Last year, Dathen posted The Message of Majora’s Mask, by Hylian Dan(Dan Merill). It was a great article that really intrigued me, and it makes you realize that there are a lot of meanings hidden beneath the surface in The Legend of Zelda. While searching around, I came across a question that I had often asked but never really ventured to answer. What is Majora? All of the Zelda games titles have a meaning to them that is explained within the story. Majora is the mask, obviously, but where does the mask name even come from?
There are a lot of rumors. One simply states that it’s a made up word. But I honestly don’t think they’d just make something up for this game. Majora’s Mask has a strong storyline, that needs a proper title. There would be a reason for it, and we have found a person, lampiaio, who has gathered some rather interesting theories.
Nintendo has been influenced by many different cultures in their games, but we mostly see a Brazilian influence in both music and artwork. The New Wave Bossa Nova, as well as many Mario songs, has a samba rhythm. In fact, bossa nova is a style of Brazilian music. I’m Latina, so I can easily point out which songs have a samba feeling. I find it very ironic that Zora Link plays on a guitar for the New Wave Bossa Nova as well. Bossa nova is most commonly played on the classic guitar. They even use their fingers instead of a pick to strum the strings. It’s hard to tell if Zora Link does this as well, but I like to think he doesn’t need a pick to rock out.
Miyamoto and Koji Kondo have both confirmed using aspects of the Brazilian culture as inspiration for their work. Samus’ name was even based on the soccer player Pelé.
One particular part of Brazil that has caught our attention is the island of Marajó. In the pre-Columbian times, there was a society now known as the Marajoara, that created pottery with a distinct style similar to some parts of Majora’s Mask. They also made anthropomorphic figures and MASKS. The island is at the mouth of the Amazon River, and is part of the state of Pará.
If you search for images on máscara marajoara, and compare them to Majora’s Mask, there are a lot of similarities in the mask art. I see more similarities in the artwork compared to the Stone Tower Temple. The head looking entrances look very similar in how the eyes protrude slightly from the face, and are of different size and shape. Marajoara uses a lot of striping or banding in their artwork as well. Try playing through Majora’s Mask again, and see if you can pinpoint any examples of the similarities.
Here is one that would help me sleep better at night. Remember the smile on the Link clone’s face when he played Elegy of Emptiness? Lemme refresh your memory.
Not a picture perfect moment, right? Well, if we look at this mask here, we see a resemblance.
Notice the awkward teeth showing? I remember being absolutely horrified at this part of the game. Young Link is far too cute to make him look like a creepy kid!
What do you think? There might have been an issue in translating Marajora into Japanese. We honestly don’t know for sure, but this is a lot better than them just making stuff up! I really love this theory, and the references. In the new Skyward Sword game, many of the videos I have seen show a Brazilian influence. Take the short clip of that block looking key opening a door as an example. The structure surrounding it was very interesting, and I’m eager to get a better look.
We are really curious if any of you have theories for the name Majora as well. It is one of my favorite Zelda games, and comments or opinions are always welcomed!