Excuuuuuse ME, Zelda fans!

These days it’s all the rage to rail against ye ol’ The Legend of Zelda cartoon series for cheap jokes. However, to those of us who were young children and had only a total of two Zelda games with which to compare it, rather than something to be despised, the 15 minute Zelda cartoon was something to be looked forward to each Friday. It was a part of what made Zelda “Zelda” for us back then.

More musings after the jump.

THIS is the Triforce of Wisdom, Link!

For those being introduced the 1989 cartoon series after the fact, with more released Zelda games played and thus a more defined notion of what is “Zelda” the cartoon would certainly seem a cheap imitation. It is true that the cartoon committed many grave errors, with everything from poor animation, poor characterization, poor writing and everything in between–save the music, which was actually amazingly good! They even changed important, established aspects such as the Triforces of Wisdom and Power from golden triangular prisms to green and red tetrahedrons, respectively.

The original Epona?

That being said, Nintendodojo just posted an article on what they would like from a future hypothetical cartoon series using the 1989 show as model for what-not-to-do. And while their list makes a great deal of sense and certainly would make for a wonderful Zelda cartoon experience, they seem to be missing a key point: the 1989 cartoon was geared to very young children; the hypothetical show they are proposing is instead geared to an older audience. Many of the things they point to in the old series works for a show aimed at children of that young age bracket, and their suggestions for improvement would hinder such a program. A cartoon series built for young children is inherently vastly different than one designed for teens and preteens. It seems a bit silly comparing a hypothetical apple to a very real orange.

A legend better retold.

Regardless, with this in mind, it does make for a thought-provoking read. And if you are at all like me, it will lead you to daydreaming about your own ideal Zelda cartoon.

Complete with an Evil Jar or not.

Click here to read Nintendodojo‘s full article on the topic.

Source: Nintendodojo
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  • Funny how the Zelda cartoons are getting more attention =) I'm really glad! And if you didn't know there is currently a project in the remake of the older Zelda cartoons named Zeldanime. You can check it out yourself at Zeldanime.com

    • I personally love zeldanime. crazyfreak has done a fantastic job with it.

  • Edracon

    it was a good read.

  • Edracon

    holy crap, it's like they took the cartoon and took everything bad out of it.

    • pandork

      Well, not everything bad. Link's still a douche and I get the sinking feeling that the Zelink pairing will rear its ugly head sooner or later.
      Other than that, it's a decent webcomic.

      • Well it's early to say if we kept out all of the bad stufff 😉 But I can only say , you'll have to wait and see. The story is still in development and so are the characters of course.

    • Aw thanks that's so sweet of you to say! Atleast we try our best to do so and please Zelda fans.

  • Thareous33

    I really do think there are innumerable ways to improve a possible new Zelda series–not that the old one was that deplorable (at least not to me). First off, you should make the protagonist(Link of course) less intent on impressing the princess (Zelda) and more intent on saving her. Yes they could cut his quips, allowing the sidekicks to act as comic relief. Also…ah why belabor this? There are too many things to cover; this comment might turn put longer than the actual article. ,8-)

  • Aw Thank you so much Bastian!

  • Vic George

    I'm musing more on a Dramatic Audio presentation of the games themselves: Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Link's Awakening, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, et al. They would ideally sound great in that format.

  • STUFF2o

    You know, if they made this into an anime (or something like one), they could go a couple of seasons on one game and then switch completely to another game! They could go on for a heck of a long time that way, even with planned endings, and never have to “jump the shark.”

  • ZeldaGurl_

    Hey, we all know the fab of the cartoon, and we know that that was then. Thank God. Indeed, it was rather a guide of what-not-to-do in a Zelda game, so it gets credit for that.
    All I'm praying for is, if there becomes a more modern Zelda cartoon/ anime made, I just pray that they can completely capture the essence of the game. Simple things like the clothes, hair, facial expressions, and especially voices can make a BIG difference.
    Also, I hope that they would keep Link's personality and find some creative way to bring him to life, while still keeping him the way I (and many others) love him. Zelda as well. Please, no big hair for her. Agh, whenever I see the cartoons, all I can think of is the Movie "Footloose" when I see Zelda's hair. And the clothes? Pssh, please. She needs a really cool alternate outfit to wear when she's not wearing that awesome dress of hers. And, her sense of peace and wisdom needs to be captured just right as well, almost like she has the voice of an angel.

    Anyway, I think it's rather amusing to look back on the past experiences for the Zelda series. While I may not have been alive to actually experience it first hand, I find this type of history much more entertaining.^^

  • LoZyMugglegater

    Hmmm,I never really thought of it that way.Come to think of it I probably would have liked it when I was little.But now it just makes me want to lose my lunch.(or dinner,or breakfast,or midnight snack:P)Anyway,nice thought though.

  • Darkstar

    Crazyfreak's Zeldanime is amazing. I like how they kept all the main details about the game while adding their own personality to it. Good job guys!

    If you want a real Zelda cartoon, just watch the Wind Waker series of games 😛

  • Chainoftermina

    I think that it should (I just know tons of people are gonna hate me for saying this) mostly follow OoT/MM, with some elements from the other games put in as "sagas". what I mean is, The main universe of the entire show should be that of OoT, but certain seasons can focus on MM, and another could have Midna and the Twilight affecting Hyrule, and another season could involve the Four Sword, etc, etc. Also, characters from other games can be living OoT Hyrule too, like the Telma's bar gang, Tetra's pirates, Linebeck, Marin, Sahasrala, and………god forbid, Tingle. Elelments from all games should be present, but the universe itself should be that of OoT. even now, more than ten years later, OoT is still the most iconic Zelda game. When ever I think Zelda, the vision that immediately enters my head is that of a 17 year old blond elf depicted in 64 bit graphics. I don't know why, but it just seems that OoT would be the most logical game to make into and anime. yeah, an ANIME. You think a Japanese game should be made into an American cartoon? How many times has that actually successfully worked? let's see, Sonic The Hedgehog (SatAM) was pretty good………and thats about it. all the other game cartoons sucked, but an anime should be fine so long as it is kept FAR AWAY from 4kids.

    the 80s cartoon does have a bit of a Nostalgic value I admit, but good god was that a horrible depiction of Link, and Zelda, and the King. and Ganon. and the Triforce. and…….everything else.

    • Matt

      Honestly i have to say that is a very good view of what i would like also. If they didn't do the OoT then I would personally like to see ALTTP basis for the anime. But Oot would run smoother since most people know it better and it has stayed at the top of the list for 10 years straight and is (hopefully) only going to get better with the 3DS release

  • Neragith

    You can’t improve upon that wich is alredy perfect!
    ok maybe not perfect but still pretty good.
    It’s a lot more enjoyable if you seperate it from the game and take it with a pinch of salt.
    But then again I am a sucker for old school cartoons…

  • wayofthesheikah

    I am "very" ashamed to admit all of this, you'll see why in a second…but when I was young, around 7 or 8 I think, one of the local stations in my state used to broadcast the "Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" on weekday mornings. I also used to watch "Super Mario All Stars" back when ABC Family was just simply the "Family" Channel. Hell, I used to tape the shows on videocassettes (which I still have), AND I even have one or two "official" Mario Bros. cartoon videocassettes my parents bought me from Wal-Mart!

    Anyway, getting to what all of this has to do with Zelda, back when I'd watch the SMBSS on weekdays, they'd also keep the small segments where Mario and Luigi would tell you about the "new, upcoming" episode of The Legend of Zelda, and show you a trailer of it.

    It was these trailers that piqued my interest in Zelda, and I really, REALLY wanted to watch a full episode! Instead I did the next best thing: I went to my local video/game rental store (which actually closed about seven or eight years ago, to my dismay, BUT I bought ALTTP from them before they went out of business! =D), and when I was browsing which SNES game I wanted to rent for the next few days, my mom showed me the box for A Link to the Past. I wasn't too impressed with it at first because of the graphics and how the "Link" in ALTTP didn't look anything like "cartoon Link," but I decided to try it anyways. It was that night that I first experienced ALTTP on my SNES, and how I started falling in love with the Legend of Zelda as a series, even though OoT was the game that fully sealed that deal. The rest, as they say, is history…

    VERY long story short, you could simply say that the cartoon actually got me into the games…and as I reflect on it now, that, my friends, is truly screwed up! =p

  • Neragith

    @ wayofthesheikah

    Best story ever!

  • Ghoti

    Psst … it’s “Nintendojo”.

  • KJ Contrarian

    The Zelda Cartoon was a product of its age – If you weren't there in the '80s then there is no way you could truly judge it fairly. It's interesting how few if any people who criticize it can't do so without somehow also slamming 80's culture.

    As for the content, it's a matter of opinion, but I enjoyed it. The criticisms as to its quality are overrated. Link? An immature 15-year old, no doubt, but if you say that cartoon Link was absent of any genuine, heroic qualities, then that is just a lie. That character (And also Zelda for that matter) are a lot closer to reality that most people want to admit. And in my opinion, that makes them all the more interesting from a story perspective.

  • some guy

    Link was such an asshole in that cartoon, making lewd comments at Zelda the whole time. It was hardly for children…

    • Sam

      Oh ho ho, some guy, quite a few cartoons have adult content (especially in the 90's with Disney's movies, and WB Saturday morning cartoons).

      Am I the only one who doesn't really want an anime-stylized cartoon (don't get me wrong, I AM very much enjoying zeldanime) of Zelda. When I'm thinking of a Zelda cartoon of my choice, I'm thinking of Ralph Bakshi's style (Lord of the rings, Fire and Ice, and Wizards).
      I think nintendojo's suggestions, and the appeal to younger children CAN exist, especially in a Zelda cartoon. Shows like Ducktales, Avatar: Last Airbender, Gargoyles, and Mysterious Cities of Gold (check that out on Hulu), are excellent examples of that fantastic craftsmanship.

      • ZeldaGurl_

        I agree with ya on that!^^ But really, I'm for either way for the style of art. Just as long as they capture the right essence, feelings, and looks of Zelda, I'm happy. Oh, and of course, the music better be good as well.^^

  • Tony

    i like the cartoon. and as for an anime, they already have mangas for most of the games, so you'd think they'd have one by now.

  • Shadow

    My new favourite Zelda related quote:
    "It seems a bit silly comparing a hypothetical apple to a very real orange." 😀