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Voice Acting in The Legend of Zelda Series
- See also: List of Voice Actors
As in the grand majority of video games, voice acting is an integral part of the plot, providing a human-like interface and relatable sound to in-game characters and beings. The Legend of Zelda series is known for its overall lack of voice acting. However, small voice clips recorded by Japanese voice actors and actresses are used for main and non-player characters since Ocarina of Time. Since these voice clips contain few legitimate words, most of them are kept for all language releases. Non-canon media occasionally contains full voice acting, which is dubbed over for different language releases.
Link is perhaps the most famous in the franchise in terms of voice acting. For the most part, Link does not speak, but grunts, exclaims, and makes other throttal sounds during different situations, whether it be in battle or in conversation. Link has yet to receive proper voice acting, and does not even speak in the most recent installments in the series. However, the exclamation Link provides during battle is in fact voiced by real human voices.
Nobuyuki Hiyama voiced Adult Link in Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Soulcalibur II. He is also credited in voicing Fierce Deity Link in Majora's Mask, as well as Nightmare/Siegfried Schtauffen and Yoshimitsu in the Soul Series. Because Adult Link and Child Link in Ocarina of Time require different speech registers given their age, a unique voice actor was used for each era of Link's life in the game. Fujiko Takimoto is the original voice actor that voiced Young Link, Deku Link and Zora Link in Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask and Super Smash Bros. Melee, as well as later young incarnations of Link from Four Swords, The Minish Cap and the GBA remake of A Link to the Past. She also voiced Taki in the Soul Series.
Link was given much more expression in The Wind Waker, given the art style and the storyline, and hence was given a new voice than that of Ocarina of Time. Sachi Matsumoto is the voice actress who voiced Link and Aryll in The Wind Waker, Link and Shadow Link in Four Swords Adventures, Link in Phantom Hourglass, and Toon Link in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. She also voiced the Skull Kid in Majora's Mask. Twilight Princess is a title that received yet another voice actor by the name of Akira Sasanuma to portray Link, also in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Takashi Ōhara voiced Link in Skyward Sword. Mitsuki Saiga voiced Link (as well as Ravio, due to his relationship to Link) in A Link Between Worlds.
In non-canon media, Jonathan Potts is the voice actor that portrays Link in The Legend of Zelda TV series, while Jeffrey Rath provides actual speech to the young hero during the infamous cutscenes of the Philips CD-i titles, The Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon. In Hyrule Warriors, he was voiced by Yūki Kaji.
In terms of Princess Zelda, the list of voice actors is much smaller, mainly because Jun Mizusawa provided voice acting for the princess not only in Ocarina of Time, but Twilight Princess, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Mizusawa is also credited with the voicing of Sheik in Ocarina of Time. The Wind Waker changes to Hikari Tachibana as the voice of Princess Zelda. Yu Shimamura voiced Zelda in Skyward Sword, and reprises the role in the Japanese version of Breath of the Wild, this time speaking actual words. In other versions of Breath of the Wild, Zelda has been dubbed by Patricia Summersett (English), Jessica Ángeles (Mexican Spanish), Nerea Alfonso (European Spanish), Adeline Chetail (French), and Julia Casper (German). Ayumi Fujimura gives her voice in A Link Between Worlds. In terms of non-canon media, Cyndy Preston provides Zelda with legitimate words in The Legend of Zelda TV series, as does Bonnie Jean Wilbur in the Philips CD-i titles, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon. In Hyrule Warriors, she is voiced by Saori Seto.
The voice acting for Ganon is even more slim, given his narrow span of appearance time in every Zelda title to date. For the most part, the voice of Ganon in the console titles is Takashi Nagasako, and Len Carlson takes over the voice of the evil king in the TV series.
Akiko Koumoto is the Japanese voice actress who voiced the Twilight Princess character Midna. Strangely, Midna only speaks gibberish. Some have been able to make words out of Midna's gibberish, although these are strings of words without any meaning. It has been speculated that Midna's speech is indeed English, but with all the words mixed and reformatted to make it sound like gibberish.
Other Voices in the TV Series
Because The Legend of Zelda TV series enabled voice acting across the board, characters like Link, Zelda, and even objects like the Triforce of Power and Wisdom are given speech where they otherwise would not, had it been a video game. Elizabeth Hanna and Allan Stewart Coates are the actors who give words to the Triforce of Power and Wisdom, respectively, and Colin Fox is the man providing the voice to King Harkinian.
Other Voices in the Philips CD-i Titles
Other voice actors credited with contributing their words to characters from Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon are Jeffrey Nelson, Mark Berry, Natalie Brown, Karen Grace, Josie McElroy, Marguerite Scott and Paul Wann.