WARNING: This review may contain spoilers
The Hyrule Historia was originally released 2011 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda franchise. However, the book was priced at over $100 and only available in Japanese. Regardless, every Legend of Zelda fan went nuts trying to get their hands of the first edition of this legendary book.
So when it was announced an English translation was going to be released, gamers raced to pre-order their copy of this high quality book, and I can tell you – it was definitely worth the wait.
Just over a week after its release in the USA, the long-awaited hardcover book became a New York Times No.1 bestseller. The 248-page book was co-published by Nintendo and Dark Horse Comics – it offers detailed fan translations, concept art and a full explanation of the history of Hyrule. After an amazing foreward by creator Shigeru Miyamoto, the book is split into four sections:
1. The Legend Begins: The World of Skyward Sword
2. The History of Hyrule: A Chronology
3. Creative Footprint: Documenting 25 Years of Artwork
4. The “first” Zelda adventure Manga
The first section “The Legend Begins: The World of Skyward Sword” delves into the creation of the latest Zelda game – Skyward Sword – and is devoted to showcasing the concept art and meaning behind each character, enemy and location within the game.
The pages are sprawled with detailed illustrations and accompanied by interesting snippets of commentary about the game and its characters.
The images are detailed and colourful – I was in awe of how much effort was placed into the development of every single character in the latest Zelda game (The concept art for Ghirahim is simply fantastic). I only wish that some of the drawings weren’t so small as it made it difficult to get a better look at the detailed character designs.
The second section “The History of Hyrule – A Chronology” is my favourite part in this book and a must-read for every die-hard Zelda fan.
This section is text-heavy but it finally explains the true chronology of the Legend of Zelda series. It clears up a lot of misconceptions about the history of Hyrule and reveals there is no end in sight for the successful gaming franchise.
This part of the book explains how games are linked and what events happened first. As you may know, Skyward Sword is the first Zelda story in the gaming timeline – but what happened next? You have to read the book to find out the answer!
The third section “Creative Footprints: Documenting 25 Years of Artwork” explores each Zelda game in order of their release. It focuses heavily on character and creature designs throughtout the years and the final pages compare the changes in character design of Link, Princess and Ganondorf over the last two decades.
The final section of the book is the most unforgettable – it reveals a new manga story from Akira Himekawa (who illustrated the other Legend of Zelda mangas) and is the “first” Zelda Adventure. It tells the story of the first hero of time and the goodess Hylia. It is printed in black and white and follows the traditional manga style – that’s right, be prepared to read it from right-to-left. The story reveals the origin of Link and is a perfect end to the book.
The Hyrule Historia was an absolute delight to read and has cleared up a lot of things about the Zelda franchise. The quality of the book is outstanding and the artwork is simply captivating.
Pick up your own copy for only $19.24 from Amazon.