There’s No Way This ‘Tears of the Kingdom’ Character Isn’t Directly Inspired By ‘One Piece,’ Right?
Once you start watching One Piece, you start seeing references everywhere. (Or at least think you see them.) After all, One Piece has been running for over 25 years and has spent most of those years as one of the most ubiquitous and popular franchises in Japan. References happen. Still, I was not expecting a very large and delightfully weird one to pop up in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Towards the beginning of the game, after you complete your first-ever dive from Lookout Landing’s Skyview Tower, you’ll bump into Penn. Penn is a journalist for the Lucky Clover Gazette, a new newspaper that’s popped up in Hyrule since we last left it in Breath of the Wild. He’s a loomingly-tall white bird with a distinctively long beak. He’s very exuberant and fiercely proud of his work. His eccentricity and high-energy vibe is perfectly captured by his signature sign-off: “Soar long!”
The pure delight of meeting this delightful weirdo didn’t stop me from immediately pausing and thinking, “Hey … wait a second!” Because if you’ve read or watched One Piece, this might remind you of someone. Very, very heavily.
Meet “Big News” Morgans
In the wide world of One Piece, arguably one of the funnier and weirder characters is “Big News” Morgans. (That really says something, considering this is a series where one of the main characters is a reindeer who ate the Human-Human fruit and subsequently became a doctor.) Morgans is the president and lead editor for The World Economy News Paper, which is the biggest periodical within One Piece.
He’s a loomingly-tall white bird with a distinctively long beak. He’s very exuberant and fiercely proud of his work. His eccentricity and high-energy vibe is perfectly captured by his signature catchphrase: “This is big news!” (It’s better in Japanese, because “big news” is still in English: “Kore ga biggu nyuusu!“)
Wait … didn’t I say most of that before?
Penn’s design diverges from a typical Rito. The long beak is the biggest giveaway. Compare his design to Teba, who’s also a white-colored Rito. The physical similarity between Penn and Morgans feels like it’s on purpose, doesn’t it? It’s not like there’s a wealth of “exuberant big white bird reporters” out there in popular culture. The only bigger visual cue Tears could possibly give us is if Penn put a top hat on.
I’m definitely not the only person to catch this. RogersBase, who’s both a One Piece YouTuber and Nintendo America Brand Ambassador, also flipped his shit when he bumped into Penn. Intriguingly, in his reaction, RogersBase says, “This is the Zelda ‘Big News’ Morgans they were telling me about!” I don’t know who “they” are, but it definitely makes me even more convinced that this was a purposeful reference.
Zelda referencing One Piece like this is truly a delight to see. Yes, they are literally my two favorite IPs in the world, so I might be a bit biased. But I can’t think of a more delightful character to exist in both worlds. This truly is big news.
(Featured image: Nintendo)
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