Majora's Mask, a recurring motif in the many forms of Majora
|First appearance||Majora's Mask (2000)|
|Alternate form(s)||Majora's Mask|
- "A puppet that can no longer be used is mere garbage. This puppet's role has just ended..."
- — Majora
Majora (ムジュラ Mujura?) is the assumed name of the main antagonist of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. An evil being inhabiting Majora's Mask, it is arguably the series' most depraved and bizarre villain. Despite appearing as an inanimate object, and using the Skull Kid as its puppet, the mask carries obvious sentience and the ability to speak coherently, through its wearer or of its own power. The gender of Majora is disputed, as neither the game nor any supplementary material states it.
The true form of Majora is arguably never seen. During Link's final battle with the spirit, it transforms into three different forms. However, if one believes that Majora is not just the mask brought to life, then none of these are believed to be the true form of Majora. It is possible that the appearance of Majora's Mask may somehow resemble the true appearance of Majora, if it ever even had one; however, this cannot be confirmed, but it is widely considered to be a likely possibility.
A long time ago, a mysterious tribe used Majora's Mask in its hexing rituals. However, the troubles caused by the mask were so great that the ancient ones, fearing catastrophe, sealed the mask in shadow to prevent its misuse. The tribe has since vanished, but the mask was eventually tracked down and uncovered by the mysterious Happy Mask Salesman, a purported trader and collector of rare and powerful masks.
Upon his travels, the Happy Mask Salesman was eventually robbed by a small forest creature, known as the Skull Kid, and his two fairy companions. The Skull Kid proceeded to search through the man's belongings and found Majora's Mask. The evil power in the mask magnified the Skull Kid's penchant for malice, and soon the Skull Kid's petty practical jokes turned into something much more sinister. Using its power, the Skull Kid sealed away the Four Giants, the guardian deities of Termina, and directed the Moon on a collision course with the land so as to destroy Termina completely.
Eventually, the hero, Link, arrives in the world of Termina entirely by mistake, where he learns of the Skull Kid's sinister scheme. After a long quest, he is able to release the Four Giants from their imprisonment, and they are able to halt the falling moon. Majora, the spirit inside the mask, refuses to admit defeat and retreats to the Moon after discarding its "puppet", the Skull Kid. Link chases after it, and finds himself in a strangely serene grassy plain with a single tree. Here, a mysterious child wearing Majora's Mask asks Link if he wants to play a game of "good guys against bad guys" with him. Link accepts and is transported to a strange room, in which he finds Majora's Mask attached to the wall. After the four Boss Remains float away from Link and attach to the walls as well, Majora's Mask approaches Link and the two begin to duel. Majora manifests itself in three different physical forms, all still bearing some resemblance to Majora's Mask. Eventually, Link manages to defeat the evil spirit, Majora, and the Moon dissolves into a rainbow-like beam of light. The mask, now free of the evil spirit and seemingly powerless, is returned to the Happy Mask Salesman, who disappears from Termina as the people celebrate the Carnival of Time.
- "Just look above you... If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!"
- — Skull Kid
The entity that inhabits the mask seems to be highly disturbed, insane, and childish (though, when possessing the Skull Kid, it could simply be trying to masquerade as him). After speaking for itself for the first time near the end of the game, it declares that the Skull Kid was merely its puppet, suggesting that it was in fact the mask's essence itself that craved so much misery and destruction. All of the powers it used seem to suggest or induce insanity, such as the turning of Kafei into a child mere days before his wedding, the transformation of Link into a Deku, and various other bizarre and psychopathic problems it caused. The hideous visage it gave to the Moon also seems to indicate madness. At the Moon, in a very peaceful but surreal meadow, Majora and the four Boss Remains take on the form of children, with Majora sitting alone and staring at the ground. It asks Link to play a game of "good guys against bad guys", where Link is the "bad guy". In combat, Majora has a tendency to laugh to itself manically, lets out high-pitched, childish shrieks when injured, and all of its forms have a very chaotic and unsettling appearance.
Majora seems to have a strained background with Fierce Deity. When asking to play their game of "good guys against bad guys", Majora freely offers Link the Fierce Deity's Mask so that he may become the "true bad guy". This, coupled with Majora's obvious sensitivity to the Deity's powers, suggests that Majora has a negative relationship with the being and wants to destroy him, or at least his incarnation. Majora's psychosis is only further evidenced by the offering of an item obviously beyond his own power level. However, this is never fully elaborated upon in the game, so the nature of the two's relationship is speculative. This decision might also be made because Majora was, and still is, lonely, and was hoping that this present might make Link Majora's friend, so that he would never be alone again, since the other Lunar Children did not let Majora play with them, or he just thought he was being helpful as an excuse for all of the troubles they caused.
It should be noted that in the Japanese version of the game, the Lunar Child wearing Majora's Mask instead wants to play a game of tag, with Link being "it". In Japanese culture, the person who is "it" in tag is called the "oni". Seeing as how the Japanese name for the Fierce Deity's Mask is the Oni God Mask, there may have been no conflict between these masks at all.
Majora's gender is unclear. Though its shrieks of pain in battle are high-pitched (though they sound the most feminine in its final form), it does appear as a child before the battle. The eyes on the mask part of Majora's Wrath could be seen as somewhat reminiscent of human breasts; its muscular structure, on the other hand, appears more masculine. As Majora's origin is never explained, and it may have begun as an inanimate mask, it may lack a gender entirely.
Majora is the only Zelda antagonist who does not seem to have clear motives. Most villains, such as Ganondorf, Zant, and Vaati, wish to rule their land or increase their power, but Majora seems happy with destruction. As it amplifies the wearer's dark desires, the motive for each owner may be different. However, Majora itself most likely has differing motives from the wearer, corrupting their mind and bringing about its own ends for destruction. This likely means that Majora simply wants to destroy, without any real cause, and when Majora has a host, it uses their reasons instead. It seems to have a very pronounced sadistic streak, not only causing destruction but causing Skull Kid to use the mask's powers to generally make the lives of Termina's inhabitants miserable.
Another theory is that Majora was an insane demon that was defeated by Fierce Deity. Majora, in a last ditch effort to save its own life, sealed its own soul in a mask. The deity, realizing that Majora could return and destroy Termina, fused his own powers into another mask to combat the demented demon. Majora always kept the other mask near it so it could exact its revenge when it would be able to destroy Termina. So when Link was about to fight Majora, Majora could give Link the Fierce Deity's Mask in order to destroy his old enemy and his current one at the same time. This mistake causes Majora to be killed permanently. The motive may have been that Majora wanted to be worshiped by the Terminans, but was rejected, causing his thirst for the destruction of Termina.
Something to consider is that Majora states "I... I shall consume. Consume... Consume everything..", once it had taken control of the Moon directly. No explanation for it saying this is ever given but it may explain its motive. This could mean it wanted to consume the negative emotions, resulting from the destruction of Termina, making it more powerful. It could also mean that it wished for destruction to consume Termina, showing its sadistic streak. Another explanation is that Majora considered causing misery and destruction to be 'playing'. This is supported by Majora stating upon being confronted in the Moon that it wanted to play with Link and then engaging him in battle. Given Majora's obvious insanity, this is easy to explain. It's possible that the rituals it was used in made it believe this.
Some theorize that the tribe Majora belonged to were the early Twili. Some fans use similarities between the Fused Shadows, Zant's helmet, and Majora's Mask to support this theory. Particularly the similarity between the eyes of Majora's Mask and those of the Fused Shadows are of note in this theory.
Majora plays the same role in the manga, with a bit more of its personality displayed here than in the game. It stays with the Skull Kid until abandoning him when the giants stop the moon, just like in the video game. At this point Majora mocks the Skull Kid, calling him trash, and tries to kill him just because it thinks he is "no fun". Link saves the Skull Kid (having grown sympathetic to him), and Majora challenges Link to a game of "tag," giving him the Fierce Deity's Mask. Wearing it would make him the "oni" in the game (in Japan, being called the "oni" in a game of tag means someone is "it" in the game). Though everyone around Link warns him not put the mask on, Link is too disgusted at Majora to listen and dons the mask, following Majora. In the subsequent battle, Majora first just runs around, then attacks Link. However, it quickly proves no match for Link with the Fierce Deity's Mask, who effortlessly kills Majora in one attack. As in the game, Majora displays a sinister, childish personality: it appears to like to play, but its ideas of what is fun are twisted, and it even calls Link mean when he starts to defend himself.
A side-story in the Majora's Mask manga reveals the supposed origin of Majora. Majora was originally a giant dragon-like creature who guarded an empty, timeless land -- a land neither living nor dead. The armor this dragon wore was highly sought after, as it was fabled to be capable of granting wishes and bestowing great power unto its owner. Many humans came to the land hoping to claim the armor for their own purposes, both good and evil, but Majora devoured them, men and women alike. One day, an unnamed traveler (who is akin in appearance to a rather weathered-looking adult Link, left-handed and all) comes to converse with Majora, rather than to claim his armor. In their dialog, this stranger sympathizes with Majora, pointing out his loneliness. Majora considers the traveler's analysis and using the desires of the devoured, develops a wish of his own; for time to pass, that he may rest at last and end his loneliness. The Link-like character takes a drum from his bag and begins to play, telling Majora to dance. Majora dances furiously for three days and nights, and as he dances, time is born. On the fourth day, the dragon dies (as do all creatures for whom time passes) leaving behind only his armor, and the neither-dead-nor-living land is destroyed. The man then carves a mask from the creature's magic armor into what came to be known as Majora's Mask, hoping to seal its power forever.