Video game artwork and reference books are starting to become more commonplace in North America thanks to successes like Hyrule Historia and Mega Man: Official Complete Works, but Japan has enjoyed volumes similar to these for many years (as I'm sure you know, both of the aforementioned books began as Japanese exclusives). While titles from Japan's back catalog of books are making their way elsewhere, there are many other works that aren't so lucky. Consider Nintendo's 2002 creation, Zelda Box. Just as Hyrule Historia spends most of its content celebrating The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Zelda Box focuses on The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker with an exhaustive look at the concept designs and sketches produced during the development cycle along with related comments from the team behind the game. Random Nintendo has taken a look at this only-in-Japan production.
As its name implies, Zelda Box is more than just a book. It’s a whole box of goodies. Included in the package are two miniature figurines (one of Toon Link and one of a Moblin), as well as a twelve-track CD that offers music from throughout Zelda history. All of the music was hand-picked by Nintendo’s composers, with the likes of Koji Kondo explaining each selection within the main book. The first eight tracks are evenly split between music from the original Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask. The final four tracks focus solely on The Wind Waker with tunes that include the title theme, Outset Island’s main melody, and boss battle music.
I am overjoyed that books like Zelda Box are starting to appear in other territories, and while it's doubtful that we'll ever see Zelda Box here in the United States now that Hyrule Historia has arrived (despite some different content, they are very similar), you can still read some of it in English thanks to GlitterBerri's Game Translations. Especially interesting comments have been translated from Japanese and presented alongside the related images for your enjoyment. It's always fascinating to take a peek at what goes into creating a Legend of Zelda adventure, and considering how special Wind Waker was (and still is, really), a window into the making of the game is especially appreciated. And who knows? Considering that Wind Waker is headed back to stores later this year in high definition for the Wii U, perhaps some of this making-of material will resurface somewhere in an official capacity after all.