The Legend of Zelda, originally released all the way back in 1986, is kind of a big deal in the video game and pop culture worlds at large. Setting the stage for countless sequels, comics, a cartoon, and a very loyal fan-following, the original title still ranks as one of the best video games of all time, and, truth be told, it is tied with Mega Man II as my all-time favorite Nintendo game. So anytime I get the chance to add a new piece of Zelda memorabilia to my shelf, I usually jump on it. That being said, while Link and crew have enjoyed tons of merchandising in Japan, products produced for and by US companies has been less prolific, so I usually rely on our friends from across the pacific to get my Zelda fix.
Now, it has actually been a good year for Zelda merchandise for me. As we all know, the Figma Link figure based off his appearance in the Skyward Sword title is by far and away the best Link figure ever made, and I completely love it; however, this more modern Link doesn’t really foot the bill of satisfaction for a classic incarnation of Link based on the original title. Enter: Medicom. Under their UDF banner (that is, Ultra Detail Figure), the Japanese company has finally given me something that has been missing from my collection for over two decades: a CLASSIC representation of our favorite Hyrulian hero.
While this execution (that has seen releases from Link’s Nintendo big brother Mario) is called the Ultra Detail FIGURE, I think a better translation would be FIGURINE. You are not going to get a super-articulated action figure here, rather, this is a high-quality PVC figurine with no articulation to speak of. You know what, though? As long as you know what you are getting, that is okay, and if you are like me, the wave of nostalgia that hits you when you look at this figure will make you want to add it to your shelf immediately. Fortunately, Big Bad Toy Store will have you covered and he is currently in stock.
This figurine has taken on of the oldest (if not THE oldest) rendering of Link and has brought him perfectly into three-dimensional plastic. Does he look familiar? He should as this figure is based on the art of our hero from the original game instruction booklet and countless promotional items. To this day, that image is the basis for how I always picture Link, and this look, along with the art from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link are, as far as I am concerned, definitive. Over the years, Link (and Hyrule at large) has taken on a more “anime” and aesthetically “Japanese” artistic style (as you can see in modern games and the aforementioned Figma release), but I still prefer this more simple and clean look for Link.
He is young in this portrayal and armed with his trusty Magical Sword and shield. The figurine itself is about 7-8 centimeters tall (or in the 2.5 inch range), so if you have a PVC figure collection, he will fit right in. The paint applications are pretty good, not perfect, but thankfully most of the little imperfections are located around the back of the shield at the handle, so when he’s faced forward you will not even really notice them. Since Link is crouching, the coiffure that sneaks out from under his hat covers a good deal of his face, unless you are looking at him from below. I really wish this could have been some kind of two-pack so we could have gotten a Stalfos or a Wizzrobe for him to fight, but you can still show his bravery by matching him up against any random monster you might have in your collection.
The only other thing included in the set is a small black stand with foot pegs you can use to attach it to the figure. It has the Japanese logo printed on it (along with a © 1986 Nintendo stamp) which gives the original title of the game, The Hyrule Fantasy: Legend of Zelda, along with the Triforce and sabre art. The figure itself can stand just fine without the stand, but it helps bring everything together and gives a little more height to our diminutive hero.
Make no bones about it, I would LOVE for a company like Figma to revisit Link and produce a more “classic” version of him in figure form. I love that look and it is a crucial part of the history of Zelda. Actually, it would be great if someone would just make figures of all of the original Nintendo titles in their classic forms — that would be pretty sweet. While I wait for that, though, this is a fun little figure to add to my collection and it does a great job of taking me back to the original wonderment that made The Legend of Zelda so appealing to me. In fact, with today being a holiday, I think I might just play right through the game.