|The Legend of Zelda|
Title card for the animated series
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
The Legend of Zelda is a 1989 American animated series loosely based on the first and second The Legend of Zelda games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Each episode of Zelda followed the adventures of the hero Link and Princess Zelda as they defended the kingdom of Hyrule from the evil wizard Ganon. Most episodes consisted of Ganon (or his minions) either attempting to capture the Triforce of Wisdom from Zelda, kidnap Zelda herself, or use some other villainous scheme to conquer Hyrule. Link and Zelda are in some episodes assisted and accompanied by a fairy named Spryte. The episodes were each approximately fifteen minutes long, and were featured on Friday editions of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!.
A common running joke of the series was Link's repeated failure to convince Zelda that he deserved a kiss for his heroic deeds; whenever it seemed they were going to kiss, something bad would happen. This theme was most likely inspired by the final moments of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and may itself have influenced the popular belief that Link and Zelda are romantically involved, an idea hinted, although rarely, in the games themselves.
Zelda also had more of a protagonist role in the show than in the video games up to that point, where she had been simply the character the player must rescue. While Link did have to save Zelda in a few episodes, she mostly battled side by side with Link, often preferring a magic bow as her weapon of choice, forming arrows rendering a Quiver unnecessary. Some later games in the series continued the trend of making Zelda more of an ally to Link and hero in her own right. On at least one occasion in the show, she had to save him. Link usually met Zelda's obstinate rejection with his trademark sarcastic catchphrase, "Well/Hey! Excuuuuuse me, Princess!" which became popular in gamer culture of the period.
While direct referencing of the game is very loose, the series did feature a number of recognizable items and locations (such as Death Mountain) from the game. The seemingly impossible amount of items that Link and Zelda are able to carry is never directly explained in the games; the show's creators, however, came up with a relatively plausible solution. When not needed, the items they carry (shields, bows, bombs, etc.) are magically shrunk when the items are placed in pouches or pockets. This is usually accompanied by a sound-effect taken directly from the game. The show also featured a number of familiar monsters, including Keese, Ropes, Gohma, and Aquamentus. Rupees were still the currency of Hyrule, but in the show they were called Rubies.
The creators also developed a "non-violent" approach to Link and Zelda's battles with Ganon and his monsters: The monsters were kept within a giant magical container known as the "Evil Jar," released from it at Ganon's command. When a monster was hit by a weapon, like the bolts from Link's sword or Zelda's magic arrows, it wasn't killed but "zapped" back into the Evil Jar. Even Ganon himself could be zapped into the jar.
Only thirteen episodes of the cartoon were produced. The series was to be continued but was canceled along with The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. The series is still (as of 2009) one of only four productions in which Link talks, the other three being CD-i games, The Legend of Zelda manga, and The Wind Waker, in which Link says "Come on!" to get specific characters to follow him.
|1||"The Ringer"||September 8, 1989||101||Link laments his duty of guarding the Triforce of Wisdom as tiresome and boring with the only positive being able to keep company with Princess Zelda, whom is not likewise impressed with Link's personality. Ganon formulates a plan to distract the princess and Link during an open wizards competition in the castle and steal the Triforce of Wisdom. After realizing the ruse, the two put aside their differences and pursue Ganon.|
|2||"Cold Spells"||September 15, 1989||102||The first days of spring mark spring cleaning at Hyrule Castle, and Link fakes a cold to avoid chores. Ganon infiltrates the castle and, to create a distraction, covertly augments Spryte's magical powers as she too performs cleaning chores. Suddenly unable to control her magic, Ganon swipes the Triforce of Wisdom & escapes on beetle-back into the underworld. Spryte, feeling guilty, accompanies Link and Zelda as they pursue Ganon.|
|3||"The White Knight"||September 22, 1989||103||After a rather clumsy outing fighting off an ambush of monsters, Link feels left behind as Prince Facade from Arcadia saves the day and captures Princess Zelda's attention in the process. Ganon knows this new hero's weakness and seeks to exploit it, and Link's detachment, in another bid to seize the Triforce of Wisdom. This is the first appearance of a Crossbow in the series before appearing in the game Link's Crossbow Training.|
|4||"Kiss 'N Tell"||September 29, 1989||104||While riding, Princess Zelda happens upon a damsel in distress being harassed by the dragon Gleeok, but the damsel rebuffs Zelda's aid until a 'dashing hero' in Link shows up. Link dispatches the monster earning a kiss from the damsel, only to find she's a disguised Gibdo mummy whose kiss curses Link into a humanoid frog monster as part of Ganon's plan to incapacitate Link. Ganon splits the two of them and takes Zelda to the underworld while Link searches for a cure with Spryte.|
|5||"Sing for the Unicorn"||October 6, 1989||105||Link plans an attempt at romancing Zelda by swinging into her window from above by a rope (with some coaching from the King), but the attempt is interrupted as Ganon rides a mysterious flying unicorn over the castle and kidnaps the king for ransom. The duo set off to rescue him, and along the way, meet up with Sing, who is the true owner of the unicorn that Ganon stole. This is the first appearance of a Grappling Hook in the series before appearing in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
Note: This is one of the episodes in the series not to feature Spryte as the titular character, the others being "Underworld Connections", "A Hitch in the Works", and "The Moblins Are Revolting". But Spryte only made an appearance in the opening before the episode starts.
|6||"That Sinking Feeling"||October 13, 1989||106||In an attempt to romance Zelda, Link leads her to a secluded forest glade with a stream running nearby & a sculpture. Before the encounter advances too far, an entrance to the Underworld appears and Ganon's tektite ambush the couple. They defeat the monsters, and undeterred, Link attempts to resume their encounter when the sculpture nearby is inexplicably pulled straight into the ground leaving no hole and no trace. Zelda grows impatient with interruptions and decide to assault Ganon in the underworld, only to watch as the entire Hyrule Castle is also pulled underground just as they ride off.|
|7||"Doppelganger"||October 20, 1989||107||Ganon uses a magic mirror to create an evil clone of Zelda, while kidnapping the real Zelda. Evil Zelda fools Link into taking the Triforce to fight against Ganon, although she is really trying to take it to Ganon. Along the way, Link notices that this Zelda doesn't have a reflection, and realizes that something's not right. Meanwhile, the real Zelda manages to escape, and soon bumps into Link and the doppelganger. A fight breaks out, until both Zeldas fall into the mud, making it impossible for Link to tell them apart. Link suggests a kissing contest. One Zelda kisses Link, but the other doesn't, and Link immediately knows that she's the real one. He zaps away the clone, and he and the real Zelda escape.|
|8||"Underworld Connections"||October 27, 1989||108||Link displays somnambulism in the middle of the night and unconsciously sneaks toward Zelda's room. Zelda sees his approach and wakes him in time to see gargoyle-like Vires attack and try to steal the Triforce of Wisdom by blowing it into smaller pieces. With only a fragment of the Triforce still in their keep, the pair head to the underworld to recover them.|
|9||"Stinging a Stinger"||November 3, 1989||109||Link interrupts a highway bandit mugging a peddler on the path and to express his 'gratitude,' he gives a fantastic jeweled sword to Link and takes his old sword off his hands. After trying to use it in battle, it breaks, and Link realizes he'd been swindled as Ganon captures him and Zelda. The peddler attempts to sell the sword to Ganon only to be captured himself, and the three of them escape. Zelda asks the Triforce of Wisdom how to get Link's Kriss sword back, and the party sets up an ambush for Ganon as he comes after the Triforce.|
|10||"A Hitch in the Works"||November 10, 1989||110||With little activity from Ganon's minions, Link is assigned chores by the Princess. The castle handyman, Doof, magically animated a golem made of pots and a barrel to help with chores, but the self-admittedly poor magic user watches as it runs wild. Moblins attack and as Link fights them off, the golem falls on him and knocks him unconscious. When Zelda finds him 'napping' she doesn't believe his story. Link convinces Doof to make fake Moblins to attack Zelda and trick her into letting him out of chores, but she overhears his plan. When real moblins attack and confuse everyone, they kidnap the princess and take her to Ganon.|
|11||"Fairies in the Spring"||November 17, 1989||111||The king is having a water park constructed to help his subjects cool off in the summer heat, when water monsters attack the construction crew. Zelda and Link investigate, but are startled to find the water monster doesn't belong to Ganon. When the King arrives to check their progress and while inspecting the pools of the water park, another monster pulls him in and vanishes. The pair collect the Triforce of Wisdom and return to the waterpark to find the King and the source of the disturbances.|
|12||"The Missing Link"||November 24, 1989||112||Though Link's and Zelda's magical weapons can dispel Ganon's monsters back to the underworld, Ganon has a new wand that can do the same to regular people. Ganon assaults the castle, intent on capturing Zelda for ransom, but during the battle, Link is zapped instead. After Ganon escapes, Zelda realizes Link's body was captured, but Link's spirit remained with her. The two make their way to the underworld to recover his body. Oddly enough, this appears to later be referenced to in Spirit Tracks, only in reversal.|
|13||"The Moblins Are Revolting"||December 1, 1989||113||Ganon demonstrates a new wand that makes a bubble around its victim that can only be popped by the Triforce of Power. A moblin uses the wand and traps Ganon in a bubble and throws him down a bottomless pit. The moblin opens the evil jar and the monsters collectively decide to storm the castle of Hyrule, but are too incompetent to accomplish anything without Ganon's leadership.|
- Princess Zelda - Cyndy Preston
- Link - Jonathan Potts
- Ganon - Len Carlson
- Spryte - Paulina Gillis
- King Harkinian - Colin Fox
- In the episode "The Ringer", When Zelda tides a giant root while they try to stop Ganon that he stole the Triforce, Link says, "My kind of girl!", but he isn't moving his mouth.
- In the episode "Cold Spells", while Ganon summons the Lowder as he is standing close to the Evil Jar, and hops on the Lowder. But when he sent the Moby back to the Evil Jar, Ganon is still standing in the Evil Jar. Although at the next scene he's back on his Lowder again.
- In the episode "The White Knight", Zelda falls into a swamp of mud wearing an evening dress, instead of her usual attire. As Link walks towards her, it shows a shot of her from the back wearing her normal clothes. A few seconds later, she is back to wearing the dress again.
- In the episode "Doppelganger", Zelda and Link are chasing an evil double of Zelda created by Ganon who is wearing black. At one point, Link and Zelda, who at the time is wearing red attire, jump off a ledge. When they get up, the real Zelda is dressed in black.
- Interestingly, Link is right-handed, while Link generally portrayed as left-handed in the video games. The only exceptions are The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for Wii and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Admittedly, due to graphical limitations of the first two games, it was not widely known that Link was supposed to be left-handed, and most people who either did not read the manual for The Adventure of Link or did not take it as serious canon just assumed Link could be either. Hence it makes sense that the developers of the show assumed Link was right-handed since most people are.
- The Level 5 boss, Digdogger is the only boss that is never mentioned or seen in the series.
The series recieved overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics and fans and mixed reviews from other audiences. IGN rated the DVD release of The Legend of Zelda a 3.0, or "Awful", citing poor writing, repeated plots, and over the top acting. Link's catch phrase "Excuuuuuuse me, princess!" is a common in-joke used by video game players and is spoken by Link on 29 occasions throughout the 13 episodes.