For those who don’t know me, I’m Javed Sterritt and I’m the one producing The Hyrule Journals.
If you’re reading this right now, it means you’ve stayed to the end of the first episode and that means a lot to me. Well done.
I’m writing this introduction before the video launches tomorrow morning so at this point, I have no idea if the series is going to be a hit or miss. But either way, if you’re here, it means your interest has been tickled to some degree and so this website is for you.
There has been many comings and goings since this project began 2 years ago and so I thought it would be cool to have a site that documents the creation journey in some way.
‘Can we deconstruct art while leaving the integrity of the experience intact?’
I guess this was the question I set out to answer when the project first began and I hope I achieved a ‘yes’ with this first episode. The Legend Of Zelda series means a lot to me and so it was important to make sure that whatever form this series took, it didn’t brutally unthread the tapestry Miyamoto and the Nintendo team worked so hard to create (that a lot of other essays on YouTube seem to do).
And so began a 2 year learning rollercoaster consisting of roughly 30 re-writes, a trip to Japan, and months of editing and animation work.
(I’m hoping I landed on something good).
From the beginning, collaboration has been a huge element to the series. A lot of the main threads explored in this first episode were actually generated out of conversations had between myself and good pals Kevin Cole, Ace Waters, and Satchell Drakes regarding Zelda and its world-building.
The amount of content discovered during the research process generated by these conversations was overwhelming.
Sometimes when writing an essay, proof that supports the argument just doesn’t exist, but with this first episode, the problem came down to choosing from hundreds of pieces of evidence that supported the Shinto argument.
And this extends beyond Ocarina Of Time.
From the shrines and wind gods in The Wind Waker, to the influence of Jomon period architecture in Breath Of The Wild, the use of Shintoist ethics needs to be the foundation for how the Zelda series is thought about.
In April 2018, I had the opportunity to visit Japan to attend the Short Shorts film festival. While I was there, I made a point to visit some of Japan’s shinto shrines.
There is plenty to talk about when it comes to the Shinto stuff but I’m intentionally bailing out now only because I want to explore this in a later video. Sorry.
Growing Up & Production
There were a lot of really interesting things that popped up once I began exploring the Growing Up theme but the best one was definitely the translation of the name KOKIRI.
My good pal Sam Hungh, an amazing graphic designer living in Japan, helped to confirm or deny my questions regarding the japanese translations of words. Waiting for an email back from her was like christmas eve.
Once the script was in place, I began the production process.
Earlier in the process, I put together a Pinterest moodboard of stuff that I liked. I really wanted something bold and I’m a real sucker for black and white design so I just collected a whole bunch of stuff like that. I also loved the combo of digital graphic design and organic paint texture together.
Having a moodboard already in place was helpful because I could lean my writing into how I knew I was going to create the animation. For instance, I knew I could pull off using “big clouds of sadness” in the script because the use of paint lent itself to such creative terminology.
I ended up using more reds just because it looked so rad against the black.
A Big Thanks
A huge thank you is necessary for all the people who helped on this episode. Especially to Satchell Drakes, Kevin Cole, and Ace Waters for being the ones who helped point me in the Shinto direction.
Then there’s a huge thanks to Andrew Miller who jumped on and created the phenomenal sound design for the piece. For those who don’t know, Andrew is responsible for the sounds you hear in Mad Max, The Lego Movie and The Great Gatsby.
A big thanks to Letters From Japan who got on board and let me use a bunch of their rad Kyoto footage.
Then there’s all the people who helped along the way. You’re credited in the video. You know who you are.
The Episode One script is available here for reading for those interested:
Immortal Childhood by Hylian Dan:
I stumbled on this during the writing process and was so excited to see someone else come to the same conclusions regarding the story (even though Immortal childhood was published in like, 2012). I tried reaching out to Dan but after emails to Zelda Universe, twitter shout-outs and digging through deviantart profiles, I couldn’t find him anywhere. If you stumble on this, Dan, please know that I’ve hidden an Immortal Childhood easter egg in the video in honour of your thoughtful and inspiring work.
Info on Shintoism & the creation story:
Miyamoto & Shinto:
Miyamoto & Aonuma on the ‘4 girls’:
Shinto in videogames & Zelda:
Interesting Shinto Doco:
A Beautiful Write Up Of Jabu-Jabu & Kami
The Hyrule Journals main theme - Jonny Higgins:
Addition music provided in partnership with MUSICBED