This 40-page one-shot based on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was written and illustrated by Toshihiro Ono, perhaps best known for creating the Electric Tale of Pikachu/Dengeki Pikachu manga (check out my supplemental scanlation here), as well as an adaptation of the first Pokemon movie. It’s actually his first ever published work! It was printed in Shogakukan’s Bessatsu Corocoro Comic No.44, Feb 1992, to promote the release of A Link to the Past.
The “Gaiden” name denotes a sidestory, which in this case takes the form of an interquel or a small unseen chapter of the story. The protagonist (named Quark in this story but it’s really just Link) has been through LttP’s intro sequence but hasn’t got any pendants yet, and meets a grizzled warrior and an argumentative fairy in the woods who teach him a lesson and help him take down one of Agahnim’s underlings (the beetle-like Graviton, who is unique to this story), to save the life of the ailing fairy queen. It introduces the young hero at a time when he’s inexperienced and headstrong, and sets up the true beginning of his quest for the Master Sword.
While the story is relatively straightforward, Ono’s art is full of life and character. There’s action, humour, and some very nicely drawn scenes that build on the world and the tension of the story. It also introduces a thematically important apple motif… perhaps the orchard in Akira Himekawa’s LttP manga adaptation is a reference to this?
The manga is to be read in typical Japanese right-to-left style, but with the help once again of Horseypope I’ve translated the Japanese script into English. I scanned this myself after importing the magazine issue, and it was cleaned very ably by the amazing Zelda archivist Melora of History of Hyrule.