8 minutes of pure fan joy in this extremely impressive clip that depicts The Legend of Zelda in the style of Studio Ghibli

On November 21, 2023, I celebrated a special date together with hundreds of thousands of people around the world. No, I’m not in a cult. Although, well, the Zelda fandom is very familiar and anyone who doesn’t believe in the Triforce should please be thrown into the well of Kakariko!

Ocarina of Time turned 25 years old. The most legendary Zelda game of all time for many has remained at the top of the highest-rated games of all time for almost two decades. And one fan has come up with something very special for this special anniversary: an eight-minute short film!

Wait a minute, haven’t you already written about this? Gotcha! Just two weeks ago I gave the exact same YouTube artist, RwanLink his name, a stage. Why am I writing about it again today? Back then there was only a 30-second teaser to marvel at, now there’s the complete work, which you can now enjoy for yourselves at your leisure:

Where should I look first?

Because I’ve already gushed so much about the stunning look in my first Zelda-meets-Studio-Ghibli column, I’ll keep this part a little shorter today: My goodness, it looks brilliant! Did you expect anything else?

My personal highlights:

  • The spot at the dying Deku tree, especially the two cute Dekus
  • Everything, but really everything in Hyrule City!
  • Many, many familiar characters that I have taken to my heart have been realized incredibly well. Malon, Richard the dog, the mask dealer, Zelda herself – simply great!
  • Yes, I admit: I find the cameo at the end by Phai, who is rather unpopular in fan circles, very charming, or maybe I’m just jealous of her dancing skills.

The almost eight minutes fly by. I whoop with happiness, getting one beautiful scene after another burned onto my retina. In the end, I’m speechless, because this fan film is exactly what I want for a future Zelda game as well as for a movie. Unfortunately, as we all know, at least the latter won’t happen

The Unreal Engine 5 – for better or worse

Let’s move on to the technology. RwanLink uses the Unreal Engine 5 for his fantastic creation. According to his own statement, he worked on the film in his spare time for over 600 hours in just 4 months. If that’s true: Wow, respect! And the result speaks for itself

I still find the odd Kokiri hair in the UE5 soup. Nothing that would really detract from the excellent taste. But I did notice a few blemishes here and there:

  • Clipping error: If Link is too close to other objects, he suddenly dives through them as if by magic. There is no collision detection here.
  • Breaks in style: Some objects don’t quite have the right look and therefore stand out like foreign objects in the Studio Ghibli aesthetic. This is particularly noticeable in the scene in which Link looks out over Hyrule City.
  • Post-Processing: Some effects, especially the occasional use of blurring at the edges of the image, feel inappropriate. The Unreal Engine 5 cannot hide its primary purpose here.
(Some post processing effects don't really fit the Ghibli style in my eyes.)
(Some post processing effects don’t really fit the Ghibli style in my eyes.)

What do you think of RwanLink’s finished work? Which scenes did you particularly like and where did the short film perhaps not quite pick you up as much? What wishes do you have for the live-action film of The Legend of Zelda? Think of the green man in the spandex suit! I’m mean, hehe. I’m eager to hear your opinions, so feel free to write them in the comments section!