Classic A Link To The Past artwork appreciation post. Artwork drawn by Katsuy Terada. To me, ALTTP still stands tall as one of the finest adventures ever crafted, and the artwork for it still evokes that sense of wonder and adventure that the classic Zeldas give me. ALTTP is something I go out of my way to play through annually. I miss this style of Zelda, in terms of art and adventure.
Every time I think i’ve seen all the Terada Zelda artwork another post like this pops up
Link and Zelda from the old Legend of Zelda animated series. :)
Link/me. Sheik/Ryo. Photo/K
One pic of our Ocarina style shoot in the Otway rainforest!
I didn’t have time to make the Ocarina shield so here is SSB
*beedle voice* OHH!! THANK YOU!!
I was very careful with it since I live in a country which is rather homogenous in racial structure (HUGE majority is white), and I am kind of detatched from the intuition of what might be racist or disrespectful about others’ culture, and what not, according to dominating on Tumblr anglophone countries’ mentality’s perception of racism. Even though I spend a lot of time on Tumblr learning about it. I mention this because I was comparing real-life cultures, and I was especially concerned about throwing Indian culture into one bag with Arabic (probably closer to Gerudo) or Jewish and calling it ‘Eastern’. I could have tagged it with more Zelda tags, so it’s easier to find and discuss about, but I was just afraid of post getting popular causing a meaningless controversy I would have no energy to lead on. Offending someone on purpose is the last thing I’d do here. A comment like this from a person not from my country means a lot to me UwU
But then it makes me wonder what even inspired Nintendo to name the currency “Rupee”, since the first LoZ. What is the basis of that?
Actually, it’s difficult to determine first LoZ’s setting by looking only at the pixelated overworld. There are graveyards with catholic crosses on them, as well as Link’s shield having one on it (clashes with Triforce worship, huh? But fits European castles-and-knights scenery, oh-so popular in the 80’). Also, book of Magic is called Bible in original Japanese release. The terrain varies vastly from area to area, so this also is not a definite factor to determine Hyrule’s location in real world. Nothing strikingly middle-eastern going on.
Why ‘Rupee’ then? It even wasn’t Rupee in Japanese releases, but Rupy. Localization team had to recognize a real-life currency in this alternative spelling and change it to one. English manual calls it a “ruby”, yet I wouldn’t consider it canon but rather a mistranslation, as Japanese spelling clearly shows the “p” sound with “pi—” symbol (a “hi” with a little circle to the upper right of it) rather than “bi—” (hi with two short vertical lines instead of a little circle). If it was derived from “ruby” it would make more sense if green Rupees were red, so it’s probably not this.
If we consider the Japanese language L/R ambiguity, it would as well be spelled something silly, like “Loopy”. Rupies are not loops, so that’s probably not it either, but there is a possibility that such name would be a reference to “Link”. Links in chain are loops. And we know how popular themed naming is in 80s/90s Japanese entertainment, with food-themed character names in Dragon Ball, planet-based Sailor Senshis or Koopalings named after popstars (even though not present in Japanese). So maybe that is not that very unlikely, but would probably be referenced somewhere if it was the case.
(I know that official Japanese title screen has names written in ‘our’ letters, too, but those had several spelling mistakes despite being official).
Maybe they tried to use this word because it’s used in many countries a the same time, which probably would translate the name “Rupee” to “money”. Still, there are other less geographical-area connotated names among currencies which simply translate to “money” or “coin” in their languages, and these names can easily spun to sound more fantasy-like. Like, the Chinese use the name ‘Renmibi’ for what the rest of the world may call a ‘Yuan’, because ‘Yuan’ translates to any money in Chinese, not necessarily Renmibi only [I’m not an expert, don’t cite]. Maybe the Japanese also have such a word, but Nintendo prefered to use something ~foreign~ because it’s ~cooler~.
It’s still implies the geographcal setting too much in my opinion, especially because Hyrule is fictional and could be placed anywhere, and could use more neutral names.
On the other hand, with dungeon entrances like these…
Interpreted in art like this
the conclusion can be drawn that Hyrule is not at all European. Egyptian, Indian, Arabic - maybe. The entrance seems to be based on snakes, often associated of ancient architeture of these cultures, whether wrongly or not. It’s difficult to say if it’s a Jumanji, Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider or Aladdin-like scene. Pixelated colums could even be some kind of totems like in Native American cultures. Heck, it could even be China-based if the entrance is modeled after a dragon and the pixel soldiers are like the historic Chinese dummy armies made of stone. I think there is a legend about them coming to life under a certain condition, which also happens in LoZ.
NES Hyrule is very spacious and scarcely populated. If it’s inspired by medieval knight stories, then my theory is that Link came a long way from Europe-like place (Catholic cross on the shield, an almost exclusively European thing) to the almost-deserted East (Hyrule we know), beause other knights of his land didn’t succeed in the mission of saving Zelda (graveyard full of crosses).
But why do I think some inspiration could be drawn from India?
There are dungeons where you are supposed to go up and up and up the stairs (#2, #5, #6). Oh and that annoying mountain area where if you fail to go in right direction, your way will force you to go even higher, if you don’t decide to go back. A place which insinuates that you can easily get lost there. You know where else you could go up and up and get lost?
This can be backed up by the fact that Sahasrahla’s village area in ALTTP looks similar to this Indian temple. Even Zelda II temples begin like the portion with stairs of this one. Zelda II reminds me more of Greek setting, but it has some parts of Hyrule located in the same places as LoZ 1 Hyrule, proving it’s probably the same place.
These dungeons can be even more accurately seen as Mayan/Aztec/Inca styled. Majora’s Mask seems to take a lot from such imagery, which could be a good argument, if it wasn’t conradicting my own India argument. In any case, I can very clearly imagine NES Zeldas taking place near this gem of Latin America:
Or even this:
But with such thesis, a conundrum of why the heck Nintendo used Rupees as a currency is unsolved.
Gosh, I wrote an entire essay over something as stupid as Nintendo’s choice to use a real-life name for a shiny stone used as currency in their games. They could as well just like the ring of it… But it’s still too weird to me to not at least try to find a reason. Even though I used real-life examples, imagery of Video Games and cartoons are porbably more based on popular culture’s perception of foreign cultures, parodying hit hollywood productions set there. This all could even have no reason behind it whatsoever. Readers, don’t treat these theories as a discovery of something completely new and enlighting, stating the defnite real-life location of Hyrule. Hyrule is most likely a mix of different things of what our world has to offer. It’s completely fictional, after all.
(But these ‘rupies/Rupees’… sigh!)
Since you liked my previous post, I guess I would share some more of my theorized thoughts, though.
Thanks for writing!
The Zelda Project: Link, Malon, and Epona
Part of the Zelda Project, the fanmade Ocarina of Time movie.
Link Model: Anthony (retired from the project)
Malon Model: Adella
Costume: Sarah Quillian/Adella
Matte Painting: Mickael Forrett
I THOUGHT THE FIRST ONE WAS LEGIT ART
Oh my god it’s beautiful :’)
A friend of mine recently started a group on Facebook where we have a theme every month for everyone to illustrate however they choose. The last one was to pick a Nintendo character. I picked Link. I liked the idea of Link’s outfit being made out of leaves’n’stuff.
Official Legend of Zelda art.
Level 1: Eagle
Available as a print if you like adventures
Incredible wooden Majora’s Mask in the works by Mario Mayer.
Katsuya Terada illustrates The Legend of Zelda way back when for Nintendo Power.
"The F’ing Water Temple" - one of three of my Nintendo-themed pieces that’ll be up in Bottleneck Gallery’s 3NES Art Show! Premieres September 6th, in Brooklyn, NY!