Secret of Mana Redux

Secret of Mana in Marukatsu


Secret of Mana in Marukatsu

May 3, 2021

Marukatsu Super Famicom was one iteration of the Marukatsu series, published by Kadokawashoten. It started as Marukatsu Famicom in 1986, and ended as Marukatsu Game Boy in 2000. It is one of the more difficult gaming magazines to come by.

January 1, 1993

Translated by Sevon

A new battle for Mana begins―

"Mana", the energy which flows through the universe, is yet again the focus of the story. Will there be another figure like Dark Lord or Julius who tries to use the power of "Mana" to take over the world?

← What is the source of evil in [Secret of Mana]!? The story is still shrouded in mystery...
Sorry for the trouble!!

We'll try to release new information soon!

Did you notice that [Secret of Mana] dropped the "Final Fantasy Gaiden" subtitle from the previous game? That means the game has been completely reborn under the [Seiken Densetsu] title. Even then, Square is showing a lot of enthusiasm for the game (suddenly it became 16-bits...).

Actually, this time we only introduced a small part of [Secret of Mana]. There are still so many things we want to know, such as how "Mana" is the focus of the world, how the Magic system works, details about "Flammie", and the true face of evil... The editorial department is waiting for the release date of [Secret of Mana] next year and will have more information, so stay tuned!
Ahh, Nostalgic World


Back then, you would be waiting around for the gauge to fill, then use the currently equipped weapon's special "MAX Attack". Some weapon types were good against certain monsters and couldn't be used against others, but it kept you on your toes. NPCs would do various things if you "ask"ed them.

↑ Whoa, it's the old Chain Flail. Weapons had a bunch of different applications.

↑ There were different types of Magic, such as heat-seeking Fire and the snowman creating Blizzard.

↑ This is the "MAX Attack" for the Sword. It charges at Monsters in a straight line.
Ahh, Nostalgic World


The storyline had a serious tone, but there were a lot of cute-looking Monsters like the Chibidevil and Rabite. Oh, the boss fights were pretty tough, too... Maybe it was because the limited color palette made it harder to see their attacks.

Green Slime
Ahh, Nostalgic World


The first place you visited was Topple Village, a riverside settlement protected by the blessings of "Mana". Then there were other stops along the way such as going to see Sage Cibba at the Church in Wendel and taking a break in the middle of the desert in Ishe Village. I wonder what the people there are doing now.

[US version]
Dark Lord is so cruel!! I can't stand it anymore! 
[JP Version]
The Shadow Knight rules with an iron fist. This is hell.
[TN: Shadow Knight = Dark Lord]

← This is Topple Village. It looks simple, but that's the charm of the GameBoy.

January 22, 1993

Mr. Nomura of Square appeared quite a bit in both print and video promotions as the designated public liaison. Here he is in one of his many preview Q & A that appeared in magazines before SoM’s release.

Translated by babasbackside

"I will be answering!", [says] the interviewee: the knowing Sendenbu Nomura-san.

Sendenbu is in charge of SEIKEN DENSETSU 2 at Square. If there is anything to know about this game, he's got you covered. There is still a little time until the release of SEIKEN DENSETSU 2, but for the sake of those of you who juuuuust cannot wait, we have a direct interview with Sendenbu Nomura-san of Square. He's been kind enough to answer some burning questions!

Square-san, please TEACH ME!

Question 1

Like FF has crystals, SEIKEN has "mana" as its icon, but what exactly is "mana"? We understand that it takes the form of the "Tree of Mana." What sort of role will it play in 2?

FF certainly has crystals as an icon. However, to call "mana" an icon isn't exactly correct. Call it a sort of energy that presides over the universe. In the previous entry, mana had the form of a tree as its icon. This time around mana will have a little bit of an expanded role in the story.

Question 2

In this span of time, Square has released "Final Fantasy Mystic Quest" over in America. So, is this "Seiken Densetsu 2" the Japanese version of that game? Or, like, what is the relationship between these two games?

Regrettably(?), the two are completely different games. Mystic Quest is a game which was conceived especially for the American market. Though, there is a small relationship. The use of axes in that game has sort of been replicated in this one. Huh? Will (Mystic Quest) be released in Japan? ...There are currently no plans for that.

Question 3

Compared to the previous game, you have not added a "2" to the "Final Fantasy Gaiden" subtitle. Will we be seeing characters, magic, items, and what not from the original? In what ways is this a continuation?

Seiken Densetsu 2 has grown to become a completely separate game from the FF series. Characters and magic, weapons/armor, as well as items are all "SEIKEN originals." Of course your favourite monsters and items from the original will be making their appearance. The connection to the first game however is still a secret. In any case, this is the kind of game that's going to give everyone a good time.

Question 4

The character "Flammie" makes its first appearance. It's an exquisite name, but where does it come from? Also, what kind of role will it play in the game? Sort of like a chocobo?

This is a good question. The truth is that the name Flammie is not an original invention for the game. That is, a young woman on the development staff owns a doll that is the spitting image of Flammie. And the name she had given that doll was "Flammie"...Make no mistake, it's cute like a chocobo, however its role will be a little more grandiose.

Question 5

The name "Seiken Densetsu" is one that first appeared on a game to be released for Famicom Disc System. The name was eventually used for a game for Gameboy, and now it is appearing on a game for SFC. What is the story behind that?

The disc version of Seiken Densetsu was a fleeting idea. It was a novel sort of game idea we had. Developing Seiken Densetsu as an A[ction]-RPG instead of within the new capabilities of the Gameboy introduced its share of hardships. In this new Seiken Densetsu, Square has again expanded its scopes in pursuit of an extra something.

Question 6

With the previous story, although it did not have a happy ending, how about 2? I wonder if it will be another tragic tear-jerker of a story. Or if maybe it will be moving past tragedy...

Seiken Densetsu 2's development staff, including those who worked on the first game, are giving their all. The story will have that familiar sort of feeling. This includes the player having the ability to choose the names for all three party members. It's partly due to this reason that I think maybe the stories you imagine will still be very delightful.

Question 7

This time, it seems like there will be a girl accompanying you much like the heroine [from FFA]. Also, [there's another] unique supporting character akin to the mummy seeker [from FFA]. All this being said, what kind of characters [will there be] this time around?

While I can't reveal the details about this game's supporting characters, there will be an abundance of exquisite personas outside the main party of three. As for [Seiken Densetsu 2's] heroine, the sole woman in the group (protagonist #2), she's a bit of a shrewd tomboy, and I would have to say not quite like the heroine [in FFA]...You may find yourself encountering surprising new faces.

Question 8

[I want to talk about] something that I enjoyed very much---[FFA]'s puzzle rooms. Will there be much of anything like this in 2? Besides this, perhaps an exciting adventure with interesting dungeons to explore.

Th-this is a very hard question. I'm sure that you will very much enjoy playing this game. What's next will be easy to joke at, and maybe a disappointment to returning players. But...maybe make room in your heart for a production less about exploring dungeons...? In any case, this is the same staff as the previous game...

Question 9

An A[ction]-RPG with a 3-person party sounds crazy awesome. However, since you can't control three characters by yourself, two of them will have to be CPU controlled. Should I be worried about leaving this up to the CPU?

Hehehe...I-I'm laughing thinking about it...Okay. I will answer this question. For that, you are allowed to control how the remaining two characters will behave in battle as you see fit. Furthermore! You will have full control over magic and equipment which you wouldn't want to leave to the CPU. I can assure you that you don't need to worry about that.

Question 10

Lastly...For this game, what do you think is its number one most special characteristic? [You have] 16 megs---that seems like a lot of power to work with...Please leave our readers with a parting sentiment.

Everything!! But I guess that isn't a fair answer. I can assure you that everyone who gets their hands on this game will enjoy it thoroughly! Riding Flammie, and peacefully exploring the brilliant skies, or the satisfaction of moving along [with] the game's exciting events...Right now I can't say anything to express the excitement except... have fun!

February 12, 1993

This comic appeared months before the game’s release, when much of it wasn’t finished yet. It acted as a teaser, explaining the backstory for potential Japanese players.

Translated by Sevon

Seiken Densetsu 2 [Secret of Mana]

A Boy who accidentally pulled out the Mana Sword, a Girl who searches for her lost lover, and a Sprite who got washed away in the forest flood...

These three protagonists set off on their own, then joined each other on a grand adventure.

Written by みすとかすみ [Kasumi Misuto]
Illustrated by 九月姫 [Kugatsu-hime]

Here~ Come here~

You pulled me out~ Now you share my destiny!
Hah, what a dummy.

Thus, the Boy set out in search of true courage and a way to restore the Mana Sword.
Mom (?): Don't die too much, now


You shall marry a nobleman!
No way! I love Dyluck!
I'll never forgive you!

This'll do...
(on the letter)
To His Majesty,
Please send Dyluck to vanquish the Witch.
With much gratitude...

I hate you, Father!!
You should give up on him and marry your fiancé!

[clack] (SFX of door closing)

Who says I'm giving up? I'll rescue Dyluck myself!!

Meanwhile, in the Sprite Forest――
[SFX of waves]

[blank stare] (it's weird SFX)

Wha— Who are you?
Waaah~ I'm lost, so take me with you~
I... I guess so...

The day when the three meet draws near...

There was also speculation on the nature of Mana itself.

Translated by Sevon

Mana as defined in the Kojien [広辞苑, a specific Japanese dictionary]

(In the indigenous languages of Melanesia, "to conquer", "having energy", etc.)

A supernatural force. The concept originated in Melanesia and spread throughout the Pacific Islands. Mana is believed to inhabit everything—spirits, people, living things, inanimate objects, vessels—with contagious and transferable properties. This concept is said to originate from religious beliefs called Animatism or Manaism.

What?! Mana is contagious?!

So, we found the word "Mana" in the Kojien dictionary. "A concept of power" and "a force present in spirits, people, and all things"... These phrases definitely describe "Mana" in the world of [Seiken Densetsu]. Being "contagious" probably means that everyone is affected by the power of Mana. Maybe [Secret of Mana] borrowed some concepts from Manaism... In addition to the above, there is also "Mana" or "Manna", the "miraculous food from God."

Watch out for Mana germs!!
*cough cough*

February 26, 1993

Translated by Sevon


We just got our hands on these new pictures!

■There's a monster with a chainsaw… Why is he…?

Whoa, is this a boss battle!? This monster looks pretty tough and he's even got a chainsaw. But why is he here? Maybe he wants to use the chainsaw to cut down the "Tree of Mana"? Or does he have other things in mind…? Whatever the case may be…it's probably not the battered Mummy Seeker from the previous game (sorry, Marcie fans).

■ What kind of trials lie in wait for the protagonists?

This time, we've got a snapshot for each of the protagonists. Just looking at these makes one wonder how the story will unfold. What path will they take? And, what is the source of evil!?

 ← Protagonist 1 is fighting a giant bird(?) enemy!?

 ← Protagonist 2 stands at the gate of what looks like a castle… What is this place?

 ← Protagonist 3 has something following along… What could it be?

Much of the hype for Secret of Mana surrounded its evolution from its predecessor, Final Fantasy Adventure.

Translated by Yoshi Fukagawa

The [attack power] can be stored up to 8 levels!

Same as the Game Boy platform [game] "Final Fantasy Adventure", special moves can be used by charging up the [power] gauge displayed at the bottom of the screen. But what's astonishing is that it [can be charged] up to 8 levels.

Of course, the damage amount increases proportionally. Level 2 is more than Level 1, Level 3 is more than Level 2, and so on (also the charge time gets longer in the same manner). It is [exciting] that various attack moves can be performed with one kind of weapon (including bare hands [*this is wrong information---gloves is correct])!

Review of the previous installment (1)

[This] nostalgic screen is from the previous installment [of the Mana series]. The "Max Attack", predecessor of the "Special Moves" in [Secret of Mana] is shown [in the photo]. Each weapon offered different actions, and the movements of the [player] characters were playful and cute. Also chain flail, kusarigama, morning star and so on---taking advantage of the characteristics of their Max Attacks were [essential for] clearing the traps. How will that be for [Secret of Mana]?
The more you use the weapon[s], the Special Moves level up!

The level-up system of the special moves [in Secret of Mana] is same as the one in FF2. Regardless of the character's own level, by keep equipping and using the same weapon, the special move level of that particular weapon increases [for the character equipping the weapon].

Meaning, [for example,] the character who continues to equip the sword will eventually master the special moves for the sword. The three [player characters] cannot equip the same weapon at the same time, so each will become an expert of different weapons.

Review of the previous installment (2)

The previous installment was the opposite of Secret of Mana; regardless of how frequently a weapon was used, the levels of the "Max Attacks" increased when the character leveled up. It was a little bit disappointing that the graphics did not change [when the Max Attacks leveled up]. [It is understandable because] the previous installment was 2M; however, Secret of Mana is 16M [which is 8 times more], so it will [have more entertaining graphics].
Percentages are displayed for normal attacks (the first stage [i.e. before charging the power gauge])!

In normal attacks (first stage), percentages are displayed instead of gauges. This clearly indicates how much power can be exerted in the next attack. Of course, if you wait for the power to build up to 100%, the damage will be the highest.

By the way, in a normal attack, the computer automatically decides the attack method (swing down, thrust, defense, etc.) according to the character's level and behavioral state.

Review of the previous installment (3)

In the previous installment, there was no choice but to guess the approximate force from the length of the gauge. At the character's level increased, the gauge recovering speed increased also (this system is the same for Secret of Mana), but when the level was still low, it was frustrating because gauge recovered slowly. Since [the recovering rate is visible as a percentage] in Secret of Mana, that annoyance may be alleviated.

April 9, 1993

Secret of Mana’s release date was pushed back at least twice. Here we get Square’s explanation as to why they moved back the date from April to July. It would eventually be released in August.

Translated by Yoshi Fukagawa


The release date is postponed!  A direct interview session with Square!  (Answered by Mr. Nomura of Square's department of promotions)

Interviewer (I): Let's cut to the chase---why are you postponing the release?

Mr. Nomura (N): For Seiken Densetsu 2, we want to make a game that is one step ahead of the conventional RPG.  However, when creating a new product, it's necessary to develop it through trial and error many times.  Therefore, everything is going to take time.  Besides, each member of our development team doesn't even want to consider "compromise." (laughs) 

I: How far along is development at this point?

N: Well actually, [the game is] systematically complete.  I'm not lying.  However, it's not just about the system.  It [must feel pleasant] when you play it.  Therefore, just know that we are working on balancing those items [that are needed to make that happen].

I: When will it be released?

N: As of now, most likely July.  Once the release date is announced, Square will not postpone the release date announcement [again], so please pay attention to the release date announcement.  [The release date] will probably be decided by the time this [magazine] is available at bookstores.

I: How much will the price be?

N: Final Fantasy V was 16M and priced at ¥9800.  Seiken Densetsu 2 is also 16M, so [that should give you a ballpark estimate].

I: Lastly, may I have your message to [our] readers?

N: We're sorry to have kept you waiting, but please look forward to it as it will be a good game.

July 9, 1993

Come for Final Fantasy V. Stay for Seiken Densetsu 2 (Secret of Mana)? Or was it the other way around? Either way, this would have been ecstatic. The promotion cycle for Final Fantasy V was ending as Secret of Mana’s was ramping up. This was exactly seven months after Final Fantasy V was released.

Translated by Yoshi Fukagawa

Infiltrate the "secret" Seiken Densetsu 2 experience!

What was waiting for the enthusiastic fans who gathered at Sunshine 60?

On June 6th, a card exchange event hosted by Square (related to Final Fantasy V) was held at the Cultural Exchange Center at Sunshine 60 in Ikebukuro.  When I went to get coverage and some interviews, the venue was extremely crowded with 5500 participants.  While everyone was having fun and exchanging cards [probably FFV-related trading cards], there was also a test play corner for Seiken Densetsu 2.

A long line in front of the Seiken Densetsu 2 monitor display...well, it can't be helped.  [picture caption]

Opinions of participants:

"The characters are very cute!" ---11th grade girl (this was a popular opinion)
"I was a little confused by the ring command feature.  It's difficult at first, but you get hooked once you get used to it." ---6th grade boy

September 10, 1993 (Map Guide Part 1)

Marukatsu’s Map Guides came out shortly after Secret of Mana was released in Japan. It’s essentially an atlas of the game, with heaps of original art. As usual, the game’s hasty development meant that an out-of-date image was used even after release—in this case, a labelled beta world map.

Thanks to bluebomber for helping me get my hands on a copy.

All translations by Sevon

Randi: Hey....? W-wait....?!
Popoi: Hurry up~
Randi: Hand it over already~
Purim: Teehee <3
Nice to meet ya!
Purim: I already picked it!!!
Randi: I'm the protagonist!!
Popoi: It's mine!!
Gimme something else
Randi: Hehe....
Gontama! (ManaRedux's note: This is Matango backwards which is the word for "goodbye.")

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