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Western Animation / The Legend of Zelda (1989)

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Zelda: This is the Triforce of Wisdom, Link. The evil wizard, Ganon, has the Triforce of Power. Whoever gets both Triforces will rule this land forever! You must help me, Link!
Link: Hey, for you, Zelda, anything!
Opening sequence exposition

In 1989, in addition to their animated episodes based on the Super Mario Bros. franchise, DiC had also produced a short series of cartoons based on the NES Zelda games. The cartoons include elements of both The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link. Like the games, the animated series features Link's (voiced by Jonathan Potts) continuing adventures in the kingdom of Hyrule, battling the evil forces of Ganon (Len Carlson) alongside Princess Zelda (Cynthia Preston) and a Fairy Companion named Spryte (Paulina Gillis). It shared a number of details in common with the comic book series produced by Valiant Comics around the same time.

Thirteen cartoons were aired in total, airing as part of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! during the Friday episodes (i.e., every fifth episode).note  There presumably would have been more, but when SMBSS was cancelled, the Zelda segments went with it. The characters of Link and Zelda, along with their respective voice actors, were then adopted into the cast of Captain N: The Game Master, where Link had a rivalry-turned-friendship with the titular Captain.


The thirteen original episodes can be purchased in a DVD box set from Shout! Factory.

The Legend of Zelda cartoon provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: For a good portion of "The White Knight," Zelda ignores Link and fawns over Prince Façade, making Link extremely jealous. Her laughing at Link's klutz attack after he tries to impress her with his Impractically Fancy Outfit is the last straw; he calls it quits as the Triforce's protector and leaves the castle without telling her. But when he hears her screaming after Ganon's minions have taken her, he hesitates for only a few moments before racing back to the rescue. ("I'm such a sucker!")
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Ganon has some sort of love for Zelda, although it's unclear if it's a genuine crush or simply lust. However, he's a grotesque Pig Man who expressly wants to kill the people Zelda loves and rule Hyrule as a tyrant. As such, Zelda is disgusted by him.
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  • Absent-Minded Professor: King Harkinian has a hard time remembering Link's name even though Link lives in the same building as him.
  • Action Girl: Zelda is occasionally captured but is just as often shown fighting alongside Link. One time, when Link ditches a promise to go riding with Zelda, she sees a girl accosted by monsters and decides to do the rescuing, both for the fun of it and because Link would be sorry he missed it.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: In "The Missing Link", Ganon uses a special wand that zaps humans to the underworld with the intent of taking Zelda with him. She uses Link's shield to deflect the wand's magic fireball, which ricochets off the castle walls while Link watches, until it falls onto its accidental target. Although he tries to dodge, parts of the fireball hit Link, but because of the magic being weakened, only his body is zapped to the underworld.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • This incarnation of Zelda is more like Link's partner in battle than someone he has to rescue, even having the will to search for adventure on her own with Link following her in certain episodes. Her preferred weapons are bows and boomerangs. Especially given that this was in the late 80s and early 90s, when this level of competence for leading ladies was still fairly rare in media in general, this made her an icon for tons of little girls (and even boys!) of the time.
    • Link can use his Sword Beam technique whenever he wishes while his game counterpart could only do so at full health.
    • Octoroks. In The Legend Of Zelda, they were The Goomba, and in Zelda II, they weren't much tougher. They only appear a few times in the cartoon and are powerful, dangerous adversaries when they do.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Link is near-consistently portrayed in adaptations as, and implied in the games to be, a brave, humble, all-around heroic person who saves the land of Hyrule and its princess without expecting anything in return. Here, however, he's lazy, self-centered, whiny, and basically only motivated by getting Zelda to kiss him.
    • Zelda herself isn't much better. Most incarnations of her are kind, regal, and wise. This version of Zelda is overly snappy, extremely arrogant, dismissive, snarky, and just plain rude most of the time with some episodes additionally painting her as vain and self-absorbed. She also often refuses to give Link the time of day no matter how many times he saves her and her kingdom. She is, after all, the whole reason why the Well, Excuse Me, Princess! trope exists.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Although he is still a talented sorcerer and schemer, Ganon here is pretty incompetent in comparison to his video game counterparts. He's also of roughly human physique, compared to the towering brute he's usually portrayed as in the games. And to an extent, most monsters - in the cartoon, everything takes one hit from any weapon to get defeated except for Ganon. He takes 3, but from any weapon, not just the Magical Sword and the Silver Arrows. In one episode, Zelda delivers the third hit with a boomerang.
    • Link himself, despite the Adaptational Badass treatment also applying. He's shown to be incredibly skilled at aiming his sword beams, but without his sword, he can barely defend himself. The few times he's show to actually swing a sword, he's a bit sloppy.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Zelda is depicted in the sprite of the first two games as red-haired, but the cartoon makes her blonde. In retrospect, this is the correct choice, as she was only red-haired in those games because of the NES's technical limitations, and is depicted as blonde in the instruction manual for the first game. The Zelda in Zelda II is actually a different person. She gained blonde hair consistently from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past onward, with the exception of her brunette incarnation in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.note 
  • All Webbed Up: Zelda's tied up by spiders' webs in "That Sinking Feeling."
  • Almost Kiss: Link can never get a kiss from Zelda. She usually refuses the request, but even when she agrees, they're always interrupted.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Italian version had a different opening theme.
  • Anachronism Stew: Hyrule is generally presented as the Medieval Stasis world from the games; however, in "Stinging a Stinger," the peddler offers Ganon's mooks a remote-controlled device in exchange for his freedom. Most of the female characters are depicted as wearing Day-Glo makeup. In "Fairies in the Spring," Link wears a bathing suit reminiscent of The '40s, while Zelda's suit is a modern pink one-piece. At the beginning of "The Moblins Are Revolting," Link is reading what looks like a modern day magazine.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Ganon tries using a mind control necklace to force Zelda to marry him in "A Hitch in the Works." It's the closest any of his plans get to succeeding.
  • And Then What?: Implied in "Stinging a Stinger." Ganon successfully captures Link and Zelda. In the midst of gloating about capturing them, Ganon says that he can use them as bargaining chips to take over Hyrule but prefaces that idea with "Actually," implying that he had only just then realized that.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Link is a powerful swordsman and adventurer, and he never lets anyone forget it.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: These moments are rare, but they do happen. It's even a plot point in "The Missing Link" - Zelda is the only one who can see Link because she's the only one who loves him. The main reason she didn't tell Link was that she didn't want it to go to his head.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Link and Zelda in "The Ringer", when they tie themselves together with Link's belt.
  • Bag of Holding: Link and Zelda each have a belt pouch that can store any number of magic items that shrink until they need them later.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: In "Doppelganger," Zelda's evil twin and her Moblins snatch the real Zelda with a bag; the Moblins deliver her to Ganon with it while the clone takes her place.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Link, in "Kiss 'N Tell," when a kiss from a disguised monster turns him into an anthropomorphic frog.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Link, which can be seen when he is forced to fight in his nightshirt.
  • Battle Couple: Link and Zelda, quite often. Just don't expect her to admit it.
    Link: (handing Zelda some weapons) Better take these, Princess. We've got some party-poopers to pulverize.
  • Beach Episode: Or water park episode, as the case was with "Fairies in the Spring".
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Happens to Link on one occasion.
    Witch of the Wall: Yes, Ganon may have his faults but he does do the classics well.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Ganon has both played this trope straight and subverted it more than once:
    • "Kiss N' Tell": Link (in anthropomorphic frog form) hits his head on a tree branch while dodging one of Ganon's magic blasts and is knocked out cold. Instead of finishing him off directly, Ganon summons two giant Deeler spiders to do it before taking Zelda to the Underworld without waiting. But when Link wakes up shortly afterwards, his newfound frog instincts unexpectedly take over and he eats them, much to his disgust.
    • "Stinging a Stinger": After Ganon captures Link, Zelda, and one-off Con Man Sleezenose (whom the former stole Link's already-stolen sword from), he has them thrown into a large cell to be eaten by Gohma before leaving to conquer Hyrule. He didn't count on them being able to incapacitate Gohma and break out of the cell with Sleezenose's lockpicks.
    • Subverted in "Cold Spells" when Link and Zelda fall into Ganon's giant zap-proof holding jar after a shortcut. Ganon summons Gohma to eat them and sticks around to watch, but Link and Zelda manage to get out anyway with Spryte's help.
    • He attempts to subvert this again in "That Sinking Feeling" by magically tying Link up in chains and immediately preparing to blast him. Lucky for Link, Zelda blasted Ganon with magic before he could do it.
  • Broken-Window Warning: A slight variant occurs in "The Moblins Are Revolting". While Link is starting to tell Zelda about what happened earlier, a rock flies through a nearby windowless archway. It instead smashes a pitcher on a bookcase shelf right after he says, "Then from a window, I hear this crash-" ("Goodness! You certainly tell a realistic story!" -Zelda) The attached note is from Ganon's army of creatures (not just the moblins), who revolted against their master and decided to try and take over the castle themselves.
  • Bungling Inventor: Doof, the castle handyman in "A Hitch In the Works," has a side job inventing, and his creations typically malfunction in a comical manner.
  • Call-Back: This is not the first time DIC had made a show that featured a Fairy Companion.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • King Harkinian, who would reappear in the Valiant comics and the CD-i games.
    • Spryte herself may be a Canon Foreigner, but the concept of a Fairy Companion to Link eventually became a Canon Immigrant. In addition, the developers have stated that Navi has feelings for Link, though she's not as open about them as Spryte was.
    • This was also the first time Link rode a horse, a female horse the same color as Epona. Zelda also rides a white horse in the cartoon, which likewise carried over the games.
  • Capture and Replicate: One of Ganon's plots to steal the Triforce of Wisdom was with a magic mirror that created a copy of Zelda and also allowed her to be taken to his realm, where she was tied to a spike in Ganon's chamber and the fake manipulated Link.
  • Catchphrase: Link has "Well excuuuuuuuuse me, Princess!", for when Zelda gets annoyed at him. He also repeatedly demands that she "Kiss me!" - and, on those occasions when she agrees, they are invariably interrupted, prompting him to lament, "This always happens!"
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • This Link is very different from the humble Heroic Mime we know today. He's chatty, flirtatious, and full of himself.
    • Zelda is much haughtier and more tomboyish than she would be in later Zelda games, although Breath of the Wild's incarnation of Zelda shares many similarities with her cartoon counterpart (albeit having suffered a massive blow to her self-confidence).
    • Ganon's desire to make Zelda his queen once he has taken over Hyrule contrasts with his later characterization, where he is a Stalker Without A Crush who is perfectly content to kill Zelda, either in order to get the Triforce of Wisdom or after getting it. And of course, the idea of Ganondorf didn't even exist yet, and Ganon was treated as always having been a weird pig dude.
  • Chekhov's Gun: If a particular item is found or otherwise presented in the story (i.e., a boomerang or the Power Bracelet), it'll be used by the time the episode is over.
    • In "Stinging a Stinger", we see a montage of Link, Zelda, and Sleezenose gathering various insect nests to fight Ganon because Ganon has Link's stolen sword. Among them is an anthill that's placed in a covered box, but it doesn't get used during the main attack. Later, it turns out that Spryte disguised the anthill box as the Triforce of Wisdom while the real one was hidden, in case Sleezenose tried to steal it - which he did, while the others were fighting.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Spryte frequently complains to Link that Zelda is a "snoot" and "you should stick with me." She also prevents Link from getting his requested kiss on two different occasions.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: When Zelda needs to take the Triforce of Wisdom with her someplace, she attaches it to her belt with a rope and it floats along behind her like a balloon. It will only do this for her, as proven in "Doppelganger". note 
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: In "Kiss N' Tell", Zelda comes to the rescue of a random maiden being attacked by a Gleeok. Said maiden refuses Zelda's help, wanting to be saved by a "handsome hero" instead. Justified because she was actually a Gibdo in disguise and the whole thing was a trap to turn Link into an anthropomorphic frog.
  • Continuity Nod: In the first episode of the series, "The Ringer," there is a portrait in Link's bedroom of Zelda wearing what looks to be the same red gown she wore in the original game.note 
  • Con Man: Sleezenose from "Stinging a Stinger". He pretends to be a merchant under attack by thugs, and Link comes to the rescue. Sleezenose gives him a fancy-looking sword as a gift and takes Link's sword in return, telling him the fancy one makes the bearer irresistible to ladies, especially princesses. Figuring it will up his chances at wooing Zelda, Link agrees - only to discover that his new sword is a worthless fake that breaks easily and doesn't have the Sword Beam ability of his own sword.
  • Cool Crown: Zelda's main outfit includes a tiara.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • In "Cold Spells," Zelda dispatches one of Ganon's creatures by forcing it to smell Link's dirty laundry.
    • In "The Moblins Are Revolting," Ganon punishes his army by making them clean the Underworld... with their tongues.
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: Zelda does this to Link... to motivate him to do spring cleaning. She drops the pose and jumps away as soon as he agrees.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice:
    • As the first person to give the villainous Ganon a voice, Len Carlson gave Ganon a raspy, monstrous voice that was often very high-pitched. He did sometimes briefly lower his voice for creepy effect, though.
    • In "Stinging a Stinger," the backstabbing con man Sleezenose has a similarly raspy voice, although even higher-pitched than Ganon's. It fits because he seems elderly, and it also shows how pathetic and repulsive he is.
  • Cursed with Awesome: In "Kiss 'n Tell", Link is turned into a frog and gains the ability to crawl on walls and ceilings, allowing him to infiltrate Ganon's lair. Also, when Ganon sends two football-sized spiders against him, Link eats them with his frog tongue.
  • Damsel in Distress: Zelda is occasionally captured and needs to be rescued, such as the time when she was hypnotized to marry Ganon.
  • Damsel out of Distress: On the occasion that she is captured, Zelda escapes on her own half the time.
  • Decoy Damsel: In "Kiss N Tell", Zelda runs into a maiden being attacked by a Gleeok. She's ungrateful that a "handsome hero" isn't rescuing her instead. Link shows up shortly afterwards, the Gleeok is defeated, and he is rewarded with a kiss from the maiden... only to find out too late that she's a disguised Gibdo whose kiss turned him into an anthropomorphic frog.
  • Defiant Captive: A few episodes have Zelda get captured by Ganon and tied to a stalagmite. This doesn't stop her from mouthing off to Ganon, not to mention kicking or even biting if he gets too close.
    Zelda: Link will rescue me. He always does, it's his job.
  • Demoted to Extra: Spryte. In later episodes, she is sometimes completely absent with no explanation at all. One of the episodes that doesn't feature her, "Fairies in the Spring", explains her absence with her being on vacation.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Ganon's goals vary from getting Zelda's hand in marriage to getting the Triforce to getting Zelda's hand in marriage and getting the Triforce; sometimes one is a means to get the other.
    • Zelda is either a sassy action girl or a sassy Damsel in Distress.
  • The Ditz:
    • Ganon employs an entire army of ditzes, as proven in "The Moblins Are Revolting." The mooks are so hopelessly incompetent that Link and Zelda don't even need to defend Hyrule Castle when they attack - they wipe each other out.
    • King Harkinian often has moments that suggest he's not all there in the head.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Well, it's not like Spryte actually needs them, seeing as how she flies everywhere... Going shoeless must be a fairy thing.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: When things are quiet in Hyrule, Zelda forces Link to earn his keep by doing chores and maintenance around the castle.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first episode is the only time the Triforce of Power speaks.
  • Energy Bow: Zelda has a physical bow, but her arrows are made of energy.
  • Epic Fail: Four of Ganon's mooks simultaneously ambushed Link while he was reading on his bed. Somehow, they all managed to kill each others without Link lifting a finger. Later, all of the mooks invade the castle without Ganon. Link and Zelda don't even bother to defend it as none of the mooks succeed in breaching the walls during their absence.
  • Episode Title Card: At the start of every show, there's the title.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: More than once and usually because of a lame kiss scheme.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: The Triforce of Wisdom sparkles, as compared to the Triforce of Power, which appears to be perpetually on fire.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Link has a habit of twirling his sword around in his hand. In "The Missing Link," when he's non-corporeal and can't hold the sword, Zelda uses it - and does the exact same thing.note 
  • Evil Plan: As seen in the page quote, Ganon wants the Triforce of Wisdom so he can take over Hyrule.
  • Evil Twin: In the episode "Doppelganger," Ganon creates an identical copy of Zelda, whose job is to seduce Link into helping her steal the Triforce of Wisdom.
  • Exact Words: Only a kiss from a princess will cure Link's frog curse in "Kiss 'N Tell." No one said it had to be Zelda. Spryte is the one who kisses him back to normal, and as she explains afterward, her father is the King of the Fairies.
  • Expy: Sprite has several similarities to Tinkerbell.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Link's quest for a kiss always ends in failure. Even when he makes an effort to be romantic and Zelda is willing, something will interfere.
  • Fairy Companion: Spryte was the first character to serve as a fairy companion to Link, predating Navi by a little more than a decade. Interestingly, the inclusion of a Fairy Companion was popular, as it showed up both in an ALttP comic book and a LA manga, as well as in the Valiant Comic. Navi was at best the fifth Fairy Companion Link had, though the first in-game one.
  • Fairy Sexy: Spryte wears a mini dress over her Tinkerbell-like figure.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Link's zap-firing sword is treated like a handgun, with it having recoil that an untrained user has to manage with two hands instead of one. Also, Zelda's bow fires glowing beams instead of regular arrows.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Normally the show's fights are pretty safe, but in "Underworld Connections", Link kicks two Ropes during a fight, and black blood spurts out of their mouths.
  • Fanfare: The Hyrule overworld theme got played as a full fanfare for the first time here.
  • Foil: Facade to Link. Their status as foreign visitors to Hyrule and conflicts with Ganon are the only things they have in common. Link wears a crude green tunic and cap, while Facade is regally dressed. Link carries a sword that fires zaps, while Facade wields a common crossbow. Link is a genuine hero in spite of his crude behavior, while Facade is a well-spoken fop who'd endanger innocent lives as long as he keeps himself clean.
  • Foreshadowing: When Link holds out his hand for Facade to shake, the prince recoils, because it's gotten dirty from Link being dragged around by the Octorok. This is an early hint to the audience that he won't be so quick to play Prince Charming for Zelda if it means going through a swamp.
  • Fun with Acronyms: When Ganon's mooks kick him out and try to take Hyrule on their own, they identify themselves as the Brotherhood of Underworld Monsters (B.U.M.)
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Link and Zelda would appear in several episodes of Captain N: The Game Master after the cancellation of their own show. "The Potion of Power" involves them trying to prevent the resurrection of Ganon; in another, Link finally got his long-awaited kiss from Princess Zelda.
  • Gender Flip: The show has its own Evil Twin, like Dark Link, but it's based on Zelda rather than Link.
  • The Glomp: Zelda tackles Link with intent to kiss in "That Sinking Feeling" because he set up a picnic in a beautiful location. Unfortunately for Link, "Something always happens".
  • Goofy Print Underwear: When Link hangs upside down in "Underworld Connections," his nightshirt falls over his head to reveal heart-printed boxer shorts.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Zelda's preferred weapons were the bow and boomerang while Link usually used his sword. However, he would primarily use the sword for the Sword Beam rather than as an actual blade.
  • Guttural Growler: Ganon's voice sometimes lowers in pitch, becoming this. It's pretty jarring.
  • Hammerspace: The cartoon is one of the few times in the whole of Zelda history that an attempt is made to show just how Link carries around so much equipment. He has a pouch of holding on his belt which can store just about anything. This has more or less been adopted by fans as canon, and entered canon to a certain degree as of Wind Waker, though Link in that game has more than one Bag of Holding.
  • Handsome Lech: Played straight with Link and gender flipped with Spryte. Both of them perv on their love interests.
  • Hartman Hips: Zelda's got a wide set of hips.
  • Hate Sink: Prince Facade is an arrogant, self-absorbed fop who cares for his image more than the victims of evil. Link instantly dislikes him, and Zelda is infuriated when his true colors are shown. Not even Ganon has anything nice to say about him.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Link ties a rope to an arrow, shoots it from his own tower to Zelda's, and tightrope-walks over to her balcony - in his sleep.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Invoked by Zelda in "The White Knight," when meeting Prince Façade for the first time. She introduces Link as a string of titles, causing his status to deteriorate down to "someone I know slightly." Later in the same episode, she forgets he exists while talking to Façade.
    • In "The Missing Link" she attempts to deny her love for Link, saying that she only likes him a little.
  • Heroic Mime: Averted by this incarnation of Link, who is by far the most chatty of the three main characters. He even talks to himself if there's no one else around.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The aptly named Sleezenose swindles Link into trading his sword for what he claims is a better sword, only for it to be worthless. Laser-Guided Karma strikes him soon enough when he tries the same thing on Ganon, only to wind up imprisoned, and he gets swindled himself later by Zelda.
  • Horseback Heroism: In a few episodes, Link rides a horse when doing his Champion-of-Hyrule stuff.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: In "The Missing Link", Ganon captures Link and tells Zelda that she won't have him back until she brings him the Triforce of Wisdom. Zelda opts for Rescued from the Underworld instead.
  • Hulk Speak: The moblins talk this way.
  • Hypnotize the Captive: In "A Hitch in the Works," Ganon captures Zelda and puts a necklace on her which allows him to manipulate her mind. His plan is a simple one: marry the princess and get her Triforce.
  • Hypno Trinket: The necklace that hypnotizes Zelda.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Ganon is an Abhorrent Admirer to Zelda, but in "The Missing Link," when he finds out that Zelda is genuinely in love with Link, he calls it "disgusting" and "impossible."
  • Idiot Ball: In "The Missing Link," despite her pleas, Link loudly celebrates when he discovers that Zelda is in love with him, revealing their presence to Ganon.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Ganon's mooks never succeed in hitting anything.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Link wears a big and heavily starched nobleman's ensemble in an attempt to prove he can be just as charming and high-class as Prince Façade. It doesn't work in part because the boots don't fit and make him trip.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Part of Link's battle repertoire includes successfully zapping any monster, from any angle or distance.
  • Instant Expert: Averted. When Zelda has to use Link's sword, she has a lot of difficulty with it since she's never used it before and isn't accustomed to the recoil from the Sword Beam, which was never an issue with Link.
  • Intangibility: Link suffers from this in "The Missing Link", when he tries picking up the sword he has left, only to find that he is a ghost and can't pick it up. He also suffers from invisibility, as no one except Zelda can see him, though anyone can hear him speak.
  • Interrupted Kiss: Spryte interrupts a kiss between Link and Zelda at the end of the pilot, and at least one other time during the series.
  • Interspecies Romance: Spryte has a huge crush on Link, and has no qualms about letting it be known. She even kisses him to turn him back from frog status at one point. Some of Link's dialogue suggests he would go for Spryte... if she weren't two inches tall.
  • Ironic Echo: In "The Missing Link," Zelda borrows Link's shield and leaves him to fight off Ganon's invasion alone:
    Zelda: You hold them here!
    Link: Hey! Thanks heaps, Princess!
    • Later, after Moblins are sent after the duo in the underworld...
    Link's Ghost: Just hold them a while!
    Zelda: Thanks heaps!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zelda definitely qualifies due to her habit of criticizing Link; but at the same time, his ego needs occasional deflating and she's more focused on things like Hyrule's peace for its own sake, rather than something less important, like kisses.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: One example occurs in "Stinging a Stinger," after they've used a beehive to trick Ganon:
    Zelda: Kiss me.
    Link: I'd bee happy to, honey!
    Zelda: Ugh! I hate bad puns!
  • The Lancer: Zelda is more like Link's battle partner in this universe than a Damsel in Distress he has to save or The Herald that points him toward Ganon. Her haughty princess demeanor provides a contrast to the over-confident hero.
  • Land in the Saddle: In "The White Knight", Link jumps down from his tower window and bounces/backflips off a tent canopy below before landing in the saddle of his horse, Catherine. She is startled by this and tries to throw him off, but he stays on and calms her down.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Prince Façade refuses to save Zelda from being kidnapped when the monster takes her through a swamp. Once Link rescues her, she yells at Façade, and Façade flinches and falls backwards into the mud.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Zig-zags depending on the episode. Link typically doesn't have to deal with recoil when he fires his sword beams either one-handed or two-handed, no doubt because he's used to it. But when Zelda initially tries to use his sword thusly in "The Missing Link", the recoil catches her off-guard and knocks her backwards, though not across the room. She gets better at it with a little coaching from Link.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Ganon remarks that Link's love for Zelda is his greatest weakness because he is easily manipulated when she is in danger, and he nearly leaves Hyrule when she was charmed by Prince Façade.
  • Loves Me Not: Link does this at the start of the episode "Stinging The Stinger" and blames the poor result on the flower.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Link's shield is able to resist lava, dragon's fire breath, and explosions powerful enough to level an apartment building without even getting scratched. This makes it Link's favorite means of getting across dangerous terrain.
  • Magic Compass: "Underworld Connections" had them using one to locate pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom. Sound familiar?
  • Magic Skirt:
    • Averted by Spryte. When she falls over at one point in the first episode, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot right up her skirt, with nothing underneath.
    • Link's nightshirt is a case played straight, except in "Underworld Connections," where (as noted above) we get to see his Goofy Print Underwear.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: In two episodes, when Zelda wants the castle cleaned up, she personally gives the orders and has Link, who should be guarding the Triforce and protecting she herself (though sometimes even these roles conflict), and Spryte, a fairy princess, do the cleaning. Aside from the King, the castle has Doof, the handyman, and at least one unnamed guardsman. No one else is ever even seen.
    • Additionally, Link and Zelda are arguably presented as the only capable fighters in all of Hyrule. So whenever they're both away from the castle, there's no evidence to suggest that the castle is in any way defended.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Link takes being separated from his body and effectively turned into a ghost really well.
  • Male Gaze: Link's room is on a tower higher than Zelda's, which give him a good view when she wears a low cut nightdress. We also get some good looks at her butt.
  • Meaningful Name: Prince Facade, in "The White Knight." He's all about appearances.
  • Mistaken for Granite: In "Sing For The Unicorn," Link and Zelda encounter and accidentally awaken giant Armos statues in the Underworld. To his credit, Link knew better than to touch them, but didn't explain the reason to Zelda before she touched one's base, innocently asking, "Why?" Cue Facepalm.
  • Mirror Monologue: During the first few minutes of "The Ringer", Link briefly complains to his mirror reflection about how boring being in North Castle is compared to his adventuring days.
  • Modest Royalty:
    • Averted with King Harkinian, who looks royal indeed in his robes and gold.
    • Played straight with Zelda, who is normally indistinguishable as a princess except for her circlet.
  • Moment Killer: On those occasions when Zelda consents to kiss Link, something always interrupts. Lampshaded more than once in a few episodes when Link complains, "This always happens!"
  • Mundane Fantastic: According to Zelda in "The White Knight", Ganon wants to conquer Hyrule as badly as he does because it's so heavily infused with magic. Literally every native resident knows at least a little, and they're often seen using it in very mundane ways, such as the blacksmith firing up his forge by pointing at it. (Link, as stated in the manual of the first game, is not a native of Hyrule, which accounts for him not having any magic of his own.)
  • Mundane Utility: Ganon finds walking beneath him so he teleports to get anywhere, even to the other side of a room.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "The Moblins Are Revolting," Link and Zelda almost succeed in grabbing the Triforce of Power, until the former decides to play around with Ganon, who is trapped in a magic bubble that's impervious to anything but said Triforce. He tosses the Ganon-Bubble to Zelda, who tries to knock it away, but it lands on the Triforce behind her and pops the bubble.
  • Noodle Incident: "Remember the last time we took one of your shortcuts?"
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Ganon has moments where he is truly dangerous, such as chaining Link up and preparing to blast him while he can't move.
  • Off-Model:
    • In "Doppleganger," after Link and Zelda fall, Zelda is drawn in her evil twin's red and black color scheme for a second.
    • In "The White Knight," when Zelda is lying in the mud after Link dispatches the Zola, she is briefly seen in her regular outfit instead of her formal dress.
    • "Fairies in the Spring": the infamous scene in which the Water Monster has no claws.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Ganon has a lot of it, thanks to the Triforce of Power. It provides for everything he needs for his evil plans.
  • Oh, Crap!: Zelda has one when Ganon reveals that Zelda must be in love with Link. When she sees Link's expression, she knows what's coming.
  • Once per Episode: Link's most famous Catchphrase, "Well, Excuuuuuuse Me, Princess!", is uttered twice per episode on average - three times if you count the opening.
  • Only Sane Employee: Apparently, Ganon has exactly one moblin with more than two brain cells to rub together. He attempts to take charge in "The Moblins Are Revolting" and, when faced with the complete idiocy of his cohorts, realizes why the good guys always win.
    Moblin: Ugh. Now me know how Ganon feel.
  • Opening Narration: Each episode begins with a sequence in which Zelda explains to Link (and thus, the viewer) what Ganon's hoping to accomplish.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Ganon frequently prefers to send his (largely useless) minions to do his dirty work. It's actually justified, because he mentions at least once that his powers wane in Hyrule proper; he is only at full power in the Underworld.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Hyrulean fairies are the type which resemble little flying people with some magic powers.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: In this case, Link's ghost in "The Missing Link" is not actually a ghost. That is, he's not dead in any way. Just intangible.
  • Out-Gambitted: Zelda outscams a Con Man at the end of "Stinging The Stinger".
  • Pants-Free: Averted in the daytime, but whenever Link is shown after he's gone to bed or just gotten up, he's only seen wearing a nightshirt. "Underworld Connections" reveals that he does wear Goofy Print Underwear underneath it.
  • Pet the Dog: An odd example, but in "A Hitch in the Works," Ganon pulls Hypnotize the Captive And Now You Must Marry Me on Zelda. When the actual ceremony is shown, he's gone to the trouble of providing Zelda with a bridal veil and a bouquet of roses, as though trying to make it more like a real wedding for her.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Zelda has a few, such as a yellow dress with gold trim, seen when she dines with the visiting Prince Facade.
  • Playing Sick: Link pulls this in "Cold Spells" to get out of helping with the spring cleaning around the castle. It works for a little while, although Zelda isn't really fooled.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Justified in "Sing for the Unicorn," as Sing doesn't speak Link and Zelda's language and can't tell if they're enemies or not, leading them to fight. When Zelda is able to communicate with her, she informs them of what's going on and aids them in battle.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Link gets a mild variation of this when obliged with a kiss by the fake Zelda in "Doppelganger". At first, he's just stunned that it actually happened and so easily at that, and simply remarks it seemed "colder" than he imagined it. Then it is subverted at the end of the episode. Link, being Link, offers to kiss each of the Zeldas; the evil twin accepts and they both seem equally pleased with their second kiss. The real Zelda, however, declines and seems quite displeased by all of it.
  • The Power of Love: It also has to be rather strong, considering the amount of abuse Link takes from his would-be Love Interest. In "The Missing Link," Zelda's love for him allows her to see his spirit when it has been separated from his body.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Zelda wields these at times. It always hits Moblins and returns to her.
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse: The frame narrative for the cartoon is Zelda hiring Link to protect the Triforce of Wisdom, but his other job is assisting her in the fight against Ganon. She is just as good a fighter as he is, and other times she even tops him.
  • Prince Charmless: In the episode "The White Knight," Zelda is charmed by one of these, Prince Façade of Arcadia. She thinks he's Prince Charming, but what's Beneath the Mask is revealed when he won't rescue her from Ganon's minions... because they're in the mud and he doesn't want to get his clothes dirty.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink:
  • Pun-Based Title: More often than not, the individual episodes have rather punny or descriptive names. The episode "Sing for the Unicorn" features a character named Sing who is trying to rescue her unicorn. "A Hitch In the Works" is about Ganon kidnapping Zelda to force her to marry him. And then there's "The Moblins Are Revolting"... why yes, yes they are.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Zelda's dark purple shirt and light purple tights. Not only does it fit her royal status, but it also fits her being an action girl in this series. Her pink nightgown is also trimmed with purple feathers.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Ganon makes an evil doppelganger of Zelda, and the only visible difference is that her top is black with a red vest instead of purple with a light blue vest.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: An inverted variation occurs in "The Missing Link". During one of Ganon's attacks, he attempts to use a magic staff to zap Zelda into his Evil Jar. The blast is deflected and ricochets a few times before hitting Link instead. But only his body is captured, his spirit stayed behind, and Zelda is the only one who can both see and hear him. They travel to Ganon's underworld labyrinth to get Link's body back, and ultimately succeed.
  • Respawning Enemies: Given an in-universe explanation by the Evil Jar. Both the mooks and Ganon himself respawn there after Link zaps them.
  • Resurrective Immortality: If Ganon is hit three times by either Link or Zelda's weapons, he is "de-energized" and teleports back to the Triforce of Power.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: When the Triforce of Wisdom speaks, it always does so in rhyme, although sometimes the rhymes are a bit of a reach; for instance, "wise" and "advice." In "Cold Spells," Zelda responds with a sarcastic rhyme of her own.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Princess Zelda qualifies when she joins the fight.
    • Prince Façade is an adventurer and is just as competent as Link as a fighter; he's great at close combat despite having a crossbow as his chosen weapon. He's just so vain that he puts his looks above the lives of others.
  • Running Gag:
    • Link getting smacked in the face any time Zelda opens and closes a door.
    • Link trying to get a kiss from Zelda and failing.
    • "(Hey! / Well,) Excuuuuuse me, Princess!"
  • Secondary Character Title: Just like in the games. In fact, Zelda has a much bigger role here then in her home series, where the Princess is often regulated to a McGuffin, or simply doesn't appear at all.
  • Servile Snarker: Link often snarks and jokes at Zelda, but he still follows her orders and serves as her companion in battle.
  • Shipper on Deck: When the king pays attention to Link, he sometimes helps Link romance Zelda, such as giving him flowers to give to her.
  • Shirtless Scene: Link, while taking a bath in "The White Knight."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The King of the Fairies is named Oberon.
    • Link's catchphrase is Older Than They Think. It was originally Steve Martin'snote , although without the "Princess" at the end.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Link is shown to be very vain and full of himself. The main reason Zelda didn't tell Link of her love for him was because she figured it would go to his head. Turns out she was right.
  • Smooch of Victory: Link always wants one whenever he rescues Zelda or foils an evil scheme, but Zelda usually rejects him, leading him to say one of his catch phrases.
  • Spot the Imposter: When faced with two Zeldas, Link proposes a kissing contest to determine which is real. Fake Zelda kisses Link, while the real Zelda slaps him.
    Link: That's my Zelda, all right.
  • The Sociopath: Prince Façade has no emotional connection to anyone, does not care if people are harmed by his putting top priority on his appearance, has enough superficial charm to sway anyone sans Link, and has a need for stimulation expressed not only by his wandering lifestyle, but by his need to preserve his image and receive praise from everyone else.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Ganon seems to feel this way toward Zelda, as evidenced by his actions in a number of episodes.
    Ganon: I want that princess!
    • In "That Sinking Feeling," he explicitly states his intention to make her his queen once he conquers Hyrule.
    • Spryte is a lighter version of this from hanging around Link at all hours (see Clingy Jealous Girl).
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Link has bombs here like in the games.
  • Sword Beam: Part of the reason for Link's enduring success is his ability to fire these at distant enemies. He declares a different sword to be useless because it can't shoot beams, although that one was a fake given to him by a Con Man.
  • Teleport Spam: Ganon teleports around his lair while monologuing out loud to himself. It seems he'd rather do that then pace.
  • Tentacle Rope:
    • Zelda is grabbed by an Octorok in "The White Knight".
    • Zelda and Link both get snatched by large plant roots in "Cold Spells", although one at a time, with one able to save the other.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: In "That Sinking Feeling," Ganon's reaction when he finds the Triforce of Wisdom is missing is to throw a tantrum and yell "I'm very upset!"
  • This Cannot Be!: Ganon is totally baffled when he finds out that Zelda loves Link in "The Missing Link." This is Hypocritical Humor because he is an Abhorrent Admirer to Zelda.
    Ganon: But one thing puzzles me. Why would Zelda be able to see him?! Well, she could only do that if- (Beat) No... no, i-impossible.
    Triforce of Power: What is it, evilness?
    Ganon: Zelda could only see Link if... if she was in love with him! Zelda in love with Link?! Oh, how disgusting!
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Link finally gets his long-awaited kiss from Princess Zelda... but not until an episode of Captain N: The Game Master, which aired after the cancellation of The Legend of Zelda animated series.
  • Title Drop: A number of episodes manage to work the individual episode title into the dialogue.
  • Tomboy Princess: Zelda, even more so than her video game counterpart, because of her standard style of clothing is generally practical than royal and she also has greater combat time.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ganon's forces; they'd be dead if it weren't for the Evil Jar. Not only are they so incompetent that they lose to Link every episode, but in the episode "The Moblins Are Revolting," they send themselves back to the jar in a failed mission and Link doesn't have to lift a finger. They attempt to take the Triforce for themselves but lack the ability to work together or even plan and end up getting into fights and sending each other back to the jar.
    • Link and Zelda even express amusement at how Ganon's forces are more incompetent than ever.
    Link: Hey Moblin, this is the stupidest attack Ganon ever cooked up!
  • Tsundere: Zelda (Type A/Tsun tsun) loves Link but denies it and gives him a hard time - usually resulting in the catchphrase we all know and love.
  • Transformation Discretion Shot: Zigzagged. In "Kiss 'n Tell", when Link kisses the Gibdo disguised as a maiden, a bright flash that obscures both occurs and we cut to Zelda exclaiming Link's name. After the flash disappears, we see Link having turned into an anthropomorphic frog and the maiden into a Gibdo. At the episode's climax, after Link gets knocked out by a blast of Ganon's magic when he tries to kiss Zelda to undo his curse, we see him revert to his normal self after Spryte, the princess of the fairies, kisses him.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Link is constantly trying to get Zelda to kiss him. Sometimes she seems open to this (such as when he makes an effort to be romantic), but something always happens to stop Link from getting what he wants, and he never kisses Zelda during the series. In the episode "The Missing Link," Zelda is only able to see Link's disembodied spirit because she is in love with him, though she refuses to admit it (at first).
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In "Cold Spells," Ganon rides a giant insect up the side of Hyrule Castle... and no one notices.
  • Vapor Wear: There's nothing under Spryte's dress.
  • Villainous Crush: Ganon plays with this. One of his plans involves hypnotizing and marrying Zelda but only so he could become king. "That Sinking Feeling" shows that he plans on making Zelda his queen anyway even though he's already dragged the castle underground and has the current king running for his life.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Most episodes are responding to Ganon's attacks without pressing forward to the Underworld. Zelda grows tired of this trope in "That Sinking Feeling" and tries to fight Ganon before he can attack again.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: The Trope Namer, being Link's catch phrase, about how Zelda acts around him (i.e. critical).
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The episode "Underworld Connections" is this to the original game, with the Triforce of Wisdom split into multiple pieces which our heroes must venture into the mazelike underworld to recover. The entrance they take even appears to be the entrance to Level 7, complete with the same dungeon boss awaiting them.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: "The Moblins are Revolting" starts with Link in his room reading. Two pairs of Ganon's troops storm in and try to kill him, only to defeat each other. The last two even manage a Mutual Kill. After seeing this, Link goes back to reading and says, "Wow, I'm good."
  • Wise Old Folk Façade: In "Stinging a Stinger," Link hears someone calling for help in the woods and, when he goes to help, spots an old traveler appearing to be mugged by three goons. Link beats the goons and saves the old man, who introduces himself as Sleezenose before offering him a new sword as a reward for saving him. Link is reluctant to give up his current sword, but Sleezenose manipulates him into making the switch. It then turns out that the goons were working for Sleezenose, and let Link "save" him as part of a scheme to con Link into giving up his sword. After Link and Zelda are captured by Ganon, Sleezenose then tries to sell the sword to the evil wizard, but sets too high a price, this infuriating Ganon and causing him to order Sleezenose to be fed to Gohma with Link and Zelda. Sleezenose later manages to open the cage and attempts to escape on his own and lock Link and Zelda in, but is stopped by the two and forced to assist them in getting Link's sword back and defeating Ganon.
  • Worth It: Link wonders why he agreed to live in the castle when it's boring a lot of the time... then he sees Zelda in her low-cut morning gown. "Oh... okay, so there's one good reason." Cue Wolf Whistle and a lecherous comment that angers Zelda into slapping him for it later on.
  • Xenafication: Based on her regular combat time, this Zelda would be more at home in the Super Smash Bros. games than in the early Zelda games.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In "That Sinking Feeling," Zelda is overjoyed at a romantic picnic Link has set up and glomps him. She's just about to kiss him when Ganon attacks and ruins the mood.
    Zelda: It's an underworld entrance. We're being attacked!
    Link: They couldn't have waited ten seconds?
  • You Can See Me?: "The Missing Link" has Link's spirit knocked out of his body, which is then stolen by Ganon. The only one who can see Link's ghostlike form is Zelda because, as Ganon points out, she's secretly in love with him. Interestingly, Spryte can't see him, despite being far more open and forward with her feelings toward Link. One can only assume it's more lust than love.
  • Young Gun: Link is styled as one despite living in a medieval setting and firing Sword Beams instead of bullets. He's young, loud, impulsive, and not nearly as experienced as a hero of Hyrule should be even if he's catching up.

Hey! EXCUUUUUUUUSE me, Princess!

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Legend Of Zelda


Ganon makes a mirror pun

Ganon yells at his minions, cackles evilly, and makes a mirror pun. You could say he outGLASSes other characters in hamminess.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvilIsHammy

Media sources: