What Do Japanese Zelda Fans Think of Linkle?


The other day I posted a small article about Japanese fans’ reaction to Cloud’s Smash Bros. announcement. I received a number of requests to do a similar article on Japanese fans’ reaction to the new “Linkle” character in the upcoming Hyrule Warriors game for the 3DS, so I decided to take a look.

First, here are some official images of Linkle:

She might be hero to break the timeline once and for all!She might be hero to break the timeline once and for all!

And, just for reference, here’s her Japanese video announcement, just in case it somehow differed from the announcement in other regions:

For more details and the history of how Linkle came to be, check out this article.

Anyway, before looking at Japanese comments, there are a few things to note:

  • These are random comments from Japanese game news sites, Japanese message boards, and Twitter. There are so few listed here that they shouldn’t be considered representative of all Japanese gamers, that would be a silly thing to assume. This is only to satisfy readers’ curiosity!
  • Because of the L/R issue that occurs in Japanese pronunciation, Linkle’s name is pronounced a lot like “Rinkle” in Japanese.
  • In Japanese, Tingle’s name is actually more like “Chinkle” or “Tinkle”.

    I wonder where the idea for this guy originally came from

Now for the comments!

doujinshi is unavoidable

Wouldn’t it be neat if it turned out Link was a girl all along, like with Samus?

She’s cute, but there’s something I don’t like about her

Surprisingly cute!

Reminds me of the elf in Dragon’s Crown

She looks creepy, like too much plastic surgery

Damn, she’s cute!

A crossbow in both hands is stupid

I wonder if they’ll call her “Linket” overseas

Now if only they’d let you choose to be a boy or girl in the main Zelda games

You hardly see braids like this these days

Does this mean we’ll be able to choose a guy or a girl in the next Zelda maybe?

I can see Zelda getting so jealous that she’ll assassinate her

She’s adorable!

Is she supposed to be in her 30s?

She reminds me of Link’s little sister from Wind Waker, but grown up!

So many girl characters

I like her!

She looks cute. I personally prefer her design from the old unused art, though

I wish she had boobs…

She’s completely different from that female version of Darth Vader I saw one time

I assume they wanted a girl name that started with “Link”… but the name keeps reminding me of “Tingle”

I hope she’ll be added to the Wii U version too…

She reminds me of Zelda from Skyward Sword

Whoa, so cute!

I bet this is what foreigners will get most excited about from this Nintendo Direct

Everyone complaining about how she looks on the 3DS should know she’s gonna be on the Wii U version too apparently

Linkle Linkle koolo limpah!

plz make doujinshi of her being swallowed by Like Likes kthx

She’s cute! She reminds me of elves from Dragon Quest

I’m interested

Just an aside, but female versions of male characters are a common sight in American comics too. I guess perverted minds go beyond things like countries, races, and religions lol

Lame name

They must be running out of ideas or something

Now gimme a female Ganon

A crossbow in both hands? How does she reload then?

Linkle, a child born of Link and Tingle. Which means…

I wonder if she’ll be added to Smash Bros. eventually

If they make her Tingle’s daughter it’ll be hilarious to see the foreigners go berserk

Hello, I’m 35 years old and a fairy

An angel

Her name makes me think of wrinkles

Put Saria in and I’ll buy three copies

She looks cute in the drawings but like absolute crap in 3D, get your shit together you no-talent hacks

We don’t need Linkle, just give us Aryll or some other Zelda character

No! Her name’s too close to Tingle’s!

I bet she’s Zelda and Link’s daughter

I thought it was Link transformed into a girl at first. And she’s not Tingle, either…

I always felt that Zelda the hero and Link the princess would’ve been a perfect fit

The dropped character miraculously revives!

Are they gonna use this name overseas too? Seems so much like “wrinkle”

Is she a Dragon Quest elf?

I feel so bad that her name is so similar to Tingle’s

I’m surprised by how cute she is!

Seems like a crossdresser

This has doujinshi potential


Too bad for the 3DS’ shit graphics

I thought it said Tingle at first (I have old man eyesight)


And thus the doujin world was jolted awake

She looks tough!

I wonder if she’s his kid sister or something

Get your act together, 3D artists! The drawings are nice, but the 3D versions aren’t cute at all

I was expecting a female Tingle at first rofl

You have my attention

I read somewhere about someone changing Link into a girl for their daughter’s storytime, but I didn’t think it’d actually come true!

For the most part, comments I came across were postive and were overwhelmingly on the “Whoa, she’s cute!” side. Also, while looking around for Japanese comments I actually found a Japanese video that translated English comments about her into Japanese!

Unfortunately, it appears the original video was removed from YouTube sometime during the past two years.

From the comments listed in this video, it seems the reaction is almost the exact same inside and outside of Japan. It’s funny how we’re taking a look at each other like this though, wondering, “What are they saying over there?!” Lately, it seems like we’re all saying the same things about these Nintendo announcements!

If you enjoyed this, check out Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda, my book dedicated to the very first Zelda translation and how it has affected every Zelda game since! (free preview PDF )
  1. well, linkle -is- cute.

  2. Yeah, both Cloud and Linkle gave way to the same type of comments, more or less; unlike say the Smash Bros. Little Mac reveal. It’s neat to see.

  3. I just wish she wore a hat instead of a hood.

  4. Boy, some of these were pretty face-palm worthy. For example:

    “I wish she had boobs…”
    “plz make doujinshi of her being swallowed by Like Likes kthx”

    but then it’s not like fans in America are any better.

    Also, i noticed this in the previous Cloud article, too, but what’s with all the “foreigner” hate? Is Japan really that ethnocentric? Geez, and i though America was bad.

    1. I don’t think they hate foreigners in this context, just complaints about pandering to overseas audiences. You get the same type of complaints on American boards whenever Rosalina is revealed to be in anything.

      1. Except in America, we have the decency to refer to people of other countries by their nationality. None of this lumping everyone together as “foreigners” crap.

        1. “Man, I wonder what people in Canada, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru, Republic Dominican, Cuba, Carribean, Greenland, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Venezuela,Honduras, Guyana, Guatemala, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, Bermuda, Bahamas, Tobago, San Juan, Paraguay, Uruguay, Surinam, French Guiana, Barbados, Guam, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Albania, Ireland, Russia, Oman, Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Cyprus, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, both Yemens, Kuwait, Bahrain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Portugal, France, England, Denmark, Spain, India, Pakistan, Burma, Afghanistan, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Kampuchea, Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Laos, Tibet, Indonesia, the Philippine Islands, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, New Guinea, Sumatra, New Zealand, Borneo, Vietnam, Tunisia, Morocco, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Swaziland, Gambia, Guinea, Algeria, Ghana, Burundi, Lesotho, Malawi, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Liberia, Egypt, Benin, Gabon, Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya, Mali, Sierra Leone, Algiers, Dahomey, Namibia, Senegal, Libya, Cameroon, Congo, Zaire, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Rwanda, Mahore, Cayman, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Yugoslavia, Crete, Mauritania, Transylvania, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Malta, Palestine, Fiji, Australia, and Sudan think about Linkle.”

          You must be a tiresome conversation partner.

          1. “she’s cute”

            except for transylvania, they think she’s weird looking

          2. Cute, but wrong on several levels:

            1) You could simply say “I wonder what the rest of the world thinks.”

            2) They most likely don’t have all 195 other countries in mind when they use the word “foreigner”.

            2) There’s no excuse for saying things like “It’ll be fun to see the foreigners go berzerk” when 9/10 they’re referring to North Americans.

            1. In all seriousness there are major cultural and historical reasons for the modern Japanese viewpoint of the rest of the world. I’m not an academic researcher but it boils down to:

              1. it IS an island nation, so the idea of “stuff on the island” and “stuff off the island” is naturally very strong. Hence the use of “overseas” to refer to much of the rest of the world

              2. the nation is very homogeneous in comparison to others, meaning anyone different is automatically an outsider (aka foreigner)

              3. owing to #1 and #2, the culture is extremely insular… and #2 feeds from #3 too in a cycle of sorts

              4. Japan literally did cut itself off from the West for a long period of time, so that delineation has been made clear before

              I’m sure there are many more reasons and that they can all be explained much better than I have here. But hopefully someone with more time and better skills can write about it.

              1. I sometimes wonder if Japan would still have its reputation for weirdness if it wasn’t for the isolationism of 1600-1800. It seems like it really messed them up. From what little I’ve read on the subject, isolationism was responsible for the fanatic militarism of Imperial Japan. They were convinced of Japanese superiority because of how rapidly they had modernized after isolationism (although that was largely because they were learning from other cultures), and they tried to cling to samurai traditions to retain their Japanese-ness in the face of Westernization (when samurai caste had no wars to first for centuries and the Japanese had long lost perspective on them).

                Obviously, Japan has come a long way since their Imperial days. But consider how America is still affected by the problematic issues in its own history. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s still some subtle problems that come out of isolationism.

              2. At one point, they were also arrogant enough to believe their little island nation was the only civilization on the entire planet. I wonder if deep down they just want nothing to do with “outsiders” anymore and go back to their old isolationist ways.

              3. LOL, are you KIDDING me? I see non-stop anti-Japanese complaints and hatred at places like GameFAQs. Pretending it’s a one-way street is laughable.

            2. I’m no expert on any of this, but as an American it’s natural for us to refer to other countries by name. We Americans have been deeply involved with other nations for better or worse from the start, so a lot of our culture came from foreign countries to one extent or another. Wondering how foreigners think about something, from our perspective, just seems like a weird statement. Like, what does the UK think about Borderlands, an American game? Well, probably about the same as the USA, but with a bit less eagerness about all the guns. South Africa? Same too, considering they were once a part of the United Kingdom, and still retain their Western culture. But what does Japan think of Borderlands? Or India? Or Indonesia? Who knows? They’re sort of “more foreign” than the UK or SA, if that makes any sense, so you really can’t just lump them together over here. There’s even a running gag on Last Week Tonight where John Oliver mentions and shows a map of an obscure nation (from our perspective), and says “…which is a country you think about so little, that’s not actually *! That’s *!”, and they highlight a different country. It’s hilarious.

              That’s my best guess, and I’ve never really thought about it before. It’s nothing to get offended by; it’s just a fun quirky difference we have between cultures. 🙂

            3. I am utterly at a loss to see how referring to “the rest of the world” is materially different from “foreigners.” I guess maybe you’re really down on 70s supergroups and cannot abide anything that may remind you of them?

              1. One of the definitions of ‘foreign’ is ‘strange and unfamiliar’. That’s a bit a narrow-minded coming from a nation whose culture has borrowed so much from the West. It’s not at all the same as “rest of the world”, but by all means, keep the jokes coming.

                1. In regards to the actual language, the ‘gai’ in both the offensive and less offensive terms for non-Japanese literally means ‘outside’ – as in ‘outside of the house’ – and though it is also used to mean ‘other’ or ‘apart from’, ‘strange’ is not a definition.

                  So, ‘gaijin’ (the offensive one) literally means ‘outside person’ and ‘gaikokujin’ (the less offensive one) literally means ‘other-country person’. It’s similar in use to how ‘internal’ and ‘external’ appear before the word ‘affairs’ to refer to, respectively, the nation, and other nations.

                  ‘Foreigner’ is a common translation since it gets across the not-from-this-country meaning as well as the potential offence in one word, but it’s not really a 1-to-1 equivalent with either term. ‘Outsider’ would explain the etymology as well as carry the offence but not quite have the same definition.

            4. Oh, yes, because Americans are always so mindful of foreign countries and make sure, every single time, to specify everyone’s origins (which is totally possible 100% of the time). It’s gotta be extremely, extremely rare and not at all legally-approved in the US for people to just generalise somebody to a blank-statement race or treat somebody of a different ethnicity as less valid a citizen than you, right?

              I mean, you guys always know the difference between England, Britain and the UK, right? You guys can always 100% name every single nation in Africa, right?

              It’s a stone-throwing issue. It’s a terrible thing… and neither of us are working to the standards you preach either, so there’s no use standing on that soapbox, especially when this conversation is happening in the relevant communities without any need for us.

          3. I see what you did there 😉

            1. Still one of my favorite shows ever.

    2. Japan is something like 96% Japanese, IIRC. Most of the remainder are Korean and Chinese. All other ethnicities comprise less than 1% of their population. In the USA, no ethnic group claims that overwhelming majority of the population, not even whites. Japanese people can go their entire lives without ever meeting a single “foreigner” of any stripe in person, which is extremely rare in all but the most rural and homogenous communities in the States.

      Besides, the word “foreigner” is mentioned a total of two times in the comments Mato chose for the article. I didn’t even think twice about it until I read your comment.

  5. I think Tingle’s name (Chinkle) is what lead to (amusing) images like this:


    Thanks for the lovely sampler of comments!

  6. Pfft…that one who thought Linkle would be the most popular thing of the Direct out here sure was clueless. 😛

  7. That guy who asked for Female Ganon was on the mark man. I want my Male Impa and Male Zelda too!

    All of the Tingle comments were hilarious!
    Tingle and Link had a daughter… which means Link was a girl all along!

  8. “Her name makes me think of wrinkles.”
    Thinking too much gives you wrinkles.
    (obscure Simpsons joke probably nobody is going to remember)

  9. Man, hopefully Nintendo can make Linkle playable the next Zelda game. Or at least make us choose whether we want to be male or female.

  10. Linket?

    Do they mean like, Linkette?

    1. Yes, most likely. Remember that Japanese is a very phonetic language; one where silent letters (like the “te” at the end of Linkette) are basically nonexistent.

  11. This announcement made me happy. A lot of people thought her name was stupid, but it is currently my favorite thing about her. It’s incredibly silly, and that is what makes it great.

    When are we getting Prince Zeld and Gankle? (Short, of course, for Ganondankle.)

    1. Check-plus on “Gankle” for sure, but I think we should push for “Prince Zoldo” instead.

      Maybe this is why Link’s uncle just says that “Zelda is your…” and then gives up and dies. He’s completely lost track of who’s male and who’s female.

    2. If the old stories I’ve heard about how Zelda got the name Zelda, it should probably be Prince Francis or Prince Scot.

      Possibly Prince Key if you were being really saucy.

  12. I like the idea of having a female character, and like the Japanese fans seem to feel, I hope it lets us one day choose between Link and Linkle in the main games.

    ‘Linkle’ is a pretty dumb name, though.

  13. Bartolo Polkakitty

    I think the idea of having a character that’s a female version of Link is worthwhile, and the character design looks very good; her color scheme and moveset give her a sort of visual continuity with Link, but her outfit is easily differentiable from Link and gives her her own distinct look. But, still…. “Linkle”? Really? That’s the name they’re going with?

    Since even in the Japanese games, the name “Link” is derived from the English word, couldn’t they have just called her “Bond” or something? That’s not very original, and admittedly, they might not want to use it because it’s too closely associated with James Bond (although things like that apparently didn’t stop the localization team for Pokemon, and now all our parents wonder why we think “Gary” sounds like a kid who’s annoyingly full of himself rather than a moody cowboy.) And in Japanese, the obvious-stupid-pun name would probably be リン子 instead of リンク. But I could still accept either of those as being her name much more easily than “Linkle”. And I think the people saying it sounds more like a female version of Tingle are right.

    1. It should’ve really been a RinKEru, as I think that’s what they were shooting for – a Western-style girls’ name along the lines of Rachel or Belle.

  14. Am I correct that the Linkle comes from the same place as Tinkle? I was really hoping for an explanation for the name.

    I mean, I learned why Wario is used: It’s a pun on the Japanese word warui which means bad. Waluigi is the same thing, considering that L and R are the same sound in Japanese.

    I just don’t get why adding the -le prefix makes Link female. I know it’s the -ru prefix to Link’s Japanese name Rinku, but I don’t know what that actually means. Is there some word kuru which means female?

    1. My best guess is that it’s similar to the word “twinkle”, but I don’t really know. It comes down to subjectivity, some people might not think it sounds feminine but I guess the creators probably do. We’d probably have to ask the creators why they chose the name over other possibilities. Or who knows, maybe the reason will become clear in-game.

  15. Hopefully Nintendo won’t ever introduce character customisation into Legend of Zelda; no LoZ game has had it, or needed it, thus far, so why would they need it in the future? Plus, there’s been absolutely NO mention of female heroes in ANY of the lore or backstory, so forcing in Linkle or someone similar as a playable character in ‘true’ (i.e. non-crossover/non-spinoff) Legend of Zelda games will just seem like pointless pandering to the goddamn feminists that create issues where there were none before.

    Link should ALWAYS be the only playable character in future Legend of Zelda mainseries games, as Linkle is a new creation, and there’s no mention of a female (apart from Zelda herself) in any of the lore. Linkle is freaking stupid and nonsensical because of this.

    1. Zelda will be forever playability! Forget boring gay Pater Pan name Link!

  16. “I bet this is what foreigners will get most excited about from this Nintendo Direct”
    “If they make her Tingle’s daughter it’ll be hilarious to see the foreigners go berserk”

    I understand the 2nd comment because I suppose American’s hate for Tingle has gained notoriety but the 1st comment confuses me. Didn’t Japan get just as excited?

  17. Oh, is this why Linkle and Tingle often form a team in the game?