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Weirdness: Looks Like Link Is Versed In The Japanese Art Of Kyudo Archery

Posted by Damien McFerran

They sure know their Far Eastern archery skills in Hyrule

We sure get sent some unusual news tips here at Nintendo Life, but when Ben "Mikeyman64" Barger decided to tell us about a cool feature he'd found in Super Smash Bros. Melee, we knew we were onto something a little more out of the ordinary.

According to our tipster, Link's bow-work in the popular fighting title isn't typical of Hyrule, but instead finds itself rooted in the Japanese archery technique known as Kyudo, or "Way of the Bow".

Here's Mikeyman64 to fill you in:

When I was a youngster playing the brand, spanking new Super Smash Brothers Melee (I think I was 11), my favourite character was Link. That has now since changed, and I prefer Mario, however that is neither here nor there. Anyway, as an 11 year old kid with not much to do but accumulate hours of Smash time, I had a stint of picture-taking fever. Whilst spending countless hours photographing my faves in some cool, weird, and awkward poses, I accidentally stumbled upon a particularly interesting frame, which at the time I thought to be a glitch.

In this picture, you are seeing Link shooting his bow. However, I was able to punch Start just as Link was loosing his arrow. The resulting shot is as you see: Link, with his bow facing not in the direction of the recently-released projectile but instead facing himself!

For years I thought this was just a random glitch, and that still may be the case. However, my younger brother has been getting into archery a little recently, and he mentioned something about the Japanese art of Kyudo. In this form of archery, the archer slowly and gracefully sets his arrow and takes aim. The curious part of Kyudo is that upon releasing the bowstring, the archer twists the bow around in front of him! If you watch some Kyudo videos you will see that some of them even leave the bow facing themselves, like our familiar green-garbed hero.

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In Kyudo, they set the arrow on the opposite side of the bow than other archery practices. Normally you would set the arrow on the top of your hand, Kyudo archers place theirs on their thumb. Link does this as well in Melee.

Do you think this is just a random glitch, or do you think the developers behind Smash Bros. Melee were honouring this Japanese form of archery? Post a comment to let us know.

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User Comments (35)



Willerz said:

Might not be a glitch. I noticed the exact same thing happening in Final Fantasy V.



Koapa said:

Glitch? No way !
Nintendo and even a Squere Enix (mentioned FF) are japan companies and they always revere their culture.
It must be planned, but we, people of the west, know nothing about it.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Damo From what I can find on Wikipedia so take this with salt:

"All kyudo archers hold the bow in their left hand and draw the string with their right, so that all archers face the higher position (kamiza) while shooting."

However, that might be due to a lack of left-handed practitioners. I heard from a cultural perspective they are very right hand-oriented.



mikeyman64 said:

I certainly thought it was a glitch for years. Only after being informed of kyudo did I begin to think it may have been done on purpose.



Mk_II said:

Many Nintendo games are steeped in Japanese mythology and folklore and such a "glitch" would never pass their QA anyway. So i say it is intentional.



Usagi-san said:

To be honest it doesn't look intentional. Why was the movement removed in brawl if it wasn't a glitch?



J-Manix98 said:

Cool! I love that game! It is Definitely possible that it is a glitch, But on the other hand it fits so well!



crumpledpapyrus said:

@Damo Yep! I'm not really sure why Kyudo is only a left handed technique to be honest... All I know is it can leave nasty scarring on your face as you draw the bow-string past your ear...



Giygas_95 said:

Ah I used to love playing Melee with my brother and two sisters...I miss those days.



Yosher said:

It very much is a glitch, due to how Link's bow is flipped towards him for only a single frame. I know a few more. Zelda has sort of a similar glitch in Brawl where during her down smash, her arm twists to appear broken for a single frame. Olimar goes into a so-called 'T-pose' the moment his Pikmin Chain (up-B) hits the edge during his recovery. Some characters in Melee actually enter the match in such a T-pose too.

It's just that gameplay happens so quickly that that one frame is hardly noticable, although you can see it with a lucky pause or if you go to Training Mode and slow down the gameplay. It's a simple animation glitch. Link's glitch just happens to have a bit of similarity to something in real life.



Morpheel said:

Yeah, this happens in final fantasies too. I always wondered why,
Now I know. Thanks.



Kyloctopus said:

Sakurai loves adding in many easter eggs and secrets. I'm sure this is no coincidence.



Henmii said:

It may be a glitch, but knowing Nintendo it may easily be on purpose! Nice find though!



Giygas_95 said:

I dunno based on what @Yosher is saying it seems like it could be a glitch, but it seems like such a perfect coincidence that it's hard to tell...I guess the only way to know is to ask the guys that made the game...good luck with that!



MrMario02 said:

It's Nintendo having some fun. Similar to Metroids in Brawl having a tiny Mr. Saturn shape on them only visible if you zoom in beyond the distance allowed in Brawl.

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