One cannot, in good conscience, discuss the appealing female characters in the Zelda series without bringing up Midna at some point.
Confined to a distinctly non-human imp-like form for the majority of 2006’s Twilight Princess, Midna takes on the role of the “companion” character in this particular installment, offering Link help and advice on his adventure… only this time around with a fair amount of sass and a considerable amount of mystery surrounding her.
And she’s playable in Hyrule Warriors, in both her imp and humanoid Twili forms. Which is nice!
Although obviously “inhuman” in her imp form, it’s clear what the intentions behind Midna’s design were. She may be short and stumpy, but she most certainly has the curves of a woman, and the blackened design on her body (which for the most part appears to actually be attached to her skin rather than actual “clothing”, save for the collar region) is revealing and borderline provocative. Her bare midriff and visible navel mirrors the “belly dancer” style clothing her Twili counterpart sports, and she moves with confidence and sensuality.
Personality-wise, she stands out in the Zelda series as being someone you can’t really get a convincing read on immediately; while much of the rest of the series makes it abundantly clear who its heroes and villains are, in traditional “fairy tale” style, Midna is an enigma from the moment you stumble across her; she seems willing to help Link when he finds himself turned into a wolf by the spreading Twilight, but it’s also immediately apparent that she’s “up to something”. Exactly what, though, doesn’t become at all clear early in the game.
The companion characters in Zelda are sometimes thought of as annoyances, telling people things they already know and giving them tutorial messages even deep into the game. This attitude primarily stems from Ocarina of Time’s fairy companion Navi, whose never-ending cries of “Hey! Listen!” have become something of a meme over the years.
Midna is different, though. She isn’t a talking game mechanic or tutorial; she’s along with you for your quest. She has her own thoughts and feelings about things that unfold — and, as we’ve already mentioned, her own somewhat murky motivations for following along with Link, too. With Twilight Princess’ somewhat lengthy quest, she’s a big part of keeping the game interesting throughout its entire duration.
Probably the most appealing thing about Midna is that she’s fallible. She makes mistakes, she gets things wrong, she gets angry and upset about events that unfold and she doesn’t always have Link’s best interests in mind. This is a big part of what makes Twilight Princess such an interesting installment in the Zelda franchise — and a big contributing factor to its overall “dark” feeling. Midna isn’t evil or anything… but neither is she completely pure and wholesome, either. That makes her a great deal of fun to spend time with.
She knows how to do the right thing when the chips are down, though. We see this in both Twilight Princess, where she severs the connection between her world and Link’s world to prevent the same thing happening again, and in Hyrule Warriors, where she deliberately gives up the true form she temporarily regains in order to release the magical energy required to save Hyrule from the corrupted Twilight magic that threatens to devour it.
In her “true” Twili form, Midna remains recognisable from her imp form, but it’s as if all the design characteristics that were present there have been dialled up considerably. For those who found themselves feeling a little uncomfortable about finding imp Midna vaguely attractive, Twili Midna’s appearance should lay all fears to rest. She’s gorgeous and she knows it.
In fact, her first appearance to Link in this form in Twilight Princess features a joke on Link’s perpetual status as a silent protagonist; amused by his apparent lack of words regarding her true appearance, she mocks him by saying “What? Say something! Or am I so beautiful you’ve no words left?”
There are some interesting contrasts in her “true” form’s design, though. While imp Midna is, to put it impolitely, something of a dumpy blob — or designed favouring more rounded edges, shall we say — Twili Midna has some distinctly “sharper” characteristics while maintaining her feminine curves.
Specifically, her eyes and nose are designed in a way to contrast strongly with her more curvaceous aspects; the sharpness of the corners on these elements of her face — coupled with colour choices such as her red eyes — give her a formidable, piercing, powerful glare that is immediately captivating, as well as making it very apparent that this is a powerful woman, and one you would do well not to get on the wrong side of.
In Hyrule Warriors, she’s depicted as rather arrogant, if anything, in her true form — although to be perfectly honest, given how powerful she shows herself to be, a high sense of self-esteem is entirely understandable. She never quite crosses the line into being obnoxious, however; even in her imp form, where she knows (and is often frustrated by) her limitations, there’s always been a certain degree of cockiness about Midna, and, as we’ve already noted, this is part of what makes her so appealing.
It’s somewhat regrettable that both the nature of Twilight Princess’ finale and how new Zelda titles tend to be composed means that we’re unlikely to see Midna again outside of her appearance in Hyrule Warriors. But, well, perhaps that’s all the more reason we should treasure the time we do get to spend with her, because there really is no-one quite like her in all of the rest of the Zelda series.
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