Fan art for one of the quieter, more introspective entries in The Legend of Zelda franchise has once again gone viral, with many noticing for the first time a face hidden within its backdrop.
The image, an ode to The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, was originally illustrated in 2019 as an entry into a fan art competition held by the Nintendo UK Twitter account ahead of the release of the Nintendo Switch remake of the original Game Boy game. It was composed by the artistic duo Michael Doig and India Swift, who both work in animation and release artwork under the name Doig Swift.
Hidden within the art is a face that is only obvious when viewed sideways. The ridges of the mountains as well as the position of the black winged seagull form what appears to be a side profile of a female character -- a fact that Doig hinted at when retweeting the image after it once again went viral.
The shape of the profile, as well as the seagull, indicate that the hidden face is likely meant to be that of Marin, an important character in Link's Awakening. The daughter of Koholint Village mushroom collector Tarin, Marin saves Link from the wreckage of his raft and remains his close confidant throughout the entirety of the game. Known for her beautiful singing voice and the unusual resemblance she bears with Princess Zelda, Marin eventually reveals to Link that her greatest wish is to be reborn as a seagull.
Koholint Island is slowly revealed over the course of Link's Awakening to be a manifested dream of the Wind Fish, the deity that resides in the giant egg looming over the island. In the game's finale, Link frees the Wind Fish from its imprisonment, enabling his escape from Koholint Island. Unfortunately, after the Wind Fish breaks free, the island and all of its inhabitants begin to disappear, including Marin. If Link is able to complete the game without dying once, however, Marin will be shown in the end credits -- either with the wings of a seagull, in the original Game Boy release, or with her face appearing in the clouds, in a possible sign that the Wind Fish has granted her wish and allowed her to live on beyond his illusory dream world.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a side story in the Zelda franchise's complicated timeline, was originally released for the Game Boy in 1993. A full-color re-release for the Game Boy Color, entitled The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, hit store shelves in 1998, and the Nintendo Switch remake came out in 2019. Marin appeared in all three versions of the game, and proved popular enough to appear as a playable character in DLC for the spinoff games Hyrule Warriors Legends and Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
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