The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is a favorite within its series for the way that it artfully incorporates emotional and, often, believably dark and tragic themes – but curiously, a contender for the heaviest subplot it contains is one of its least discussed. It’s not for nothing that the bittersweet story of the star-crossed couple Anju and Kafei or the Deku Butler and his missing son see repeated coverage by those who Majora’s Mask has impacted. But the devil’s in the details of the tale of Lulu and Mikau, and in it appears another story about fraught love and a family permanently separated by tragedy.
The Great Bay arc of Majora’s Mask begins when Link encounters Mikau wounded at the beach. The Zora explains he’s in bad shape after a failed attempt to rescue his bandmate Lulu’s kidnapped eggs from pirates before prompting the player to use the power of Zelda‘s Song of Healing. He then passes away and Link receives the Zora Mask, allowing him to assume Mikau’s identity. From there, the player must finish what the musician started and rescue the eggs themselves, learn a song that restores a depressed Lulu’s ability to sing to gain access to the Great Bay Temple, and restore the polluted bay to normal by defeating its boss.
It’s a simple enough story with a happy ending on the surface, but it becomes anything but with a look at the implications surrounding Lulu and Mikau’s relationship. The dying dream that Mikau experiences upon hearing the Song of Healing shows him and Lulu walking hand in hand to join their bandmates, who have their Zelda musical instruments at the ready; Link hears from drummer Tijo that “there are no secrets between [Mikau] and Lulu“; and Lulu’s diary reveals that she exclusively withheld knowledge of the eggs (due to their initial poor health) and their kidnapping from Mikau as long as she could due to fear of him getting hurt. Signs point to the two having been romantically involved or otherwise shared a uniquely close bond – and to Mikau as the father of Lulu’s eggs.
Majora’s Mask: The Great Bay Holds One Of Zelda’s Saddest Stories
All of that means that using the Zora Mask to rescue Lulu’s children, reignite her ability to perform with her band, and save the Zoras’ home is helping the poor vocalist in an ironically cruel way. Once Link prevents the crash of Majora’s Mask‘s menacing moon, chances are she’s looking forward not only to a bright future continuing her successful career but to starting a new chapter of her life with the family whose well-being she feared for. Little does she know that one of those family members has been gone since before the others could even meet him, having lost his life endeavoring to protect them.
It’s hard to say if it’s worse that Link is required to obfuscate the truth from her or that she never receives any closure. Anju and Kafei get to enjoy full lives together once Link concludes his adventures in Termina. Majora’s Mask‘s Deku Butler learns his son’s dark fate and can begin to come to terms with it. So many other characters across the Zelda series, too, are either shown having had time to process personal tragedies or simply don’t necessitate that the player digs the situation deeper. Not so with Lulu, over whose story hangs a dread and guilt compounding its sadness with wonder as to what’ll happen when she eventually learns that her happy ending is missing someone important – or if she even should.
Mikau and Lulu’s story isn’t wholly unique as a Zelda subplot worthy of more attention from franchise fans. The worlds of Termina, Hyrule in different incarnations from the BOTW age to Ocarina, and beyond are rich places loaded with lore and implications running the gamut from the silly and colorful to the morbid and horrifying. And in a goldmine for haunting food for thought like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, not everyone can ponder everything at once. Perhaps it’s for the best that the Zoras’ ill-fated relationship is one of the subtler stories of its bunch, lest players feel too brought down at the end of a game about hope and happiness.
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