The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series

Legend of Zelda Animated Series Cover

The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series is a 13 episode series that aired along with the Super Mario Bros. Super Show back in 1989. It features everyone's favorite skirt wearing hero, Link, and his chaste damsel, Princess Zelda. Don't forget about Ganon, Link's archnemesis and ever-persistent bad-guy-with-a-losing-plan. Throw in the Triforce, the Master Sword, and tons of swashbuckling adventures, this is probably the Legend of Zelda you know and love, right?

Well, maybe not. Remember, this was 1989, the mysterious time between The Adventures of Link and A Link to the Past. The characters were about 20 pixels high on the screen and the only real art we had from them was in the instruction booklets, not much to go on for an animation team to create a whole cartoon around. So Link really does look like he's wearing a skirt, Zelda looks like a twig at six feet tall and 100 pounds, while Ganon is sporting his classic pig design. A similar predicament faced the art team of the Panasonic CD-I Zelda games (yeah, those). There's a great interview over at Hardcore Gaming 101 detailing some of these problems.

So nothing formal here, let's just discuss some of the things I noted while watching The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series. The show is available over Netflix Instant Watch, check it out!

Excuuuuse Me, Princess

It was required by Nintendo that Link say this at least three times an episode. Link and Zelda are constantly bantering when they're not making kissy face, and this is Link's one and only comeback for anything Zelda says. It's actually quite a bit entertaining because you're just waiting for the moment when Link will say it. It's typically so utterly predictable that you'll be saying it along with him. So predictable the entire series actually ends on the line.

Make sure you watch the complete Excuse Me, Princess video, it features every single obnoxious instance of it.

Legend Of Zelda Animated Series Link Smirk

How about a kiss?

In a surprise turn of cartoon events, Link and Zelda are actually into each other. I was expecting Link to be all over Zelda but then the princess would constantly rebuff him because she believes she's too good for him. Turns out two teenagers living under the same (castle) roof will not have a problem sneaking into each other's rooms late at night. Link and Zelda (especially) are portrayed as such saints in the game, it's nice to have a change of pace in the cartoon. Of course, right before they kiss... danger comes!

Swords are for swinging, right?

Link goes about six or seven straight episodes without ever swinging his sword, instead, he shoots lasers out of the tip. Zelda fans will of course know that when Link has full hearts he can shoot bolts out of his Master Sword, but why do it all the time? Shooting pink laser bolts out of your sword doesn't exactly scream hero. Link will often be in slashing range of a Moblin and then do a dramatic backflip so he can shoot them.

Legend Of Zelda Animated Series Frog Link Mummy

Two out of three ain't bad

Legend of Zelda's Triforce is made up of three pieces: Wisdom, Power, and Courage, held by Zelda, Ganon, and Link respectively. In the games and cartoon, Ganon is typically trying to get the other pieces of the Triforce through force or trickery. The problem in the cartoon is that there is no Triforce of Courage! Wisdom is held in Hyrule castle and Power in Ganon's castle, but where the heck is Link's third? It's never mentioned. Chances are Link would never even need it though considering he's got that pink laser Master Sword at his belt, but still, it'd be nice to have a little game to cartoon consistency. Just a little?

Where are they now?

Jonathan Potts voiced Link back in 1989, it was one of his earliest roles and since has done a few movies but mostly television. Definitely his most interesting role was as Dean in the Jesse Ventura Story. I don't know who Dean is, but being in the wrestler-turned-governor biopic is pretty awesome. He was also in teen flicks Cruel Intentions 2 and Jason X, both times playing an educator. I wonder if he's worn brown tights and a skirt since 1989 though...?

Cynthia Preston was our first speaking Princess Zelda and has also done a ton of TV since. Curiously enough, she was in the Friday the 13th television series at the same time as The Legend of Zelda. I can't imagine that show would have been any good if it was like the films, but turns out it was more like The Twilight Zone... well, excuse me, Princess.

Len Carlson voiced Ganon and before he died in 2006, was in nearly every cartoon ever on television. Here's a small list, remember these are all animated series: Alf, Robocop, Police Academy, Beetlejuice, X-Men, Donkey Kong Country, and Garbage Pail Kids (which oddly enough was on in 2006). He also provided his voice for Street Fighter III, this guy did everything!

Legend Of Zelda Animated Series Ganon Triforce

Corny but fun

The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series is obviously aimed at kids, heck, it was aimed at us twenty years ago! The action is light, the bad guys are bumbling, and the heroes always prevail even if Link sometimes acts like an idiot. The catchphrases can be a bit grating if you're not able to enjoy them and to a younger Zelda fan, the characters would be nearly unrecognizable. But I enjoyed it, 13 episodes goes by quick and I honestly wish there were more. Watch it right now if you have Netflix Streaming, or find it on DVD somewhere. It'll be worth the admission for some classic laughs.

Legend Of Zelda Animated Series Link Spryte