Straight to the Point: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia is a must have piece of memorabilia for any collector. Bursting with information and beautiful concept art, this truly is where the legend begins.
Little over a year after its release in Japan to celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia has finally been made its way to our shores in a translated and quite simply stunning hardback edition. Eiji Aonuma, and co.’s beautiful collection of chronology, concept art and history of our favourite little Hylian protagonist is a must have for any true fan of the series.
On its UK release earlier this month, the Hyrule Historia managed to top Amazon’s Bestseller’s list and sold out from most major retailers in the first few days. Unfortunately for those fans who missed out when it was first released, its popularity means that the book has shot up from an average retail price of around £17.99 to £40+ on stores like Amazon and Play.com. That said, with over 200 pages of previously unseen content and an original 32-page comic from leading Zelda manga creators Akira Himekawa, it’s worth every penny.
25th Anniversary Artwork
It’s difficult to review the Hyrule Historia without descending into pure fan-girl gushing of ‘oh my days it’s so frickin’ awesome’ and rambling on for hours. So, I’ll try my very hardest, but seriously, it’s pretty darn swish. The main focus of the collection is ‘Creative Footprints’ which documents 25 years of beautiful concept art, as well as exploring the chronology and history of Hyrule and the actual games catalogue. ‘The History of Hyrule: A Chronology’ is particularly interesting and does a good job of explaining the timeline, although still leaving a few inconsistencies which the book doesn’t try to hide.
The book is loaded with magnificent examples of artwork and character development, and it’s a great bonus to have translated notes alongside some early sketches. The presentation of the entire book is superb; the front cover alone had me staring at and stroking it for a good while before I even opened it up. The written commentary from developers such as Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto is a great feature and it’s interesting to see how much character designs have changed and why.
Sneak Peek at Link’s Character Development
I’m a huge fan of The Legend of Zelda series, which is rather evident through my love for Link cosplay, handmade Hylian shield and life meter tattoo on my wrist. This means that it’s quite difficult to say anything negative about the Hyrule Historia. Especially after each page I turned was met with an awe-stricken look on my face and plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’. However, when reading the book I was a little disappointed that so much attention was given to the most recent release, Skyward Sword, the only game in the series that I am yet to play (due to my level of pure hatred for the Wii).
The original version of the book was released for the 25th anniversary of the Zelda series in Japan, around the same time as Skyward Sword. This means that almost a quarter of the book focuses on ‘The World of Skyward Sword’, with over sixty pages dedicated to the instalment in comparison to the few pages given to earlier games such as my all time favourite, Ocarina of Time. Saying that, the section does make me want to give the game a go. After all, Zelda is the only reason for anyone to buy a Wii anyway.
Old School Link
One of the things that I enjoyed most about the Hyrule Historia was the parting words from series director, design and producer Eiji Aonuma who also edited the original version of the book. Aonuma’s description of coming up with a new instalment in there series is that of a man who is truly passionate about what he’s creating. He describes the experience as ‘setting out on a voyage across the ocean in the distant past’ and ‘similar to seeking a new continent that no one on Earth has visited before’. This metaphor goes on for a good few paragraphs; from sea charts and shipwrecks to discovering a new world.
The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia is a definite must have for any collector or fan of the series. At the moment it’s quite pricey, but it really is such a huge book that’s bursting with information and stunning visuals. Whilst most of the focus is on newer instalments in the series and a huge amount of artwork rather than honouring older and more nostalgic titles, the Hyrule Historia most definitely has pride of place in my collection. It really is a great little treasure that we should thank Dark Horse for finally bringing over here, and no, you’re not touching it.
I'm an aspiring film journalist living in Chester. Into all kinds of geekery from N64 to Xbox, graphic novels, cosplay anime and more. I have an unhealthy obsession with Pokémon and the Legend of Zelda series. So much so that I have two Zelda tattoos and various Pokémon lurking all over my house. In my spare time when I'm not busy being a real person and working, I'm writing or making retro games jewellery. I'm also obsessed with pandas. They're fabulous.