The Legend of Zelda; animated fantasy adventure series, USA, 1989; D: John Grusd, S: Jonathan Potts, Cyndy Preston, Len Carlson
Link is a mischievous, but overall good knight who protects Princess Zelda in her castle from the evil wizard Ganon and his henchmen, the Moblins, who want to steal the "Triforce of Wisdom" and conquer the kingdom. Link has a crush on Zelda and wants a kiss, but they are often interrupted by fighting. Together with fairy Spryte, they resist Ganon's attacks.
One of the few successful animated adaptations of a popular video game, "The Legend of Zelda" still holds up surprisingly well due to its charm, wit and innocent, genuine characters who make it worthwhile for the viewers. The biggest kudos should be given to screenwriter Bob Forward, the "mastermind" behind the show, who consistently wrote easily the best episodes, some of which are remarkably comical and irresistible: in his vision, there is no room for Princess Zelda to be a one-dimensional, passive side-character, as many other similar shows erred, and instead promoted her to a strong woman, an equal to hero Link, sending her on adventures to fight with him, and even save him at times, whereas he also refused that the villain should be more interesting than our heroes. This way, "Zelda" is much more appealing than expected. Already in the first episode, which starts with Link looking at Zelda wearing her nightgown in the castle from above, saying "Now that's a view! Especially from this perspective!", and ends with the two of them putting a belt around their waists as they fight back to back against the villains, does the storyline already establish that it is not your boring 'run-of-the-mill' TV show.
The jokes arrive swiftly and hit the point. In episode #3, for instance, a perfect, blond Prince Fasade appears and fascinates Zelda who is so carried away that she misintroduces Link as "Stink." However, Fasade's perfection soon turns from an advantage into adversity, when he is so obsessed with staying clean and pretty that he doesn't want to save Zelda from a swamp, fearing he might get himself dirty, which gives Link the upper hand in the end, serving also as a good moral lesson. In episode #8, Link sleepwalks on a rope towards Zelda's bedroom, but the Princess wakes him up by splashing him with a glass of water. Afterwards, Link asks for a kiss with these words: "Whether I'm asleep or awake, you are always the girl of my dreams." - "That's the sappiest line I ever heard in my entire life!" - "...Did it work anyways?" In episode #4, Link fights with a dragon, chasing him around and around in circles, until Zelda says "it is time to end this game" and simply throws a banana peel which causes the reptile to slip and stop. Other screenwriters were less inspired and delivered routine, standard episodes that do not stand out, which somewhat reduced the enjoyment value of the storyline, most notably in some stale dialogues by villain Ganon. Likewise, as many TV series, it does not feature a beginning nor an ending that concludes these 13 episodes. Still, in the long run, there is much more to enjoy than to ignore, which serves as a good point for this series.