and black pupils, smaller than Red's and Green's, with more of his white iris showing.
      • Vio has a dotted tunic (resembling TV static) with white sleeves, and depending on the scene, either one very small shiny spot in his eyes or none at all. In addition, his pupils are the smallest and sometimes even slit-like, and his white iris dominates the majority of his eyes.
  • Uncertain Doom: While Shadow Link dies near the end of the manga, one of the last panels shows Link’s shadow giving a thumbs up. It’s left unclear whether Shadow Link was revived somehow or if it is a new one.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Shadow gets this when Green, Blue, and Red rescue Vio and all four defeat his Hinox henchmen.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: The Links get weapons tailored to their characters.
    • Green is a Master Swordsman and continues to wield his sword as the leader of the four. Even when he gets a boomerang, he uses it as a complement to his blade.
    • The hot-blooded, violent Blue wields a hammer.
    • Red is childish and immature, but able to keep up with the other three. He transitions from a slingshot to a magic wand.
    • The cool and calculating Vio is an expert with the bow.
  • Years Too Early: Stone Arrghus makes this taunt, claiming that the Links are fighting him ten years too early to be a challenge.
  • Yellow/Purple Contrast:
    • Each of the four Links has blonde hair, while their counterpart Shadow Link has purple hair. The Links are heroic, if dysfunctional, while Shadow is a petty and destructive villain until Princess Zelda, who is also blonde, convinces him that Dark Is Not Evil.
    • Vio (the purple Link) has a purple tunic to contrast his hair, showing that he is simultaneously the most effective Link (The Smart Guy and the team's best swordsman) as well as The Millstone ( plots a Fake Defector plan without telling anyone else, fails to destroy the Dark Mirror, etc.).

Alternative Title(s): The Legend Of Zelda Four Swords, The Legend Of Zelda Four Swords Adventures