In all directions, reddish-orange clouds hover above the horizon. High in the sky, a menacing moon rests, meters above the city below. A bell chimes, and echoes throughout all of Termina. Swamp, mountain, ocean, canyon; none are deaf to the foreboding chime. As seconds turn to minutes, and minutes turn to hours, the clouds slowly creep toward Clock Town as the bell keeps ringing. Now illuminated by the bent rays of the rising sun, the clouds begin to turn a bright pink. The moon is about to kiss the top of the tower, where a small imp wearing a mask is dancing. In the final moments of the world, all is peaceful.
It is a scene we have all witnessed. For each of us who have played Majora's Mask, there was a day when you decided to just wait for the end of the world. Some of us simply skipped to the final day and waited until the moon came down, to see what kind of destruction would ensue, while others of us simply wandered around, talking to people to get an idea of what they were thinking. Those who did the latter were able to hear some very interesting information about the personal lives of the people, and from the emotions the people displayed, had a feeling that the world was truly coming to an end.
Over the past week, I've been wandering through Termina's final three days, manipulating people's schedules and watching how they react to the knowledge that their world is coming to an end. I've completed side quests in one cycle, only to abandon them in the next. Each and every action and lack thereof made the characters speak and act differently. In my research, I noticed quite a few characters' personalities changing from what they originally were at the start of the three days into one that was completely different. Another thing I noticed was that the people could easily be organized into different groups based upon their personality. In this article, I shall use quotes from various people of Termina to figure out what their personality is like, put them into groups with similar people, and make further inferences.
The first people you see when you enter Clock Town are the carpenters building the Carnival Tower. On the first day, you can see many of them walking around South Clock Town with beams, but on top of the Carnival Tower is a thin carpenter, who's apparently the apprentice of the carpenter standing on the nearby stairs. If you speak to him he says that the moon has gotten bigger. On the second day, you can't find him anywhere. He's apparently fled from town, in fear of the falling moon. He, like many others, has simply abandoned everything to save his own life.
On the next day, you can see fewer carpenters working on the Carnival Tower. Apparently, the apprentice wasn't the only one who decided to leave town. However, just like the day before, there is an irritated carpenter standing in front of a defense corps. recruitment poster. The man is so angry that when you try talking to him, he just keeps shouting to himself. "Bwah! I won't run! I'm stickin' with my parents! I'm diff'rent from you cowards!" It seems that, regardless of what's going to happen, he wants to be with the people who have cared for and raised him all his life.
On the third day, there are now only a few carpenters left working on the Carnival Tower. Half of them are doubting whether the tower will get finished in time, and one of them is even telling his friend that he's leaving town as well. Again, over by the recruitment poster, is the angry carpenter. "Bwah! I'm not gonna run! Not me! You got that? I'm Master Mutoh's apprentice!" Waiting until nightfall will reveal that every carpenter has left, including the one who made it quite clear he wasn't leaving. The only person who remains in South Clock Town, besides the gate guard, is Mutoh, the boss of the carpenters. Even by looking at him, you can tell he's quite angry. If you speak to him, you see just how angry he is.
Mutoh, Boss of the Carpenters
"Cowards! All of you! Not a one of you stayed! My apprentice will be disgusted with all of you! Hmph! I'll have a fine carnival without you... If you're gonna fall, then fall already!"
Little does he know, his apprentice also fled from town, most likely with his parents. Let's now rewind time, back to the Dawn of the First Day, and look for someone else to stalk for the next 72 hours. This is quite an easy decision, really. Each gate of Clock Town has a soldier making sure no children get out and no monsters get in. If you speak to them on the first day, they don't really say anything interesting. They just tell you where you can get to by going through the gate they're guarding. It's not until the final day that they start saying anything interesting. If you talk to the gate guard in West Clock Town on the Night of the Final Day, he has this to say:
West Gate Guard
"Wait just a moment! Are you alone? Aren't your parents still somewhere in town? Well, whatever you do, you had better get as far away from here as you can. And there are still people lingering in the stores... If only an evacuation notice had been posted, I would be able to force them all to leave..."
This guard apparently cares very much for the people, but sees that the only way he can save them is by using force to make them leave. It is such an unfortunate thing that someone sworn to protect the people can't do a thing to save them... On the opposite side of town, in East Clock Town, there is another gate guard who has been spending some time thinking. If you speak to him on the Night of the Final Day, he says the following:
East Gate Guard
"Wait just a moment! If you believe that the moon truly is falling, you'd best leave town immediately! Those who remain in town either don't believe the rumors or have given up all hope. It pains my heart to see children still playing in the streets because they have no idea what's going on..."
This guard brings up some interesting points. Whenever there is a predicted natural disaster, there will be people who doubt the destructive power of what's about to happen. These people tend to stay at home, only to fall victim to the disaster. Furthermore, whenever there is a disaster, children will likely not be informed. Their parents will simply say that they are all going somewhere, to try and keep from frightening the child. The fact that there are still children playing in the streets when this disaster is about to happen is very unsettling, as the guard says.
All the guards feel the same way. They wish to know what is going on and help the people, but because they can't leave their posts, they are unable to do so. It is such an ironic thing, really, for those sworn to protect people to be unable to save them from their own demise. Some of the guards themselves wish to flee, but like so many other people, are unable to do so because of their duties.
Now that we're at the end of another three day cycle, let's go back in time again. Let's look for someone else to follow, shall we? Well, we just discussed the carpenters and and soldiers, so why don't we try finding the bosses of the two groups? Let's head over to northern East Clock Town, and wait until the Mayor's office opens. After the man with the large neck ruffle walks in the door, go inside. Walk to the door on the left, and step inside to be met with a loud ruckus. Talk to someone in the room to listen in on the conversation...
Viscen, Head of Defense Corps.
"Most of the townsfolk already have taken shelter without waiting for the Mayor's orders. The only ones left are public servants and committee members... Mr. Mayor and Carnival Committee Members, please order those who remain to evacuate!"
Mutoh, Head of Carnival Committee
"You cowards! Do you actually believe the moon will fall? The confused townsfolk simply caused a panic by believing this ridiculous, groundless theory. The soldiers couldn't prevent the panic, but outside the town walls is where the danger is! You want answers? The answer is that the carnival should not be canceled! Isn't that right, Mr. Mayor?"
"Are you serious, Mutoh?!? It seems that giant chunk of rock above us hasn't caught your eye! At this time every year, we are overrun by tourists! So why is the town empty? Clearly, it's your job to ensure the carnival's operation, but that's if people are here for it! Don't drag the merchants and soldiers into this!"
"If the soldiers wish to run, then run, Viscen! We councilmen will stick to tradition. This carnival will be a success! I've never heard of a defense unit abandoning its town! Madame Aroma would surely say the same thing, wouldn't she, Mayor Dotour?"
"...Let's not bring my wife into this."
It's quite a heated argument they're having, isn't it? Well, let's take a closer look at it, shall we? Viscen, the leader of the town's defense unit, is saying that the whole town needs to be evacuated. Most of the people have already left of their own accord, with the only remaining people being those who run shops and work for the city. Mutoh, on the other hand, does not believe the moon is falling. He is what is known in our world as a conservative. He wishes to stick to old traditions, and is often unable to accept anyone's opinion but his own.
If you come back on the Final Day, you'll see Viscen and another guard standing outside the Mayor's office, discussing the Mayor's decision to continue the Carnival of Time. If you go inside the Mayor's office and speak to him, he tells you that Mutoh threatened to bring Madame Aroma into the debate, so that is why he decided not to cancel the carnival. If you're wondering where Mutoh is, he's at the Carnival Tower yelling at the moon. Again, we are at the end of our three days, so let's go back in time.
Now that we're back at the Clock Tower, at the beginning of a new three days, and a world now exists somewhere in which a two-headed Romani and fur-faced Kafei try to make sense of their mutated bodies amidst half a dozen copies of Anju, let us find someone else to pester for three days. Well, since we just listened in on Mayor Dotour's meeting, let's go see what his wife's up to. She's in the same building in East Clock Town, only she's in the room on the right.
Remember that guy you had to wait on to get into the Mayor's Office? Of course you do, since you just saw him when you went in the Mayor's office again. Anyway, he's got a meeting scheduled with Madame Aroma this morning. While he's talking with the receptionist, go ahead and enter Madame Aroma's office. Wait for the overly dressed man to enter the office and speak to Madame Aroma, then listen in on what they say.
The man introduces himself as Gorman, head of the Gorman Troupe. He then thanks Madame Aroma for allowing his troupe to perform at the carnival, only to learn that the opening performance has been canceled. Gorman is quite angry after hearing this news, so he's going to leave. Follow him and you'll end up at the Milk Bar. You can't really do anything when you're there, so just wait until the Milk Bar opens at 10:00 pm. Use the Romani Mask to get inside, then speak to Gorman. You'll find that he's already quite drunk. How very typical of people to drink their misery away...
Near Gorman there's the same Zora who was inside Madame Aroma's office. Speak with him, and he'll say that he wants to do a sound check and will tell you to take the stage and play certain notes. Do this while wearing each of your transformation masks to find that you've been playing the Ballad of the Wind Fish. Hearing this tune will soften Gorman's heart, and he'll give you the Circus Leader's Mask. We're done here, so you can go outside.
Fast-forward to the Dawn of the Second Day with the Double Song of Time. Now we have to find Gorman again, which really isn't that hard. Just go to the Stock Pot Inn, up to the second floor, and into the room farthest from you. Oh, but wait, he's sleeping... If you get close and listen to him, he'll mumble something about leaving tomorrow. Since he was up half the night drinking, he's got a pretty bad hangover. He sleeps all day long, so just exit the Inn and fast-forward to the Night of the Second Day. Go back inside the Inn and to the same room, and he'll be playing cards with the twin jugglers. When you talk to him, he tells you that he's decided to leave tomorrow. He then asks if you're going to flee, and if you have nowhere else to go, you should go to Gorman Ranch in the south. Then he says something which really says a lot about his personality...
"My older brother... He's a nice guy."
Gorman is the kind of person that loves his family, no matter how much hardship they've put him through. Judging by his drunken rantings in the Milk Bar on the First Day, he apparently didn't get much respect or recognition while growing up. Despite this, he's done his best to lead a successful life in what it is he wants to do. If you then go to Gorman Ranch and wear the mask he gave you in the Milk Bar, you can see the cold glaress of the Gorman Brothers melt into warm, compassionate faces. Truly this is a family that loves and cares for each other, despite what experiences they may have had.
Time to go back again, so let's play the Song of Time. As per usual, we'll find someone to follow near the area we were last. Since we were at the Gorman Track, the next place where there's people would be Romani Ranch. But, as we all know, the path to the ranch has been blocked by a large boulder. Find yourself fifty Rupees to buy a Powder Keg, then warp to Milk Road and blow up the boulder. Enter the ranch, and head up to Romani. Complete her training, then accept to help her defend the barn. While we're waiting for 2:00 am to roll around, let's go check on someone else in Romani Ranch.
Go to the western part of Romani Ranch, then enter the Cucco Shack. Inside is a weird-looking man named Grog sitting beneath a tree, surrounded by young cuccos. If you speak to him, he says that he heard from his grandfather that the moon is falling down. Despite him being aware that the moon's destruction will reach all the way to the ranch, he doesn't seem to care that much. Apparently, his only regret is that he won't see the young cuccos as full-grown roosters. This is quite a simple man, it seems! Well, let's make that wish of his come true. March around with the Bremen's Mask to make the young chicks mature into roosters, and the man will become excited.
"I don't really get it, but just seein' these guys with a crest and all... I don't have regrets about anythin' anymore. I'm perfectly satisfied. Here... You can have this from me..."
It's amazing how something so simple can make a person so content. The way he sits beneath that tree, he reminds me of the Buddha. In fact, he seems to have been enlightened by our simple deed. No longer concerned about anything in the world, he is free of remorse and can calmly accept his death. Truly a strange person he is.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's go back to the main ranch and wait for 2:00 am. When the time finally comes, Romani will leave her house and enter the barn. Shortly after, at 2:30, they will arrive. Fend them off until the first light of the morning chases them off, and Romani will reward you with a bottle of milk. There's not really anything interesting going on until the Night of the Second Day, so fast forward to then. Cremia will be in front of the barn, in a wagon loaded with milk. She says she's going to Clock Town to make a delivery, and offers you a ride. Go ahead and go with her, then defend the wagon from the Gorman Brothers. After you get to Clock Town, she'll give you Romani's Mask and a hug.
Go back to Romani Ranch, then fast-forward to the Dawn of the Final Day. Somewhere in the fields of the ranch, Cremia is tending to the cows. Talk to her, and she'll tell you of some unsettling news she heard while in town. Speaking to her again lets you know more about what she thinks about it.
"I heard this from people who were fleeing this way this morning... It's terrible... They said that huge moon is going to crash down onto the town sometime tonight. I wonder if we'll be all right here...
Actually... I know... We're not safe here, either... I'm no expert on these things, but that's the feeling I get. But... That's how life goes, I guess. There are some things in life that you can't change no matter how hard you try..."
Cremia, like some other people, has calmly accepted the truth of things. She knows that no matter where she flees to, it won't make a difference. All she can do now is wait for the end to come. Let's now fast-forward to the Night of the Final Day, and visit the barn. Inside, we can see Romani and Cremia. If you talk to them, you'll hear the following conversation:
"Oh... Good evening."
"We're milking the cows tonight! It's "Chateau Romani." It's the first time I get to drink it!" Until now, my sister always said "Wait until you're an adult." But why now?"
"......... You've become an adult now, Romani...I see it in you. I'm acknowledging it."
"Then, does Romani get a mask,
"Well, yes, I'll make one for you..."
Cremia knows that Romani wants nothing more than for her older sister to consider her an adult, so Cremia has decided to acknowledge Romani as an adult before she loses the chance. Romani, like so many other children, is completely oblivious to the fact that the world is going to end. If you listen to them again, you hear Cremia tell Romani to sleep in the same bed as her that night. It seems that Cremia at least wants to embrace her younger sister, the one she's had to raise for years as if she was her mother, as the world around them is destroyed. I truly find this to be one of the saddest moments in the game...
Let's rewind time again to observe the people of Termina. This time, we shall follow Kafei and Anju, and the people involved with their romantic tale. First thing's first, let's head over to the Stock Pot Inn and wait for the Postman to deliver Kafei's letter to Anju. After the Postman walks off, speak to her while wearing Kafei's Mask. Meet Anju later that night in the kitchen of the Stock Pot Inn to receive a letter to Kafei. Mail it off, then continue with the quest in the normal fashion.
On the final day, enter the Curiosity Shop's back room via the Laundry Pool. Speak with the Curiosity Shop owner to get a letter to Kafei's mother, and then head off to Ikana Canyon to retrieve the Sun's Mask from Sakon's hideout. After you retrieve the mask, head back to Clock Town. It will be a while before Kafei arrives, so while you're waiting, head over to the post office in West Clock Town. Go inside, and in the back you'll see the Postman on his hands and knees, having a nervous breakdown. On his bed nearby, there is a letter. It says...
You have been doing a great job
delivering the mail.
I have a request for my
hard-working self. All of the
townsfolk have taken refuge.
I want myself to flee, too.
Even if it is not written on the
schedule, I want myself to flee.
If you speak to him, he says that he wants to flee, but he cannot as it is not written on the schedule. The delivery schedule is the highest priority, he says. This is a man that takes his job seriously! Too seriously, in fact. When following your work schedule is more important than running away and saving your life, you know something's wrong. Well, we have something more important than the delivery schedule, and that's priority mail! The Postman will eagerly jump to his feet, ready to do what his job commands of him.
He'll run over to the closet, grab his hat and bag, then hurry out of the post office. Follow him outside, and across town, to the Milk Bar. Don Romani's Mask and follow him in. He'll rush down the stairs, over to Madame Aroma, and will hand her the letter from Kafei. Get close to them, and then listen in on their conversation.
"I have a delivery for you, Postmistress!"
"Oh my, it can't be! You're still here?"
"To...to...to...tomorrow's delivery is still scheduled!"
"What are you saying?!? Did you see the sky? It's terrible!"
"Oh, my! Well!!! What shall we do?!? It's from Kafei!"
"It's priority mail."
"I'm so happy! To think something good would come in the end! Thank you. You flee now. That's an order!"
Madame Aroma is distressed by the fact that the Postman has not fled simply because it did not say so on the schedule. She then commands him to flee the city and save his life, and as the order is coming from a superior, he follows her instructions. He then turns around, goes up the stairs, and exits the Milk Bar. Outside, he'll stand by the east gate for a moment. If you speak to him, he informs you that the Postmaster has ordered him to flee. Now free to set his own schedule, he hands you his hat and merrily flees from town.
Now that we have set the Postman free from the delivery schedule, let's head across the street to the Stock Pot Inn. Head up to the employees' room on the second floor, where Kafei and Anju should both be waiting. Shortly after you enter the room, they'll begin their wedding ceremony.
"I...I have met you before. What a familiar scent. Long, long ago... Yes. We were still young. We made a promise... Didn't we? The masks of the sun and the moon... We were to exchange them on the day of the Carnival of Time..."
"Anju... I'm sorry I was late."
"...Tee-hee! They're lovers, but they look just like a mother and child."
"Let us exchange the promised masks."
"We have exchanged our oaths and have become a couple."
"You are our witnesses. Please accept this mask."
You are then given the Couple's Mask, the sign of their marital union. Speak to them again, and Kafei will tell you to take refuge while he and Anju greet the morning. This is the most emotional part of the game right here. Now that the two lovers have been united, nothing is capable of tearing them apart. Their love is so strong that they can face the end of the world, without any fear.
Now that we have the Couple's Mask, we are ready to rewind everything one last time. Once you have returned to the Dawn of the First Day, head to East Clock Town. Go up to the Mayor's office, and wait until 10:00 am. Follow Gorman inside the Mayor's office, then head to the door on the left. Enter the Mayor's room, and listen to the familiar debate. After they're done talking, wear the Couple's Mask and speak to the group to catch the everyone's attention.
"The Couple's Mask. What a nice reminder... So, a young couple has been married."
"I wonder... Did my wife flee?"
"What!?! What did you just say?!?"
"Yes, yes, everyone. We are all worried for our families. Why don't we end this meeting?"
"But, Mr. Mayor!"
"This will do. Whether you're stubborn and will stay and guard your family, or if you'd prefer to run far away and seek shelter... That is for people to decide on their own."
Family. This is the most important thing to have when the world is about to end. Money and social status no longer mean anything. All that matters at this point is being close to those you love. If the world is to end, all you can do is huddle together with people you know and wait for the end to come. After all, you cannot take material belongings with you to the afterlife. All you can do is cherish the present moment, and there's no better way to do that than let your friends and family know you love them.
Well, that's the end of my article. Hopefully you've been playing along, or I've at least encouraged you to pick up Majora's Mask again just to witness the sheer emotion of this game. No other Zelda game has ever been able to capture this much emotion within its characters or deliver this kind of message to the person holding the controller. There are many moments in this game where I've felt I could almost cry, and never have I experienced that in any game before. The people portrayed within this game have such real emotions that this game has had a profound impact on me.
Touched by this game, I think of Termina's final moments whenever I see pink clouds at sunset. I think of the people, and remember their problems, and I feel their emotions. Anger, happiness, fear, and sadness, all at once. It's almost an unbearable feeling, and all I can do is just stand there and stare off into the sky. All these are emotions that we can experience alone, or can share with others around us. In fact, these are feelings which bring people together. When people are angered by a new policy, they unite and rebel. When people are joyous for a wedding, they get together and celebrate. When people fear a disaster, they huddle together and await the outcome. When people are sad, they console each other.
Truly, Majora's Mask is one of the greatest games of all time. It is very rare for a game to show such emotion, let alone make the player wonder. Such things are expected of books, but never from a video game. I have spent much time thinking about the end of the world, all because of playing this game. I think of how the people will react to the news, how they will panic, and how they will fight amongst one another. However, people all act differently, which is how chaos is formed. When everything around you is turned upside-down, it is impossible to know exactly what's going to happen, but I know one thing. While the people around me frantically run around, destroying all that we have spent millenia to create, I just wish to enjoy the sunset one last time with someone I care for.