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Sheik - contemplation by ryttu3k Sheik - contemplation by ryttu3k
More Photoshopping than drawing, for once, so it's going under Digital. Pose practise, thanks to the smashing Pose Maniacs, grass brush from here.

(Edit, 17th July 2009: With thanks to calthyechild for the advice, changed the transition between grass and water. Hopefully that looks more natural!)

(Major edit, 20th May 2011: Image has been replaced! The NEON GREEN GRASS is now gone, Sheik's ear has been retouched slightly (poor stick ears, I don't even draw them like that any more), and his expression has been changed because, frankly, the original looked really sulky. Better lighting, too. The original NEON GREEN GRASS can be found here!)

Important: This page originally included a long discussion on why I viewed Sheik the way I do. That argument is now being rewritten and will be reposted (as a separate post). Until then, the archived version is available here, although please remember that this argument is several years old now and is not nearly as sensitively or coherently written as it could be.
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:iconairi666:
Airi666 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
When I was 10 I though Sheik was sexy....when I learned that Shike was zelda I was like OMG NO!!!!
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sheik's prettiness transcends gender ;D
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:iconairi666:
Airi666 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I know Sheik confused a lot of little girls back in the day and made them question their sexuality.
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:icondraculaurarkewl:
DraculauraRkewl Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Professional Writer

I know you may personally see it this way but it doesn't make it true.  The writers in the game didn't feel like they had to explain any more than they did because they figured players would be smart enough to figure it out on their own.  Shiek has the triforce of wisdom, Zelda has the triforce of wisdom - and you can't fake that with magic.   As for the lack of gender specific pronouns in Japanese... well, the Japanese language often does not use gender specific pronouns as the gender is to be determined by the context of the surrounding sentences.   Classic Japanese literature and plays often use the "girl disquised as a boy" theme.  And the reason the concept art is different is because when you look at Shiek you are supposed to be fooled into thinking she's a boy.  It's like watching Ru-Paul's Drag Race and being amazed that those are really dudes even when in bikinis.  As for Vivian - Vivian's gender isn't mandantory for the plot - Sheik's is.  Poor Vivian suffered the same fate as Zoycite from Salior Moon - American censors don't like to have "children's games"
 or "children's cartoons" reflect a gay or transexual character. 

 

I'm not trying to be mean, I promise.  I disagree with you. 

 

Side note, however, love this pic.  It's very well done!

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:iconn00b7uck3r:
n00b7uCk3R Featured By Owner May 10, 2013
Evidence or not the fact remains Sheik is and will always be Zelda. Her caretaker Impa protected her and trained her. She wields the triforce of wisdom for a reason. Nintendo is extremely to the T with lore and how things are. Each Legend of Zelda game spans across a different time-line which always contains a form of repeating history. Hyrule Historia explains everything. There is even a timeline to which and how each character is and why. Great concept though.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner May 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I am well aware of the Hyrule Historia timeline. Nintendo's official statement on Sheik is that it's up to the player how they see the character.
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:iconn00b7uck3r:
n00b7uCk3R Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2013
A player can see fit how they want. They confirmed this by how in game characters mistook Link for a Kikori when indeed he is not. Just as Sheik being referred to as a He is indeed judged by look a.k.a. a disguise to fool. She a priestess of magic. The japanese site had stated "mysterious young man" which is the same take on Marth from Fire Emblem who is also a girl. Regardless of what a player believes the initial fact remains Sheik is Zelda and Zelda is Sheik who are both Female. They said leave to imagination only to squall this debate, but through truth he was only referred to as a male so the story wouldn't be spoiled. The concepts of art pieces portrayed with Sheik and Zelda side by side are always poor. They take Zelda from Twilight Princess and then compare it to Ocarina of Time. Since The Legend of Zelda is EXTREMELY popular to this day why crush the dreams of fans with a straight answer when instead inspire them to believe what they want. Look at Ruto's artwork, she looks manly as well but she is a woman. The evidence is clear and you can keep your ideals, but Wiki sites aren't facts, but the whole gender disguise is used often in Japanese games and in role play.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm. I'm going to just go back to your first line - "A player can see fit how they want." This whole piece is how I, personally see Sheik, and with Nintendo not saying one way or the other, anyone can interpret it as they see fit.

Also, you mean Lucina. Marth is definitely male.

Also, what? Ruto has an hourglass figure and rather obvious breasts. She has broad shoulders, but she also has broad hips, and a narrow waist, and clear breasts, and feminine facial features, and...
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:iconcandy-ice:
Candy-Ice Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013
...how does Ruto look masculine? :ohnoes: Her concept art is very obviously feminine
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:iconraven-igma:
Raven-igma Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeeeeah... pretty much agree with all of this. It just makes more sense for Sheik to be male and a separate person, or at least a separate conscience in a magically altering body. I mean like you said, Ganon found Zelda fast when she transformed back so maybe Ganon wasn't able to 'detect' Zelda's mind when it was sealed within Sheik but once Zelda was brought back out he was like 'oh there she is 8D' or something??? ahahah... idk that's just my reasoning

I really don't see why it's such a big deal if she changes her sex anyways either like, it's not like this is the same series where powerful magic exists and can turn someone into an entirely different species (like Wolf Link, or all the masks in MM) but just turning one's self into a dude, no that's crazy talk!

besides, it's not like Nintendo would really... care if someone's theory was different from their own canon (whatever that may be)??? so I really don't see why the fans get so vehement over an issue like this????

also, it's like people seemingly forget that Sheik is supposed to appear as a dude no matter how they slice it, yet there are like these pictures of her oversexualized with breasts bigger than her head and somehow simply drawing Sheik as a male is 'destroying canon'? I don't even....

sorry for the rambling, I just had to say that...

:iconimsotiredplz:

(Also, on the part about binding. yes, yes and yes. being a crossplayer myself I know first hand that that stuff is NOT fun to wear! Especially not for long periods of time... guh...)
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry about the late reply! And yeah, this is just... putting all my thoughts into words, heh. It's my belief that Sheik shielded Zelda, somehow, from being detected by Ganondorf - Ganondorf could search for all teenage Hylian girls (in WW, which is set later, he can't pinpoint Tetra exactly, even with a Triforce fragment on her person!), and as soon as Sheik disappeared, suddenly there was a teenage Hylian girl where there hadn't been one before.

And yes, exactly @.@ Link can change into WOOD, which is an entirely different cell structure, or STONE, which isn't even organic! Why is it such a stretch to assume that Zelda can't turn herself into a guy, especially since we know how magically powerful she is?

And yeah, no matter what, Sheik is meant to present as male. Oversexualised Sheik with beach ball boobs (or Zelda, for that matter - have they SEEN the girl? She's a B-cup at best!) is just... blatantly contradicting canon. Drawing Sheik looking male, however, is exactly what the official art shows.

Ahh well XD Mutual rambling is fun!

(And I haven't crossplayed - well, I did, I just didn't bother with binding - but I have trans friends, and... yeah, it's tricky without commercial binders made of synthetic materials which I reeeaaally don't think are going to be around in Hyrule...)
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:iconraven-igma:
Raven-igma Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, yes all of that!

Also I really don't understand where that 'girl power!1!!' thing comes from. Like wooo, Zelda has girl power for...... putting on a disguise and running around playing a lyre??? I mean I don't mean to hate on Sheik or the lyre but I'm pretty sure Zelda does more as well... princess Zelda than as Sheik rofl. Why can't Zelda just be badass as a princess??? Does her in a dress somehow make her less credible or
I just don't understand why this is a thing, like at all :iconstaringmanplz:

Anyways, I completely forgot to say that the picture is really nice too! Sheik looks so chill... like he needs some lemonade.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
XD True. Sheik is agile as hell (all that jumping off stuff, and how the heck did he get to the top of that tree, anyway?), which Zelda doesn't show, but Zelda... has actual magic? That we don't see Sheik use. And friggin' THIS. Zelda is an amazing character ON HER OWN, she doesn't need to be a ninja to be badass!

Anyway XD

Thank you! It was fun to draw :)
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:iconraven-igma:
Raven-igma Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
He's like a kitty cat xD Also where do his ears go? I mean come on that's the real question here o.o

Ugh... yeah, Idk why, and I'm probably getting irrationally annoyed by this, but the 'Zelda/Sheik gurl powah' thing just rubs me the wrong way ahaha... and I don't even have a problem with fem!OoT Sheik. Whoops, now I'm almost tempted to draw Sheik in Zelda's dress for shits n giggles. Boy powah! :iconpervylinkplz:

Eheeeh... sorry, I blabbed a bit again ^^;

You're welcome~
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I KNOW RIGHT. He doesn't have visible ears in the N64 version, 3DS version, any official art, either Smash Bros game, the manga... Hylians AND Sheikah have long ears (as per Impa), so no matter what your views are, what happened to Sheik's ears? o.o

Yeah, I've drawn and written fem!OoT Sheik myself, I don't hate the concept, just. Zelda is cool on her own ;_; I wish people would realise that! (DO IT. I did that once before [link] but I'd love to see you tackle it too doooo iiiiit...)
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:iconraven-igma:
Raven-igma Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'd say he's got them squished under his head wrap but that seems kind of uncomfortable...

Aww, Sheik looks so cute! ^3^ And Zelda looks... so smug. I like it :D Crossdressing is the best, I swear (and I'mma give dat a try when I am... more awake ahaha...)
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, that's what I keep hearing. Just... it really does sound painful! D:

XD Thanks. I look forward to seeing it!
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(1 Reply)
:iconsayne7:
Sayne7 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think that the simplest way to explain it is within the Triforce. the Triforce of power has the ability to transform Ganondorf (a human [more specifically, Garudo] male) into Ganon (a pig/boar like beast [clearly not human]), who is a powerful evil being from a past time, and not Ganondorf himself despite the namesake. This shows that the Triforce is capable of granting the user the ability to transform into a physical manifestation/representation of it's allocated attribute (Power, Wisdom, Courage) be it good or evil (the greatest evil power being Ganon). Zelda (a human[Hylian] female), possessing the Triforce of Wisdom, can transform into Sheik (human[Sheikah] male), a being from the ancient and wise Sheikah tribe. Sheik is a male, Zelda is a female, Zelda is sheik, but sheik is not Zelda. Say I'm a female (which I'm not, but for the purpose of this example let's pretend) and I'm playing a Mario game. I'm not ACTUALLY Mario, but I control him. I am using his body, and I am for all intents and purposes, Mario. But that doesn't make Mario a girl, or me a boy. I'm being represented by Mario, so while I'm female, and I 'am' Mario, Mario is male. This is how it is with Zelda/Sheik. Sheik is an 'avatar' for Zelda to control via her consciousness, which is passed on to this form via the Triforce of wisdom.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, that makes sense. There's a lot of theories that work for Sheik :)
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:iconbyrch:
byrch Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This was awesome to read! I love your theories on the whole subject! It's really inspired me to do more zelda art and possibly fanfiction!
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, I'm glad I could inspire you! :)
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:iconfionnaandcake123:
fionnaandcake123 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012
so its sheik's brother?*didnt read you killed my brain on the 3 paragraph*
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
No, it's Sheik himself.
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:iconfionnaandcake123:
fionnaandcake123 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
i want to tell you sheik is a girl
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
See, this is why you should have read what I wrote first. I mean, I'd link you to why I see Sheik as male, but you're already here...
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:iconfionnaandcake123:
fionnaandcake123 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012
oh...
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:iconrubydragoncat:
RubyDragonCat Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Huh...you bring up some good points in that wall of text. I wondered where the red eyes came from. Lady Luna Ray explained it quite well, so now I dont have to wonder anymore. Zelda very well could have used magic to change her eye color, and her gender...long story short, I always figured Sheik was female. Because there's nothing cooler than a girl ninja, right? It's pretty sad that there's so many people out there that like to draw/write yoai with no point other than to drool over. People like you whove actually done their research suffer because of that. Also...poor Zelda if your theory is correct. A gender swap would be awkward.

Artwise...I use pose maniacs too! :highfive:
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, the red eyes are just because... Sheikah have red eyes. Sheik, whether as a seperate character or as a transformed Zelda, is meant to be a Sheikah, and thus he has to have red eyes. What did Lady Luna Ray explain it as?

In fairness, people also draw het and yuri with female Sheik for no purpose other than fanservice, too. Or just sexualised female Sheik on her own - there's a ton of art that show some impossibly skinny girl with huge breasts and long hair who bears absolutely no resemblance to either Sheik or Zelda, it's definitely not just yaoi fans and male Sheik fans who draw fanservice.

And heh, I'm sure she could handle it, especially if it was a matter of survival! She's endured worse - like her father being killed and being sent into exile and blaming herself for it. A bit of shapeshifting is nothing in comparison.
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:iconrubydragoncat:
RubyDragonCat Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Basically, Lady Luna Ray said she learned transformation magic from Impa.

Yeah, that's true. Zelda has gone through a lot.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That'd make sense. The Sheikah do have a lot of magic - my 'canon' for Sheik is the manga one, where he was created to protect Zelda, and that ties in with their magic related to illusions (Sheik is a living illusion, an illusion made solid) and related to the dead (this idea that they used a dead Sheikah as a 'template' for Sheik's appearance, and possibly his personality - since it does differ from Zelda's, it has to come from SOMEWHERE).

All the characters in OoT have, really. Malon, Saria, Ruto, Darunia... and ESPECIALLY poor Link!
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:iconrubydragoncat:
RubyDragonCat Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That manga canon is interesting. A dead sheikah? Wow...

And yes, lol. Poor Link, he was orphaned, raised by a tree, sent to sleep for 7 years, saved the world, then sent back in time to save another world...and he had only 3 days! Add that to the fact that he probably dies a virgin(he was friend zoned by most of his potential mates...and by the ones who he wasnt, he had no interest in in the first place)

All that would suck horribly.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, the manga canon is just that Sheik was created to protect Zelda, and that he has his own consciousness. The part where he's based on a dead Sheikah is just my headcanon. (I have more headcanon on who that Sheikah was originally, but it has heavy Skyward Sword spoilers.)

Well, not so much the 'friend zoning', since shipping is really open in OoT - but for a lot of that, yes. He has a rough time!
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:iconrubydragoncat:
RubyDragonCat Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I've beaten SS...was it Impa?

Shipping is pretty open, but yeah. Pretty much.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
No, Impa is... Impa XD Remember that this is PURELY headcanon, but it's basically shown that Impa is extremely old by the modern era in the game - her original time period is the time period of Hylia, when she was still around.

My headcanon is that the first person to swear alleigance to Hylia was a member of the then-unnamed Shadow Folk, named Sheik. He died to protect her, expressing regret that he couldn't protect her any long. To remember his sacrifice, the remainder of his people (including Impa) were renamed the Sheikah, and Hylia preserved his soul and promised to fulfill his dying wish to always protect her, and allowed him to be reborn/recalled from the Sacred Realm whenever she had a need to do so.

Cue Ocarina era, and Zelda needing to be protected. His soul basically joined with hers, creating a new life in that era so he could protect Hylia's descendent.
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(1 Reply)
:iconladylunaray:
LadyLunaRay Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I do believe that Sheik is a transformation of Zelda. He has abs and red eyes and only SSBB has the braid. But I do think that it's Zelda's body, it's just that with the help of Impa she learned transformation magic. I do agree with you that different opinions make the world go around and no one should call your opinion stupid. And as for the art it's self, really like. And rather sexy ;)
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Heh, thanks XD And yeah, I figure that even if it's Zelda all along, there has to be some physical transformation going on - Sheik and Zelda just look too physically dissimilar to just be Zelda in a fancy costume.

And different opinions are great! :) Thanks for the comment!
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:iconbeakiehelmet:
BeakieHelmet Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner May 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Debunked that ages ago. Sorry.
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:iconbeakiehelmet:
BeakieHelmet Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
You can't debunk nintendo's official stance on the subject.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1) That's a fanpage, not an official Nintendo statement.

2) Nintendo's official stance on the subject is contradictory. Nintendo of Japan refers to Sheik as male. One person in Nintendo of America refers to Sheik as female (which makes sense, given that they arbitrarily slapped a gender on him for Smash Bros' English translation), and another has said, 'There is no answer, use your imagination'.

3) Seriously, Nintendo of Japan has NEVER said, "Sheik is just Zelda in drag". They've always referred to him as male in official sources. In this case, the 'official stance' is 'Sheik is meant to appear to be male, for any more details, use your imagination'.

What individuals think - that doesn't make anything official. There's no master document on Sheik's gender. People are free to like what they like.
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:iconmisstraumatize:
MissTraumaTize Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012
Hey, it's alright, I see Sheik as a seperate character as well, because he's too sexy as a male character to even be Zelda D: lol I usually draw him and Zelda as childhood friends so, nyeh. :meow:
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, I think Zelda's pretty attractive too! It's not that I dislike Zelda, I adore them both, I just see them as... not the same character.

And I love them as childhood friends :)
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:iconmisstraumatize:
MissTraumaTize Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
Nyeh, not much of a fan of Zelda. I was actually disappointed Sheik turned out to be her. :( Made me sad. . . Oh well, but you are right. I can't really see them as the same person due to how unique Sheik is. (To me)
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Heh... well, to each their own, I guess :) I actually didn't mind the revelation at first and totally accepted it, it wasn't until the whole... escaping the castle scene that made me go, "Wait, they don't act a THING alike. This is weird..." Took me a little while to realise that there were people who ALSO saw these inconsistencies and considered them seperate, and I went with that.
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:iconblomn:
blomn Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012
Uh, you have great arguments. Really great ones.
But, here: [link]
This isn't about looks or anything. (well really half the article is, but) The real proof is the part that Nintendo sent an email declaring Sheik is Zelda, and Sheik is female: [link]
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, that first link I've already debunked in its entirety, so that's no longer relevent.

For the second link, the question was a) specifically about Sheik in Brawl, who does appear to be female and who isn't the same character as Sheik in Ocarina of Time, and b) is from Nintendo of America, which is a biased source. Remember, Nintendo of America are the ones who arbitrarily decided that Sheik would be referred to with female pronouns in Smash Bros! Nintendo of JAPAN, the actual, reliable source, has never assigned a gender to Sheik.
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:iconblomn:
blomn Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2012
I never thought of it that way.
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:iconryttu3k:
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Localisation has a lot to do with how people see things. Nintendo of America, unfortunately, has a history of changing things to make them less, ah, 'controversial' - characters like Vivian in Paper Mario (who's a feminine male/possibly MtF trans character) are retconned to just be purely female characters. Anything that implies things like sex swaps or a girl turning into a guy or same-sex attraction isn't 'family-friendly', and thus gets retconned.

Nintendo of Japan, for what it's worth, has only ever used gender-neutral pronouns for Sheik, or male ones ('seinen' on the official site - it means 'young man'). Aonuma has mentioned Sheik as female once - when describing the type of characters that AMERICAN audiences like. It was just Nintendo of America who went, "...Oh, we have to translate these trophies, and there's no gendered description for Sheik... well, Zelda turns into this character, so despite him being described as male in the source material and looking male, that's ~icky~, so let's say she's female!"

Or, well. Slightly paraphrased ;)
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