During their Space World trade show in 2001, Nintendo pulled back the curtain on The Wind Waker, the latest in the Legend of Zelda franchise, only to receive harsh criticism from fans and media alike. One of the biggest critiques of Wind Waker was its cel-shaded art style replacing the previous years’ darker take on the Zelda franchise.
The new art style was spearheaded by Yoichi Kotabe, an animator and character designer for Nintendo from 1985 to 2007. In a recent interview with Famitsu, he mentions that his inspiration for the art style comes from an anime movie he worked on that was released in 1963. Wanpaku Oji no Orochi Taiji (The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon) inspired Kotabe and ultimately led to the art direction of Wind Waker. From the color palette to character designs, the similarities between the two are irrefutable.
Dans le dernier Famitsu, Kotabe Youichi revient sur sa carrière chez Nintendo et donne une anecdote intéressante sur #Zelda Wind Waker ! 🤩
Le film « Wanpaku Ouji no Orochi Taiji » du studio Toei aurait énormément influencé la DA du jeu !
En regardant le film, c’est flagrant ! pic.twitter.com/tZddaSTshk
— Editions Pix'n Love (@Pixnlove) November 7, 2018
Thanks to Google Translate, we can tell what Editions Pix’n Love is saying: “In the latest Famitsu, Kotabe Youichi looks back on his career at Nintendo and gives an interesting anecdote about #Zelda Wind Waker! The film “Wanpaku Ouji no Orochi Taiji” from Toei studio would have greatly influenced the DA of the game! Watching the movie is blatant!”
Without a full version of the anime, it’s hard to tell how similar these two actually are. After watching the trailer, it’s easy to see the similar art style, but it also seems that the story could be loosely inspired as well. As a Zelda fan, this information is extremely insightful as to what happened between Spaceworld 2000 and Spaceworld 2001. As an art nerd, I am frantically looking for a copy of Wanpaku Oji no Orochi Taiji, as Amazon does not have it. For now, I’ll have to settle for watching this trailer over and over until I can find it.