WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1-2) by Akira Himekawa (A. Honda and S. Nagano)
Type: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Video Game
Basic Plot: Based off of the video game of the same name, the manga tells the story of a boy named Link, a child who discovers that he is the chosen Hero of Time. He travels his country fighting monsters and helping people.
Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story is the typical, exciting hero story. It is, in it’s purest form, a beautiful romantisation of the Zelda story, with mixtures of comedy and tragedy that were not in the original game. There was content added that was no in the game, as well as content that was removed. Usually I object to this unless it is really good, but I think what was changed added to the story and made it better rather than taking away. The only thing that would probably really upset hardcore, adult and older teenager fans is the removal of the Shadow Temple, which was no doubt removed because it was a very scary part of the game.
The most interesting part of the story is probably the characters. Though created to be good, they are in no way perfect, and much more flavor is given to them then the game could have allowed. They are not completely fleshed out, meaty characters, but they are more relatable than the video game.
Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: Unlike some of the other Zelda manga, which focuses on a cute, cartoon look, this manga had a more elegant, realistic look about it. While it definitely was not pure realism, the art was more finely detailed and dramatic than the books based off of older games. This being said, there were a few moments of derpy character appearances and chins and noses that were a bit too large and gangly.
Moral: 2½/5 Good, Not Always Clear Morals: No moral is explicitly expressed, but the constant themes of kindness and courage are seen. Though not perfect, the main character, Link, has an overall positive attitude and character traits, as well as matures in the two volumes. It is an old fashioned story that shows the good guy wins and the bad guy will eventually fall. Though shown in a dreamy, knights of the round table, sort of way, a story with a good role model and positive messages is much needed in today’s society. The only real negative side to it is that the moral is not explicit. It is suggested and a constantly hinted theme, though not completely spelled out or too obvious.
Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: Video gamers no doubt will appreciate this fantasy story. Even if someone has never played the games, I feel as long as they like fantasy or are in touch with their imaginative, childish side, they will enjoy it. I highly recommend it for Zelda fans ages ten and older, concerning quality.
Official Rating: A for All Ages
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Some Immodesty and Light Romance: There is a race of fish people that resembles undressed Barbie dolls. A few women wear outfits that show their torsos, shoulders, and occasionally some cleavage. A few of the woman’s clothing could be considered tight and form fitting, especially a character named Impa. One girl child wears shorts that show above the knee. A boy smacks his butt at some people to mock them. Once or twice a young boy flips over and you can see up his tunic. No inappropriate details are shown, as he is wearing tights/leggings. A little girl kisses a little boy on the cheek. A character teases a boy because of all the girls that like him, and one girl in particular seems to have a crush on him, later as an adult wanting to marry him. A girl holds onto a man as they fly through the air on a hookshot, before she wonders if he is her “prince.” She later decides this is not to be. A boy carries a girl, though at the time, the she is thought to be a boy. A boy says another boy was “always flirting with” a girl, though whether he really was or not is debatable.
Violence: 2/5 Frequent Light Violence: The theme of the book is a character going around and fighting monsters. There are fights using various weapons including arrows, bombs, darts, a hook shot, swords, a sling shot, and sticks. Monsters try to kill the protagonist, though rarely to graphically, by means of choking or rolling him over. A bird child pecks a man in the forehead and pulls on his ear. Humans are seen being attacked with swords, and one dies by the spear. Dragons blow fire at characters. Two boys get in at least two fights that include pushing and shoving. A man whips horses in a violent manner, and a girl complains that he will is “hurting” them. While there are two or three violent shot, for a graphic novel/manga, the violence is not too detailed, leaving out most of the gore and blood that would be there if it was realistic. More details on that are in Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content. Some of the violence in the series, including explosions, falling on someone, dropping a person out a window or into a river, and girls slapping a boy, are intended for humor.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5: “Geez” and “gee” are each used once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2½/5 Some Brief Disturbing Content: The antagonist turns into a giant pig monster, which may appear scary to young children. A giant fish swallows a boy in Pinocchio style. A boy kills a dragon that used to be his pet/friend, who cries and says the boy’s name when he dies. The dragon is beheaded, which is one of the goriest scenes in the series, though there is little blood and guts. Other characters are hit with weapons or get hit in the eye. A boy hits his head. Soldiers burn in a fire. Some monsters are seen dying and disappearing. There are four or five scenes with light blood near the end. Characters are seen bandaged and bruised. A skeleton’s floating head talks to a character once. Characters fight for practice and/or fun. Characters parents or parent figures frequently are killed, have died, or are threatened with death. The main character is frequently threatened with death and once or twice with being eaten, and once some characters worry that they and their children will starve to death. A castle collapses and almost kills some characters. Characters get caught in a sandstorm and briefly almost die. A girl is seen to have been tied up by a man. Some character’s destroyed home is seen, along with the characters lying injured on the ground. Little detail of injury is shown. A character is frozen in ice, though not killed. A tear drop decoration is used on some clothing. Some monsters, most of which are briefly seen, can be scary, such as ghosts or zombie like creatures, though they are not so realistic as to be scary to most older children. A baby cries as he and his mother flee a burning town. There is a mask that resembles a skull. There is a mountain named “Death Mountain.” A boy says a tree (which is animate) is “like dead.” A boy calls one of his sword “move[s]” “killer.” Characters cry sad and happy tears, though never very long. War is mentioned once.
Religious Issues: 2½/5 Mythology: An in story creation myth is told by some characters. It says that “three golden goddesses,” which are named, created the world, each adding a different trait. There is an artifact called the triforce, which is supposedly a gift from the gods that gives unlimited power to those that touch it. The triforce is a center piece of the story. A boy offers a fish to a fish people’s supposed spirit guardian, which is a giant fish. The fish responds by eating him. A boy has to collect three “spiritual stones” to enter “the sacred realm,” which is where the triforce is hidden. A boy finds five “sages” that are later called “gods” and are said to have “created Hyrule.” The antagonist is “banish[ed]… to the… netherworld.” A boy says he will send some monsters to “the underworld.” Some of the enemies in the story are ghost or zombie like creatures or phantoms. A character summons spirits, which look like wolves, to fight a boy. There is a rumor that a monster steals souls from people that go into the forest, and a poem is recited in first person about the monster wanting their souls. A character twice says they can literally feel “evil power” in the air. A character once says “Thank the gods!” A boy goes to some “Haunted Wastelands.” There he is attacked by phantoms that resembled things in his past.
Magic: 3/5 Some Magic Mostly Negative: A boy’s best friend and constant companion is a fairy. He is called a “fairy child.” Other characters have fairy friends. A bo uses a “fairy bow” which has no fairy things on it. A boy befriends a dragon, but later is forced to kill it. The main antagonist uses magic and is called a “sorcerer king” twice. Two villains are witches. They brainwash characters, and once says someone “will be easy to possess.” This consist of zapping people and giving directions as well putting mind controlling jewels in or on them. Later they use ice and fire magic to attack a boy. Monsters frequently have a fantasy appeal, including creatures such as dragons and a shadow doppelganger. Things such as a tornado and tree are called “magic” and “magical.” There is a little good magic and weapons, though almost all of the magic in the series is portrayed as evil.
Author’s notes mention “fantasy films” and “fantasy stories” once each.
Others: A girl disguises herself as a boy and is thought to be one until near the end of the series. A boy gets his ear pierced. Characters dance, and there is a monster called “flare dancers.”
Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: Parents who do not like any mention of false gods in their family’s entertainment will probably want to pass this one up. Though the worship of them is never seen or encouraged, the mythology in the series is frequently mentioned. Those that do not mind mythology and fantasy will no doubt not mind having the series. If that is the case, I would recommend the minimum age be eleven to twelve for violence.