Next time you feel dismayed at the current state of the world, think back to humanity's achievements and cling to them with all your faith. We harnessed the power of fire. We can fly across the world in a matter of hours. We set foot on the Moon, and then peered at planets spinning millions of miles away.
And, above all else, we have the uncanny ability to thirst for fictional characters who resemble other humans in only the vaguest sense.
Anyone who's the tiniest bit familiar with popular game fandoms like Overwatch or Undertale knows that no character is too metallic, limbless, or lacking in flesh to be featured in kissy-kiss fan art and fanfic. Robot lust? Psht, please. Let's talk about the massive contingent on Tumblr and Twitter that wants to make love to actual skeletons (what would that even sound like).
It's no surprise, then, that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild dishes up characters seemingly formulated to make fans go bananas. It's even less surprising that Breath of the Wild's most popular hugboy is a huge bipedal shark with catlike eyes.
Look, shipping wars have gone to dark, deep places. I'm OK with fans obsessing over something as mundane as a shark-man with gills on his flanks and a smile filled with dozens of serrated teeth.
It's not as if the royal Zora in question, Prince Sidon, is a bad catch (excuse me). He's brave, he's polite, and he dishes out encouragement as freely as a waiter dishes out coleslaw at a fish fry. He's also a really snazzy dresser, and it's admirable that he takes the time to outfit and accessorize himself. Nobody expects the semi-aquatic Zora to go to the trouble of dressing up.
me @ that red shark man from BotW the entire internet has collectively fallen in love with in the past week pic.twitter.com/QkP16PkQGy— » Holoska (@MissHoloska) March 12, 2017
Here's the thing, though: The line-up for Prince Sidon's affection goes out of Zora's Domain and clear down to Lake Hylia. He's not a vain or selfish fish, but surely he knows he can afford to pick and choose his companions, both inside and outside his own species. I don't want to say you don't have a chance with the Prince, but--well, I can't think of an encouraging way to end that sentence.
Maybe that's why Sidon didn't take the number-one spot in the Twitter poll I ran last week about Zelda: Breath of the Wild characters people want to be special friends with. The general Gerudo race won by a long shot, and it made me realize, you know what? Prince Sidon is great, even though he's probably cold and slippery and smells like the kitchen of a 20-year-old Long John Silver's, but there are a lot of wonderfully huggable and kissable Breath of the Wild characters who're getting lost amongst the shark-worship.
Let's shine a spotlight on a few of them.
Pikango the Painter
Pikango is an older Hylian and out of shape, but that doesn't slow down his resolve to travel Hyrule and paint its awesome landscapes. His lust for life and adventure is infectious, and he'd be a lot of fun to travel with. I can think of only two downsides to this union: Pikango never seems to want to shell out money for actual beds at the stables he paints in front of (he just lies down on the floor of the stable like a geriatric Christ child), and you'd be expected to constantly praise his paintings, which are ... not good. Imagine years and years of smiling stiffly at his kindergarten suns and trying to find room on your fridge for his works. It's a small trade-off for a friendship that's sure to blossom into a deep romance, though.
Mipha the Champion
Prince Sidon's sister and the once-pilot of the Divine Beast Vah Ruta isn't my type, but she certainly has her fanbase. She's calmer and more careful than her brother, and she has a gentleness about her that's admittedly compelling. She also has a wicked healing ability that'd come in super-handy if you fell off the roof while hanging Christmas lights or suffered the sudden onset of a heart attack while shoveling snow. She only has eyes for Link, but let's face it, that describes half of Hyrule.
Deltan the Gerudo
Poor Deltan. You'll find this woebegone Gerudo woman sobbing over a bottle of strong drink in her hometown's public house. When you talk to her, you discover she's been rejected by a man who can't handle the fact she's eight feet tall. OK, and he's engaged, but that's a piffling reason to turn down this amazon. She desperately wants a companion, so catch her on the rebound.
It's hard to go wrong with any Gerudo, really. They're confident, they're strong, and when they decide they want to get into a relationship, they're absolutely committed to the quest. They do whatever it takes to make things work.
Um, you might want to stick to the Gerudo females, though. Males are rare, and they tend to be ... unhinged.
Kass the Rito Bard
Just look at this big fluffy birb boy. He travels around Hyrule with his accordion and sings about the realm's ancient tales to whomever will listen. He'd probably have a bigger audience if he hung out more on well-travelled paths instead of on deserted islands and on top of wind-scoured mountain peaks, but forget all that and marvel at Kass' gorgeous sky-blue feathers. Imagine getting a running start, and diving directly into them. It'd be like running into a stack of down pillows. You'd never be cold again.
...Wait, what? Married? Wife and five baby chicks? Sorry, I don't understand any of those weird Rito words.
Cotera the Great Fairy
I'm not sure what to say about this huge glittering woman who also happens to be a magic tailor (forget it, Link. It's Kakariko Town). Like, if you decided to live with her, she'd pull you into her flooded lotus world and you'd quickly drown. Nevertheless, the prospect of spending even thirty seconds buried in that huge squishy bosom is fascinating. Not all sirens live at sea.
The Lonely Arrow Girl
She can nock your arrows and tune your bowstrings. What more do you want.
("A discount on arrows?")
Oh hey yeah, that'd be great. She probably won't do it, though. For all her journaling about how badly she wants Link to nail her bullseye, she told me to take a hike when I tried to buy a bundle of arrows for one less rupee than the asking price. Sheesh.