Secret of Mana: Redux




February 28, 2021

“Fanha: the only female ‘heavenly king.’
Despite her service to the Emperor, she
seems to be plotting with Thanatos.  No
one knows the truth about her.”
The Book of Mana (Dengeki: September 10, 1993)

Despite Fanha’s striking appearance and animations for her alternate form, we can learn very little about her.

We meet Fanha four times.  She’s merely present when we approach the Emperor at his castle.  We see her again at the Tree Palace before we battle Sheex.  In the Grand Palace, she taunts us and runs away with the Emperor, seizing the opportunity to fight us after he’s dead.  

FANHA: You’ve come. This time, do allow me the honor of choking the life out of you…Prepare for your end!

EMPEROR: Stop!  Fanha!  We have no time to spare on these brats right now.  If we can just take control of the Mana Fortress, these kids and those fools from the Republic, [and] anyone [who opposes us] in the world—we can blow them all to bits!  Hurry on ahead!

FANHA: …Kch! Understood…But you, little boy, and the rest of you…make no mistake—I shall bury you…

Fanha murders the Emperor as part of her plot with Thanatos, leaving her to take on Randi alone.

FANHA: So you’ve come, little boy…

RANDI: The one who did in the Emperor—was it you!?

FANHA: Ufufu…so it was. With the Mana Fortress, we are the rulers of this world…

RANDI: We? There’s someone else? Thanatos!  So you’ve come!

THANATOS: Fufufu…It’s been a while, hasn’t it.

PURIM: What about Dyluck!?  Is Dyluck safe?

THANATOS: Of course, little lady.  In but a moment, he shall become [the vessel for] my rebirth! 

PURIM: What do you mean!?

FANHA: There’s really no need for you to know such things.  Now, Thanatos, to the fortress.  You were an obstacle for Sheex and Geshtar.  One that I shall now clear away!  You will all die here!

Sprite sheet for Hexas
Spriters Resource: Tom Guycott

Fanha turns into a monster whose graphics were a technical marvel for the time.  As seen in the picture below, her animation is extremely dynamic and intricate.  Like Sheex and Thanatos, this alternate form is acquired from the Underworld. 

Known as Hexas, it’s an entity with the upper body of a four armed woman, and the lower body of a gigantic snake. The Fundamental Knowledge Guide drives home that this unusual combination along with its “beautiful but cold eyes” is startling to anyone who encounters it. 

It appears two other times in the Mana series.  One is in Trials of Mana as the naga that the Fenrir Knight summons.  The other, according to the Wiki of Mana, is as Malyris in Sword of Mana.  

Of course, Hexas is unsuccessful and:

FANHA: Impossible…Thanatos…why?…

You’ll note that despite Fanha and Sheex being different characters, their role in the game is almost identical.  It’s as if the sunken continent was used as a dumping ground for underdeveloped NPC’s. 

And that’s the entirety of Fanha.  The sentiment of her lines in Japanese is that she really doesn’t like Randi, but they have no history before meeting.  We also don’t know much about her role in Thanatos’ plot, but with him being the latest addition to the Emperor’s inner circle, he likely seduced her to a very dark side of Mana, if you will.  Even darker than whatever it is the Emperor was trying to accomplish with his own Mavolia contract.

Localization Notes

  • While there’s a lot of French influences on Secret of Mana’s names, Fanha’s actually comes off German when localized, closer to “Faunach.”
  • Fanha calls Randi 坊や, which is a derogatory way of saying something like “little boy” or “youngster.”
  • She also uses the pronoun, “watakushi”, a highly polite variant of, “watashi”, making her come off high class or overly polite, an embodiment of the ojou-sama trope.

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