Exciting news is afoot as The Legend of Zelda is set to receive a live-action movie adaptation, promising a cinematic journey into the beloved gaming universe. However, this revelation comes as a bittersweet moment for many anime enthusiasts who had long harbored the dream of experiencing an animated The Legend of Zelda movie, crafted in the enchanting style reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki’s films.
The yearning for a Zelda anime in the vein of Miyazaki’s masterpieces has been a persistent fantasy among fans, with the hope that the iconic Studio Ghibli aesthetic could be seamlessly integrated into Link’s adventures. Miyazaki’s timeless classic, Princess Mononoke, particularly stands out as a visual template for what an anime rendition of The Legend of Zelda might encompass. The breathtaking landscapes and subtly cell-shaded graphics of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have already invoked the spirit of Miyazaki’s work, offering players an immersive experience akin to Prince Ashitaka’s journey in Princess Mononoke.
Miyazaki’s influence on the Zelda franchise goes beyond mere aesthetics. Elements such as the Lord of the Mountain in Breath of the Wild, resembling the Spirit of the Forest from Princess Mononoke, and the cursed arm plot point in Tears of the Kingdom drawing parallels to Prince Ashitaka’s conflict, showcase a profound connection. Even creatures like the dragons in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom bear a resemblance to Haku from Spirited Away. The distinctive art style of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker also owes its inspiration to Miyazaki’s earlier work on Animal Treasure Island.
The anticipation for an animated Zelda film fueled by Miyazaki’s style seemed promising, but that dream took a hit with Nintendo’s announcement that the upcoming movie would be live-action. Shigeru Miyamoto, alongside producer Avi Arad, has been working on the film for years, marking a departure from the anime-inspired hopes that had captivated fans’ imaginations.
While a collaboration between Nintendo and Studio Ghibli or Miyazaki himself was never guaranteed, the potential for another animation studio to pay homage to Miyazaki’s legacy in crafting a Zelda film seemed tantalizing. The prospect of a team like the one behind Universal’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which already exuded Miyazaki vibes with a blend of 2D and 3D animation, taking on the task could have yielded breathtaking results.
Despite this shift in direction for The Legend of Zelda movie, Miyazaki enthusiasts have a silver lining to look forward to. The legendary director is set to unveil another masterpiece, “The Boy and the Heron,” scheduled for release in theaters and IMAX nationwide on December 8, offering a new enchanting narrative to captivate audiences.