Secret of Mana: Redux

Hippon Super!

Lore

Hippon Super!

May 1, 2021

Hippon Super! was published from 1991 to 1995. A lot of the best interviews and insight into Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2) was in this magazine. It was published by JICC, now Takarajimasha.

January 1993

A “Special Collectors Issue!” was published separate from the main series that clocked in at an ample 145 pages. There was a one page preview dedicated to Secret of Mana, and this section on Flammie was the talk of the magazine:

Translated by ManaRedux

The most overwhelming of the screenshots released are the Flammie flight scenes.  It's a so-called "vehicle" in terms of its role [in the game], and it will [naturally] appear in the game after the middle stage.  But the beautiful thing is that it makes full use of the Super Famicom's magnification/demagnification/ rotation function, and it's truly remarkable.  You can freely look around 360°, move up and down, and change the viewing angle.  If you remember Pilotwings, you understand the aura.  Could this be enough for a whole game unto itself?

Note the early screenshots that we’ve featured elsewhere.

February 1993

This spread features information about the concept of Mana as it appears in the game, and how the developers arrived at their interpretation. At this point in the hype cycle, much was said in the magazine world about the connection between Final Fantasy Adventure (Seiken Densetsu) and Secret of Mana.

Article from the February 1993 issue of Hippon Super!

Translated by Taosenai and Hiro Amano

Top line: A finite substance able to become both good and evil—what is the hidden power of Mana?

Left:

Soaring high above and beyond the clouds, Illusia Mountain…
Within the sanctuary upon its summit is enshrined the Tree of Mana.
The Tree of Mana takes in all the forces of the universe
Turning them to energy, it enables its own growth.
In the legends, it is said that those who touch that tree
Can grasp the power of eternity.
By murder and fear, conspiring to subjugate the world:
The Shadow Knight of the Grand Dukedom, too
Sought the power of the Mana Tree…

~「Legend of the Holy Sword」 From the Prologue ~

Lower Left:

The Role of Mana in the Previous Game

According to the previous game, Mana is something converted from the power of the universe. It can also be said that its symbolic representation is the “Tree of Mana,” which takes in Mana and uses it as energy to enable its own growth. The preceding text in the header of the page is excerpted from the GameBoy version of Seiken Densetsu, but just from reading it, you can get an understanding of the nature of the Mana Tree.

Seiken Densetsu 2 will also be focused on the unknown power of Mana and will build upon its legend. In the last game, the Mana Tree was the only incarnation of the power of Mana. However, this time it seems there will be many such embodiments making an appearance. One will be the “Fortress of Mana.” All details on this matter are completely unclear. Only its existence can be confirmed, based on its appearance in the protagonists’ episode. Also, because there will be many embodiments, we can predict that the “Mana Tribe” established in the previous game will not have been able to inherit them all. In the previous game, when the single thing embodying Mana—the Mana Tree—was lost, a member of this tribe had to turn their own body into the tree, since if the tree was lost, it would mean that the world would cease to exist. This was a very important thing. If even a single embodiment was lost, the world’s balance would probably crumble.

Lower left [next box]:

Study of the Mysterious Power

What is Mana?

According to the Bible, manna is said to be “bread that was dropped from heaven by God as food for the Jewish people who were wandering the land after Moses led them out of Egypt”… At the time, the people asked aloud “man hu?” and this gave manna its name. However, even if this is where the name originated, the meaning of Mana in Seiken Densetsu has quite a different meaning.

According to science fiction author Larry Niven’s work “The Magic Goes Away” [called “The Magic Country is Disappearing” in Japanese, published by Sougensuiribunko, an imprint of Tokyo Sougensha], Mana is an energy necessary to use magic, and it is specifically a limited substance. In the postscript of that book, Sandra Miesel offers the following explanation.

「… Mircea Eliade said the following: “Of all the things that exist in the [realm of the] sublime, all without exception possess Mana. In fact, all that is seen by the eyes of man as effective, dynamic, creative, and perfect are like that [have Mana]. Historically, that general notion has had other names (orenda [Iroquois], wakan [Lakota], megube [??], ugai [??] ,etc.) in Oceania, North America, and Africa …”」 If you are interested, do read the book!

Right Box:

Here is a set of questions and answers about Mana to be used as a reference (the answers are from Square’s advertising department).

Q. In the previous game, the Mana Tree was also the Mana Tribe itself; this time, will this tribe make an appearance?

A. This time, the importance of the Mana Tree will be more partial to the story. Mana is an energy that has the power to rule the entire universe… it has been scaled up in accordance with the hardware and space [of the SNES, presumably].

Q. In 2, it seems that there will be something other than the Tree that bears the name of “Mana”, but will the power of Mana flow through inorganic substances, or be embodied in other ways?

A. Frankly, yes, it will. The world of Seiken Densetsu 2 is not at all a medieval world. To a certain extent there is a level of culture and science, so it would be possible to use those together to process Mana artificially.

Q. If the Mana Tree and the places/things where Mana dwells are lost, what would happen to the world?

A. In many different meanings, the “balance” may be lost. For example, the destruction of nature and the environment occurring in our world today—what kind of effect might that have in the future? … if you think on questions like that, they’ll serve as a hint, I think.

July 1993

The July issue had some art on the title pages, along with an extensive interview with Koichi Ishii and Hiromichi Tanaka.