In 1986, Japanese magazine Shonen Captain did an article on the newly released Legend of Zelda. Instead of depicting Link as a boy, the article shows the character as a girl.
— カジコム/kazzycom (@kazzykazycom) March 29, 2019
The story behind this art is unclear. This isn’t Link. It’s not Linkle. It seems as though this unofficial art was a misunderstanding on Shonen Captain’s part—or maybe it wasn’t.
One theory that Kazzycom mentions is that the magazine had its own female character “cosplaying” as Link as a way to introduce the game. So, if this is true, then the magazine didn’t make a mistake and simply had its own character dress up as Link.
— カジコム/kazzycom (@kazzykazycom) March 31, 2019
— カジコム/kazzycom (@kazzykazycom) April 2, 2019
Kazzycom points out that when other games were introduced, such as Ghosts ‘n Goblins, the characters were not changed, nor were their original illustrations. So perhaps that theory doesn’t hold water.
Another theory is that the magazine drew these illustrations instead of using official art. (Maybe it didn’t have official art?) More perplexing is that these drawings and the article apparently appeared two-months after the game had already been released in Japan.
So, the most likely theory is that the illustrator confused Zelda with Link and then drew the green-hatted hero as a female character.
Of course, Linkle was later a playable character in Hyrule Warriors Legends!
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Featured image: Screenshot: kazzykazycom