Young Link (こどもリンク, Child Link) is a common depiction of Link throughout The Legend of Zelda series; as such, there have been several incarnations of Young Link, as there have been several incarnations of the older Link.
The exact first appearance of "Young Link" is arguable. The first clear appearance of a prepubescent Link was in the beginning portion of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in which the "Hero of Time" begins his quest as a young boy. Prior to this, all other Links appeared to be portrayed as being post-pubescent in each game's official artwork. However, the trophy description for Young Link in Super Smash Bros. Melee refers to the original hero from The Legend of Zelda, and in turn, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, as being a "Young Link" and indicated most subsequent titles feature Links as youths as well. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the first installment in the series to put the differences between the child and adult forms of a Link. The young Link in Super Smash Bros. Melee is based on the "Hero of Time" and is the primary protagonist in Majora's Mask. Though other kid incarnations of Links have appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, The Wind Waker as well as its sequels Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, and The Minish Cap, they are generally referred to as "Toon Link".
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
Main article: Young Link (SSBM)
Young Link appears as a playable character separate from Link. In general, he is smaller and less powerful than Link, although he greatly makes up for it in terms of faster speed. He is ranked 16th on the tier list in the E tier, two spaces above Link.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (The Legend of Zelda series)
There are three Young Link trophies available in Melee. His main trophy reads as follows:
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Young Link was one of the five playable characters in Melee who didn't return in Brawl. However, it appears Young Link was replaced by Toon Link, as both have an identical character design (both being younger, smaller, weaker, and faster versions of Link), and Toon Link retains most of the moveset differences Young Link had from Link (such as a forward smash where the first hit deals set knockback, a grounded Spin Attack that is multi-hitting, and a down aerial that can meteor smash), in addition to more changes that could be considered further decloning.
Young Link does appear in the form of a sticker from Majora's Mask.
In Super Smash Bros. 4
While Young Link does not have an appearance at all, he is referenced in the trophy "Adult Link (Ocarina of Time)". The naming of the trophy may imply that a Young Link trophy may have been planned, as Zelda has both "Adult Zelda (Ocarina of Time)" and "Young Zelda (Ocarina of Time)" trophies. He is the only Melee veteran who does not have a trophy in either version of SSB4.
Young Link is also indirectly referenced in the form of Link's eighth palette swap, which is based on the form Young Link takes while wearing the Fierce Deity's Mask in Majora's Mask. Toon Link also has a custom move based on Young Link's neutral special, Fire Bow.
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