The Legend of Zelda (TV series)

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The Legend of Zelda
Title screen, shown at the beginning of the show
GenreAction, adventure, fantasy, comedy
Created byShigeru Miyamoto (original characters)
Bob Forward (adapted to TV)
Written byBob Forward
Phil Harnage
Eve Forward
Marsha Forward
Dennis O'Flaherty
Directed byJohn Grusd
Theme music composerHaim Saban, Shuki Levy
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producersAndy Heyward
Robby London (co-executive producer)
ProducerJohn Grusd
EditorsLars Floden
William P. Magee
Running time15–16 minutes
Production companiesDIC Animation City
Sei Young Animation Co., Ltd.
Nintendo of America, Inc.
DistributorViacom Enterprises
Original networkSyndication
Original releaseSeptember 8 (1989-09-08) –
December 1, 1989 (1989-12-01)
Related showsThe Super Mario Bros. Super Show! (1989)

The Legend of Zelda is an American animated series based on the Japanese video game series The Legend of Zelda by Nintendo. The plot follows the adventures of Link and Princess Zelda as they defend the kingdom of Hyrule from an evil wizard named Ganon.[1]

The series is heavily based on the first game of the Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda, but includes some references to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the original game's sequel. The show was produced by DIC Enterprises 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 to December 1, 1989.

Show premise[edit]

Each 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, who somehow came into possession of the Triforce of Power (we hear in one episode that he "stole it fair and square"). 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. There is no mention of the Triforce of Courage in the series, however.

A common running joke of the series is Link's repeated failure to convince Zelda that he deserves a kiss for his heroic deeds. Whenever it seems they are going to kiss, they are interrupted. Although Link does kiss the clone of Zelda that Ganon creates in one episode and Zelda kisses Link in cross-over episodes of Captain N: The Game Master.

While Link saves Zelda in a few episodes, she often fights beside him using a bow and arrow or a boomerang.

Link usually meets Zelda's angry remarks with his sarcastic catchphrase, "Well, excuse me, Princess!". In the episode "Kiss'N Tell", 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 show is one of the few instances of Link having dialogue in The Legend of Zelda franchise. The games intentionally do not give Link dialogue. As Eiji Aonuma said, "since people have played Zelda over the years, they have their ideas of how Link might sound. If we were to put a voice in there that might not match up with someone else's image, then there would be a backlash to that. So we've tried to avoid that."[2]


As the series is a part of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, each episode contains both a live-action Mario segment and an animated Zelda segment.

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
1"The Ringer/Slime Busters"John GrusdBob ForwardSeptember 8, 1989 (1989-09-08)101
Link has grown bored with his lifestyle in Hyrule and seeks a true 'hero's' life, finding Zelda the only comfort worth having. Meanwhile, Zelda holds a wizarding competition and Ganon uses it as a plan to sneak into the castle and steal the Triforce. After he is discovered, Link and Zelda set aside their differences in order to stop him from escaping.
2"Cold Spells/Magic's Magic"John GrusdPhil HarnageSeptember 15, 1989 (1989-09-15)102
It is spring cleaning in Hyrule and Link has to pitch in, but he quickly fakes a cold in order to get sympathy, which works on Sprite. While at the market, Ganon secretly augments her powers to cause chaos at the castle in a very Fantasia-like manner, allowing him to steal the Triforce.
3"The White Knight/Wild Thing"John GrusdBob ForwardSeptember 22, 1989 (1989-09-22)103
Link and Zelda face off against an ambush of Tinsuits and an Octorock when Prince Facade, a prince from a neighboring kingdom called Arcadia, arrives and sweeps Zelda off her feet. Dejected by this "Prince Charming", Link quits his duties and prepares to leave, but Ganon knows Facade's one weakness and plans to exploit it in order to kidnap Zelda.
4"Kiss'N Tell/Mommies Curse"John GrusdPhil HarnageSeptember 29, 1989 (1989-09-29)104
Zelda happens upon a damsel in distress, who insists on a handsome hero to rescue her from a Gleeok. When Link arrives and saves her, she rewards him with a passionate kiss, but she turns out to be a Gibdo in disguise who curses Link into a humanoid frog. Unable to be a hero in this form, Link takes the Triforce of Wisdom's advice and seeks help from the "Witch of Walls" for an answer after Zelda is kidnapped by Ganon.
5"Sing For The Unicorn/Fred Van Winkle"John GrusdBob ForwardOctober 6, 1989 (1989-10-06)105
Link's plans to romantically deliver flowers to Zelda are dashed when Ganon appears, attacking on the back of a unicorn. He kidnaps the king and they go to rescue him, meeting Sing, a woman from whom the unicorn had been stolen. Together they must face Ganon's traps, and rescue both the unicorn and the king from Ganon's capture.
6"That Sinking Feeling/Tutti Frutti, Oh Mario"John GrusdDennis O'FlahertyOctober 13, 1989 (1989-10-13)106
After a romantic picnic is ruined by Ganon, Zelda resolves to lay an assault on his lair, but as soon as they leave, the castle, along with the king and Sprite are pulled underground by a giant magnet and they need instead to rescue their friends before Ganon finds them.
7"Doppelganger/The Magic Love"John GrusdBob Forward & Eve ForwardOctober 20, 1989 (1989-10-20)108
Zelda receives a magic mirror, which suddenly creates an evil double of her. With the real Zelda kidnapped, the fake is tasked to trick Link into taking the Triforce of Wisdom into the underworld, where it will be easy for Ganon to capture.
8"Underworld Connections/Defective Gadgetry"John GrusdBob ForwardOctober 27, 1989 (1989-10-27)107
Link's sleepwalking is put to a stop before he can sneak into Zelda's bedroom chamber, but with the tower the Triforce is in is unguarded. A trio of Vires use a bomb to shatter the Triforce into three pieces to carry. They obtain one piece, and Zelda uses it in order to seek clues where the other two have been dropped, they venture into the Underworld to reunite the Triforce again.
9"Stinging A Stinger/The Great Hereafter"John GrusdBob ForwardNovember 3, 1989 (1989-11-03)109
Sleazenose, a traveling merchant, is rescued by Link who stops bandits from robbing him, and in gratitude, he gives Link a beautiful bejeweled sword in exchange for his current one. Using it in battle, Link realizes the sword is a fake and he and Zelda are kidnapped. They find they need to work together with Sleazenose to outwit Ganon once again.
10"Hitch In The Works/Treasure of the Sierra Brooklyn"John GrusdBob ForwardNovember 10, 1989 (1989-11-10)110
Not believing a story Link told her of Moblins attacking the castle when she found him unconscious and "sleeping" when he is supposed to be doing chores, Link has the house maintenance man make fake Moblins to attack her. She overhears the plan and does not react when the real Moblins come to kidnap her. Ganon puts a collar on her to force her to do his bidding; including marry him.
11"Fairies In The Spring/Pizza Crush"John GrusdBob Forward and Marsha ForwardNovember 17, 1989 (1989-11-17)111
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 does not 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.
12"The Missing Link/Tutti Frutti Mario"John GrusdBob ForwardNovember 24, 1989 (1989-11-24)113
Ganon tries to use a magic wand in order to kidnap Zelda, but she deflects the attack and it hits Link instead, sending his physical body to the Evil Jar. Her guilt is short lived after Link's spirit reveals himself to her, although no one else can see him. It's deduced why Zelda is the only one who can see him, though. They realize that they need to travel into the underworld to reunite Link's spirit with his body trapped in the Evil Jar.
13"The Moblins Are Revolting/The Ghoul of My Dreams"John GrusdEve ForwardDecember 1, 1989 (1989-12-01)112
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.

Game references[edit]

The TV series is based heavily on The Legend of Zelda. While direct referencing of the game is loose, the series features some recognizable monsters, items, sound effects, tunes, and locations. Some references are also made to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. For example, in "The Ringer", Ganon is seen riding a Lowder, a beetle-like enemy seen in Zelda II.

Although there is no direct explanation for how Link and Zelda are able to carry seemingly infinite numbers of items, the TV series shows that the items they carry magically shrink when they are placed in pouches or pockets.

Rupees appear, called Rubies as they were in the original Nintendo games' instruction manuals. Rather than arrows, the bows in the cartoon shoot beam-like projectiles. Just like in most of the games, Link's sword can shoot a beam attack. Link's beams can destroy most monsters, but not people, as shown in the episode "Sing for the Unicorn", when Link zaps Sing during a fight, but to no avail.


  • United States: in syndication (1989–1991), Family Channel (1991–1992)
  • United Kingdom: in syndication (rare standalone legit end credits version) (1997–unknown) Cartoon Network UK (1997–unknown)

Edited versions of the episodes were a part of "Captain N and the Video Game Masters" from 1992 to 1993.

Home media[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.[3] Each episode ran for about fifteen minutes. The series was made in association with Nintendo of America, produced by DIC Enterprises, and distributed for syndicated television by Viacom Enterprises (now CBS Television Distribution). Due to its syndicated nature, only fifty-two episodes of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! were made and Zelda ended 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 to 1993 in syndication, and from 1993 to 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").

Like with Super Show, Zelda was released onto VHS by Kids Klassics, who released the series on two-episode tapes in four volumes; the gold color of the VHS slipcases matched that of the original NES games.

Lions Gate Home Entertainment also included an episode each on their "Mario's Monster Madness" and "Action Adventures" VHSes; both also included on their DVD counterpart "Mario's Greatest Movie Moments".

Sterling Entertainment released another VHS/DVD titled Ganon's Evil Tower on July 22, 2003, which included three episodes. The DVD release also included 2 episodes of Sonic Underground as a bonus. The second DVD was released on September 27, 2005, titled Havoc in Hyrule, containing five 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.[4] This release has been discontinued and is out of print.

NCircle Entertainment eventually re-released Sterling's DVDs, and released another one titled "The Power of the Triforce" on July 22, 2008, which contained five episodes. NCircle re-released the complete series on May 22, 2012.[5]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Legend of Zelda was 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 currently no plans for a Region 2 DVD release.


PIDAX FILM released a Region 2 DVD of the show on December 2, 2016. The two-DVD set includes all 13 episodes in German and English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.[6]


The series is notable for its negative reception.[citation needed] IGN rated the DVD release of The Legend of Zelda a 3.0 out of 10, or "Bad", citing poor writing, repeated plots, and over the top acting.[7] Link's catchphrase, "Well excuse me, Princess!" is an internet meme and commonly used in-joke used by video game players, especially Zelda fans, and is spoken by Link on 29 occasions throughout the 13 episodes.[7]

James Rolfe of Cinemassacre has shown a more positive response to the series. While acknowledging that the dialogue "can make you cringe", he favored Link and Zelda's characterizations and found the action satisfying. He labeled "The White Knight" as the best episode for showing Link's heroic nature against the more pompous and vain Prince Facade, but described the following episode "Kiss'N Tell" as his least favorite for Link complaining throughout.[8]


  1. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 805–806. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  2. ^ IGN Staff (December 4, 2002). "Miyamoto and Aonuma on Zelda". IGN.
  3. ^ Hughes, Mike (September 14, 1989). "This is the time for NBC to grab a slice of TV history: It should become the first force to abandon the Saturday-morning cartoon business". USA Today. The show runs five days a week, however, and there is a saving grace: Each Friday has a "Legend of Zelda" episode that's quite a bit better than the rest of the week.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Email Address Sign me up Signing up... (2012-05-22). "The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Season on NCircle". Archived from the original on 2018-09-08. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  6. ^ "The Legend of Zelda". Archived from the original on 2018-06-19. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  7. ^ a b Michael S. Drucker (2005-09-30). "The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series". IGN. Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  8. ^ "Zelda animated TV series review". YouTube. Cinemassacre. December 1, 2017. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2017.

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