‘The Legend of Zelda’: Why It’s Time for a New Animated Series

     March 3, 2017


With the arrival of Nintendo’s Switch comes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the latest Zelda game in a franchise that spans more than 30 years. Early reviews praise its difficulty, open-world nature, survival aesthetic, and focus on exploration. I only wish I could say the same for the 1989 animated series. That 20th century mess is better left on the trash heap of history, and the best way to move beyond it is to bring The Legend of Zelda into the 21st century with a bold new animated series.

Despite 30 years of beloved video games that have evolved with each of Nintendo’s successive video game systems, the one-and-only 1989 animated series remains a blight on an otherwise impressive record. This disaster, and similar ill-fated animated/live-action adaptations of Nintendo’s intellectual properties, left a foul taste in the IP-owners’ mouths, essentially locking out any additional adaptations outside of the video game realm. That’s a crying shame. Zelda is one of the most adventurous and imaginative stories ever created, and it’s tailor-made for an animated series.

The Legend of Zelda is much more than a highly successful video game franchise for Nintendo; it’s a mythology in and of itself, complete with iconic heroes, imposing villains, and a rich, varied world that continues to shift and change with every iteration. Providing the framework for all of these amazing mythological creations is one of the more convoluted chronologies you’ll find out there in video game land. But it’s this variety of storytelling, springing from a root chronology (and three separate timelines that split off from it) that makes The Legend of Zelda a nearly limitless source of inspiration for an animated series. Doing that successfully is no easy feat, but because of the wealth of games and mythology available, modern animation technology that’s never been better, and the on-demand access of streaming content, this is the perfect time for a new Zelda series. Let’s get into it.