On a quaint farm in the kingdom of Hyrule, young Link lives with his grandparents. His grandfather, a retired knight, is determined to teach Link the way of the sword. After all, the boy was born with a birthmark that looks like the sacred pyramid, the Triforce—clearly, he has a great destiny! Link goes to the city and takes the knight’s trial, but soon finds himself lost. He winds up in a temple decorated with a design that matches the Triforce mark on his hand. A voice speaks to him, commanding him to undertake a different kind of trial: the trial of the Triforce. Then a flash of light, and Link finds himself waking up somewhere very different.
Alone in a strange land, Link falls in with a troupe of traveling performers. He makes friends, and is especially enchanted by Din, their star dancer. But it all comes crashing down when they are attacked by the evil General Onox. The general wants to kidnap Din because she is actually a powerful being called the Oracle of Seasons. Link tries to defend Din, but is defeated. To save Link’s life, Din agrees to go with General Onox.
Link, of course, can’t let that stand. He sets out to rescue Din. Along the way, he gathers an assortment of allies: a boxing kangaroo, a talking baby chicken, and a mischievous witch. Armed with the Rod of Seasons, which lets him magically change the season at will, Link leads the way to victory against Onox. Onox, however, is just the pawn of a greater evil—an evil which is far from finished. Link is about to be pulled into a whole new adventure: time travel, skeleton pirates, and a possessed queen await. Can Link restore peace to the land and become the hero that Hyrule needs?
In addition to the brave, good-hearted, and sometimes goofy Link, both stories feature a rich cast of supporting characters. These characters enhance the story with their distinct personalities and even more distinct appearances—some are not even human. Like Link, they are easy to root for: while some may be stuck-up, excitable, sneaky, or otherwise flawed, they are all ultimately heroic. The stories are sweeping adventures with lots of action and humor. The battles are epic, full of magic and other special attacks, but without blood or gore. The villains are powerful and the stakes high. It’s sometimes actually believable that the bad guys could, if not win, perhaps kill some of our brave heroes. In the end, though, good triumphs and lives happily ever after.
These two stories are distinct but connected, much like the video games on which they are based. Each story has its own focus, with Link manipulating the seasons or traveling through time. The tone also varies slightly between the two: Oracle of Seasons is packed with strange and silly characters, while Oracle of Ages is slightly more serious. Still, the connections between them mean that both stories make more sense if read together, so pairing them up for this Legendary Edition makes perfect sense.
This edition comes with a fun extra: the short version of the Oracle of Seasons comic, serialized in a magazine back in 2001. With the whole story crammed into about twenty pages, this comic is very different from the regular version. And as the author’s note points out, it includes characters and items that don’t appear in the longer story.
Fans of the video games will enjoy revisiting their favorite characters—assuming the characters made the cut. The games were long and complex, so many elements were taken out in these adaptations. Still, the essence of the games comes across. And for readers new to the Legend of Zelda universe, the stories are readily-accessible, feel-good adventures. Just don’t worry too much about the unexplained presence of talking kangaroos or flying polar bears, and everything will be fine.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, Legendary Edition vol. 2
by Akira Himekawa
VIZ Media, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: All Ages