WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords by Akira Himekawa (This covers all of the books/parts in the Four Swords part of the series.)
Type: Adventure, Shounen, Video Game
Basic Plot: A manga version of the video game. Link is a knight that has to rescue Hyrule from a bunch of dark creatures. To do this though he has to learn to work with others. After he takes the Four Sword to fight with, his personalities are in four different bodies and he has to adjust to working with people with different attitudes and personalities while trying to rescue the country.
Plot and Setup: 3½/5 Slightly Creative: Originally I thought this manga would not be very good because it was based off a video game. It ended up being a good action plot, though it seemed like things conveniently happened at times. It did have some unique plot twisters, but was an everyday action manga in a lot of ways. Monsters get loose, hero defeats them, and he learns a lesson about character. It was a very funny manga and I enjoyed Link’s four different personalities.
Graphics: 3/5 Average: The drawings were a more cartoon-like than manga should be, but it was manga-like enough to still be considered such. It was not given a lot of detail, but it was done well. I would almost prefer a manga lacking in the fancy drawings if the plain ones are done well to ones that are attempted fancy manga style and end up awful. I did notice that the author only put noses on the faces of the characters half the time in the first book and I personally found it weird.
Moral: 4/5 Good Application: In the manga, Link is a young knight that believes he needs help from no one. He ignores his authority and often goes off on his own to protect the people of the town. After he is in four pieces he has to learn to get along with others and that it is better to have others help you do your job. Also the other pieces of his personality come to terms with their own personality flaws: cowardliness, anger, and pride in one’s own smarts.
Overall: 3 ½/5 Slightly Above Average: I believe boys ten and older will probably enjoy it best. It has simple, yet pleasant graphics and a plot that most boys would find interesting.
Official Rating: A (For all ages, not adult!)
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Green Link is given a massage to help him forget about his mission. When Red Link is flying through the air he holds down his tunic and tells the readers not to look up it.
Violence: 3 ½/5 Moderately Violent: There are thirteen battle scenes in the two books. These battles are mainly sword fights with swords piercing monsters and breaking them apart, usually without blood. Blood shows up three times. Blood is on and around one person who appears to be dead, there is a little on one person’s hand, and there is some when a man stabs his own knee. After stabbing his knee he throws the knife into a monsters head, but there is no blood on the monster. There is a lot of violence because of the thirteen battles (sword going through a person’s middle, arrows shot in a monster’s eye, etc.), but there are almost no bloody scenes and it is usually not disturbing. For light violence, Blue Link smacks Red Link on the head a lot and pulls Green Links ear once. Red Link also burns Blue Link’s foot once. A princess smacks the hand of a monster away.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 A Little Misuse: “Geez” and “gee” are seen once each. When Violet Link gets his foot stepped on he spouts out a lot of symbols that are used to show his anger.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2 ½/5 A Few Disturbing Scenes: The manga is not emotional or intense, but several of the monsters deaths may be considered disturbing. I thought that the most disturbing violence was when a man stabbed his own knee and threw it into a monster’s head, causing the monster to rip itself out of its disguise. Some may find certain monsters creepy because of the way they are drawn at times, mainly key villains. Some may find the drawings of the children turned into toys in book one to be creepy. Book two has more blood and disturbing scenes than the first one does.
Religious Issues: 3/5 Suggestive Issues and Demons: The villains in the series are demons and one of the main ones says “Block out that cursed light from heaven!” There are mentions of a chapel and temples, all referring to pagan ones. One temple called the Temple of Darkness is referred to as “unholy.” Some plant things want to make a shrine to a villain called Ganon. There is a monster that eats people’s souls, and tries to eat Blue Link’s soul. The lower demons plan to sacrifice a princess to a higher one. It never happens.
Magic: 3/5 A Moderate Amount of Magic: A girl has visions. There are a lot of “magic” items such as “magical tower” and “magical plants” etc. Red Link gets a magic wand. There is a fairy that helps them and transports them to places. There is also a man who wants to be a fairy. Magic is used a lot by monsters as well. In the book the four Links must make their sword stronger by fighting and collecting “force gems.” This seems like a kind of magic. One of the main demons is also a “wind mage.” A lot of magic is done as a whole in the book, but for the most part it was just everyday video game magic.
Others: In the middle of one of their battles, Blue Link catches Red Link from falling on the ground. Red Link decides to call Blue Link “My blue hero!” while his eyes sparkle and Blue Link is clearly not appreciating it. Still happy in the next two panels, Red Link is trying to give Blue Link a hug and when they get captured by the monster’s arm/vine thing a tiny heart pops out after yelling the word “Nooo!” Near the end when Red Link is sad they have to be one Link, Blue Link tells him that there all going to be “joining together” and that he should be happy. Red Links response is to say “You mean……we can be together forever?!” while attempting to give Blue Link another hug, only to get the same reaction as earlier. I thought this might have been slightly hinted male… relationship if you understand where I am going, but Red Link may also be doing this because he represents the soft and emotional side of Link. In the series it is clear he is attracted at least one or two girls, as well.
Overall: 2½/5 Preteen Appropriate: The only things in the manga that are probably a big problem is the large amount of magic and some of the violence. It is not strongly recommended, especially if you have a low tolerance of magic. If a person were to read it, it is recommended for people twelve and older.
(This article has been slightly changed in an attempt of better wording and adding information.)