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Episode Review


The Ringer


Tuesday, October 25, 2005, 1:50 PM - 10:15 PM


Introduction (1:50 PM - 2:04 PM, 2:06 PM - 2:07 PM, 2:13 PM - 2:15 PM, 10:44 PM)

On Saturday, October 1, 2005, I moved to Chicago. I brought only 2 Captain N episodes with me on a CD, only 1 of which I can review in proper sequence. I did, however, buy "The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series" on DVD on Friday, October 21, 2005, at 6:18 PM, so I've decided to review that series now. Please note that, due to the move, all time stamps from now on are in Central Time.

There is some debate over whether the Zelda animated series occurs in Videoland or not. The same voice actors for Link, Zelda, and Ganon were used when the characters appeared on Captain N the following year, so that's why there's information on this series on this Captain N site, and it's also why I'm reviewing these episodes.

As some of you may know, "The Legend of Zelda" consisted of 13 15-minute episodes that aired as part of "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" on Fridays. Each Zelda episode aired the day before each Captain N Season 1 episode. For what it's worth, I consider the Zelda and Captain N episodes to occur on the days that they originally aired.

I will not be reviewing the live-action Mario and Luigi segments that aired before and after each episode. For one thing, they aren't part of the story. For another thing, only 5 episodes on the DVD set include the live-action segments. Boo to Shout Factory for not including all of them!

Since this series is readily available on DVD in stores, I will not be offering summaries of the episodes. This will allow me to write the reviews faster. I suggest watching an episode and then reading my review of it. If you really need to know what the episode's about before hand, you can read a summary or novelization in my Zelda episode guide at http://ldloveszh.tripod.com/zeldepis.html


The Legend of Zelda Game Story (2:06 PM - 2:31 PM, 3:24 PM)

Since this series, unlike Captain N, focuses on a specific game series, I thought it would be a good idea to provide the story of the first game, "The Legend of Zelda", from its instruction manual to provide context (and to later point out contradictions between the cartoon series and the game). While the second game, "Zelda II: The Adventure of Link", was released in late 1989, the cartoon series is based on the first game.

"A long, long time ago the World was in an age of Chaos. In the middle of this chaos, in a little kingdom in the land of Hyrule, a legend was being handed down from generation to generation, the legend of the "Triforce"; golden triangles possessing mystical powers. One day, an evil army attacked this peaceful little kingdom and stole the Triforce of Power. This army was led by Gannon, the powerful Prince of Darkness who sought to plunge the World into fear and darkness under his rule. Fearing his wicked rule, Zelda, the princess of this kingdom, split up the Triforce of Wisdom into eight fragments and hid them throughout the realm to save the last remaining Triforce from the cluthes of the evil Gannon. At the same time, she commanded her most trustworthy nursemaid, Impa, to secretly escape into the land and go find a man with enough courage to destroy the evil Gannon. Upon hearing this, Gannon grew angry, imprisoned the princess, and sent out a party in search of Impa. Braving forests and mountains, Impa fled for her life from her pursuers. As she reached the very limit of her energy she found herself surrounded by Gannon's evil henchmen. Cornered! What could she do? ... But wait! All was not lost. A young lad appeared. He skillfully drove off Gannon's henchmen, and saved Impa from a fate worse than death. His name was Link. During his travels he had come across Impa and Gannon's henchmen. Impa told Link the whole story of the princess Zelda and the evil Gannon. Burning with a sense of justice, Link resolved to save Zelda, but Gannon was a powerful opponent. He held the Triforce of Power. And so, in order to fight off Gannon, Link had to bring the scattered eight fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom together to rebuild the mystical Triangle. If he couldn't do this, there would be no chance Link could fight his way into Death Mountain where Gannon lived. Can Link really destroy Gannon and save the Princess Zelda? Only your skill can answer that question. Good luck. Use the Triforce wisely."


Misc. Tidbits (3:25 PM - 3:28 PM)

The episode was written by Bob Forward.

This episode originally aired on Friday, September 8, 1989.

As far as I know, I didn't see any episode when it originally aired.


Interesting Notes (8:17 PM - 8:36 PM)

Zelda judges the amateur magician's contest. That must mean that she's an experienced magic user.

Ganon's teleportation powers are limited in the upperworld.

Spryte is 3 inches tall.


Great Lines (3:30 PM - 3:44 PM, 4:40 PM - 4:51 PM, 5:25 PM - 5:41 PM)

Link: "Lookin' good, Princess - especially from this angle!"
Spryte: "I told you, you should have put on a robe."

(after a moblin jumps onto his back)
Link: "Hey! You wanna dance? Just ask!"

Link: "Pillow fight!"

Link: "Hey, it's been fun, but the other customers are getting impatient."

Link: "Guys, it's been a blast, but you're going home!"

Link: "And tell Ganon, if he really wants the Triforce, he'll have to get it himself."

(after Zelda slaps Link)
Zelda: "Don't you ever whistle at me ever again!"
Link: "I may never whistle again, period!"

Zelda: "Don't you ever clean in here?"
Link: "Excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, Princess! If I had know you were coming, I would have asked the moblins to sweep up before I zapped them."

Zelda: "Anyway, this is the third attack by Ganon this month. We'll have to be on our guard."
Link: "We, Princess?"
Zelda: "By we, of course, I mean you."

Ganon: "Ah, Hyrule. A peaceful kingdom and a beautiful day. That will soon change."

Zelda: "Hmmm? Who dares to laugh at me?"

Link: "How can I get Zelda to pay more attention to me?"
Spryte: "Who cares? She's a snot. You should stick with me."
Link: "Spryte, you're only three inches high!"
Spryte: "What? You don't like short girls?"

Zelda: "What are you doing here?"
Link: "Nothing much, just heroically saving your life."

Triforce of Wisdom: "Evil is the path you choose, but evil-doers always lose."

Zelda: "C'mon, Link!"
Link: "My kind of girl: completely crazy!"

Link: "Tada! The Triforce. Saved the kingdom again, Princess. Not bad, eh?"
Zelda: "You got lucky."


Dumb Lines (5:41 PM)

None.


Rant (7:02 PM - 7:19 PM, 7:40 PM - 10:15 PM)

I'll start by reviewing the opening theme sequence. It was well-done: an introduction that set up the premise of the series followed by some action sequences, all set to a newly-done version of the classic "The Legend of Zelda" title screen music. No complaints here.

The opening theme sequence does contradict the game, though. It gives us the impression that Zelda hired Link to guard the Triforce of Wisdom. Impa is completely absent from this series. There's no reference to Zelda's kidnapping or Link's quest for the 8 fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom. Surely, if these things had happened, Zelda wouldn't have to show Link the Triforce of Wisdom or explain that Ganon has the Triforce of Power; also, Link would have gotten the Triforce of Power back from Ganon after defeating him. This cartoon series pretty much rewrites the back story. With a little bit more effort, the series could have included the game's story as background material.

Why was Zelda keeping the Triforce of Wisdom, a powerful magical artifact, in an unoccupied room with an open window? Was there even a guard at the door? This would make sense on medieval Earth, since the room is at the top of a tower, but Hyrule is a kingdom with magic and flying beasts. Zelda should have used more caution, like keeping it in a safe or a vault - or even in her bedroom, because, y'know, she's the one that actually uses it.

Oh, Link's exclamation of "Excuuuse me, Princess!" gets old really fast.

As the episode starts, Link...is talking to himself. Great way to begin the series. He's all whiny about having to live in a castle and sleep in a bed. Shut up, Link.

I like how Link indirectly comments on Zelda's cleavage. That's rather surprising for an American cartoon series.

I didn't - and won't - mention all of Link's witty lines in the Great Lines section, but suffice it to say that he cracks a lot of jokes during fights. I like that.

Link having a magic beltpack to store his weapons is interesting. Perhaps Simon Belmont got his backpack from the same place?

Zelda slapping Link isn't that surprising for an American cartoon series, since it happened on "Jem" quite a bit. It makes you wonder why slaps are often edited out of anime that's aired on TV.

It's impossible for me to list all of the great lines that Link and Zelda throw back and forth in the episode, because it is often too wordy or loses context without the visuals, but their verbal spats and snappy comebacks are the highlights of this series.

Ganon is a weird villain, but I suppose he's sufficiently evil-looking.

Having the moblins and other minions of Ganon return to a magical jar after being defeated would explain why they're such a threat to Hyrule, but it also cheapens their defeats and makes it look like Ganon doesn't have a very large army, relying instead on the same small group of minions.

It seems odd that Zelda would not recognize Ganon's voice. Of course, if the events of the first game never happened, then Zelda was never kidnapped by him. I guess it's understandable, considering the cartoon series' rewrite of history.

Does Spryte seriously expect Link to fall in love with her, considering her very short height?

It seems that Zelda has an accent when she says "You're supposed to be guarding the Triforce." It sounds kind of British. Oh, well. I like it.

It's interesting that the Triforce of Power speaks in a male voice, and the Triforce of Wisdom speaks in a female voice. Was this intentional?

Link and Zelda fighting back-to-back was an okay idea, but I don't see why Link fastened them together with his belt. They couldn't see what was going on behind them, so they couldn't help each other. Any help that they got from each other this way was purely coincidental.

Why does Ganon demonstrate to his minions how to fight instead of fighting Link and Zelda himself? Well, I guess that's what minions are for. They might be dumb on their own, but they're decent fighters that allow for good portrayals of Link and Zelda's fighting skills.

Okay, so Link's belt idea helped to deflect the bomb that Ganon threw, but I doubt that he anticipated this happening.

Yep, the only reason that Link belted himself and Zelda together was to blackmail her into giving him a kiss after the victory. Dick.

It's a good thing that Spryte showed up to save Zelda.

So, how is Ganon supposed to get out of the jar?

Lesson: Link is a dick. Other than that, beats me.

I'll say this much for "The Ringer": as a series premiere, it's a hell of a lot better than "Kevin In Videoland".

Seriously, this is an enjoyable episode. It has a basic "steal the Triforce" plot and consists of 3 or 4 locations. The short running time was used very well.

The fact that I found no bad lines should indicate how good this episode is.

I love how Zelda is Link's sidekick in this series, or is Link Zelda's sidekick?

Anyway, Zelda is a capable fighter. She hasn't used magic yet in this series, but we'll see that soon enough.

I just hope that they'll drop Link's exclamations of "Excuuuse me, Princess!" and demands for Zelda to kiss him. They're already getting old.

With a shorter running time than Captain N, I'm glad that there are far fewer characters to focus on. On Captain N, there are 6 (later 7) N Team members and 3 regular bad guys (with Dr. Wily and The Count sometimes added). On Zelda, there are 3 good characters and 1 main villain. Let's do some quick math: In Season 3 of Captain N, at its most densely-packed, an episode could theoretically allow 1.05 minutes for each main character. In Season 2, an episode could theoretically allow 2.10 minutes for each main character. In Season 1, an episode could theoretically allow 2.33 minutes for each main character. Get ready for this. A Zelda episode could theoretically allow 3.50 minutes for each main character. While its estimate of 45.50 minutes for each main character during the series is less than Captain N's estimate of 64.94 minutes for each main character, keep in mind that Zelda ran for only 13 episodes. It certainly beats Season 1 of Captain N's estimate of 30.33 minutes for each main character. Great use of time.

Well, this is probably the shortest amount of total time that it's taken me to write a review. The lack of a summary sure helped, but also there wasn't a whole lot to comment on.

Overall, "The Ringer" is a good episode. I look forward to reviewing the next one.

Usefulness ratings:

Link: 13 (defeating the 3 moblins, defeating the dragon, activating the catapult, defeating 7 stalfos, defeating Ganon)
Zelda: 5 (tossing the plate to Link, creating the catapult, warning Link about the Underworld extrance, defeating a stalfo, blasting Ganon)
Spryte: 0

While Link's high rating is expected, Zelda beat Lana's meager rating of 1 for the first episode and, indeed, beat Lana's rating for the first 6 episode (first 5 if you consider the fact that noone did anything useful in "Videolympics"). Why can't Lana be this capable?

The running total usefulness ratings for the series so far are:

Link: 13 (1 episode)
Zelda: 5 (1 episode)
Spryte: 0 (1 episode)


That's the end of my review of "The Ringer". I'll be reviewing the episodes in the order that they appear on the DVD set, which is also the order that I have them listed in my episode guide. Is this a confirmation of the original air order? Anyway, I'll review "Cold Spells" next. See you all in my next review!


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