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World of Nintendo
by yo go re

There's more to the World of Nintendo line than big Mario villains - there's also the best Legend of Zelda toy ever released (in America).

An evil army attacked the little kingdom of Hyrule and stole the Triforce of Power. This army was led by the demon king Ganon, who sought to plunge the world into fear and darkness. Fearing his wicked rule, Princess Zelda split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight fragments and hid them throughout the realm. Hearing the story, a young traveler named Link set out to recover the pieces of the Triforce. After doing so, he fought his way to Ganon's lair in Death Mountain. Link fought and destroyed the King of Evil, recovered the Triforce of Power and saved Princess Zelda.

That's the story of the original Legend of Zelda game, which introduced the world to Link - the Zelda games have a rather complex timeline, involving identically-named characters throughout multiple eras and at least three divergent timelines (depending on what happened at the end of Ocarina of Time). The important thing is that the hero of the game is always an elf in a green smock, and that's what this toy delivers.

Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the series, was a fan of Disney movies, and so based Link's design loosely on Peter Pan. Despite looking like an elf, Link is actually a Hylian, which is apparently a race of humans who just happen to have long, pointy ears. His dusty blonde hair pokes out from under his pointy cap, and he appears to have pierced ears.

Link wears a green tunic over a gray chainmail shirt, and beneath that is long underwear. Seriously, the white bits of Link's costume? Long underwear. Yoshiaki Koizumi (the designer who originally made that change) said so. You can't see it on his legs because he's got tan trousers, but Link is wearing a union suit. He's got tall brown boots, fingerless gloves, blue bracers, a belt with a silver buckle and two pouches on the back, and a brown harness around his chest. Unfortunately, it goes the wrong way around his chest.

According to the front of the packaging, this figure is based on Skyward Sword, which is a bit disappointing - that was the first game specifically designed for the Wii, and (since most people are right-handed) Link, a character who's been left-handed since the first game, was turned into a righty. The same thing had happened with the first Wii game, Twlight Princess, but since that one was developed with the Gamecube in mind, they literally just flipped the game: rather than simply reverse the character model, they mirrored the entire world. Skyward Sword kept that trend alive, so this figure holds his accessories in the wrong hands.

He comes with the Master Sword, the signature weapon the game series, and a scabbard to store it in. The scabbard plugs into his back, right where the strap runs. The set also includes a "secret" accessory in a box designed to look like a Legend of Zelda treasure chest. We put "secret" in quotation marks because although it's not visible, it's not hard to guess what it's going to be: he already had a sword, so here's his shield. It's the Hylian Shield, the extra-tough defense Link gets late in the game(s). It's got a gray rim and a blue body with images of the Triforce and a Crimson Loftwing (the big red bird) on the front. The back has a strap to go over his wrist and a handle for him to hold, but again, it can only go on his left hand. So sad!

On the plus side, Link's articulation is superb. Remember how bad King Koopa was? This is the opposite of that. Link has balljointed ankles, swivel boot tops, hinged knees, swivel/hinge hips (blocked a bit by his skirt, it must be said), swivel/hinge wrists, elbows that feature a swivel both above and below the hinge, a torso that is either a loose swivel or a tight balljoint, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. There's a Figma Link you can import from Japan, and it has better articulation than this, but not by much. Do you really care if the toes move, or if there's a swivel in the hat? This is great stuff. His right hand is even sculpted with a slight bend, so he has an easier time pointing his sword at things. Best of luck getting the shield on and off his hand, though. I've got it on, and I'm leaving it where it is.

When The Legend of Zelda was originally under development, the fragments of the Triforce would have in reality been microchips! The game was going to be set in both the past and the future, with the main character serving as the link between the two eras - thus his name. They eventually ditched that idea, obviously, but similar gimmicks have come back in several Zelda games. There have been Zelda toys before, from Epoch C-Works, BD&A, Joyride, and even ToyBiz, but those were all more than a decade ago, and none of them were as good as this. The only bad thing about him is that he's prime scalper-bait, so the odds of you actually finding him in a store for his $9 SRP are low.

-- 12/07/14

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