The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Characters, Part 3
Anju and Kafei
The innkeeper Anju and the cursed boy Kafei are the central characters in Majora’s Mask’s most memorable side-quest, which focuses on reuniting them after the Skull Kid’s actions drove them apart. Their side-quest is notable not only for its many steps, but also for the bittersweet tone of its ending, which sees the lovers reunited under dire circumstances.
When Link’s role in their story begins, the mayor’s son, Kafei, has been missing for a month. By talking to Kafei’s mother, Link is recruited to help look for him. Meanwhile, Kafei’s fiancée, Anju, waits dutifully for his return while working at the local inn. Link becomes involved in her search when he witnesses her receiving a letter from Kafei, which gives her renewed hope in their reunion. At midnight that night, she meets with Link secretly and asks him to deliver a letter for Kafei, and then wait by the mailbox to see who picks it up.
By following Anju’s instructions, Link finds a young boy checking the mail outside the town’s laundry pool. Link follows the boy and extracts a confession from him, but the truth comes as a shock: the young boy is Kafei. By sheer happenstance, he encountered the masked Skull Kid and was cursed to take the form of a child, but it wasn’t the curse that drove him away from Anju. The real reason he vanished was because he promised to swap marriage masks with Anju on the day of the carnival, but an opportunistic thief took advantage of his childlike form and stole his marriage mask, the Sun Mask. Since Kafei wants to keep his promise to Anju, he’s kept himself hidden while searching for the thief who stole the Sun Mask, and he refuses to return until it’s in his hands.
To prove his devotion to Anju, Kafei gives Link a pendant to pass along to her. With the pendant in hand, Link confirms Anju’s faith in Kafei, and she promises to wait for him in Clock Town, no matter how far the moon falls. In the meantime, Kafei tracks down the thief to Ikana Valley, and Link meets him there to help recover the Sun Mask. They’re almost thwarted when Kafei springs a security alarm and the thief attempts to flee with the mask, but they manage to bypass the security measures and recover the mask just in time.
With mere hours to spare before the moon is set to crush the town, Link and Kafei head back to Clock Town. Anju and Kafei are finally reunited at 4:30 in the morning, and they use their last moments to exchange the masks as promised so many years ago. The exchange creates the Couple’s Mask, which symbolizes their loving reunion. Once their masks are exchanged, they embrace each other under the falling moon, determined to see the end of the world together.
Anju and Kafei’s side-quest is notable for many reasons, but one of the more subtle ones is that Kafei cannot be changed back into his adult form with the Song of Healing. Indeed, the player never sees him return to his adult form, even in the game’s epilogue. Perhaps this is because the change in Kafei’s form was never the problem, as Kafei himself insisted. It was losing the Sun Mask that kept him apart from Anju and returning that mask brings them together again. This is yet another example of a story centered around grief and loss: for Kafei, the loss of his mask, and for Anju, the loss of Kafei. Their willingness to share their last moments under the falling moon exemplifies a different way of overcoming grief, as they’re able to face the impending loss of their lives head-on because they’re doing it together.
Romani and Cremia
West of the Southern Swamps, the Romani Ranch is the home of two sisters: Cremia and Romani. Cremia, the elder sister, has been running the ranch since her father passed, and the young Romani has been helping her with the animals. When Link first unblocks the road to their ranch, he finds an energetic Romani practicing archery in the field. She insists that monsters are coming for their cows that night, and Cremia won’t help because she thinks Romani is making things up. With nowhere else to turn, Romani enlists Link to help shoot them down. If he doesn’t, the monsters will come and take the cows, and Romani will spend the remainder of the three days in a walking daze as her sister is consumed by guilt. If Link does choose to help, he’s able to fight off all the monsters himself, and Romani can sneak back to bed like everything is normal. This opens up a second quest where Link can help Cremia defend her wagon as she delivers milk to Clock Town, and along the way, she’ll tell him some details about her family and the town. By successfully defending the cart, Link earns a cow mask that marks him for admission into the local Milk Bar, proving that he is an adult.
Most of the complexities in Cremia and Romani’s story comes out through tidbits of dialogue interspersed through other people’s stories. Cremia will tell Link that she’s best friends with Anju at the Stock Pot Inn, but she has no idea that Anju’s mother believes the missing Kafei has run off with Cremia. Anju’s mother says as much to her distraught daughter, remarking: “[Cremia] needs strength from a partner and business support from Madame Aroma. If Kafei really has run off with Cremia, she’ll get both.” Further dialogue reveals that Anju’s mother is only suspicious because she was also abandoned by a man, which causes Anju to wonder if Cremia could have done that to her. According to Romani, Anju does have another reason to be suspicious, as Cremia has feelings for Kafei. “My sister, Cremia, has someone in town she likes,” Romani says, “But that person is supposed to get married the day of the carnival. It’s hard for my sister… Going into town…” It’s a side of Cremia that she doesn’t reveal directly, but at no point in the game do her actions ever suggest she would attempt to take Kafei for herself.
Cremia has a different way of processing the falling moon than most people in Termina. On the second night, when driving with Link, she’s unsure if the moon will fall, but by the end of the third night, she’s certain of their fate. Although she allows Anju and her family to stay on the ranch that final night, she confesses to Link that she doesn’t believe it will help, saying: “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.” This makes her one of the few characters to greet impending doom with acceptance, which makes sense when paired with her backstory. She’s already had to grieve her father’s death, and the man she likes is marrying her best friend, so she’s had more practice accepting difficult things. She knows how to help her sister through them, too, which is why she’s willing to give young Romani the ‘adult’ milk on the final night, then promises to make her an adult’s mask in the morning. She recognizes that these are the things Romani cares most about, so she sends her sister to sleep with the promise that she’ll have them tomorrow, even if tomorrow never comes. Her last act, requesting that Romani sleep in bed with her that night, also offers a glimpse into what Cremia herself needs in the end: the company of the one family member who has been by her side through everything.