This time we are taking our Dream Smasher series from the written world to the visual. For this edition of Dream Smashers I wanted to tackle a character that has been on my mind since the Brawl days: Toon Zelda. She was scrapped for Brawl and in that game she would have likely been a Zelda clone. Nowadays though, I feel she could easily get in as a unique fighter and I hope watching this video will explain why. For those who would rather read this as an article however, I have supplied my unedited script below. Enjoy and let us know what you thought of the video in the comments below!
This video was written and voiced by Nantendo (@MrNantendo).
The audio editing was done by Arcaira (@_Arcaira_) and the video editing by gameonion (@YTgameonion).
Special thanks to Nirbion (@Nirbion) and TheAnvil (@MLFoxwell) for some of the gorgeous graphics you see in this video.
The representation of the Legend of Zelda series in super smash brothers is a divisive one.
On the one hand you have the fans who believe that the Zelda series deserves better representation as it is one of Nintendo’s most influential franchises and yet only has 5 characters, 2 of which are semi-clones.
On the other hand, some fans argue that Zelda is perfectly represented in these 5 characters.
Link, Zelda and Ganondorf represent the three parts of the triforce, Courage, Wisdom and power respectively. They are the 3 constants in the Zelda universe and are unlikely to ever get replaced.
Sheik is the oddball character because she is only in Super Smash Brothers by pure luck as Sakurai saw a good idea in giving Zelda a transforming mechanic like in Ocarina of Time and so Sheik was treated the same as Zelda, even though this is no longer the case.
The last of these characters is Toon Link who replaced Melee’s young Link in brawl. Although fans are a bit mixed on Toon Link his inclusion makes sense as he represents 2 key parts of the Zelda franchise that none of the others do.
Firstly, by having two Link’s Sakurai represents the multiple timelines found in the Zelda universe and how almost every game uses a different Link. It also shows the varying ages Link can be as Toon Link is a child but regular Link is an Adult.
Secondly, Toon Link’s inclusion shows that the Zelda franchise is not limited to just one art style. The Zelda series has changed consistently as the years have gone by but only the more realistic Ocarina and Twilight art styles were prominent in Smash, that was until Toon Link came and brought the most far-off artstyle with him, the cell-shaded cartoon style.
So, Toon Link’s inclusion begins to make a lot more sense and you can begin to understand where the side that are fine with the Zelda representation in smash are coming from. However, I personally take a middle-ground in all of this. While I acknowledge that Zelda is very well represented I do believe that there is more from that series that can be reflected through Smash’s characters and today I am going to show you how Toon Zelda can do just that.
-Splash Screen- Toon Zelda Casts a Spell!
When people think of Toon Zelda they probably imagine her as being a semi-clone of regular Zelda. Afterall, Toon Link is a semi-clone of regular Link.
If she was to get into Super Smash Bros Brawl I would agree. Toon Zelda and Toon Sheik are both a part of the Forbidden 7, 7 potential characters found in the coding of Brawl that never made it into the final product. Just the mere existence of Toon Sheik confirms this as Sheik has never appeared in any of the toon style of games. By going through all of the trouble to make her for Smash that says to me that Toon Sheik and Toon Zelda would have been clones of Sheik and Zelda.
Toon Sheik could have potentially been Tetra but I doubt this as it makes no sense to call the file Toon Sheik in that regard unless you were going to clone sheik but then Tetra would not fit that role anyway.
Before Brawl came out, the cartoon style found in wind waker had appeared in 5 different Zelda titles with Toon Zelda only missing from one of them. Wind Waker, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, Minish Cap and Phantom Hourglass all used the Toon artstyle. Since Brawl there have been two games (not including remakes) to use this style: Spirit Tracks and the brand new Triforce Heroes.
The most important of these games for this video is Spirit Tracks but I will get to that in a sec. First, I want people to note how many of those cel-shaded games are on handhelds.
Of the 7 games mentioned, 5 have been on Nintendo’s portable systems and this is an important factor as I believe Toon Zelda can represent the handheld side of the Zelda series.
Toon Link is very clearly based on the Wind Waker version of the character which is a console game. The console Zeldas have gone through a multiple of different art-styles and any major changes in the art styles happen here.
For the handheld Zelda’s however there have only ever been two art styles used. The toon style and the slightly more anime style that originated in a Link to the Past on the Snes, which was used in every handheld title prior to four swords as well as a Link to the Past’s successor: a Link between Worlds. Toon Zelda will also make sure to represent these games as well.
The Toon art style has been chosen for her because it stands out a lot more than the anime style. Toon Zelda is more distinctive and different from regular Zelda than the iteration from A Link Between Worlds. A second reason Toon Zelda was chosen was thanks in part to Spirit Tracks, a game that uses the toon art style and features Zelda more prominently than any previous Zelda game.
The last thing to cover before I jump into how her moveset might work is to answer the question on why a new Zelda would even be added to smash. Well for this we move back to the idea of constants. Zelda is the titular character of the series and her name is more recognizable than Links. Afterall there is a reason why people sometimes refer to Link as Zelda and cause the fan base to explode. The Zelda series has an always changing cast which makes it hard to pin-point returning characters but one thing that is almost always assured is that Zelda will be there somewhere. And, every new Zelda is technically their own separate character with their own personality quirks so as long as Toon Zelda plays in a unique enough way I do not see it as an issue having two characters called Zelda in Super Smash Brothers.
The most important question here is how to make Toon Zelda stand out from regular Zelda. The current Zelda found in Smash is a magic user, which makes sense with her character as she has always been shown to have some kind of magical ability ever since a Link to the Past. Magic is heavily tied to Zelda herself and so it must play some kind of role in Toon Zelda’s moveset as well.
I believe that I have found the best way to both keep Zelda unique and have her use magic. This is through the existence of the Magic Rods. The magic rods have been a part of the Zelda series since the beginning but in recent years have found more of a home in the handheld titles. This is because both the fire and ice rods were replaced in ocarina of time with the fire and ice arrows and this has kept on as tradition in the consoles. Along with the original Fire rod there is an ice rod that appeared in a link to the past and a link between worlds, the sand rod that originated in spirit tracks and then returned in a link between worlds and finally the Tornado rod that was also from a link between worlds.
Through their powers combined: toon Zelda and the magic rod bring together both the Spirit tracks and A link between world with her art style and their prominence in that game.
You might argue that the magic rod does not fit Zelda as she has never used them in any game but I disagree and I point to the Zelda already present in smash for my defence.
Zelda’s moveset in super smash bros was originally based solely on ocarina of time and used the three magic spell items from that game: Din’s Fire, Nayru’s Love and Farore’s wind. Zelda never used any of them in Ocarina either but those were the magical items present in that game and so understandably Sakurai took them from link and gave them to Zelda because it made sense to him. For the magic rods, I imagine the same would happen.
Toon Zelda’s gimmick is her command over the four elements of Fire, Ice, Wind and Earth, essentially making her the Avatar. In game, this will give her the benefit of having the power to explode, freeze, trip and blow away opponents.
Let us get some quick statistics out of the way first. Toon Zelda would have attributes similar to both Toon Link and regular Zelda. Both have a double jump and neither can crawl so these factors will likely be the same for Toon Zelda. In terms of stature she is about the same as toon link and so her weight, height and speed would all be similar to his but, of course, all be less than Zeldas. Toon Link has the ability to wall jump which is something Zelda does not have and something toon Zelda won’t have either. That dress would just cause her to slip up. To make up for this, Toon Zelda’s jump is a lot higher than Toon Links. Finally, as Toon Zelda is holding a weapon in her hands at all time she will not be mirrored when she turns over.
Her alternate colours will follow a similar pattern to Toon Link with how they are based. Her default colour is the common Pink found in all of her appearances while the next three will be red, blue and green respectively. The blue colour will be based on the Zelda from a link to the past and the green colour is based on Link himself and will contain elements of brown.
Next we have a light coloured outfit based on her ghost form from spirit tracks. This adds a white-ish tone over everything including her skin and hair. The costume after that is instead of Toon Link’s dark form and is based on Hilda from a link between worlds, complete with dark hair.
Her 7th colour will be the most varied, being based on Tetra from the Wind Waker saga of games. This means a blue top, white dress, with bits of red and a more tanned skin colour. Finally her last costume will mimic the classic Zelda from the first game similar to how toon link’s mimic the links of old.
Beginning with some general animations; Toon Zelda’s Walk, Run, Jump and fall animations would be very similar to regular Zeldas. In fact, a lot of their basic animations would be similar but with Toon Zelda holding the magic rod constantly.
Her Neutral and jab attacks would be the only moves that don’t take advantage of magic. They don’t have much range or power until the end but they draw enemies in. Zelda will do 3 slaps before thrusting the magic rod forward and knocking opponents backwards, possibly with an explosion of fire magic.
Her forward, up and down tilts will all consist of her waving the magic rod in an arc in that direction while some ice magic appears to damage the opponents. It’s nothing too special but not everything can be exciting.
Her aerials follow a similar idea but with wind magic instead. The wind magic will cause the attacks to be less powerful but they will have the added effect of blowing people in whatever direction is swung. The direction of the aerial attack will determine which way an opponent is knocked back, except for the standard ariel which will consist of a downward swing and knock opponents down.
Toon Zelda’s dash attack will be a simple swing in in an upwards arc in front of her and it will have a fire effect much like her regular jab. One thing to note about all of these attacks so far, except for the regular jab, is the inclusion of a sweet spot on the orb of the magic rod. If an opponent is touching this when the magic effect goes off they run the risk of freezing, being meteor smashed or knocked back a lot further, depending on the attack.
Moving on to her smash attacks, Toon Zelda’s forward smash will have her stab the magic rod in front of her and release from it a continuous stab of ice attacks with the last one potentially having a freezing effect. There will be at least 4 stab attacks here.
Her down smash has Toon Zelda stab the ground with the magic rod and two small spikes of sand shoot up from the ground on either side. These can trip players up and do a moderate amount of damage.
Her final, and potentially most powerful, smash attack is her up smash which has toon zelda stab the magic rod skyward, the orb growing propellers and spinning, replicating the tornado rod. While the rods propellers don’t do a whole lot of damage they are continuous but, the deadly thing here is not the physical attack but the elemental wind generated by it. Not only does the wind pull players inward during her attack but at the end any player still caught in the spin will be thrown upwards. At high percentages this attack could easily KO any opponent.
Now onto the grabs. Much like Zelda, Toon Zelda will not actually touch her opponents and instead use magic to hold them in place. Due to her smaller size, and only having one free hand, her reach will be a lot worse but because of the magic rod, her grabs can be more powerful. Each one of her grabs will use a different element, with wind being used twice for both her forward and backward throw.
Her Up throw will involve Toon Zelda throwing her opponent up and then using the sand rod to create a rectangular pillar of sand, similar to how it works in its original games. This pillar will push the opponent upwards into the air using its force.
Toon Zelda’s pummel will involve hitting her opponents with the rod while having an ice effect. This will not freeze and counts as both a physical and element attack. Her down throw is nearly identical to Zelda’s but she will use the magic rod to attack with fire instead of it just appearing out of nowhere.
It is time for the big moves as we go onto the specials. Toon Zelda’s standard special is the Ice rod and acts similar to the Ice Climbers down special: Blizzard. The difference here is it only covers one side like Sopo but toon Zelda can move while using it. Her customs for this move involve a fire rod equivalent that does not have a chance of freezing people and another special that is similar to Samus’ where Toon Zelda charges up a ball of Ice. This ball of ice cannot be saved like Samus’ can and does not travel very far but, has a 100% freezing chance.
Toon Zelda’s Side Special is the Fire Rod and works like it does in a Link Between Worlds. When launched, a small spike of fire moves along the ground, between 3-6 spaces depending on how long it was charged. While the fire starts of small, the further it gets the taller the spire of fire becomes until it ends up bigger than Toon Zelda herself. The fire will stop if it hits anyone though. Her customs for this move are a sand rod equivalent where three small spikes are fired out and stay the same size at all times. These can trip up opponents much like her down smash. Her final custom is fireball attack that cannot be charged but does not stick to the ground, making it harder to dodge.
For Toon Zelda’s recovery we have the tornado rod which acts exactly as it does in a link between world. Anyone who is above toon Zelda will receive damage but little knock back. In the reverse, anyone next to toon Zelda will get lots of knock back but no damage. This makes it a good attack to save yourself while preventing others from recovering. The customs on this attack are both quite different. The first is identical to Squirtle’s recovery in brawl but with sand instead of water and her final recovery is a warp, identical to regular Zelda’s that allows for a better recovery distance in exchange for doing no damage.
Finally we have Toon Zelda’s down special which uses the Sand Rod. This attack is similar to Palutena’s up smash with Toon Zelda creating a spike of sand in front of her that stabs players and knocks them upwards. Her customs for this move are similar to other characters as well with the first being similar to Mario’s down special, the F.L.U.D.D. Instead of using water however, toon Zelda uses her tornado rod, similar to a gust bellows. It can be charge and has the adverse effect of blowing Toon Zelda in the opposite direction it is fired so make sure not to use it with your back against the edge. Toon Zelda’s last special is a Phantom that is smaller and weaker than regular Zelda’s but does not take as long to charge up. It makes more sense with Toon Zelda than regular Zelda so it needed including somewhere.
The only attack left is Toon Zelda’s final smash and while I had a bunch of original ideas like using the phantom hourglass to freeze time, I honestly think it is more likely that we get a version of the Light Arrows used by Zelda and Sheik.
Toon Zelda’s three taunts and victory animations will not reference anything in particular. Her down taunt has her do a twirl, which is also used for one of her victory animations. Her up taunt has her hold the magic rod skyward while magic of various element colours flash at the top. Her side taunt will show off her cheeky side a bit more as she does a pose similar to that of Tetra, accompanied by a wink and a shake of the head as if to say ‘is that all you’ve got?’. Her final two victory animations will consist of one showing of Zelda performing various magic attacks as she moves closer to the screen while the other has her float down with the tornado rod but almost mess the landing. The music that plays during these victory animations will be the regular Legend of Zelda fanfare:
‘Plays the track’
And with that, we end this edition of Dream Smashers. I hope I have done well to convince you all that just because a character may be similar to another on the surface, it does not mean that they can’t play and feel like two unique characters.
If you liked what you heard today then head on over to Source Gaming, the number one site for smash brothers facts, translations and speculation. I have done two more Dream smashers there like Donkey Kong Jr. and the Inklings so give them a read if you have time.
If you just want more Zelda related videos then why not give a listen to our Hyrule Warriors Legends discussion that I hosted with PushDustIn and Masked man where we covered everything in the game so far including live translations of the famitsu scans.
If podcasts are more your thing then why not listen to the 3rd edition of Source cast, with special guest Neo Zero of smashboards, where they talk about all the endless speculation behind Super Smash Brothers 4 Wii U and 3DS. I’m not in it but I hear it’s a good listen none-the-less.
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