Though a bit of an outlier in the Legend of Zelda series, Majora's Mask has left an enduring mark on gaming, partially because of its extremely memorable characters. While many of the models were ripped straight out of Ocarina of Time, none of the characters in Majora's Mask is a copy. Instead, they are rich creations in their own right, crafted to fit the game's unique world.
While the entire world is memorable, these characters stand out more than most. Whether it's because of their gut-wrenching character arcs or quirky behavior, meeting them is more than enough to make you want to save Termina from its dire fate.
9 Deku Princess
You have to rescue the Deku Princess from the Woodfall Temple in order to progress, but that doesn't mean she's a pushover. When you get her back to her father's palace, you'll realize that she's the real power behind the throne. Smart, capable, and wielding a fiery temper, the Deku Princess controls her father with her wit and conviction.
If that wasn't enough, the Deku Princess is the only instance of a female Deku in the series. She can also fit inside a glass bottle somehow, which is pretty handy in a pinch. It's the scene where she attacks her father and demands the release of the falsely imprisoned monkey that really makes her stand out. It makes you wonder why she didn't take out Odolwa herself.
Unlike today's parents, the parents in Termina seem content to let their kids do whatever they feel like. Sometimes, these children choose to play with their toys or cows. Others, though, use the freedom to form secret societies, complete with a huge hideout and intricate initiation rituals. Jim, the little overachiever that he is, is the leader of the Bombers Secret Society of Justice, a group of tiny street kids with a noble purpose.
While Jim's nearly identical to the other Bombers, he's got an attitude that distinguishes him. Couple that with the fact that playing hide and seek with the little jerk is the only way to get into the Astral Observatory before the world ends, and you get a character that will seer himself into your mind forever.
Ah, The Legend of Zelda. An austere, stately series filled with noble characters, great deeds, and people living inside toilets. At least, that's what you'd assume '???' is. You don't see anything of them except for their pale hand reaching out from the toilet of the Stock Pot Inn between 12 am – 6 am, begging you for toilet paper. If you get them some, they'll give you heart piece, which is a pretty good trade.
Like all comic-relief characters in Majora's Mask, though, '???' comes across as equal parts funny, tragic, and downright scary. Why are they in the toilet? How long have they been there? And, most importantly, do you have to wash off that heart piece before you use it?
6 Anju And Kafei
The Legend of Zelda series has several engrossing love stories, but none have the same kick as Anju and Kafei. These star-crossed lovers have more in their way than simple family rivalry. Instead, the thief Sakon has stolen Kafei's matrimonial mask and wants to sell it for a profit. Also, The Skull Kid turned Kafei into a child, which kind of puts a dampener on the whole marriage thing.
While you don't have to complete Anju and Kafei's questline, which is one of the most involved side-quests in the game, Anju's longing for her lover and Kafei's shame makes them difficult to ignore. The beauty of their reunion only exemplifies the tragedy of the game's circular time mechanic.
The developers of Majora's Mask could have just put in a normal map vendor. You could have just waltzed into a cartographer's shop, handed over your Rupees, and that would be that. Instead, they gave us a thirty-five-year-old, fairy-obsessed man in a green bodysuit that floats above Clock Town, dangling from a balloon, and throws confetti in the air after every purchase. It's may not be the most sustainable business model, but you've got to give him points for flair.
Now a staple of Zelda games, and one of the few characters to star in his own spinoff, it's difficult to say how much of an impact Tingle makes in his first appearance. He makes you laugh, yet also evokes a deep sadness. He's not yet his full, bombastic self, here. He's just a guy, one who seems just as lost as you would be without his maps.
4 Happy Mask Salesman
The Happy Mask Salesman has a menacing edge to him when you first meet him in Ocarina of Time, with a permanent smile affixed to his face and a giggle always on his lips. In Majora's Mask, though, he's downright terrifying and is the driving force behind Link's mission in Termina. His mood is erratic, and he's obsessed with the collection of rare masks, each of which holds enormous powers. He also seems to have some inherent power, and can reverse a curse placed upon Link by the eldritch entity housed in Majora's Mask.
You never learn a whole lot about the Happy Mask Salesman, but it's his mystery that makes him memorable more than anything else. He's the puppet master that pulls the strings behind everything in the game, one whose bidding you're not entirely comfortable doing. What is he planning to do with all those masks, anyway?
Ocarina of Time was a fantastic game, but it's a wonder that Link got anything done with Navi talking his ear off. She was useful, sure, but she didn't have much character, and only existed to give an in-game explanation for Z-targeting. Tatl, on the other hand, has a serious attitude, and doesn't even want to help you for parts of the game. She can be disagreeable at times, but as the Skull Kid's former friend, she's extremely important to the game's plot, and her character arc has serious depth.
By the time you finally confront the Skull Kid, Tatl is more than just a useful tool. She's a friend, and her quest to save both, her brother and the Kid, is one that you'll find yourself invested in. Though she's almost identical to your previous fairy friend, her spunk makes her anything but a clone.
2 Four Giants
The mysterious creator deities of Termina, The Four Giants don't get a ton of screen time. Instead, it's their presence that hangs heavy over the game. Though Link may be the hero here, waking these mysterious creatures is the only way to save the land and free Termina from the threat of moon-based destruction.
You're in for a treat when you finally summon them. One of the final cutscenes, when they rush in from the four corners of Termina to stop the grim-faced moon in its tracks, is truly legendary. Their strange voices and even stranger designs make them some of the most mysterious characters in the game, which is really saying something.
1 The Skull Kid
In a series full of compelling villains, the Skull Kid is by far the most developed in terms of character. A lovable trickster transformed into a vicious creature of power by Majora's Mask, the Skull Kid is just lonely. His good friends, the Four Giants, left him alone, and in his pain at their departure, he begins to believe that they never really liked him in the first place. Loneliness transformed into anger, and the mask allowed him to take his anger out on the world.
Majora's Mask has many themes, but one of its most prominent is isolation, both from yourself and the people you care about. The Skull Kid paints this theme in stark relief, and his arc – from petulant child to redeemed friend – encapsulates the entire game. Though you have to defeat him, you can't help but feel for him, even after seeing all the destruction he's caused.
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