The Happy Mask Salesman is a bit of an unstable creep. There, I said it. If you’re a fan of his, that’s fine. I am too. But we all have to come to terms with the fact that we like a character who’s one bad day away from becoming the next magic-wielding demigod who wants to destroy Hyrule.
Little is known about the Happy Mask Salesman. Despite being a fan-favorite character, he’s only been in three Zelda games. Ocarina of Time, Oracle of Ages, and Majoras Mask. Even though his impact on the story is more significant in Majoras Mask than in Ocarina of Time and Oracle of Ages, he’s still mostly absent from that game. His biggest story beats come from the beginning and the ending of the game.
Perhaps what draws people to the Happy Mask Salesman is his personality and the fact that he as a whole is a mystery. You never really know what side this guy is on. Is he on your side or his own? In Majoras Mask, it’s hard to escape the feeling that he’s manipulating you into doing what he wants, and he stands there with his face perpetually frozen in a smile. Even when he has a rage-filled outburst, the smile is still there. Wait a minute — he wears purple, and he’s always smiling. I think the Happy Mask Salesman might be the Joker! But that is an entirely different article altogether.
Key Details Upfront
First introduced in Ocarina of Time, the Happy Mask Salesman is a merchant in Hyrule Castle Town. He’s a colorful character with a wide toothy smile. But one thing that defines his character more than anything else is his fits of rage. I would even go as far as to say the character would not be as memorable, and his quest would not be as enjoyable if not for his Patrick-Batemen-like mood swings.
His outburst comes from him not getting what he wants. Whether it’s you not having his money or you not delivering on your promise to give him a magical mask that has the power to destroy the planet, his reaction is the same. His eyes are usually closed due to his smile, open wide to reveal his small pupils are red. And he’ll go on a rant and, at one point, even physically assaults Link, all while still smiling (such a creep).
Plus, he always seems to know more than a regular, not-evil person should know about dark artifacts. Though his interaction with the player is limited, his odd personality and complete lack of a backstory have caused hundreds of theories about this character.
The truth about the Happy Mask Salesman may not be so exciting. When making Majora’s Mask, the development team led by Eiji Aonuma, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Yoshiaki Koizumi only had one year to complete development. In comparison, it took four years of active development to complete Ocarina of Time. In addition, they had to complete the game with a much smaller team. To save time, they decided to reuse assets from Ocarina of time. That included character models. So the Happy Mask Salesman went from NPC that held an optional side quest, to one of the main characters, out of necessity. So why doesn’t he have much of a back story? Maybe because they didn’t have much time to give him one, but who knows? Perhaps they’ll shed light on his back story in the future. With that said, there are intentional decisions made that might hint at a dark back story.
We don’t know much about the Happy Mask Salesman beyond our in-game interaction with his character. However, we know he gets angry quickly, and that owns powerful masks.
It’s also hinted at in Majora’s Mask that the Happy Mask Salesman may have some kind of special powers as he can sense the emotions from the mask Link shows him.
He’s usually shown as very cheerful, but a more sinister side is revealed if the player upsets him somehow. The Happy Mask Salesman has nine masks on his rucksack in Majora’s Mask. There are two masks of particular interest here. One resembles the face on the mirror shield that Link gets later in the game, and the other looks like Mario from the Mario Bros franchise. Now, I’m not saying that the Happy Mask salesman turned Mario into a mask. I’m just saying, considering his threatening behavior, that he might have…
In addition to all this, to add to the creep factor, his animation abruptly skips frames and changes. As a kid, I always assumed this was bad programming, but he does the same thing in the remake, which means this was a conscious decision by Nintendo.
The Happy Mask Salesman also appears in the Majora’s Mask manga by Akira Himekawa. And before you ask, no, it is not canon, but I still felt it was worth at least mentioning. Not much is changed about the Happy Mask salesman’s character except in the ending, where he reveals his true colors. After Link kills Majora (Spoiler alert?), the Happy Mask salesman comes to take back Majoras’s Mask. Link slashes his sword at him in an attempt to stop him from taking it but is unsuccessful, and the Happy (Creepy) Mask Salesman disappears into darkness while laughing.
The Happy Mask Salesman has appeared in 3 Legend of Zelda games. Ocarina of Time, Oracle of Ages, and Majora’s Mask. Below I’ll go into a bit more detail about each.
Ocarina of Time
This is the Happy Mask Salesman’s first of his three appearances. His shop is located right outside the temple of time. When you first arrive at Castle Town, his shop is closed. It’s not until you meet a soldier guarding the gate to Death Mountain does the store open so you can buy the Keaton Mask to give to the soldier in exchange for letting you up the trail to the mountain.
After that, you have an optional side quest with the Happy Mask Salesman. He essentially loans Link masks for sale to the residents of Hyrule. After selling the mask, Link returns to the shop to pay the Happy Mask Salesman. After selling all four masks, Link gets the Mask of Truth — a powerful mask that allows Link to talk to gossip stones. However, if at any point Link returns to the shop and talks to the Happy Masks Salesman and doesn’t have the mask he was loaned or the money, the Happy Mask Salesman will get angry and even threaten Link.
After Ganondorf takes over Hyrule, the Happy Mask Salesman vanishes, and his shop is destroyed. He most likely went into hiding, as he’s seen in the end credits celebrating with other NPCs.
Majora’s Mask and Majoras Mask 3D
When you think of the Happy Mask Salesman, chances are this is the game you’re thinking of. The game starts with Link turning into a Deku Scrub and getting the Ocarina of time stolen from him.
When the Happy Mask salesman reveals himself to Link and the player, he comments that Link has “met a terrible fate” and admits he’s been following him. He then makes a deal with Link that if he can retrieve his Ocarina and return Majoras Mask to him, he will restore Link to his Hylian form.
The Salesman also mentions that he has to leave town in 3 days. (This hints that the Salesman knows the moon will crash into town in 3 days).
Link returns with the Ocarina. Thinking that Link got both the ocarina and Majora masks, the Happy Mask Salesman returns him to his Hylian form by teaching Link the “Song of Healing.” Upon realizing that Link failed to retrieve Majora’s Mask, the Happy Mask Salesman freaks out and assaults Link by picking him up and shaking him. We then learn that the Happy Mask Salesman had to go to great lengths to obtain the mask, only to have it stolen from him once the Skullkid knocked him out. He then warns Link that terrible things will happen if he doesn’t get the mask back.
You don’t have to interact with the Happy Mask Salesman much until the end of the game. However, if the player does return to the Salesman wearing a mask, he will comment on the mask and tell Link what emotions he senses from within it.
Once Link finally defeats Majora, he fulfills his promise and gives the mask back to the Happy Mask Salesman. The Salesman remarks on how Link has made a lot of people happy, and the masks he has have been filled with happiness. He then vanishes into thin air.
Oracle of Ages
Here the Happy Mask Salesman has a little mask shop in Lynna City that isn’t doing very well, considering that when you find him, he’s close to starving to death and demanding meat. He’ll give you the doggie Mask if you give him Tasty Meat from Tokay Cook.
I felt bad that the last entry was so short, so here is a bonus for you all. Though the Happy Mask Salesman doesn’t appear in Skyward Sword, there is a character called Rupin who runs the gear shop that shares a striking resemblance to the Happy Mask Salesman. He has a big smile and follows you around the shop, and if you pick up anything and put it down without buying it, his smile fades, and he looks upset in a similar fashion to the Happy Mask Salesman (Although not as extreme)
Considering that Skyward Sword is the first Zelda game in the timeline, Rupin may be an ancestor of the Happy Mask Salesman. I guess the entire bloodline is messed up.
Happy Mask Salesman Guide FAQ
Question: Is the Happy Mask Salesman a God?
Answer: Officially? No, there’s nothing in the lore or mentioned by developers that say that he’s a god.
Question: Is the Happy Mask Salesman wearing a mask?
Answer: Nope, that’s just his face. He has “resting creep face
Question: Is the Happy Mask Salesman in Botw?
Answer: Not officially, but he is in a fan-made DLC called “Breath of the Wild Second Wind.”