The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

Alt title: Zelda no Densetsu: 4-tsu no Tsurugi +

Vol: 2; Ch: 12
2004 - 2005
3.983 out of 5 from 486 votes
Rank #4,451
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

Long ago, the evil sorcerer Gufuu kidnapped beautiful girls and covered Hyrule in darkness, until a heroic traveler appeared and defeated him, sealing him in a sword. The weapon now remains sealed, as drawing it would both release Gufuu and split the wielder into four. One day, Link went to visit Zelda in Hyrule castle and accompanied her to check the seal on the sword, when much to their surprise a shadowy version of Link appeared, whisking away Zelda in the process! Feeling as if he had no choice, Link drew the famed sword and both unleashed Gufuu and split into four identical Links. These four doppelgangers must now put aside their egos and work together to save Zelda and Hyrule once more!

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The idea of there being four Links is what initially interested me in reading this manga, and that aspect is also probably the most engaging plot device throughout. The differences in clothing color between the Links isn't shown in the black and white comic, so instead they differentiate them with their eyes and personalities. Blue is the angry one, Red is the soft-hearted one, Vio is the disdainful one, and Green is the righteous one. I assume that this aspect and the fact that the Links separate for a while is something unique to the manga and not found in the video game, but it works pretty well. Shadow Link is also a character in the story, and fe actually has some interesting development. I like the way the trees and houses and monsters were drawn, but I find the Links and other people to generally be too simplistic and chibified a lot of the time. The paneling is dynamic. Starting with around chapter 5, there started being some instances with unclear sequencing of events. Like, they jump around but don't show how things got to certain points or are just missing small details. And this really brought the enjoyment of this manga downhill for me. I first noticed it with the teleporting fairy. Since when could that fairy teleport? Also, I thought they were supposed to be saving the six maidens, but they kinda neglected to show that aspect. Yea, they show it in chapter three and then, I guess, it's implied that they ended up saving the other five at some point during the journey. But, I mean, would it really have been that hard to include a panel or two showing the maidens being saved, even if they were wanting to condense it into a montage? And the gathering of the Jewel Keys was likewise much shortened from what it was implied it was going to be (the third and fourth keys just drop in their laps). I realize that the manga is probably trying to avoid the repetition that could occur from transcribing a video game plot straight into manga form, but introducing a concept and then not following through on it is possibly a worse path to go down. Another game aspect that's included is the gathering of force gems. And I didn't really have a problem with that aspect, though I did find it a bit confusing in the last chapter when their swords become able to use the power of wind. This suggests that the force gems give them powers based on the monsters they defeated and not just generic powering up, but is that actually the case? And if it is the case, shouldn't this aspect have been shown far earlier in their adventure? I didn't care for the way that Gufuu was defeated, especially since the backstory specifically said that fe had previously been sealed away as the only way to defeat fem. So why were they able to defeat fem without sealing fem away this time around? And on the topic of disappointing defeats, the battle against Ganon was just horribly underwhelming. And the biggest dropped ball, the biggest mismanagement of the story, the biggest loose end of them all: Is Link going to hook up with Elne or not?!

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