WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Legend of Zelda: Major’s Mask by Akira Himekawa
Type: Adventure, Video Game
Basic Plot: A sequel to Ocarina of Time, the manga tells the story of Link trying to find Navi, which leads to a completely new adventure.
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The authors admitted that the story is a little shorter and different than the video game for release reasons, but this does not take away from the beautiful short story. It is a little fast paced, but what is covered is emotional, sweet, and mysterious, if not a little creepy. It also includes a side story that matches the mysterious, detached themes seen in the manga.
Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The graphics are cartoon are almost identical to the ones in the Ocarina of Time manga series. They are proportional and detailed with some beautiful scenes and details, but are not so realistic as to take away from the simple video game aspect.
Moral: 2/5 Good and Bad Morals: The main moral and theme is the one of friendship. The antagonist learns not to get bitter over his friend’s leaving him, and that he should have more hope in them. There is also quite a lot of reliance on others in the relationships shown in the book. This moral was mostly good, as we should never get bitter and should stay hopeful. Some that are more pessimistic and realistic may look at it as too bright and cheerful, as we all know not everyone is a good person, but it does offer a good moral to the story. Though emphasized more than the other morals, this moral is not preachy in any way, just there.
The negative overtones are not as encouraged, but are still there. The main character “[They] were just being manipulated” to excuse one of the main antagonist actions. The antagonist also is attempted to be justified with a sad back story. Whether him being manipulated is true or not, it is clear that the antagonist got manipulated because he made bad choices, such as stealing and bullying. This is not discussed though, making the antagonist look like a victim rather than an irresponsible child. Another negative overtone is the encouragement to trust oneself, which is what Link is told to do by a character. This again is even briefer than the other moral, and seems to be slightly refuted with the amount of help he receives form others throughout the story. Again, none of these are explicit morals, but are negative overtones someone could find in the manga.
Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: Outside of the bland moral and fast pace, Majora’s Mask is a nice quality manga. It would be a nice addition to a Zelda collection or an entertaining read for a gamer, but might also make a nice gift for those outside the genre. I would recommend it for boys ten and older concerning quality.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Suggestive Themes: Certain giants are nose shaped creatures with a face, beard, and really long legs, that are not wearing anything. Nothing inappropriate is shown. A false god is shown wearing nothing but a loincloth, though his skin is decorated in a way that makes it not so noticeable. Several male characters are shirtless, some showing circles on the men’s chest. Some women’s clothing shows the stomach, shoulders, and part of the back.
A men and women that are engaged hug. Though they are both technically adults, the one was turned into a child physically by magic.
Violence: 2/5 Brief Light Violence: The protagonist kills several monsters, and fights people both with fists and swords. Pushing and punching is the main thing used outside of swords. A character is slapped several times. A character tries to smash someone with some wooden boxes, and it is hinted he has until it is revealed otherwise. A dog chases a character, and a character hits the dog with a pebble to chase him off. Some crows beat up a child. A giant character tries to stomp on other ones. Characters knock each other over and hit each other on the head, sometimes for the sake of humor.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/ 5 Brief Hinting: Symbols are once shown by themselves when a character is angry.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Scary Content: The ending of the story can be scary, with scary faces and monster forms attacking the protagonist. A character intends to blow up the world by crashing the moon into it, and nearly succeeds. He once appears to, but he is stopped. Before doing so he says, “You’re all dead.” A woman says “You’re hard to kill,” before trying to kill a character. A character dies after being knocked overboard and another’s death is shown. A character says an egg will die if it stays with some people. It is mentioned that a character died in the past. A boy nearly drowns in poisonous water. A man tries to burn several animals and a boy at the stake; he fails. It is mentioned that a monster threatened to eat a person. Some of the masks and the moon’s leering face may be a little scary, and once when a boy puts on a mask the eyes bug out scarily, though not as scary as the game. A horse bucks a character off. A ship is upset. A character remembers his friends leaving him and how he thought nobody loved him. Characters cry very briefly from sorrow and happiness. A monster bleeds a little at least once. Characters get bruises and bee stings. A character has a large scar on his stomach.
A monster says that he killed and ate people, and a slightly blurry picture of these people before they are harmed is shown. A monster dies from exhaustion.
Religious Issues: 3/5 Frequent Mythological Mentions and Involvement: A man calls himself a god, and the chapter he is in is called “Odolwa: God of Woodfall.” He attacks people and takes a girl, intending to make her a sacrifice, because he was not receiving enough “tribute.” A woman is called the “goddess of time” because her ocarina can turn back time. It is used for this. A girl says to call for a goddess. The protagonist puts on a mask and it is asked if he is a “fierce” and “wild deity.” The chapter this occurs in is called “Fierce Deity Link.” A protagonist briefly has a friendly conversation with a ghost, and a character beyond the grave tells the protagonist what to do. The protagonist asks for strength from a character beyond the grave, though the dead person does not respond to this. The protagonist wears masks containing the spirits of the deceased. When doing so, he can disguise as them. He says he will keep a mask for good luck. A mask is cursed and is said to have once been “sealed in darkness” because it was so evil. It is described as “demonic.” A woman tells a boy a legend of “god-like giants” that exists; these giants later appear and help save the town. Praying to “the gods” is mentioned once. A child is frequently called “little demon,” though whether he is a demon or not is debatable. If so, the word demon in Japan, the home of the manga, is used for monsters while the word devil is used for actual devils and Satan. A character says an egg talked to him and told him that there was danger. It is mentioned that Ganondorf was “sealed in darkness” before this manga happened. A temple to a false god is mentioned once.
A side story says a monster’s spirit is put into a mask. A monster says he can feel the “hopes and dreams of the… people [he has] eaten.” A character says he can “sense a powerful energy” in a land.
Magic: 3/5 Use of Magic: A fairy follows the protagonist around, and fairies are mentioned throughout the book. A character is looking for a fairy that was his friend. A character zaps another one with magic, and once a character uses electricity to fight that may or may not be magic.
Others: A man talks about having gone to a bar called the Milk Bar to drink, and it shows him wobbling and hiccuping. Later a character calls him a “drunken sot.” A monster dances to drum music, and characters can be briefly seen folk dancing. A man is in a band that has drums, though whether the music is rock or not is debatable. A man’s grave says, “Here lies a guitar hero.”
Overall: 3/5 Teenage Appropriate: There are lots of mentions of mythology as well as some scary content that children may not like. I would recommend that Christian parents firmly establish the difference between Christianity and other religions as well as the difference between reality and fiction before letting their children read this series. Some parents, especially those against magic and mythology in entertainment, will probably want to skip this.