Fans of the action role-playing game Legend of Mana are excited to see an anime adaptation by Yokohama Animation Laboratory and Graphinica titled Legend of Mana: The Teardrop Crystal coming soon. It goes without saying that as fans of anime you are most likely also interested in gaming. If so, Legend of Mana is worth checking out. An oldie but a goodie, Legend of Mana was developed and published in 1999 by Square (now Square Enix) for PlayStation.
It’s the 4e game in the Mana series, following 1995’s Trials of Mana. The game takes place in a magical fantasy world where an unnamed hero (the player) must restore the land of Fa’Diel by completing a series of interconnected missions to find the Tree or restore Mana.
Nine centuries prior to the events of the game, catastrophe occurred when the Mana Tree, the giver of mana and life to the world, burned down almost completely. A war between elves, humans and other races broke out as they battled for the last remaining mana in Fa’Diel. The war ended with the Mana Tree falling into a regenerative sleep and the lands of the world being stored in ancient artifacts.
A trailer has also been released to promote the anime:
Magic, adventure and anthropomorphic characters
The player makes it his or her self-imposed mission to restore the world and mana to its former glory. The land of Fa’Diel is populated by a myriad of different creatures: humans, fairies, demons, the jeweled jumi race, vegetal Sproutlings and Flowerings, miner bears called Dudbears, and Shadowy creatures of the Underworld known as Shadoles.
Fa’Diel is also home to a large number of anthropomorphic animals and objects. Gamers who have played other Mana titles will recognize Rabites, Chobin Hoods and Goblins (hopefully not like the ones from the Goblin Slayer anime!).
Legend of Mana has its own unique style of gameplay and incorporates some action role-playing elements from the earlier games in the series. A player can shape the structure of the world with the ‘Land Make system’, which generates regions and quests in a non-linear gameplay system rather than a strong main plotline as seen in most RPGs.
The game was directed by series creator Koichi Ishii, designed by Akihiko Matsu and produced by veteran Square director and producer Akitoshi Kawazu. The game sold spectacularly 400,000 copies in its first week of release and 700,000 by the end of 1999.
Gamers praised Yoko Shimomura’s vibrant and colorful hand-drawn graphics and whimsical fantasy-esque soundtrack, but criticized the lack of a clear main storyline, which in their opinion made the game feel “disjointed.”
Legend of Mana was released as a PSOne ‘Classic’ in Japan and North America
Due to high demand, the game was re-released as part of the bestsellers from both PlayStation and Square Enix. On June 24, 2021, a remastered version of the game was released for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4. It was released for Android and iOS on December 7, 2021.
Fans of the game hope that the anime adaptation will closely follow the original storyline, but are also wondering what possible storylines will be chosen. The player controls a silent hero avatar that is either male or female. The hero is nameless and no information is given about their past, history or personality, which is intended to reflect the player. Who will be the hero of the anime and what will their personality be like?
A key visual drawn by Taro Ikegami, the character designer on the job, was released today to hype up the anime’s impending release.
Regardless of which storyline the hero of the anime experiences his or her ending, will most likely be similar to the game’s final arc, titled: ‘Legend of Mana’. The storyline revolves around the Mana Tree, which resurfaces. The player examines the tree, finds that it is rotten and that the managodess has been damaged.
In an epic battle, the player has to fight against the mana goddess. After winning, a Sproutling emerges from the center of the rotten trunk of the Mana Tree and summons the other Sproutlings to join in and together they restore the Mana Tree.
Yoko Shimomura returns to do the music for the anime. In 2002, Yoko said she considered the Legend of Mana soundtrack to be a representation of herself. She prefers “passionate music that comes from the heart” and went on to say that she must “feel the emotions to the extreme before I can write a piece”.