The Zelda manga series have always appealed to me, recreating the stories fans love with stunning art hand drawn by talented mangakas. But these manga adaptations consistently have the daunting task of trying to condense the epic scale story of a video game into a limited amount of pages, meaning that there are unfortunate cuts that have to be made for space.
For example, when I read that Romani and Cremia were excluded from the Majora’s Mask manga, I was rather disappointed by their exclusion, as their characters are not only counterparts to an individual Link greatly cares for, but they are the ones who look after the missing Epona before he is able to reunite with her. Cuts like that make me unsure of how well the Zelda series translates to a manga series, but luckily, I think Breath of the Wild has great qualities that make it a worthy manga series.
Breath of the Wild features a desolate, isolated landscape following the chaos of Calamity Ganon’s return one hundred years ago. Quiet, beautiful, and even haunting, this setting will force Link to face his demons, both physical and emotional. The manga would be able to capture the sweeping landscapes and dwell on those moments of solitude to create an uncomfortable feeling with the readers. These introspective scenes can be interwoven into the story and Link’s character development to reinforce the core themes of the story.
A Tighter Story
An adaptation of Breath of the Wild may not have the luxury of allowing Link to explore the world nearly as much as the video game would encourage, but the manga would have the benefit of keeping the story focused on Link and his journey to fix the mistakes of the past. I think the narrative could be even more compelling if it begins with Link’s near death experience protecting Zelda before skipping to when he wakes up one hundred years later.
A Small, but Meaningful Cast
Zelda manga adaptations have occasionally suffered from having too many characters to juggle, leading to some having to be excluded. With Breath of the Wild having a small core cast of characters however, the focus will stay primarily with Link throughout the story. In addition, the supporting cast will be able to fulfill their supporting roles more effectively, and their liveliness will contrast beautifully with the desolation of the setting.
Link’s Lost Memories
Link’s lost memories can be incorporated into the flow of the narrative to create an emotional core at the center of his journey to save the world. In the beginning after Link wakes up, I think it would be interesting for Link to doubt the role Zelda has entrusted to him. How can he know that he is the destined hero, when he knows so little about who he is? This dilemma could create a really interesting dynamic when presented with his memories and give him the resolve he needs to move forward.
Action Scenes will have Narrative Drama
Because of the game mechanics in Breath of the Wild, players have to be mindful of their inventory and weapons, as they can quickly break over the course of an intense battle. This would also apply to Link’s battles in a manga adaptation, where he would need to fight strategically and carefully against every enemy in order to be victorious. This humanizes him, painting him as a vulnerable warrior rather than a godlike, indestructible being. His survival is less guaranteed this way, and emphasizes the theme of survival that Breath of the Wild presents on so many different levels.
These are just some of the things that I think would make Breath of the Wild amazing in manga form. What do you think? Would you read a Breath of the Wild manga, and what would you expect to see in it?
Michaela El-Ters is an Original Content Editor at Zelda Informer. For more of her video game and manga musings, check out her blog.