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Interview Translation
by a friend of Adella for History of Hyrule.


Aonuma is a producer of Zelda

Nagano and Honda are the manga artists. They collaborate their work as Himekawa

A Fateful Encounter Led by Horses

Aonuma: I heard that you two like horses, but you don’t actually have real horses, do you?
Nagano: No, unfortunately we don’t (laugh). Of course we want to have them, though.
Aonuma: We don’t know much about horses. Our staff who is in charge of the horse system in the new Zelda is having hard time on expression of horses.
Nagano: The best way for you to learn horses is to ride on a horse. To tell you the truth, I have ridden on a horse. It’s very different from riding a vehicle such as a truck. You don’t experience it in your daily life.
Honda: We do too. We often go to a stable to ride on horses. They are of course trained.
Nagano: When Honda and I traveled to Mongolia, the nomadic people had us ride their horses. They brought us some of their horses and let us choose one of them. We stayed there for a week with the horse. I was able to ride it pretty good at the end.
Honda: My horse was a small one and I felt like I was riding a bicycle. I guess it fitted me very well.
Nagano: The horse I currently ride in Japan is bigger and I cannot handle him well. I cannot move my legs to control him (laugh). However, the smaller horses usually have a violent temper, you know? They are also hard to handle…
Aonuma: Did you like horses before knowing Zelda?
Honda: Yes, I did. When I first watch the TV commercial of “Ocarina of Time”, I was impressed to see Link was riding on a horse. I was also surprised that the animation in the game looked realistic. I have seen a lot of fantasy games, but this was the first one that a character rides on a horse so realistically. It is said that you are a good drawer if you can draw horses well. I think a game which can express the horseback riding very well is the genuine game (laugh).
Aonuma: Was the TV commercial your first time to see Zelda?
Honda: Yes, although I knew a name. When I saw the scene of Link’s horseback riding, I sensed that this would be my destiny. In fact, right after this, I got a call from an editorial office and asked to draw Zelda-related manga.


Ocarina of Time in manga


Aonuma: I hadn’t known Himekawa (Honda and Nagano’s pen name) until I read their manga of “Ocarina of Time”. I discussed with Shigeru Miyamoto, Zelda’s producer, that the Zelda’s manga should have the episodes which were not in the game. I was honestly surprised that you made more wonderful story than we expected.

Honda: We also thought that the manga should not be the same as the in-game story. We understood Nintendo’s request. It makes no fun when you draw a character beating monsters as he does in the game. There should be deeper storyline in manga.

Aonuma: Indeed. It doesn’t make sense that Link in manga always fight with monsters.

Honda: Of course Zelda is not just the game beating up monsters. I felt that his actions and behaviors had the humanism. We love him so much and that’s why our story became very interesting. We were also moved that you created this lovable character.

Aonuma: “Ocarina of Time” was my first 3D game I challenged in my life. There was a limit to express human feelings in 2D, but 3D can put so much more information into a character. We did many trials and errors to make human feelings for 3D characters.

Honda: thanks for your effort and we saw those characters were so real. We were impressed that you successfully created not only the characters and game system but also the whole environment!

Aonuma: we usually review the game levels and their environment partially in the middle of creating stage, but we don’t know how the entire game looks like until the end. With the limit of development schedule, we are usually unable to implement all idea into the game. I strongly think Himekawa reinforced it in the story.


Link is not Superman!


Aonuma: There are various tribes in Zelda, such as Goron people living in mountains, Zola in the water. I definitely thought that we needed another tribe, which can fly in “The Wind Waker” when we set its world in ocean. Its main role is to transport faster than human beings taking long time to move place to place. This idea reminded me Himekawa’s “Lolo of Watara tribe” and I really loved the story. It became different from the original story at the end, but Lito in “The Wind Waker” was affected by Lolo.
Honda: The story was our original, but to tell you the truth, it was affected by Zelda. We are sure that we would not be able to make Lolo without Zelda. When we created the extra episodes, we thought that a flying creature is the only character which has not been in the story yet.
Aonuma: Oh, it’s funny. We were thinking the same thing.
Nagano: When we considered the existing tribes’ abilities and residences, sky is the only place where no one lived in the world.
Honda: Besides, being able to fly is our dream, isn’t it?
Aonuma: Indeed. Some staff members in Nintendo also assert that Link should be able to fly, but I think it has to be remained as a “dream.” Don’t you think it would be better that there are some supportive characters who can do what Link cannot do? It makes the adventure more fun!
Nagano: I agree. If he has wings and can fly, it might spoil the game.
Aonuma: Exactly. Link is not Superman.
Honda & Nagano: That’s the point! (laugh)
Aonuma: if the player can do whatever he wants, the game wouldn’t be so fun. The most important thing is the balance between the reality (like you have to carry your belongings by yourself) and the fantasy (using magic and spells).
Honda: It’s the same when we create a story. Characters do not have everything at the beginning.
Aonuma: Another thing which I like in your manga is that Link speaks as players imagine how he speaks, although he does not say anything in the game.
Nagano: At the beginning, we were on a huge pressure because people might say “hey, this is not Link whom I am thinking!”
Aonuma: We have changed the image of Link in “Ocarina of Time” and I assume that it was a good timing for fans to accept him in manga.
Nagano: The latest episodes of “Triforce of the Gods” are also the pressure (laugh). You see, it’s the 2D game and players have their own Zelda world in their head, right? I’m sure that they create the 3D world by playing the 2D game. We had a hard time to express their images in manga.


Page 4


Aonuma: in the game of “Triforce of the Gods” characters seldom speak and it doesn’t have story either. I think fans want you to develop the story nicely based on its environment. I also look forward to reading your manga to get the hint for the next title (laugh).
Nagano: I am glad to hear that our story could help your ideas. We really want to take part in the development of Zelda games.
Aonuma: You surely help us. Our staff read your story during their break (laugh). The story in manga is very helpful. I like the episode of “Four Swords +”. It is totally different from the game. There are four Links and each has the different personality. They are drawn in black and white but I can recognize each of them very easily (laugh).
Nagano: It is possible only in manga. You can see the differences by characters’ expressions.


Honda: Ultimately speaking, I can say that Manga is symbols. Even if the lines are slightly different, you can recognize the characters easily as you see in the characters in “Four Swords.”
Nagano: It’s just one line but very interesting, isn’t it? I also think it goes well with the black and white.
Aonuma: It’s the same in games. We can express more on 3D than 2D, but it doesn’t always mean that 3D is better than 2D. You cannot tell which is better because both styles have their own advantages.
Honda: Have you ever taken a fad into a game?
Aonuma: I don’t pay attention to it so much. We should not follow the rage but take the stuff what we think it’s cool into the game. We do it on the games, and you do it on manga.
Himekawa: We do our best!


Visiting Himekawa Sensei's Work Studio

Zelda's Manga is born HERE!


We were surprised to see their neatly arranged office, where is located in a town for several minutes away from Nagoya by train


Himekawa’s workplace is in Aichi Prefecture
Their artworks are neatly organized in the workroom and reference room. “Zelda” of manga has been produced here. Honda with the curly long hair collaborates with Nagano with the short hair on manga as “Akira Himekawa.” They don’t work separately but get along together very well sitting side by side.


There is a huge amount of data in their office and it is really nicely put in order.


They have many interesting goods purchased in South East Asia and Europe. A lot of them are arranged horses, their most favorite animal. Others are also cute and their collection grows year by year. “Our feelings fit into what Nintendo wants to do,” Honda said, “as if our collections and works exist only for creating Zelda story.” Nagano said, “Yeah, exactly. We strongly thought it was our destiny (to create Zelda’s manga). This is indeed another homeland of Zelda.”

How to Create "Legend of Zelda" Manga


There are a lot of process to make an episode. We are going to show you how to make it step by step.


1. Meeting
The Nintendo staff members of Zelda team and Aonuma discuss the story and new characters. They exchange their own idea of images to reach the agreement.


[Himekawa’s image has to match with the Nintendo’s Zelda.]


2. First Draft
The first draft including the storyboard is created at this stage. They sometimes put only dialogue in it when they do not have time.


[Nagano mainly takes care of the dialogue. It takes for several days sometimes]


3. Editing
Since Himekawa’s workplace (Aichi Prefecture) and the publisher (Tokyo) are far away, they send the drafts via fax, and discuss the story on the phone. The editors give some idea or suggestions at this stage.


[If the editor doesn’t like the layout, they sometimes have to start it over.]


[At this stage, we are only in half of the entire work]


4. Second Draft
When the editor approves the first draft, they start drawing the characters and background with pencils. They sometimes change panels and layouts in order to keep the balance between the dialogue boxes.


[They are Honda’s tools. The feather broom sweeps the eraser dust.]


5. Final Draft
Finally the characters and background are refined with pens to be a final draft.


[The drafts are colored by Mac
The work of cover art or other color drafts are done by Mac. You can re-do them easily with it]


6. Finish
The finishing work is to paint the black part and paste the screen-tones. The dialogue is also typed and pasted to the draft.


[The finishing work is done by the assistants.]


Their life of “drawing dreams” surrounded by the animal arts.


Nagano told me, “She was able to draw deer without referring anything since she was a kid.” I was truly impressed when I saw Honda’s art works in her teen ages. There are so many horses, deer, dogs, alligators, tigers vividly drawn on her sketch books. “These are my diary”, Honda said, “For me, drawing animals can express my feeling of the day much better than writing and I can clearly remember what I thought those days by seeing them.” Actually Honda and Nagano’s first encounter was led by Shotaro Ishinomori’s “Cyborg 009.”




They loved this manga so much and got to know each other through the fan club. They created a manga together for dojin magazine and made their major debut after that. Nagano moved to Aichi prefecture from Tokyo and they have produced a lot of manga pieces together. They think it is very important to have other interests in order to create good manga. Therefore, they often watch movies and take trips. They have a lovely dog called “Sandi” and he is their precious partner. These are their lifestyle and they keep drawing “dreams” on paper for fans.


Honda A:

Birth Date: June 19

Favorites: Fruits, Godzilla, "Terminator"

Childhood: When she was a kid, she used to play with boys. She wanted to be an animator.


Nagano S:

Birth Date: May 5th

Favorites: Miso Soup

Childhood: She started to draw manga when she was 11 years old, Her dream was of course to be a Manga artist!


Webmaster End Notes: Melora here, I didn't place all the the text for the images in this document, they just don't make sense out of context.




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