WARNING: There are some minor spoilers throughout the article, but honestly this game has been out for so long it hardly matters. Just thought I’d let you know, though.
This month for Building Character instead of focusing on one character we’ll be talking about couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Anyone who read my Origins piece won’t be surprised I chose Anju and Kafei to write about.
Anju and Kafei are up there as one of the most memorable couples ever. They’re a step above many romances in my opinion because they don’t just happen. Getting Anju and Kafei together requires you to complete one crucible of a sidequest. When these two finally get together it’s not just “FINALLY! Took them long enough!” or “Aw, they’re so cute together!” You feel an actual sense of accomplishment. There were so many things keeping these two apart, like the whole world was against them. Not much can stand up to Link, though, and even if you mess up you’ll have as many three day cycles as you need to get it right. While they may not be the “best” couple in video game history, in my opinion their romance is the most rewarding.
Anju is the girl who runs Clock Town’s own Stockpot Inn with her mother. She cooks (though not well), cleans, caters to guests and cares for her grandmother as well. She’s a sweet girl, though somewhat shy and terrible at remembering faces. She is in love with Kafei and he loves her as well. In fact, the game begins four days before they’re to be wed. Kafei has been missing for some time, and Anju has no idea why. All she knows is that Kafei promised to greet her with the Sun’s Mask for their wedding. Anju’s mother doesn’t believe in Kafei, even going so far as to basically tell her “Who cares if he ran off with your best friend Cremia? You should be happy for them! Even if they aren’t together you wouldn’t be happy with a man who ran off right before he was supposed to get married anyway.” (She also gets super pissed at you if you talk to her wearing Kafei’s mask.)
Meanwhile, Kafei has been turned into a child by Clock Town’s bane, Skullkid. That was a setback for him, but he planned to get help from the Great Fairy to return to his previous state. On the way there, however, he was waylaid by a thief. Because he was stuck in the weak body of a small child the adult Sakon easily overpowered him and made off with the Sun’s Mask. Being a kid is one thing, but Kafei can’t break his promise to Anju. He can’t show up without the mask. So Kafei goes into hiding in the back of the Curiosity Shop (which is notorious for buying and selling stolen goods) hoping Sakon will show up and he can follow him back to his lair and take back his mask. Talk about bad luck.
Even when Link intervenes, so much can go wrong. If Anju doesn’t receive the Pendant of Memories she flees to Romani Ranch on the final day, so if Kafei manages to retrieve his mask he’ll rush home, with just enough time to find an empty inn before the moon crashes and he dies. If Anju does receive the Pendant she’ll trust Kafei and wait patiently in her room, believing to her last breath that Kafei truly loves her, even if he doesn’t show up. With curses, thieves, poor parenting, and impending death trying to keep these two apart it would be so easy for them to just give up. But they don’t.
The second those two reunite, all is forgiven. Anju doesn’t get upset at Kafei for leaving without a trace. Kafei doesn’t delay their reunion even to have his curse lifted. They’re both just overwhelmed by the other’s presence. Anju immediately recognizes him, Kafei apologizes for being late. Their masks are exchanged, and they greet the dawn together, whatever it brings.