The Legend of Zelda (TV series)

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The Legend of Zelda
Title screen, shown at the beginning of each show
Title screen, shown at the beginning of each show
Genre Action/Adventure
Created by Shigeru Miyamoto (original characters)
Written by Bob Forward
Phil Harnage
Eve Forward
Marsha Forward
Dennis O'Flaherty
Directed by John Grusd
Voices of Cyndy Preston
Jonathan Potts
Len Carlson
Colin Fox
Elizabeth Hanna
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Andy Heyward
Robby London (co-executive producer)
Producer(s) John Grusd
Editor(s) Lars Floden
William P. Magee
Running time 15–16 minutes
Production company(s) DIC Entertainment
Sei Young Animation Co., Ltd.
Nintendo of America, Inc.
Distributor Viacom Enterprises (1989–1991)
Cookie Jar Entertainment (2008–2012)
DHX Media (current)
Original channel First-run syndication
Original run September 8, 1989 – December 1, 1989

The Legend of Zelda is an American animated series based on the Japanese video game series The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The plot follows the adventures of Link and Princess Zelda as they defend the kingdom of Hyrule from an evil wizard named Ganon. It is heavily based on the first game of the Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda, but includes some references to the second, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.[citation needed] The show was produced by DIC Entertainment and distributed by Viacom Enterprises in association with Nintendo of America, Inc.. It comprises thirteen episodes which first aired in North America from September 8, 1989 to December 1, 1989.

Show premise[edit]

Every episode of The Legend of Zelda follows the adventures of the hero Link and Princess Zelda as they defend the kingdom of Hyrule from an evil wizard named Ganon. Most episodes consist of Ganon (or his minions) either attempting to capture the Triforce of Wisdom from Zelda, kidnap Zelda, or otherwise conquer Hyrule. In some episodes, Link and Zelda are assisted and accompanied by a fairy-princess, Spryte.

A common running joke of the series is Link's repeated failure to convince Zelda that he deserved a kiss for his heroic deeds. Whenever it seems they are going to kiss, they are interrupted.

Zelda has more of an active role in the show than in the video games, where she is merely a character that the player must rescue. While Link saves Zelda in a few episodes, she often fights beside him using a bow and arrow.

Link usually meets Zelda's rejection with his sarcastic catchphrase, "Well! Excuuuuuuse me, Princess!". In one episode, Zelda uses a more elegant version reflective of her royal upbringing, "Well! Pardon me!"

The series was to be continued but was canceled along with The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. The series is one of only six productions in which Link talks, the others being the CD-i games, manga series, comic series, the episodes of Captain N: The Game Master, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (only the phrase, "Come on!").

Game references[edit]

While direct referencing of the game is loose, the series does feature some recognizable monsters, items, and locations from the game. The seemingly impossible numbers of items that Link and Zelda are able to carry is not directly explained in the video game series. In the TV series, the items they carry are shown to magically shrink when they are placed in pouches or pockets.

The TV series is based heavily on The Legend of Zelda, but a few references are made to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Ganon is often seen riding a Lowdr, a beetle-like creature seen in Zelda II (but not in The Legend of Zelda). The series used sound effects and renditions of background tunes from the games, as well as enemy monsters including Moblins, Octoroks, Goriyas, Gohma, Aquamentus, Gleeok, Keese and Ropes. Rupees appear, but are called Rubies. Rather than arrows, the bows in the cartoon shoot beam-like projectiles, as does Link's sword (this happens in a few Zelda games when Link's hearts are full). Link's beams can destroy most monsters, but not people, as shown in the episode "Sing for the Unicorn".

DVD release[edit]

North American Airings/DVDs[edit]

The Legend of Zelda was featured on every Friday episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! in place of the Super Mario Bros. cartoons. Each episode ran for about fifteen minutes. The series was made in association with Nintendo of America, produced by DIC Entertainment, and distributed for syndicated television by Viacom Enterprises (now CBS Television Distribution). Due to its syndicated nature, only one season of sixty-five episodes was made of the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and Zelda was aborted after thirteen episodes. However, slightly modified versions of the characters of Link and Zelda, together with their original voice actors, were later transplanted into NBC's Saturday morning program Captain N: The Game Master, also produced by DIC Entertainment. In 1992, the episodes were time compressed (sped up) and played in double episode format on the Captain N & The Video Game Masters syndication block. Zelda episodes were rarely shown, but at least once, the episodes "Underworld Connections" & "Doppleganger" aired with the titles switched around. It was played in this block from 1992-1993 in syndication, and from 1993-1995 on USA Network.

Clips previewing the episodes were shown in the middle of the live-action segments when the Mario cartoon was shown. These clips were cut out of the video releases and Yahooligans! TV, but were restored for the Super Mario Bros. Super Show DVD set (except for "King Mario of Cramalot").

Zelda was first released in the early 1990s along with the Super Mario Bros cartoon. It was produced in the form of two-episode VHS tapes in four volumes; the gold color of the VHS slipcases matched that of the original NES games. The series was released on DVD in two volumes by the animation company Allumination FilmWorks The first DVD, Ganon's Evil Tower, was released on July 22, 2003, including three episodes of the Zelda cartoon and two of Sonic Underground. The second DVD was released on September 27, 2005, titled Havoc in Hyrule, containing a further five Zelda episodes.

The complete Zelda series was released on October 18, 2005 by Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, with extra bonus features such as interactive DVD games and line art from the series. However, it did not include all of the associated The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! live action segments; some were included as bonus features.[1] This release has been discontinued and is out of print.

NCircle Entertainment re-released the complete series on May 22, 2012.[2]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Zelda cartoons were originally shown in the early 1990s on the early morning TV show, TV-am. They were not commissioned for a second run. They were also shown on CITV in the 1990s within The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, and on Channel 4 on its Sunday morning kids line up, which included shows such as Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.

In 1992, Tempo Video released a set of two VHS tapes with three episodes per tape. The Legend of Zelda shared a tape with Captain N: The Game Master, which included the episode Underworld Connections.

There are currentily no plans for a Region 2 DVD release.

Voice cast[edit]


# Title Original air date Prod.
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, who 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 realising the ruse, the two put aside their differences and pursue Ganon. This is the only episode in which the Triforce of Power speaks.
2 "Cold Spells" September 15, 1989 110 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 Sprite's magical powers as she too performs cleaning chores. Suddenly unable to control her magic (in a very Fantasia-like way), Ganon swipes the Triforce of Wisdom & escapes on beetle-back into the Underworld. Sprite, feeling guilty, accompanies Link and Zelda as they pursue Ganon.
3 "The White Knight" September 22, 1989 109 After Link and Zelda have a rather clumsy outing fighting off an ambush of monsters, a new hero from another kingdom named Prince Facade saves the day and captures Zelda's attention in the process. Ganon knows Facade's weakness and seeks to exploit it, and Link's detachment, in another bid to seize the Triforce of Wisdom.
4 "Kiss'N Tell" September 29, 1989 103 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 Sprite.
5 "Sing for the Unicorn" October 6, 1989 102 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 flying unicorn over the castle and kidnaps the king for ransom. The duo set off to rescue him, while questioning where Ganon, who deals in Underworld monsters, got hold of the unicorn.
6 "That Sinking Feeling" October 13, 1989 113 In an attempt to romance Zelda, Link leads her to a secluded forest glade with a stream running nearby and a sculpture. Before the encounter advances too far, an entrance to the Underworld appears and Ganon's Tektites 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 decides 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 104 In another attempt to capture the Triforce of Wisdom, Ganon creates a magic mirror in Zelda's room. When the moonlight shines on it, it creates an evil reflection of her as Ganon's creatures take the real Zelda to the Underworld. Having the magic mirror broken before she can enter it, the fake Zelda, or should Ganon says "Zeldeyeldo", decides to use Link's love for Zelda to charm him into bringing the Triforce of Wisdom to Ganon before Link realizes that Zelda's reflection is using him. It is worth noting that in the beginning, Link is whistling the Super Mario Bros. theme.
8 "Underworld Connections" October 27, 1989 107 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 the other fragments.
9 "Stinging a Stinger" November 3, 1989 111 Link interrupts a highway bandit mugging a peddler named Sleazenose 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 realises he'd been swindled as Ganon captures him and Zelda. Sleazenose attempts to sell the sword to Ganon, only to be captured himself instead, and the three of them luckily escape. Zelda asks the Triforce of Wisdom how to get Link's sword back, and the party sets up an ambush for Ganon as he comes after the Triforce.
10 "Hitch in the Works" November 10, 1989 112 With little activity from Ganon's minions, Link is assigned chores by the Princess. The castle handyman Doof magically animated a golem made of various odds and ends 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, who has made a collar that compels Zelda to do his bidding, including marrying him.
11 "Fairies in the Spring" November 17, 1989 105 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.

Note: This is the only episode that does not feature Ganon.

12 "The Missing Link" November 24, 1989 106 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 his spirit remained with her. The two make their way to the Underworld to recover his body.
13 "The Moblins Are Revolting" December 1, 1989 108 Ganon demonstrates a new wand that makes a bubble around its victim that can only be popped by the Triforce of Power. Fed up with Ganon's orders, a Moblin uses the wand to trap 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.

Broadcast history[edit]

Edited versions of the episodes were a part of "Captain N and the Video Game Masters" from 1992-93.

International broadcast[edit]


IGN rated the DVD release of The Legend of Zelda a 3.0, or "Bad", citing poor writing, repeated plots, and over the top acting.[4] Link's catchphrase, "Excuuuuuuse me, Princess!" is a commonly used in-joke used by video game players, and is spoken by Link on 29 occasions throughout the 13 episodes.[4]


  1. ^ Legend of Zelda: Complete Animated Series. "Legend of Zelda: Complete Animated Series: Cynthia Preston, Jonathan Potts, Tabitha St. Germain, Len Carlson, Colin Fox, Elizabeth Hanna, Allen Stewart-Coates, Don Francks, Marvin Goldhar, Christopher Ward, J Bizel, John Grusd, Bob Forward, Dennis O'Flaherty, Eve Forward, Marsha Forward, Phil Harnage: Movies & TV". Retrieved 2013-02-13. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Damian Inwood. "Pi Theatre, Independent Vancouver Theatre >> The Baroness and the Pig". Retrieved October 30, 2011. That’s what Vancouver actresses Diane Brown and Tabitha St. Germain do with the delightful black comedy, The Baroness and the Pig. (...) St. Germain – better known to Vancouver audiences as Paulina Gillis – plays the Baroness as a naïve gentlewoman, full of prissy mannerisms and twittering, bird-like movements. 
  4. ^ a b Michael S. Drucker (2005-09-30). "The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series". IGN. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 

External links[edit]