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Manga / The Legend of Zelda

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One of the earliest The Legend of Zelda manga released was The Legend of Zelda by Yuu Mishouzaki. It was loosely based on the original The Legend of Zelda game. It also had a sequel based on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

As the games were thin on plot and even thinner on lore, the manga had to make do with making up elements. This means that character designs, backstories, and personalities are not as how most Zelda fans know the characters. Still, the manga featured various elements from the games that are still used such as how all Zeldas are named "Zelda". They also contain elements that wouldn't be canonized in the games until years later, such as a tomboyish Zelda or a younger Impa.

The manga stars Link, a young half-elf and half-human orphan, as he rescues the princess Zelda and saves Hyrule from evil.

These manga contain examples of:

  • Action Girl:
    • Zelda (or rather, Little Zelda), at least up to her inevitable capture. Even then, she doesn't go down without a fight—she splits the Triforce of Wisdom in such a way that at least one piece gouges out Ganon's eye. Also, Kana the Elf (Link's aunt).
    • Zelda I even has shades of this, despite being a Posthumous Character. She was the first Zelda to have ever fought against Ganon in this continuity.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Impa is decades younger than she was in the source games.
    • Zelda herself is Hotter and Sexier.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zelda. She received quite a bit of Xenafication.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • Link in the original games was Hylian. Here he's only half-Hylian (or "elf", as they're called in this adaptation).
    • The Hyrulian royal family is glaringly human. In the games, being Hylian is a vital part of their lore (though this wouldn't be revealed until years after the manga came out).
  • Age Lift:
    • Zelda is a teenager rather than a child.
    • Impa is much younger than the Impa in the games at the time.
    • Link resembles the Kid Hero in the games, however he is actually chronologically older.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Both manga adaptations are considerably bloodier and gorier than the games they were based on, let alone any installment in The Legend of Zelda. Blood is often shown spraying from inflicted wounds, such as when Rune's face is cut open by a demon in the beginning of the Zelda I manga, demons are shown maiming and even eating people, and both people and demons are shown being wounded or killed in graphic ways. The manner in which Pell and Gray's parents died is especially horrific.
  • Canon Foreigner: Tons — Tia and her father, Pell, Gray and their grandfather, Kana the elf, Rune (the first Zelda's lover, Kana's brother, and later Link's father), and this version of the King of Hyrule.
  • Child of Forbidden Love: Link is the illegitimate child of the previous Queen Zelda with an elf. He was raised as an orphan because she was afraid her father and husband would kill Link due to their hatred of elves.
  • Early Adaptation Weirdness: The character designs are wildly different from any game version of the characters. Link is considerably less heroic than both in other adaptations and in the games, and doesn't don the green tunic and hat that would later become iconic to him (instead he wears overalls). Hylians are called "elves" and Link is a half-elf, and Link and Zelda are brother and sister.
  • Eye Scream: Quite a bit of it here. One notable example of this occurs when Zelda XVII uses the magic of the Triforce to cut open both of Ganon's eyes, blinding him. Later, when infuriated upon hearing of Link having killed the Goriya Bros, one of his scarred-over eyes reopen and reform, insides and all.
  • Fantastic Racism: The King of Hyrule (along with many Hylians) hates elves with the fury of a thousand suns. This is enough to keep Impa, Link's grandpa, and Kana from revealing Link's status as a prince to the kid, as the King would most likely have him executed or worse.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Link is half-elf and half-human.
  • Heroic Bastard: Link is born out of an affair by the previous Princess Zelda and Rune the elf warrior, the former being forced to have Link raised as an orphan out of fear her father and husband would have him killed, and Sir Jenard notes that the mere knowledge of there being another royal family member could cause political turmoil on its own.
  • Honor Before Reason: Tia's father refuses to allow Link to stay at the inn despite them being completely empty because of Link being a half-elf. Tia is furious at her father for turning him away just because of that.
  • King Bob the Nth:
    • The Zelda from the game is numbered as Zelda XVII in this manga. A Canon Foreigner created for this manga is her mother who would presumably be Zelda XVI.
    • Zelda I appears in the next volume as well.
  • Not Quite Dead: Rune is revealed to have survived being maimed by the demon and spent the next couple years slaying demons. However, he ultimately succumbs to those old injuries shortly after requesting for Sir Jenard to pass his sword down to his child with Zelda XVI.
  • Older Than They Look: Elves age slower than humans. Link looks twelve at oldest but is actually older than Zelda and is in fact her older half-brother.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted, there are two Princess Zeldas in this story: Princess Zelda XVI who later becomes queen and Princess Zelda XVII who is the daughter of Zelda XVI. It soon gets upgraded to three in the Adventure of Link. Zelda I is present and even converses with her descendant.
  • One-Winged Angel: Link's Shadow, who had been utterly mangled in the battle with Link and Zelda XVII, transforms into Ganon in the final chapter of the Adventure of Link, with the battle set in the depths of the Great Temple. This also covers Final Boss, New Dimension as the depths of the temple are actually the depths of Hell itself, resembling Hyrule but overrun by demons.
  • Papa Wolf: Deconstructed. When Zelda gets taken by Ganon, the king immediately has the army sent out to retrieve her from Death Mountain, despite Impa's attempts to dissuade him that they need to retrieve the Triforce first. Unfortunately, this action results in more than half of the army dying from the life draining spell and the demons, which only worsens the situation in Hyrule and means Link is the one that has to reunite the Triforce alone.
  • Parental Substitute: Link is raised by Impa in this story.
  • Rags to Royalty: Link is the Prince of Hyrule, and Zelda's half-brother.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Subverted. Link is royalty, however he is never shown learning this.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Link and Zelda are half-siblings when they have zero blood connection in the games. Zelda is actually aware of this relationship.
  • Ret-Canon:
    • Impa is in charge of Hyrule Castle's security as shown in the Adventure of Link, who are all ninjas. Come Ocarina Of Time, Impa is revealed to be from a tribe of ninjas, the Sheikah, which themselves finally appear inperson from Breath of the Wild onwards.
    • The Goryia Bros become official game canon via the Brothers Goryia in Oracle of Seasons.
    • Link's Shadow can wield a dark version of a previously seen weapon, much like Demise in Skyward Sword. In this case, Link's Shadow corrupts the White Sword into the Dark Sword, compared to Demise making use of Ghirahim as an anti-Master Sword.
    • Zelda XVII has green eyes, something the Zelda featured in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom would also have.
    • Ganon being an Eldritch Abomination would later be the basis for Calamity Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Likewise, the battle between him and Link in the Great Temple's Depths would also be the basis for thier fight in the Depths beneath Hyrule Caste during the events of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
  • Royalty Superpower: The Triforce of Wisdom is one passed down from mother to daughter. Link being the one chosen to reunite the Triforce of Wisdom and knowing where they are is suspected by Impa to be because he's also a prince by blood.
  • Rubber Man: Link's Shadow is shown to have the ability to stretch his arms. He's even able to stretch his lower jaw when he attempts to eat Kana.
  • Secret-Keeper: Only a handful of people are aware of Link actually being a prince of Hyrule through his mother, including Impa and Sir Jenard.
  • Secret Legacy: Link is never told his parentage.
  • Surprise Incest: Link has a crush on Zelda. Unknown to him, she's his half-sister.
  • Theme Naming: Kana and Rune are both names of non-Latin forms of writing (Japanese and Norse, respectively).
  • Tomboy Princess: Zelda in this adaptation is a tomboy, unlike her more feminine seeming game incarnation.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • Zelda is older than her game version, wears different clothes, has different hair, and is blond.
    • The Goriya Bros look more like Cell than they do canines.