February 28, 2021
Seek out Sage Joch…atop Manten Mountain, the highest in the world, to learn true courage.Sage Luka
Sage Joch is the world’s foremost authority on Mana. He spends his days in meditation on the summit of the highest mountain in the world. Only by seeking out Joch can Randi acquire the “true courage” that’s needed to defeat the Empire. This process involves the usual hero’s journey of persevering through his own limits.
As a citizen of Mandala tells us:
Sage Joch is hard to please. He will not readily meet with those [who think themselves] all-powerful.
After Randi accomplishes what is needed in these areas, he can return to the summit again where Jehk will tell him that Randi has reached a significant point:
JEHK: Now, the time has come. If you can win against [the ones who await you], you’ll have passed the test. Try your hardest.
JACQUES: ZXYNDRA, QU…
JEHK: The sage speaks in the old tongue! Allow me! To translate, beyond here lies a corridor of trials for the hero. If you fully conquer those in the deepest place…you’ll be able to find true courage.
The ones in the deepest place are palette swaps of the heroes, which are actually very easy to defeat. Afterwards:
RANDI: At last, we won against ourselves! Huh? Where’s Sage Joch?
JEHK: Well done. Had you three been unable to unite your spirits, the road ahead would have been severe indeed. True mastery of the Mana Sword [happens] when courage, wisdom, and love become one. [Then], it will show its power as a matter of course. I am the real Joch. That old man was just an illusion.
RANDI: Eh!? If that was the case, wouldn’t it have been better to help us a bit sooner!?
JOCH (formerly JEHK): Hm, you may say that, but [your] previous [selves] could not have conquered [who you were]. My words too would have been taken only as words of advice, without the ability to understand their true substance. I have been waiting for you to grow on your own, and for the self-confidence of heroes to be born in you.
Completing Joch’s ordeal is effectively the dividing line between the second and third acts of the game. Randi has acquired the skills necessary to be a true hero, but he’s about to face his greatest test.
- Jehk often speaks of Joch using an exotic mode of transportation, but most of these lines were cut from the American release:
[He] went to the Palace of Darkness. It’s the cave you passed on the way here.
[He] left for Gold Isle, flying high on a broomstick!
[He] went to the Moon Palace. He’s flying on his [Nimbus] cloud!
[He] left for the Republic of Tasnica. He blasted off on a flying carpet!
- Jehk says, “His Sageness will see you”, in English. A better translation is, “The sage Jahha lives in the cave of the mountain sage. You get there by foot on the ground.”
But this is a bit strange in context. The player is already in the cave of the mountain sage (they’ve long known he lives there), and they’ve already travelled many times only to find Jahha absent. In fact, this is what’s spoken when he’s finally present. It could mean, “The sage [now resides] in the cave of the mountain sage”, or possibly that the sage is coming to the cave by foot. Neither of these takes are apparent, though. Ted Woolsey’s version, while simplified, actually makes more sense.
The phrasing of the second sentence is close to a common Japanese translation of the Holy Bible’s Genesis 1:26, which speaks of creatures “creep[ing] upon the Earth.” If “you” refers to the players, and not in general, then he could be speaking of prostrating oneself before Jahha on the ground, or a metaphor for their spiritual journey. Or it could refer to the journey to the cave itself—as one can not fly, the long journey up the mountain may seem arduous.
- If the party fails to complete the test on the Super Famicom, Joch/Jehk shouts, “Geragera!” (ゲラゲラ!) This is formally defined as, “uproarious laughter at nothing.”