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Entering the Ocarina of time: The latest Zelda exhibition in Kyoto

Entering the Ocarina of time: The latest Zelda exhibition in Kyoto

Attention all Zelda fans, the Kyoto Manga Museum (京都国際マンガミュージアム Kyōto Kokusai Manga Museum) is holding an exhibition of the original artworks of mangaka duo Himekawa Akira (姫川 明輝). These two ladies, known by their pen names Honda A. and Nagano S., have been commissioned by Nintendo themselves to create the official Zelda manga since 1999. That the exhibition is being held in Kyoto is not only because this is the location of the museum, but also because Kyoto City (京都市 Kyōto-shi) is the homebase of Nintendo’s headquarters. In contrast to the bigger gaming studios in Japan, Nintendo has stayed loyal to its roots and hasn’t moved their offices to Tokyo. Lucky for us Kansai fans, this gives us the chance to see Himekawa Akira’s amazing artwork up close.

 

(Image credit: Ilse Montald)


The exhibition consists of over 200 original works, including manga pages and colour illustrations. Sadly, photography was not allowed inside the exhibit but I can confidently say it’s worth a visit. The exhibit is included in the general admission fee for the museum, which is actually more like a manga library. There are free seats and all the manga you can see are yours to take off the shelves. Mangas are categorised by language, time period and popularity. Workshop tables can be found in various rooms where you can learn some manga techniques yourself. Very interesting was the exhibit with plaster casts of the drawing hands of famous mangaka from all over Japan.

 

(Image credit: Ilse Montald)

 

All the Zelda artworks are located on the second floor, where you are greeted by a giant poster with original artwork for the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Past this point, photography is not allowed due to copyright concerns. As you move forward, pages from The Ocarina Of Time appear on the walls as the iconic Zelda soundtrack can be heard in the background. Everything is displayed in chronological order, ending with their current serialisation of Twilight Princess. Up close, the art is stunning. You can see the original pencil marks, the comments from Nintendo officials and the attention to detail in even the smallest scenes. Don’t worry if your Japanese is not advanced as all the information is provided in both English and Japanese. The final part of the exhibition was most captivating, where they showcased larger detailed drawings of the final chapters of the Twilight Princess manga. Consider this a spoiler warning if you haven’t read the first volumes or played the game yet.

 

An original guidebook with artwork was created for the exhibition that you can buy in the gift shop, as well as a postcard with the image of the official exhibition poster. This small book is only in Japanese, so to fans who only speak English I would advise to buy the Hyrule Historia official Nintendo books instead. And of course, do support the official manga if it’s available in your area. You can start your Zelda-manga journey at the museum as the entrance fee is valid for the whole day and includes full use of the extensive library.



Kyoto International Manga Museum (京都国際マンガミュージアム)
Address: 452 Kinbuki-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 606-0846
Nearest station: Karasuma Oike Station (烏丸御池駅)
Access: 2-minute walk from station
Admission fee: ¥900 (Adults), ¥400 (High school and junior high students), ¥200 (elementary school students)
Opening hours: 10:30am–5:30pm (Last entry: 5pm)
(Closed every Tuesday, Wednesday and uniquely on 11 and 25 November 2021)
*Zelda Manga Exhibition is only available from 18 September 2021 until 26 December 2021

 

Header image credit: Ilse Montald & Tatyana Temirbulatova / Flickr

 

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