Examining the Tunics and Their Colors in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

By Dan Portson
October 20, 2019

The Legend of Zelda is no stranger to the art of needing certain items to traverse certain areas. I remember my 1st time playing Ocarina of Time and trying to get over a four-foot fence just to get to Lake Hylia. After many trial and errors (meaning I got tired of running at the fence and rolling into it 80 times), I realized I needed something else to do it. And literally, that is one of about two things you ever need that horse for. I mean, it’s a cool horse and all…

The same thing goes for the Temples. You need a certain item to beat the Temple and fulfill your destiny as the Hero of Wardrobe Changes. In order to enter the area that leads to the Fire Temple (the 2nd in OoT, as an adult), you need a certain torso wear to survive. It doesn’t matter where you get it from, it’s the color that I am more interested in. And why was this the first part of the game that involved you having to change your clothes? Before I address that and many more confounding confoundances, I want to go back to the color. It’s red. Red hot, if you ask me. I remember red hots…anyway. (You know, the candies…anyway).

You don’t need to read a ‘color psychology chart’ to know that the color red generally signifies ‘danger’ or ‘alarm’. It’s funny that a sadistic rolling Goron boy that shares your name is the one you had to literally set on fire yourself (bomb, I mean) in order to get it. I could go on for a few paragraphs talking about the psychological implications there already; but I won’t, mostly because I’m lazy. And it makes perfect sense, right? It’s the fire temple, so you wear red, for fire. It is funny that the color red is used to ‘create urgency’, as in telling you when power needs to be cut off before an explosion, but as soon as Link puts it on, the sense of urgency goes away. He’s now safe and calm because now he WON’T blow up or catch on fire. There is actually a lot of contrast if you look at the psychology of colors, but the colors make perfect sense if you only look at the surface-level thematic elements. This leads me to the next colored outerwear, the blue tunic.

The very next dungeon is the Water temple and thus, needs a water-themed jumper to get him jumping in that deep, blue barrel of fun. Also, as I’m sure you will surmise, there is a contrast between the psychology of the color and its surface-level themes. And again, you don’t need the ‘color psychology chart’ to know that blue is the color of calm and tranquility, like the gently rolling waves of the sea. You might need to see it, however, to know that the color blue is often used to ‘create order’, and this is where the contrast comes in. Nothing in the water temple is in order and you constantly need to adjust the water levels to get anything done, scaling all three levels over and over again. I can’t tell you how many times I had to adjust that water level unnecessarily the 1st time I played that funhouse. I think Link started getting his mail delivered there before I was finished. As a neat aside, I think it would be awesome to have a LoZ title with only one tunic with thermochromic properties, like a mood tunic, that changes colors according to the environment around you, but I digress.

Now, I would jump into the next temple here, but honestly I’m working on another piece about whether or not the Shadow temple deserves a tunic, and what its functions would be…so I’ll skip this for now. I do want to jump back to the first temple Link has to rummage through before he starts window-shopping, and that’s the Forest Temple. I know, I get it, he’s a Kokiri and Kokiri’s wear green, but he’s not a Kokiri, he’s a fraud! The green tunic actually has some pretty amazing qualities, and I would even bet its more impressive than the other two.

The Forest Tunic, as I’ll call it, basically appears from nowhere. What was Link wearing when he traveled forward in time 7 years (or was locked in the Chamber of Sages…whatever)? Not the green tunic, he was wearing his S-sized Kokiri scrubs. Then after years of what I can only assume was a litany of epic pillow fights with Rauru, ended up in, at least, an M-sized green tunic. There is no way that this tunic is the same shirt he was wearing when he was 7 (or when he was 111 if you’re into binary). So, this green shirt already has the capabilities of materializing out of thin air, AND it has super-elastic properties. From 7 to 14, Link gained at least 2 ft. in height. That green shirt still fairly loose-fitting. If Link gained 300 lbs, that shirt would undoubtedly still fit him. That’s pretty impressive. He would never need to buy another shirt (or bomb another Goron kid, for that matter).

Now, I’m going to take you back to the ‘color psychology chart’ again, because I’m bored and it’s fun. The color green is scientifically the most soothing and calming color in the world because there are more shades of green than there are of any other color on the spectrum. It’s also the color of growth and health. Imagine a plant, a green plant if you will, which starts as a seedling and “grows” into a manling, or a womanling. Of course, the green tunic is also the tunic that we use in the Forest temple. We have to, because we don’t have any other colored tunics yet. And, let’s be honest, once we put on the blue or red tunics, we never go back to green. So, in summation, the green tunic is the best tunic because it has elastic properties and materializes out of thin air.

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