Continuing Nintendo’s foray into animation with Captain N: The Game Master and The Super Mario Bros. cartoons, the third and final cartoon came from the Legend of Zelda series. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show ran in the fall of 1989, 5 days a week (we were spoiled with shows back in my day). I talked extensively about the Super Show in my Mario Bros. post. Every Friday on the Super Show, instead of a Mario cartoon, we were treated to a Zelda one. While nostalgia is perpetually a rose tinted lens, I can tell you that this show doesn’t hold up well.
Like many shows of the time, the opening credits set up the premise for the show, which was slightly different from the games. Link is charged by Princess Zelda with protecting the Triforce of Wisdom, while the evil wizard Ganon controls the Triforce of Power. Whoever controls both Triforces will rule Hyrule forever. Dire straights indeed.
Like every Nintendo cartoon at the time, the show featured designs, sound effects, and situations from the game. The problem with this though, was the games were still trying to find their voice. While the Mario games were mostly consistant (except for Mario 2, which wasn’t really a Mario game, long story), Zelda II was drastically different from Zelda I. The show mostly took cues from the original with a few elements from the new game. Link wore his green tunic and hat but had brown pants and had brown hair instead of white pants and blond hair. Again, this is how he looked in the original game. Zelda had more of a promenant role, usually fighting alongside Link instead of constantly needing to be rescued. Ganon was an anthropomorphic boar with near infinite magical resources, yet somehow his schemes always failed.
Link battled the Ganon’s minions which consisted of enemy types from the game like Moblins, Octorocks, and Zoras. Defeating these monsters would often result in a loot drop, leaving behind rupees (or rubies on the show), bombs, or crossbows. Link’s sword shot a pink energy beam like in the game when his heart containers were full. Also, apparently Link was now a super gymnast. His jumps and flips would make Mario jealous.
There were two running gags that appeared in every episode. The first, and less annoying, was Link constantly vying for a kiss from Zelda with something always preventing it from happening. Monsters would attack, Link would be too dirty, or some other nonsense would spoil the moment. The other was far more obnoxious, Link’s catch phrase. In the opening credits and what averages out to 2.15 times per episode (28 times across the series, I counted), Link would say “Well Excuuuuuse me, Princess.” This was a take off of Steve Martin’s “Well! Excuuuuuuuuuse me!” catchphrase. I can assure you they took this idea and drove it straight into the ground.
While there is a lot of nonsense in this show and the material surrounding it, I will give them credit, it was a good idea. Having a regular show during the week and a special episode every Friday was inventive. I remember freaking out when I found out there was a Zelda cartoon during the Thursday preview the first week the show aired. I mostly watched the Super Show everyday but was sure to tune in every Friday.
When the Mario cartoons were aired in syndication, the Zelda show was left behind, rarely to be seen again if ever. In the early 90’s the show was released on VHS across four volumes. The cases were a golden color like the game cartridges. Thankfully, in 2005 the complete series was released on DVD, ensuring we still have access to this rupee (see what I did there?). Every episode is easily accessible on youtube.
No, I won’t say it.