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A Link between hairstyles: How Zelda matched a hero’s masculinity to the moment

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In 2014, author Alice Gregory argued in favor of uniform dressing, declaring, “I have decided that my hair is my main accessory.,

it is easy to apply Link, the protagonist of The Legend of Zelda series. While his uniform – green tunic, floppy beanie, boots and relatively skinny pants – remains fairly consistent (with the exception of highly customizable outfits in newer installments), Link’s hair defines the hero over time with each console incarnation. from the hero of the sky The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Featuring a unique early Instagram look, with heavily pouty lips and neat, side-swept bangs. in hylian champion breath of the wild A modern reinterpretation of the mullet cut.

Link is not your average mascot: his appearance, which includes gentle, androgynous features, a sharp nose, and a curvy body, sets him apart from most Nintendo, Sony, and Sega mascots. She is, in every way, classically beautiful and hot – and her hair plays a major role in expressing her beauty. This is because all of Link’s hairstyles reflect the major hairstyle trends of the decade.

NES and SNES Era: The Hero with a Mullet

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Illustrated Link from Zelda II: Link's Adventure waving his sword and holding his shield

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Michael J.  Fox standing at his locker in Teen Wolf

(l) for promo art Zelda II: The Adventure of Link , (r) Michael J. Fox Inn teen wolf
Images: Nintendo; Atlantic Releasing Corporation

Link’s original character design included a button nose, freckles, and a stubby frame and limbs. Official information is that Peter Pan played a great role in character design oversight. In an era of low-resolution pixel screens and limited color capabilities, his pointy ears and large, pompadour-like mullet were instrumental in making the character recognizable in in-game graphics – which is why Mario finally got his moustache. Got it. link keeps flip in the Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of LinkAnd a link to the Past.

The Lynx Mullet was a hairstyle adopted by many 1980s heroes who were childish and resourceful, but not exactly dashing. Michael J. Fox’s character Scott Howard teen wolf and from Marty McFly back to the future In a way, it resembles the original Link, as does Noah Hathaway as Atreyu in Wolfgang Petersen’s Never ending story. Even Tom Cruise’s angel boy character fable There is some similarity. On the cartoon front, notice how he bears a slight resemblance to Disney’s Pigeon Tarn black pan and from the hobbits Lord of the Rings 1978 animated feature (and, to be honest, Elijah Wood’s IRL Frodo too).

N64 Era: Making the Link Beautiful

Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet smoking a cigarette in a floral button-down shirt

link to (l) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time | (r) Leonardo DiCaprio Romeo + Juliet
Images: Nintendo; 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection

At the height of Nick Carter and the Backstreet Boys’ popularity, Leonardo DiCaprio was Romeo + Juliet And TitanicJohnny Depp’s grunge era, and the overly dramatic love triangle Dawson’s Creek, If you want to play the hero, you need a screen. The characters they played were at least somewhat sexy, but not in a threatening way. The designers of the Link took the hint.

We have a developer’s wife to thank for the Link’s mid-1990s look. When Nintendo was getting ready to launch The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, developer Yoshiaki Koizumi got a reality check from his wife. In the “Iwata Asks” interview (the original link is now dead and cannot be reached), he revealed that his wife had claimed that “all Nintendo characters have weird noses; but that’s not true”. ” Don’t you have a beautiful one?”

according to the official narrative contained in The Legend of Zelda: Art and Artifacts, They were designed with the look of a certain Hollywood actor in mind, and although there’s no official source on the identity of the celebrity who inspired the link, it’s easy to see ’90s DiCaprio in his impeccably styled behind-the-scenes , who molded him into that. Japani bishonen archetype (that’s Darunia and Ganondorf for you) without venturing into hypermask territory.

When designer Yoshiaki Koizumi paired those blonde bangs with pierced ears and a fine, upturned nose, she realized that Link was getting too much to handle, so she paired her thigh-cutting, skinny tunic with white tights. Paired with (which is making a comeback once again My Local Gym). when it came to updating the character designs Ocarina of Timequick turnaround sequel to, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Link’s features sharpened, his brows furrowed. The Fierce Deity Mask, basically a very fancy power-up that you get if you manage to collect all the masks in the game, eventually transforms Child Link into the Hypermask version of Adult Link. An internet friend who has several opinions on the link says, “Fierce Deity would definitely be a great name for a Manosphere influencer.”

Link was hardly the only video game and cartoon hero playing behind the scenes; Other fans of the haircut include Squall Leonhart final fantasy 8 (rumored to have been inspired by River Phoenix) and Team Rocket’s own James pokemon Anime. Also, both Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune wear different types of curtain bangs. sailor Moon, In the late 2010s, curtain bangs resurfaced among K-pop stars, but it’s hard not to see this cut’s resurgence as a throwback to nostalgia.

Gamecube and Link: That’s a Viewfinder

Photo: Toronto Star via Getty Images

What do 2000s links have in common with the Swing Kids, Antioch Arrow, and a young Justin Bieber? with the exception of ocarina Charan, he was never an audiophile or a particularly musically inclined person. Instead, the answer lies in the hair: At some point, the Swing Kids, members of Antioch Arrow, and a young Justin Bieber all wore choppy, layered, side-swept bangs. Some call them “scene bangs”, others “emo bangs”.

for 2006 installment The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, The art direction went in a darker, grittier direction, and Link’s character design reflects this. Now a young adult farm worker, the Wii-ready Link was given angular and chiseled facial features, and a more detailed getup. His green tunic has side slits and lace-up sleeves, and you can clearly see the chainmail below. During this he wore white tights Ocarina of Time There are now tan skinny pants, which you can tell by the way they especially bunch at the knees and the rough stitching that you can see in the game. Link would look right at home in any medieval fantasy TV show.

The haircut varied greatly with the costume: Link appears to be wearing choppy, heavily layered, side-swept bangs. The character designs and in-game graphics make them almost as stylized as wearing wax. As one clever Redditor aptly defined it: it links to the “Nomura tier,” which refers to Final Fantasy designer Tetsuya Nomura’s character styles, which are notable for their intricate hairdos (not to mention highly ornate outfits). To do … and retcons) is known for.

in 2011 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Known as the Hero of the Skies, Link looks a lot like him Twilight Princess Avatar, but more infirmity. Character designer Kobayashi said, “His facial expressions are drawn a bit more comical and light-hearted than before, so that no matter what emotion he expresses, the expression itself seems relatable.” The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, And while the game’s characters and concept art have a whimsical, painterly quality due to the almost iridescent watercolors, the in-game graphics don’t do Link justice. The playable protagonist’s lips are duckface (a sign of early selfie art?) and his pants are now baggy and almost billowy; He still stuffs them into his shoes, but the proportions don’t work, and he looks at least 4 inches shorter.

It would be unfair to completely ignore his looks Skyward Sword. It is, in every way, a bridge between the modern Gamecube/Wii era and the extravagant, Studio Ghibli-esque character design introduced by the two Switch titles, breath of the wild And tears of the kingdom, But there’s a reason they remastered and released the game.

Switch Era: A Sexual Affair

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Link taking in a scene

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

In the trailer for E3 2014 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Link tears off his cloak to reveal a ponytail. Its texture was also light. Based on these early images, speculation on Link’s gender was abundant. Eventually, a female Link known as Linkal was revealed. hyrule warrior By-product. “Meanwhile back Ocarina of Time For a few days now, I’ve wanted Link to be gender-neutral. I wanted the player to think ‘Maybe Link is a boy or a girl,'” Zelda creator Eiji Aonuma told Time in 2016. ”I really wish the designer had incorporated more of a gender-neutral motif. So I’ve always thought that for female or male players, I wanted them to be able to connect with Link.

it came to full fruition in breath of the wild, where Link’s physique is reminiscent of his adult Ocarina of Time build and a hairstyle that looks like a mix of his 1980s and 2000s iterations: long sideburns and bangs that are a mix between the pompadour of his old days and the more recent emo bangs. His tunic was now a bright teal, largely because the abundance of greenery in Hyrule must have swallowed him whole.

Various types of armor and sets available breath of the wild This also resulted in a wide variety of hairstyles. In the Desert Voy and Stealth sets, Link has his hair in two different types of top knots; In the Snowquill set, he braids his sideburns into strings of rope and pearls, and also wears a feathered barrette. In The second part, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the KingdomYou can choose, if you wish, to tame Link’s blond hair (some websites describe his early-game look as “scruffy” and “hobo-like”) by obtaining a hair tie, and a suit of armor. using set like breath of the wild, Furthermore, the Ancient Hero set explores anthro culture, while the Yiga set is more like a full-body latex suit. Yet, even in all these kink-adjacent outfits, Link maintains an air of youthful playfulness.

Aonuma commented in the artbook, “Link is the protagonist of the game, so we always thought we needed to make him look good.” The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Creating a Champion, “However, if we overdo it, people playing the game may feel like they are controlling an already accomplished hero, which I felt could get in the way of players immersing themselves in the game.” “

What might be next for Link? If Hyrule really follows IRL trend cycles, then in its next mainline installment, it should revisit Y2K and early 2000s styles, or maybe indie sleaze (there’s something indie-sleazy about her) Twilight Princess Rise). However, given how chaotic trend cycles have now become final fantasy 8Own time compression, customization can allow your link to appear the way you like it most.

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