The Legend of Zelda (TV series)

The Legend of Zelda (TV series)
The Legend of Zelda
Title screen, shown at the beginning of each show
Title screen, shown at the beginning of each show
Genre Fantasy / Action-Adventure / Comedy
Format Animated series
Starring Cyndy Preston
Jonathan Potts
Len Carlson
Colin Fox
Elizabeth Hanna
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 13
Producer(s) DiC Entertainment
Nintendo (characters)
Running time 15 minutes
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 The Legend of Zelda video game series 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. The show was produced by DIC Entertainment and distributed by Viacom Enterprises. It comprises thirteen episodes which first aired in North America from September 8, 1989 to December 1, 1989.


Show premise

Every episode 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 obstinate rejection with his sarcastic catchphrase, "Well! Excuuuuuuse me, Princess!". 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, Episodes of Captain N: The Game Master, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (only the phrase, "Come on!")

Game references

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 the 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 Lowder, an 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

North American Airings/DVDs

The Legend of Zelda was featured on every Friday episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show instead 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 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 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 Pictures Home 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]

United Kingdom

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.

Shout Factory was unable to distribute the DVD in the UK or in Region 2 format DVD, as it only holds the rights for the Region 1 release. The distribution rights for the UK are held by Maximum Entertainment which has no plans to release The Legend of Zelda.

Voice cast

Main characters

  • Link closely emulates his video game appearance, wearing a long green hat with a lighter green stripe around the brow, a green tunic, and a brown belt. He wears a light leathery red long shirt underneath the tunic, pants, and a pair of tall dark brown boots. He has brown hair as as in the first two games in the series. He carries a magic sword which is capable of firing bolts of pink colored energy to destroy his enemies. He is an adept swordsman and a quick thinker, but is somewhat childish. He often tries to get out of his responsibilities and winds up in more trouble than he predicts. Despite his character flaws he has a very noble heart and will go out of his way to protect anyone, especially Zelda.
  • Zelda has a more detailed depiction than in the video games. She is about as tall as Link, with shoulder-length blond hair. She wears a pair of garnet-colored orb earrings and a blue linked tiara on her head. Her clothing consists of a blue vest and a purple overshirt, somewhat outside the "traditional" role of a princess. She wears a pair of lavender pants and a pair of reddish tan thigh-high boots. Her personality is somewhere between stuck-up and compassionate; she would die to protect her kingdom from harm. At one with the Triforce of Wisdom, she is well-versed in its magics and can wield its power. She is also quite skilled with the bow and the boomerang. She secretly loves Link, though she doesn't tell him because she doesn't want it to go to his head.
  • Spryte is modeled after the generic fairies in the Legend of Zelda video game. She wears a short tunic and her short, cropped hair is a sandy blond (though occasional glitches switch it to a darker brown). She is smart-mouthed, quick, and full of magical energy. Her father is king of the fairies, and she works as an assistant or servant to Zelda. She too has a crush on Link and is more obvious about it, constantly flirting with Link who usually brushes it off due to his attraction to Zelda.
  • King Harkinian is Zelda's father, King of all Hyrule. Although he is never seen in the game, he is present in the series. He is a tall, somewhat rotund king with a snow white beard and a gold crown. Although somewhat dimwitted as a father, he has a knack for ingenuity, is loyal to his country, and possesses a profound insight into those around him. He is a wise ruler, though forgetful and fearful of Ganon. He has no affinity with magic but has superior diplomatic abilities.
  • The Triforce of Wisdom, a sage-like glowing green triangular talisman, is more of a magical object than a member of the cast. Her advise is often given in riddles and rhyme.
  • The Triforce of Power has a dominating male voice, is more casual in its speech than the Triforce of Wisdom, and tends to give Ganon ideas on how to conquer Hyrule or obtain the Triforce of Wisdom.
  • Ganon is a large anthropomorphic pig who is the main antagonist of the series. He uses an endless supply of magic to aid him in his attempts to overthrow the kingdom of Hyrule. Obtaining the powers of instant teleportation, he also owns the "Evil Jar," with which he can summon and create his deadliest minions. Ganon is short-tempered, and his plans are often flawed by the ineptitude of his servants. He has a high, shrill voice and wears a set of purple robes over his body; his hood can also act as a disguise for when he must go "incognito". His powers are limited outside of his underground dungeon domain. While on the surface, he must rely fully on his servants to perform tasks for him.

Running Gags

  • Nearly Missed Kiss” — In every episode, Link and Zelda come close to kissing, but something always happens to prevent them. Link may too dirty (even though Zelda is equally dirty), or he may snatch a bug and eat it due to a spell gone wrong, or Gannon may attack. Link even exclaims "This always happens!" He often tries to sneak a kiss, but is met with a similar unexpected failure.
  • Well Excuuuuse Me, Princess” became Link's repeated slogan. He says it multiple times per episode when accosted, annoyed, or shunned by Zelda. On some occasions his retort is cut off by events going on around him or by Zelda herself.


# Title Original airdate Prod. Summary #
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 103 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 102 After a rather clumsy outing fighting off an ambush of monsters, Link feels left behind as a new hero from another kingdom named Prince Facade saves the day and captures Princess 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 104 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 105 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 ahold of the unicorn.(Within this episode, Link plays a tune on a flute that bears a resemblance to a track from Super Mario Brothers 3 and the title theme of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.)
6 "That Sinking Feeling" October 13, 1989 106 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 tektite 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 decide to assault Ganon in the Underworld, only to watch as the entire Hyrule Castle is also pulled underground just as they ride off.
7 "Doppleganger" October 20, 1989 107 In another attempt to capture the Triforce of Wisdom, Ganon creates a magic mirror in Zelda's room. When the moonlight shined on it, it created 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 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 108 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 them.
9 "Stinging a Stinger" November 3, 1989 109 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 escaped. Zelda asks the Triforce of Wisdom how to get Link's Kriss sword back, and the party sets up an ambush for Ganon as he comes after the Triforce.
10 "A Hitch in the Works" November 10, 1989 111 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 where he made a collar that compels Zelda to do his bidding, including marrying him.
11 "Fairies in the Spring" November 17, 1989 112 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.

This is the only episode that does not feature Ganon.

12 "The Missing Link" November 24, 1989 113 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 Link's spirit remained with her. The two make their way to the Underworld to recover his body.
13 "The Moblins Are Revolting" December 1, 1989 110 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 and traps 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

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

International Broadcast

  • RTP1
  • TVI (13 October 1995 - 27 July 1997) {Nintendo Cartoons}


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.[2] 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.[2]


  1. ^ 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." 
  2. ^ a b Michael S. Drucker (2005-09-30). "The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series". IGN. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 

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