Unfortunately, the Majora’s Mask Manga doesn’t quite reach those heights.
First things first- it does start out well. Instead of just jumping in and showing Link riding Epona through the woods near Termina, it has a lengthy chapter that explains more about what Link’s been doing after Ocarina of Time, where he comes to meet an old friend at a Training Ground. After that it finally goes in the direction where the game went, when he meets the Skullkid, gets turned into a Deku, and all that.
Things continue on well enough, with a fun visit to Clock Town, and an enjoyable chapter about his quest in the Southern Swamp. However, after that, things start to go down a completely different avenue.
You’ll notice that a lot of things seem very rushed, especially during the journeys in Snowhead, the Great Bay, and in Ikana. There’s little build-up to the climax, not enough character development, and just a lack of length to scenes that you’d think would be very important. The parts that really get the shaft are the battles with the bosses. Now, generally, fights in the Zelda Mangas have never exactly been lengthy, but in Majora’s Mask they’re lacking to the point of aggravating. Goht comes in for two pages at the most, Gyorg is shown only three times, and Twinmold does about one attack before it’s killed. The only section that doesn’t feel like you’re hurrying along is the one for the Southern Swamp. Even the final battle with Majora is horribly disappointing. Fierce Diety Link may look fantastic, but his duel with the Majora forms is not just brief, but also lacking any excitement.
It’s very apparent what the problem is; it’s trying to tell too much. The adventures that Link goes on in Majora’s Mask are rather in depth, and provide a lot of content, and yet the Manga attempts to put all of these events into seventeen page chapters. Seriously, that’s all that’s given to each part. Well, okay, the stories for Snowhead and the Great Bay are given one chapter each, Ikana gets about three pages. That’s right; Link doesn’t go through Ikana Valley, the Ikana Castle, or the Stone tower, it just skips right ahead to the middle of his battle with Twinmold. There’s too much in this story for only nine chapters to hold.
This lack of attention to the search for the Four Giants may be because of such added occurrences like the one from the beginning of the story, or that there’s an entire chapter devoted to the relationship of Anju and Kafei, and how they dealt with the Skull Kid. True, that’s definitely one of the greatest side-quests to ever be found in a Zelda game, and though it’s done well enough in the Manga, if it’s taking using up space that could’ve been used for longer, better action sequences or more focus on Link’s travels, it’s not a good thing.
Another aspect that may get on your nerves is that there really aren’t any main characters outside of Link, Tatl and the Happy Mask Salesman. Sure, Anju appears in two chapters, same with the Skullkid and Tael, Kafei’s around for a while towards the end, but none of them appear anywhere near often. This is excusable for a video game, that isn’t required to have a consistent and interesting cast, but for a Manga, it’s a big no-no. You simply cannot hope to carry a story as epic as Majora’s Mask on four or five prominent characters.
Despite all this, Majora’s Mask does have some good in it, especially in the artwork department. The story inside may be mediocre, but it’s a joy to look at, that’s for sure. It’s not a surprise, though, seeing as how it was made by the very talented artists that gave us Ocarina of Time. In fact, it might actually be even better than the Ocarina of Time’s imagery.
Similar to the Manga before it, Majora’s Mask brings a chapter-long episode after the story is concluded. This extra saga is a completely new and original tale that shows how the demonic mask was created. Though it’s not cannon, and is purely fan fiction, it’s a very intriguing myth. But it may not be for everyone, as it’s basically a very long conversation between a lone wanderer and a terrible beast. “All talk, no action” is the perfect way to describe it.
Majora’s Mask had big shoes to fill after the grand Manga that was the Ocarina of Time, but it had all the potential in the world to do it with the awesome story is possessed. Alas, things did not turn out that way. The beginning was good, but then it took a turn for the worst, with barely any quality battles, a limited company of characters, and far too many rushed scenes. It’s really a tough pill to swallow, because it had so much promise. But the fact remains, this is one of the weakest Zelda Mangas. If you’re a major fan of the game, or just a hardcore fan of the franchise in general, you may enjoy this, but be ready for disappointment.