February 28, 2021
The last image in Secret of Mana is the sprite looking up at a moon. Since Mana has disappeared from “our” world, he must now reside in his own:
The screen has a mysterious element—the moon in the background can have different phases for some unknown reason:
No one has figured out why. You’d think in this grand era of hacking that it’d be obvious from the game’s code, but as zhaDe explains:
I thought checking the code would be that simple at first too, but the code for "The End" final image with the moon and all is a giant mess full of calls to decompress graphics and put them in video memory, as well as "play" the few animated frames---it's a giant pile of gibberish. It must be six whole pages of code with branching calls everywhere.
ManaRedux reader Karsten Beoulve points out that it may not be the moon at all. In the remake, it appears that the sprite is looking at something that could be a planet instead. He provided this screenshot:
Perhaps the idea is that he’s looking back at “our” world. This would make more sense as the moon doesn’t really factor into the game; unless of course, it’s simply a moon whose phases are meaningful. The most likely answer is that it’s supposed to represent how much time it took you to do something.
Tcrf.net points out that whatever it’s trying to call is random anyway, so this is probably yet another thing that’s incomplete or not executed as intended.