I don’t know whether this would be a popular or unpopular opinion as I haven’t heard much talk about Yuga, but it’s pretty clear that he’s a Ghirahim expy. Yuga bears striking similarities to Ghirahim, not just in terms of appearance, but in personality and role in the story as well. I feel like these should all be a given, but perhaps some would protest, so before we get into why they should have just brought back Ghirahim, let’s go over how they’re practically the same villain.
Look at these two images. Which of the two characters has a pale complexion? Which has elven ears? Blue diamond earrings? Purple eyeshadow? An androgynous design? A red gem accessory? If you answered either “Ghirahim” or “Yuga” to any of these, you’d be wrong, because the correct answer is “both”. Sure, some similarities are a bit more vague, such as the flamboyant outfit and androgynous appearance, but when you go so far as to give them both the same exact earrings and eyeshadow, it’s clear that the creators had Ghirahim in mind when designing Yuga.
And what of their personality? Well, both are defined by their extreme narcissism and flamboyance. You might point out some inconsequential differences, such as Yuga having a general obession with beauty whereas Ghirahim is a little more self-obsessed, but their core personality traits remain the same.
And as far as their role in the story is concerned, both are the antagonists of their respective entries who each seek to use Zelda to resurrect some greater evil. And they’re both the first dungeon boss. And fought three times each.
It comes across to me as them wanting to do Ghirahim over again, but changing the end goal; Ghirahim seeks to resurrect Demise due to servitude towards his master, whereas Yuga seeks to resurrect Ganon in order to steal the porker’s power for himself.
Well, my question is this: If you’re going to go to such lengths to make Yuga like Ghirahim, then why not just bring back Ghirahim? ALBW’s story would only need minor changes if you just removed Yuga and inserted Ghirahim instead.
“Hold on!” you object. “Yuga has a magic paintbrush that turns people into paintings! Ghirahim doesn’t have that!” True, he doesn’t, and it would be pretty forced to suddenly give him one. But that doesn’t mean Ghirahim couldn’t turn people into paintings: Skyward Sword shows that he possesses a vast array of magic powers, be it summoning a tornado, conjuring up weapons from midair, sending spikes raining down from the sky, teleporting, and so forth. It wouldn’t feel at all out of place to have him perform some sort of ritual to turn the sages into paintings.
“Okay, but!” you retort. “Yuga is from Lorule, which is how he told Hilda about Hyrule! The plot can’t work!” Remember how Ghirahim is the anti-thesis to Fi/the Master Sword? Who’s to say he coudln’t have been forged in Lorule? We don’t get any information in Skyward Sword that would conflict with that; we know precious little about his backstory outside of being Demise’s servant and weapon. And if you’ll recall, there’s even an inverted Triforce on Ghirahim in his sword form.
As things stand, both Yuga and Ghirahim have little in the way of backstory. Ghirahim is Demise’s weapon, Yuga is Hilda’s servant. Instead of making a dime-store Ghirahim copy, they could have brought back Ghirahim and filled in some of his backstory by making the connection between him and Lorule! It just seems like such a wasted opportunity to not have done that!
“But wait!” you cry. “Yuga took control of Ganon! Ghirahim would never betray his master!” Who’s to say he wouldn’t? They could easily make this work. They could have Ghirahim disillusioned with Demise after his failure, opting to break the bond of servant and master and instead operate on his own accord. That would fit in with Ghirahim’s self-obsessed nature. And before you bring up his undying loyalty to Demise, I have to point out that his loyalty may not be unflagging. Consider that Fi exhibits complete and utter servitude to her master and would never turn back on Link; if Ghirahim is the anti-thesis to Fi, then wouldn’t it make sense for him not to possess unconditional loyalty? At this point you might suggest that Ganonhim would look pretty stupid with Ghirahim’s hair, but it’s not like Yuganon didn’t look ridiculous. And they could go about making it look Ghirahim-esque in ways besides the hair.
Alternatively, you could have Ghirahim remain loyal to Demise and seek to resurrect Ganon simply to revive his master. This would change the plot of the game considerably, yes, but many already think the whole possession of Ganon shtick was dumb and wanted the return of blue pig Ganon, which this would allow for.
Now, I’m not against fresh faces to add to the roster of Zelda villains. Having a memorable antagonist to put up there with the likes of Vaati or Majora’s Mask could only be a good thing. But Yuga isn’t that. Yuga is a cheap Ghirahim impersonator that doesn’t do a lot to separate himself from the antagonist of the game preceding ALBW. Instead of making a villain that’s like Ghirahim, I think ALBW would have been better off with Ghirahim. Having recurring villains outside of Ganon has always been a desire of the fanbase, and making that obvious connection between Ghirahim and Lorule would help flesh out the lore of the franchise. I just can’t help but think that Yuga should have been Ghirahim.