From the Nintendo Wii game The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – it’s the Hero of Winds, Link! The Zelda series is a well-respected franchise that has lasted for decades and considered by many to be one of the most consistent in terms of gameplay quality, story, and influence. Released in 2011, Skyward Sword celebrates 25 years since the first title started a legend on the NES by fittingly going back to the very beginning (or at least the earliest time in the series’ canon). This first incarnation of Link lives in a society amongst the clouds, riding giant birds to travel abroad. Childhood friend Zelda is swept down to the mysterious lands below by evil forces and so Link must step up, meet the many challenges that lay ahead, and discover his and Zelda’s destiny.
With pastel colouring reminiscent of impressionist art, Skyward Sword has a gorgeous look about it. These basic colours have been replicated on this figma, which may lead to some detractors mistaking it for cheap design. Dressed in his trademark green garb, Link’s classic look is a cross between a lowly European swordsman and Robin Hood. Under his long green cap (that can be moved around) is a handsome brown tuft of fringe that comes in two oh-so-slightly different styles – and one that can only be used with his shouting expression. Link’s long bangs do little to hide his equally long Elvish ears that poke out, complete with blue earrings on each lobe. His neck is double-jointed, but the give is so slight you’re not going to be able to use it much, and a soft, flexible plastic is used on his ‘skirt;’ allowing for appropriate range when moving his thick, sturdy legs about.
His knees are located where his mustard yellow pants meet the top of his long brown boots, and use a considerably large joint here. Again, some people might be put off by the deep-cut grooves on the back of his legs so that the right amount of bend can be achieved, but it’s a negligible thing that you’re not going to see much. Since Link must bounce around and be a coiled spring ready to attack his many enemies, these thick joints are justified. His feet are hinged too, bending at the toes for a more convincing look when running, jumping or whatever and is far better executed than on the Michael Jackson figma. Link holds his poses quite well thanks to all this, though the weight of his sword and shield (when either drawn or strapped to his back) can throw it off balance a bit.
This figma is made considering the player has found Link’s famous Master Sword and Hylian Shield, which are the ultimate of their respective forms. Since these items are so well-known, manufacturer Max Factory have paid extra attention in ensuring they look their best. Minimal QC error is found here, with the shield, sword, and scabbard all meticulously painted, moulded, and detailed with all the right logos and Triforces. The scabbard simply plugs into one of the holes on Link’s back, and the shield uses its handle (that breaks into two pieces to secure easily in Link’s hands) to sit atop a small nub so that it doesn’t fall off. A strap is also included that clips over Link’s forearm, adding that extra bit of stability when he’s holding it.
Max Factory have smartly made sure the handle of the shield can be fitted to different sides, so Zelda purists can also have Link hold the Hylian Shield with his right hand and wield the Master Sword with his left (Link is traditionally left-handed, but since Skyward Sword uses motion control for 1:1 swordplay – plus the fact that a majority of people are right-handed – this is the reason for Link’s sudden ambidextrousness). A second hole is found on Link’s back too – lower than the other one so that the included figma stand can be used at the same time Link has his gear upon his back. Five pairs of hands are provided: a set of clenched fists, a set of open hands with the fingers splayed, a set of open hands with the fingers slightly curled, and two sets of grasping hands moulded on different angles.
A blue, transparent action effect is included; which stylises Link swinging his sword about. It slides down over the blade, but is just as heavy as the sword itself and will constantly set poses off-balance – especially when using the heavily-angled hands, which hold the Master Sword so limply that it’s near-hopeless to get a decent look when posing. The Master Sword itself is blue-themed, from the fancy handle and hilt to a faint blue tinge on the faces of the double-edged blade. For what its worth, Link’s sword, shield, and scabbard are just as – if not more – well-realised as the figma itself. Just two facial expressions are provided (but we’re not left wanting); a standard gallant look, and a shouting face complete with a deep-cut mouth. Both look recognisable as Link, but aren’t perfect – though I’m not complaining.
As per usual, a cardboard punch-out is included in the package, with the Skyward Sword logo set against an aged parchment-style background. It’s simple but looks nice and contrasts the figma well. The standard figma logo, character name, and associating series is printed on the front in appropriate green colouring. As only the second Nintendo character (the other being Samus from the Metroid series) to get the figma treatment, Link was a highly anticipated release. I know a lot of people will have bought this as their first ever figma – simply because it’s the most detailed Link action figure to ever be released. Though I’m sure lots will get plenty of enjoyment from this figure, I can’t help but worry that they’ll get poor impressions of the line from the bulky action effect, less-than-perfect facial expressions, and weak hands. Still, Max Factory have tried hard to appease fans and not fuck-up a revered video game character. And for that they’ve done quite a good job.