The 1980s bought us a lot of cartoon classics. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and Thundercats immediately spring to mind as childhood favourites. I also remember a set of cartoons that I loved simply because they were based on video games.
As a Sega fanboy, I should have technically hated them in the same way I should have hated The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog for dragging the spiny mascot’s image through the mud. For some reason I actually loved the cartoon incarnations of Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda, and have great memories of bearing the ramblings of GMTV to catch 10-minute glances of video gaming heroes.
Looking back, I remember a holding a slight resentment for the Sonic cartoon because of the liberties it took with the franchise. As a Sega gamer, I didn’t know any better when it came to the Zelda cartoon, but looking back I don’t know if even a younger me could have tolerated the stupid interpretation of a game that is distinctly not.
The story had almost nothing to do with the classic game series. Link and Zelda live together in Hyrule castle, and over the 13 episodes Ganon tries several times to get the Triforce of Wisdom (there is no Triforce of Courage, making it more of a Duoforce). Oh, and the Triforce pieces talk. Anyway, to make things even more annoying, Ganon happens to be about as evil and intelligent as Barney the Dinosaur, while Link’s a jerk, and his catchphrase, “Excuuuuussse Meee, Princess!” just never gets tiresome. Ever.
While his quest throughout the series is to prevent Ganon from getting his hands on the last Triforce, he spends more time trying to get into Zelda’s knickers. The pair’s incessant flirting continues through dungeons - at one point Link’s being strangled by a root of some kind, and Zelda’s reaction is to flick her hair and toyfully ask herself “Oh, should I get Link down? Ho ho ho.” There’s also a fairy named Spryte who will have Navi-haters kissing their Ocarina of Time cartridges after 5 minutes of watching.
The cartoon did have some genuinely funny lines - “Looking good Princess, especially from this angle!” - and for the first time Zelda has some balls about her. Also, the King is hilarious, but these small positives are hardly saving graces, though. Some people actually liked the series (though we call those people “crazies”), but the cartoon faced the axe after a single half-season. The rights to distribute the cartoon were sold by DiC to UAV Entertainment, who have released DVDs which you can find under the “Horror Comedy” section of your local retailer.
I might be bitter because I dislike stories of unrequited love.