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Tear Jerker / The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

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Forgive... your... friend...

Thanks to its bleaker tone, Majora's Mask is arguably one of the saddest entries in the Zelda franchise. So don't be surprised if this game tugs at the heartstrings.

Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies to Moments subpages. You have been warned.

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  • The ending, in which the giants leave Skull Kid again, but Skull Kid isn't crying tears of loss. He's crying because his old friends never forgot him.
  • The Giants often give messages, such as the one listed above (Forgive... your... friend...), but it's never clear who exactly they're talking to. Tatl is the one who seems to do all the talking and seems to think that they're directed at her to forgive Skull Kid as he's not entirely in control of his actions. However, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine they're actually speaking to Link and begging him to not resent Navi for leaving him. This is a big one as Link possibly is very hurt and confused by Navi's departure and may even resent her for it, something the Giants would understand as they left Skull Kid for their own reasons but never intended to hurt him.
    • Another possible interpretation is that the Giants are asking the Skull Kid himself for forgiveness, either for leaving him alone after they left to protect the world or having to stop him from causing mischief in the past per Granny's story.
  • When you discover that the Deku tree with the horrified expression you come across at the start of the game is in fact the Deku Butler's son. Part Nightmare Fuel, part Tear Jerker.
    • It should be noted that the Deku Butler's son is who you transform into when you use the Deku mask, most likely. You transform into Mikau and Darmani after they die, so it would make sense because the son is, well, dead. Skull Kid must have had something to do with it.
    • Epileptic Trees and Hyrule Historia say that Skull Kid killed the Deku Butler's son specifically to fuel the curse he puts on you. (Not "specifically" for this reason in Hyrule Historia's case, but still.)
    • The Deku Butler crying in front of the tree during the credits counts as well. He's one of the few to not get his happy ending.
    • For added tragic points, the manga shows that the Deku Princess had a crush on the kid. Seeing Deku Link just reminds her of a close friend that she doesn't even know is dead.
    • Then, of course, there's Darmani and Mikau's deaths, which become worse when you realize that you're effectively impersonating them in their societies. Which, if one thinks about it, just further exemplifies Link's heroism. Link does what he does, not out of a desire for recognition, or for glory, but simply because it's the right thing to do. And if doing the right thing means having to make the people think their hero is still alive so as to rekindle the hope within them, or letting them attribute all your hard work to another warrior, then so be it.
    • Also, Darmani and Mikau make it worse by their desperate desire for life. They're not happy with their fates at all, and they beg you to heal them. Lacking this ability, you have to just give them peace with a song that gives them a tragic vision of a potential happy life, and they turn into masks for you to use. You can't help these people, and death for them is awful. Darmani is already dead long before you get to Snowhead, but Mikau has to die in the story, and all you can do is give them a fantasy vision before claiming their spirits in a mask. However, since everyone thinks Link with their mask transformations is them, perhaps it's not so bad. They get to live through Link and get the recognition they wanted so badly in life. Darmani surely would be pleased to see "himself" offered leadership of the Goron Village after Link brings about springtime — becoming a legend and a hero in their eyes like he wanted — and Mikau, through Link, would not only get to see his and Lulu's children be born safely; but also his band finally earning their big break, continuing his legacy in at least two major ways.
  • The cutscene you get after you heal Darmani's ghost. The cutscene starts with Darmani's ghost simply floating alone in darkness when suddenly the room lights up, showing all of his Goron friends, fans, and family cheering him on with the Song of Healing playing in the background. It would go under heartwarming, but Darmani is dead and unable to help his fellow Gorons at all. The scene ends with him resigning himself to Link in mask form, knowing full-well he failed his people.
    • That whole sequence is pretty soul-wrenching. His sheer despair at being helpless to save his people is so thick you'd think you could cut it with a knife, and then you find that what killed him is something that's so easy to solve for you, which makes it seem ten times crueler. And then you go into the Goron town and have everyone so overjoyed to see "Darmani" back, including the one Darmani was like a father to, and knowing that they're wrong and will have to be crushed all over again.
    • This goes even more for the giant Goron causing the wind gusts that sent Darmani to his death. Once he's restored to normal, he's innocently confused. At some point, he'll not only learn that Goron Link isn't Darmani and Darmani is actually dead... but why.
    • Though to lighten it a bit, the end of the sequence, especially with the flash of Link just before Darmani nods implies that he knows that there's someone to carry on his mission, and thus he lends you all his remaining power before he passes.
  • Playing the Song of Healing to Mikau. He floats in darkness when Lulu and his bandmates appear, and he picks up his guitar, takes Lulu's hand, and joins them all for one final jam.
  • Mikau and Lulu's story is heartbreaking. She and his other friends don't even know that he died, and Lulu had just given birth. Those children will never know their father. Worse yet, at least the Gorons all knew Darmani was dead, so when he disappears again, the descendants of those same Gorons will revere him as myth of legend, a story about a hero from beyond the grave who rose from death to save their people one last time from an eternal winter. Nobody but Link saw Mikau die, so unless they find his grave on the beach — which will still leave them without answers — Mikau saves his children then just... vanishes forever.
  • Which is worse: helping Anju and Kafei reunite barely an (in-game) hour before the moon hits, or, if you screwed up, talking to Kafei after he returns to an empty room?
    • The dialogue between Anju and Kafei makes it all the worse.
      Kafei: Please take refuge. We are fine here. We shall greet the morning... together.
    • If you fail to stop the conveyor belt before the Sun's Mask gets to the end (which will really only happen if you choose to let it, seeing as it's a rather slow conveyor and the rooms are easy enough), you and Kafei are trapped inside Sakon's hideout. You can warp out, but Kafei is stuck there. After a brief apology, he won't talk anymore. He just stands there with that blank expression.
      Kafei: I’m sorry you got caught up in all this. If you can get out, then do it. Anju is already fleeing to Cremia’s ranch.
      Tatl: You did great. She'll... understand. (to Link) C'mon, let's go. Play your Ocarina and get us outside. Let him be alone.
    • If you don't do the quest, on the second day, Anju goes to the Clock Town laundry pool in hopes of seeing Kafei. If you talk to her, Anju breaks down crying and admits that she's afraid to talk to him because she'd have to ask why he left, and thinks it's because he doesn't love her anymore.
    • If you overhear a conversation Anju has with her mother following the night of the second day, her insecurities of Kafei's love to her stem from her mom being 100% convinced he left her at the altar for her best friend, Cremia, because according to Mom she's prettier and Kafei will gain much more from the business Cremia has than the Inn Anju is trying to run.
    • To add to it, the family's already been through a similar incident, as the above conversation and another at the ranch reveal; Anju's father left at some point, and her mother had spent some time hoping he'd return one day, to no avail. She's come to believe it's happening all over again to her daughter. Sure, she turns out to be wrong about Kafei and Cremia. Still, given that she's just trying to keep Anju from going through the same heartbreak she did, especially at a time when their own survival is in danger, it becomes a little more understandable why she'd say those things, even though said backstory gives Anju even more reason to feel that Kafei might have abandoned her, possibly eloping a close friend of hers.
  • Then there is the part of the game where you meet a little girl who seems to live alone in a house in the middle of Ikana Valley (a desolate wasteland of death and ghosts). Upon investigating her house, you come across a closet and open it and find a horribly disfigured half mummy/half human thing. Turns out that that's her father. Simply imagining all the suffering the girl has had to go through without a father and all alone is a large tearjerker.
    • The girl even bandaged up a teddy to keep her mummified dad company. A mix of heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time.
    • The good news, though, is that he is healednote  and that they become a family again, which is one of the most touching moments in the game; considering its nature, that's really saying something.
    • And then, as she cries and her father wonders what happened, she just says: "You had a bad dream. You just were having a little nightmare." That's right, the little helpless girl who has witnessed her beloved father turn into a mummy is reassuring him to make sure he never knows the horror they went through.
  • Try waiting until the final hours of the third day, then talk to as many people as you can; sadness peaks for characters like the mailman who is so bound by duty that he feels unable to leave.
    • The gate guards also deserve mention. Usually, when you try to leave town as normal Link, they stop you because they can't allow a child to go out on his own, but then let you go after they see you have a sword. In the third day, however, they stop you because they are desperate to know if there's an official evacuation order, and then they tell you how much it crushes them to still see kids playing around town and encouraging you to flee as far as you can. During the final hours, guards stationed at the exits will have their hands over their hearts, as if trying to control their hyperventilating or praying for salvation.
    • The story of the swordsman. When asked about the moon, he claims that the moon will most certainly not fall and if it does, then he'll just slash it in half with his awesome swordplay skills. Naturally you'll want to see him in action, but when the third night finally arrives, he's nowhere to be found. If you explore the dojo, you'll find a plank of wood in the back. Break through that and you'll find a small, dark room, and there he is, absolutely quaking with fear in the fetal position sobbing, "I don't want to die!".
    • The Bombers don't act any differently during the final hours. They speak to you normally, like nothing bad is happening, likely because, being kids, they're simply unaware of the situation. There's also quite a few clues that the Bombers are orphans, and haven't left because they have nowhere else to go.
    • For a sad and very moving moment, the Milk Bar's owner will tell you that despite all of his usual clientele evacuating from Clock Town, he stayed behind, waiting for one of his favorite customers to come in and keep him company in his last moments. It's Link.note 
      Mr. Barten: As you can see, all of our customers have taken refuge. It may be my undoing, but I'm the sort of fellow who'll stay at his business through thick and thin. And I continue standing here at the counter, hoping one of my favorite customers will appear... and I wasn't wrong. See? You stopped in.
    • The mayor sits in his office, voicing his sadness on how hard it is to figure out how things will go as he waits for the moon to destroy his town.
    • If you visit the astronomer while posing as an adult character (namely Darmani and Mikau), it's revealed that he knows a lot more of the coming apocalypse than he lets on if Link is in his normal or Deku form. Now that he's talking to an adult whose childhood innocence is gone, he scientifically explains how the moon is being pulled from its orbit, and then he calucates how much time is left before impact. Look through his telescope once there's less than an hour of in-game time left, and he sadly muses that all he can do is accept the destiny set for him and his planet by the cosmos.
  • If you talk to Romani and Cremia after they leave the barn to go to the house, they both say "see you tomorrow," but in different ways. Romani says it as she would if it were any other day, seeing as she doesn't know that there may not be a tomorrow. Cremia pauses for a moment, as if debating whether or not to say it when she knows it may not be true.
    • If you walk in on them in the barn beforehand, they have an equally-wrenching conversation. Romani excitedly explains to Link that she's being given her own Romani Mask and that Cremia is allowing her to drink Chateau Romani for the first time ever that night. Chateau Romani, most likely containing some amount of alcohol, is something only given to adults (and the mask, silly-looking as it is, seems to commemorate a Terminan coming-of-age ritual), and the obvious implication is that Cremia knows that this is the end for all of them and Romani won't have another chance. Cremia caps it off with an absolutely heartbreaking request:
      Cremia: Romani... sleep with me in my bed tonight, OK?
    • A really depressing interpretation is that she's trying to get her sister drunk so that she'll fall asleep before the end comes, so that her senses will be dulled so that it won't be painful or that she won't realize what's happening, etc. etc.
    • Fail at the part where you need to defend the barn from aliens. Romani is taken along with the cows, her fate unknown. Come back the next morning and enter the barn. Cremia is sitting there, sobbing to herself, not even reacting when you talk to her. She sits there for nearly a whole day, lamenting that she didn't take Romani's warnings about the "ghosts" seriously. Come back the next day, and Romani will be back outside, staring at you with no emotion at all. The game lacks voice acting, but a total monotone isn't uncalled for.
    • Making this sadder is the fact that she shows signs of horrible pain as she twitches every now and then, along with holding her head in pain as she has a whole body spasm. It gets worse as she tries to talk about what happened; she doesn't just not remember, it physically hurts to try to remember.
  • Cremia in general is just the picture of a Stepford Smiler. For several years she had to act as a parent to her Cloudcuckoolander little sister since their parents died, the cows keep disappearing and the Gorman brothers harass her business relentlessly. And on top of that, she's in love with someone that's getting married to someone else. According to Romani, it still pains her to be reminded of that.
    • In addition, she's possibly aware of the rumors about her and Kafei and has possibly been accused up front. When shown Kafei's mask she drops her warm attitude, assuming "middle-aged woman" put him up to it and flatly states Kafei isn't there. Even when she's trying to let it go, she knows people think she broke Anju and Kafei up for her own benefit.
    • And to twist the knife further, it's implied she's actually in love with Anju, not Kafei. It's never said who she has feelings for and while she remarks sadly on the couples' mask, she shows only annoyance with no hint of concern for Kafei when shown his mask. Anju's mother only suspects her because she's prettier and has a bigger business, not any kind of bond they might have had. So it's entirely possible she's not just being accused of being a homewrecker, but of stealing away the person her actual crush chose over her.
    • One of her possible quotes show that she's actually pessimistic under her usual warm attitude, describing her impending death in a disturbingly calm way. It's clear everything was weighing down on her, Romani's possible abduction was just the straw that broke the camel's back...
      Cremia: Actually... I know... We're not safe here, either... That's how life goes, I guess. There are some things in life that you can't change no matter how hard you try.
  • Try looking in the Mayor's residence and the Stock Pot Inn any time during the final day or night. The fireplaces are all extinguished and the candles have all been blown out. It's such a small change that adds so much to the feel of complete and utter abandonment in the buildings.
  • A more subtle example. As early as the first cycle, you'll obtain a small item that falls from the moon. The item's name? A "Moon's Tear". As in, the moon itself is crying. That terrifying, snarling expression on its face? It's because it's in horrible pain.
  • Dawn of a New Day. Particularly the part with the Skull Kid. He looks up at the giants, who, having finished their role of stopping the moon, are starting to return home. The Skull Kid, who was only corrupted due to his immense loneliness, is shocked that the giants remember him as their old friend. He realizes that all the trouble he caused was for nothing, and he stands there, shaking and crying, as the Giants go home.
    • It's even better if you've listened to the stories from Anju's grandmother and realize how very, very old the Skull Kid must actually be, and the fact that he spent most of that time thinking that his friends no longer cared about or remembered him.
  • The music that plays during the final hours, which also doubles as Nightmare Fuel. As the clock tower's bells ring out unceasingly, they are backed by a heavy, grim ensemble of strings which cut straight through you, further enforcing the fact that, unless you manage to put an end to the crisis, everyone is going to die.
  • Grog, the chicken-herding dude with the mohawk. His backstory is nonspecific, but suggests that he has lead an incredibly lonely, sad life. And then he just accomplishes one thing. And then he's okay with dying. He doesn't ask for his wasted life back. He just wants to do one thing and then die.
  • The meeting that decides the fate of Clock Town; nobody's the bad guy, it's a room full of people who can't or won't understand the magnitude of what's happening. Of particular note is the guard commander strenuously arguing in favor of a full evacuation inside the room, then instantly snapping "the mayor's orders are absolute!" when questioned as if he's trying to remind himself of that. The fact that they're debating having a carnival everyone ought to be happy and excited about only makes it worse.
  • The Ikana soldiers. There's something terribly sad about soldiers who felt such loyalty to their captain that they won't abandon their posts even in death.
    • You can tell certain soldiers that their jobs are finally over; they salute you one last time and then disintegrate. They could've finally rested whenever they wanted to, but were (and indeed, are) just that loyal and determined.
    • The Skull Keeta himself, the scene right before you get his mask.
      Keeta: Captain, sir! May I take leave, sir?
      [Link stands there for several seconds, then snaps to attention himself, and salutes Keeta]
      Keeta: Yes, sir! [disintegrates]
  • It's possible to help everyone with their problems and still finish the game with one exception. Do you want to stop Sakon from mugging the old woman? That means Anju and Kafei will never be reunited. Want to help the young couple get married? That means you're allowing a nice old lady to get robbed. In terms of gameplay, the choice is obvious, but you'll probably have to wrestle with the morality of allowing a local business to suffer for someone's relationship (and vice versa). Until you realize that in the ending credits, all the good you do in the game carries over to one "perfect" timeline as long as you collected all the masks, so you can help the old lady and reunite Anju and Kafei.
  • Gorman, of all people, ends up getting one of these with your help. With the carnival canceled, Gorman doesn't know what to do anymore, seeing as their huge gig got blown at the same time. Unless you intervene, the guy will spend two straight nights being drunk and miserable at the local milk bar, with his troupe none the wiser. Said intervention being to play the song "Ballad of the Wind Fish" in the bar, this song being the catalyst of Gorman getting into show business in the first place. The effect on him is touching, considering his overall unpleasant demeanor throughout the game. After deciding to come down with the facts to his troupe, he hands you a mask that is a literal Tear Jerker to all observers. Especially to his even more unpleasant brothers. A short, yet very emotional sidequest.
    • Also, if you do it on the first day, he won't go back to the bar the second day, instead opting to stay in the inn and playing cards with the juggling brothers. Nothing big, but still leaves you with the feeling that he's becoming nicer.
    • Showing the mask to the Gorman brothers is a minor one as well. Seeing their brother's face, they weep for their wasted lives.
    • The first time you talk to Gorman in the Milk Bar, he yells at Link, asking if it's possible to get Drunk on Milk. Funny, right? The second time you talk to him, he goes off on a rant berating himself for going into show business and declaring himself an utter failure compared to his brothers. Not so funny.
    • In the 3DS remake, after getting the Circus Leader's Mask you can help Gorman out in a different way, which paints even his brothers in a more sympathetic light. Let Gorman get wasted the first night and you can use the mask to get his brothers to mix up a Hideous Hangover Cure the next afternoon. It's clear in this interaction that they all still care for each other greatly. Clear Gorman's head in this way and he promises to break the news to the troupe so that they can move on to the next gig.
  • Majora's Mask is such a Tear Jerker-fueled game that even the commercials are bawl-worthy. Most of the tear-jerkers are undone by the end of the game, as the people are saved and no longer gloomy over their then-impending doom, and the credits show that all the good Link did throughout the game stays intact, but even then, some sad things still remain, as the characters who died don't return to life; which is apparent with the scene in the credits that shows the Deku Butler mourning his son.
  • The monkey in the Deku Temple. If you go back immediately after he tells you to rescue the princess, they dip the monkey into the boiling pot twice. The first time he comes up saying that it's really hot and he tries to get free. The second time, his body is lifeless, completely with glassy eyes. He's still alive anyway, as your rescue of the Deku Princess makes it clear, but it's nonetheless a convincing fake-out.
  • The game of hide-and-seek with those mask-children on the moon. There was just something about the way the boy wearing Majora's Mask sat under the tree with all this calm, serene scenery surrounding him, all alone, lamenting how the other kids were gone, and then asking if you wanted to play with him.
  • The questions of the Lunar Children when you interact with them just before the final battle against Majora. They mostly take the form of self-doubting ones Link may have been quietly asking himself over the course of his journey; especially regarding whether he's doing the right thing, if anything he's accomplished actually matters in the long run — considering it can all just be reset in the blink of an eye, with only Tatl and himself remembering them — or if the many inhabitants of Termina he's helped think of him as a friend, or even an acquaintance. They aren't the bad guys; they're just misled and ignorant. And very lonely.
    Lunar Child: Your friends... What kind of... people are they? I wonder... Do these people... think of you... as a friend?
    Lunar Child: Your true face... What kind of... face is it? I wonder... The face under the mask... Is that... your true face?
    Lunar Child: What makes you happy? I wonder...what makes you happy...does it make...others happy, too?
  • Yes, the Goron Elder's Son's cry can be cacophonic, but he's just a little kid missing his father and, on top of that, it's doubtful that anybody has managed to explain "Darmie's" death to him, as young as he is. He's lonely and probably scared; no matter how well he knows the other Gorons, sometimes there's no substitute for a parent. This will definitely hit some people harder than others.
    • And then when you play the lullaby for him and get a scene of his father cradling him. Made worse when you realize that his father is very elderly and feeble and probably doesn't have much time left.
  • The whole premise of the game is that Link's on a journey to find the one friend who's closest to his heart because she left him at the end of Ocarina of Time. It's Navi. It's never stated if he ever finds her or not. It also tells you what all this adventuring has done to Link. After OOT you wonder where Link settled down, and with which girl. The rule is that The Hero will Save the Princess and marry her, right? Or will it be the farm girl? The sassy mermaid? The sweet childhood friend? The cool desert rogue? It turns out that he's seen and done too much to ever live anything like a normal life with any of the people around him, and he seeks out the only one who can understand what he's been through... only to go through the Trauma Conga Line of being mugged — losing his beloved horse and a precious memento in the process — cursed into the form of a Deku Scrub, lost in a land with twice the Nightmare Fuel and Tear Jerker material, and told the world will end in three days, all within about ten minutes. And, as far as we know, he still does not find the person he seeks. No matter where he is or who he's with, Link may always be alone.
    • As we later find out in the following game in the timeline Link does return to Hyrule, though we never find out if he ever found Navi or not. And while he does have a bloodline afterwardsnote , his feelings of regret and emptiness never left him, even as he became a great Hyrulian knight and breathed his last on the battlefield. It would only be through the teaching of his skills to his descendant, using the melodies of his past, that he would finally find closure as he gave to the Termians, and move on.
  • If you're going to attempt to help everyone in a single 3-Day cycle, MAKE SURE you help the seahorses BEFORE defeating Gyorg. Otherwise the fisherman will not be at his house, leaving you unable to rescue the first seahorse. Defeating the sea snakes will result in the second seahorse saying that the first one was captured by the fisherman and she'll never see him again.
  • In the manga, Link gets to ask Skull Kid why he he has caused so much misery with the powers of Majora's Mask. Skull Kid provides a monologue on his past that culminates in this: "This mask is my only friend!"
  • In Xanauzumaki's abridged series of the game, Link breaks down after finishing the Anju-Kafei quest and realizing that he has to go back in time with just the Couples' Mask to show for it.
    Link: My job here is done. Minutes from now, I am going to whip out my Ocarina and travel back in time. None of this will have ever happened! Everything I have accomplished thus far will be completely undone! So it doesn't matter if I reunited you, you'll never be together anyways!
    Kafei: But love... always finds a way...
    Link: Welcome to reality, jackass, no it doesn't!
  • Though it's just a theory (some might even call it a Game Theory), some people believe that Majora's Mask is actually about Link's death. Think about it carefully: death and loss is a major theme of this game, and every "hero" that Link transforms into bemoans their fate and utterly refuses to pass on as they feel unfulfilled at having failed those they cared for. Each of the five locations Link visits represents one of the Five Stages of Grief:
    • Clock Town represents Denial, with how everyone seems to go about their business and remaining mostly blissfully unaware of the Moon's impending fall.
    • The Deku Scrubs represent Anger, given their hatred of the monkey for supposedly kidnapping the Deku Princess and attempting to execute him, as punishment for a crime they aren't even sure he committed. There's also the swamp being poisoned, which could represent how anger is slowly poisoning everything they hold dear.
    • The Gorons represent Bargaining, with them encouraging their long-time Darmani to save them despite initially losing all hope at his death.
    • The Zora represent Despair, most prominently with Lulu losing her voice over the loss of her eggs. The ocean is now cloudy and murky, similar to how a depressed person finds themselves lost, not knowing where to go.
    • Finally, the Ikana Valley represents Acceptance; with most of the inhabitants having accepted their fate and seem pretty much at peace with it. A constant solution to puzzles includes Link leaving behind empty shells of himself. Really, it's not too far of a stretch to imagine each of these as a metaphor for Link's personal journey as his spirit tries to come to terms with his own death...
      Happy Mask Salesman: You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?
  • The short side-story is somber in its own way. It tells of mighty monster in a distant land, where time stands still. A warrior arrives and, after a short conversation, the monster realizes that it suffers. It cannot leave, and it cannot die. It can only stay where it is, unable to pass on.