As promised, this blog will also include video games! I’ve always been a fan of the Legend of Zelda games, most specifically the N64 and newer ones. I’m sure the older ones are excellent, I just never owned the proper console to play them. As much as I love Ocarina of Time, I’m going to first focus on Majora’s Mask because it holds a creepiness in my heart that can only be held by something you first experienced as a kid.
The moon is falling and you have only 3 days to save the land of Termina – that’s right, this one does NOT take place in Hyrule. Skullkid (shown above) made a very tiny appearance in Ocarina of Time, but he takes on a much larger role in Majora’s Mask as the puppet of the main villain… the mask itself! This game ranks among my all time favorites because of its unusual story telling which, once analyzed, seems much deeper than it was on the surface when I first played it as a child. Or maybe I just see deep meaning in things because I’m a communication major, who knows.
On that note, I present to you a small analysis of the story (forgive my fangirl-ness on this one) which focuses on my interpretation of some aspects of the story. Feedback is appreciated if you’ve played the game as well!
Compared to other Zelda games, Majora’s Mask is somewhat unique. There is no Hyrule, no Princess Zelda, no Ganondorf, and not even a Triforce. So I have to wonder how the hell Link went from the Ocarina of Time world to… whatever the hell Termina is supposed to be. I have been thinking about it and, admittedly, I have not actually played the game in years, but I remember enough of it to make my own conclusions.
Basically, I think Termina does not actually exist in the tangible world as far as Hyrule and whatnot. In fact, I don’t think it exists to anyone but Link and the entire story is about him overcoming his personal demons and exploring the many aspects of “self.” Most strongly, I think it questions his identity as a “hero” and the many inner monsters a person must face in order to remain true to this identity. Can Link always be a hero? Is that his master identity or merely a situational one?
Throughout the entire game, Link collects all sorts of masks which range from mundane, to creepy, to downright silly. A mask covers a person’s face, but also represents an outward facade that does not change what is at the core of the person. What makes his transformation masks unique, however, is that someone must die in order for Link to acquire it (It’s not explicitly said in-game how the Deku mask’s original owner died, but it is pretty obvious that it was the Deku Butler’s son if you pay attention).
The point in the story that (to me) most directly points toward the theory that this ENTIRE adventure is the discovery of Link’s own identity is at the very end when Link is sucked up into the moon’s mouth and encounters some creepy children running around a tree in a field. There are five children, four of which are wearing the boss masks and the fifth is wearing Majora’s Mask.
“Your true face… What kind of… face is it? I wonder… The face under the mask… Is that… your true face?” — Child wearing Twinmold’s mask
Bingo! I don’t think it could be said any more clearly than that. They are children (like Link) who are wearing the masks of his slain foes. Like, holy cow that is so obvious. And this theory also answers the question of where the Fierce Deity mask comes from. In order to obtain it, Link gives away each of his masks one by one to these creepy children until none are left. Once every possible facade is gone, he is left with only his one true self: the Fierce Deity! Just like the other transformation masks, someone has to die in order for it to be created, in this case it is Link’s multiplicity of selves that is sacrificed in order to realize who he really is.
There is a reason the transformation looks like Link on steroids, folks. That is because it is him.
So then, what is Majora’s Mask? Hell, I don’t know if it really is one thing. I’m not the best person to ask about literary motifs, but I think it could represent regret. One of the many great aspects of this game’s story telling is how intimately you get to know almost every character. There are some prominent side-quests like the Kafei/Anju love story, but even the minor characters are all affected in some way by Link’s actions whether they know it or not. In the end, though, it is impossible to help everyone in Termina in only three days. Link can go back in time over and over to help them, but ultimately he cannot permanently make everyone happy. When the three days end for the final time and Link faces Majora’s Mask, he is facing the regrets of those he could not manage to help in the final three days.