Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Art of Mana, Part I -- A Conversation with Rhett Whittington

It's been three months since the Art of Mana oversized book was released, and naturally, it's taken me that long to get a review going.  Today, we're going to be joined by the illustriously talented artist, Rhett Whittington, and talk about one of the coolest non-game releases in Mana series history.  Next time, Mr. Whittington will share his art with us, which spans several games of the series.

First, some vitals on the book.  It was originally published in Japan in 2018, and this translation was released for English-speaking markets in February of 2020.  It is billed as a 25th anniversary book (the first game actually came out in 1991), but another likely catalyst for its creation was the release of three major projects in the span of a few years---Adventures of Mana in 2016, followed by Secret of Mana in 2018 and Trials of Mana in 2020.  It is reminiscent of the Final Fantasy Ultimania books that I highly recommend if you're a fan of that series (which, you almost certainly are).  Featured are poster style page spreads, character art, conceptual art, and commentary on how the aesthetic of each element developed.  It measures 12.2" by 8.8" and has a production value that does its contents justice---heavy, glossy paper stock and high quality reproductions of the art.  In addition, it features interviews with the Mana series' creators.

All right, Rhett, thank you for taking some time out of your quarantine adventure to talk about the Art of Mana.  How many Mana games have you played?

All of them except for the mobile games, Rise of Mana and Friends of Mana.  The cute fantasy element kinda beats out Final Fantasy for me! *laughs*  Behind Castlevania, I would say this is my second favorite game series.

I had never even heard of Friends of Mana until you mentioned it just now!  Sadly, I have only played Secret of Mana and the fan translation of Trials of Mana some time around 2003.  I tried again recently, and just couldn't get into it.  Perhaps my years of working with Secret of Mana has made it hard to branch out.

Back to the book, what are some things that jumped out at you right away?
The official character art of SoM:
clay figures!

I loved how it's divided up by game.  The amount of sketches and artwork I had not seen before was pretty amazing.  A lot of it gave me some really cool ideas for new bits of art I would like to do.  Particularly Legend of Mana.  That section seemed the most robust.  Probably because the game has so many unique and interesting characters.

Legend of Mana is your favorite, right? 

Yep.  Well...it was until I played the original Trials of Mana about two years ago.  Legend of Mana is kind of an odd ball in the series now.  I didn’t realize that at first.  It is so different gameplay and story-wise.  I assumed a lot of stuff in that game were mainstays of the series but they weren’t!

I believe the art style and characters were very popular, because we have seen them reappear in newer Mana games.  Even this new Trials of Mana game features a cute treasure hunt with Little Cactus from LoM.

It also lacks the elementals that seem to be in every game.  You have the day of the week cycle “Gnome day", "Salamando day", etc. and your different elemental magic and stuff is stronger on those days but aside from that, they weren’t in it at all.  I didn’t really get to see the Mana spirits/elementals until I played Sword of Mana for GBA.

Though back to the Legend of Mana section, it was cool to finally get a good detailed look at some of those obscure looking characters and find out more about them.

Was there anything that jumped out in the LoM art that you didn't know before?  

It was cool to learn that Niccolo’s design was based off of the Japanese version of the character’s name “Nikita”...so the artist thought it had a Latino sound to it.  That’s where the whole design of Poncho and Sombrero came from!  (Niccolo is my favorite character in the Mana series.)

Shinichi Kameoka was the artist for LoM?

Yes, and I really like the overall storybook feel that his art gives.  His characters can be anime and cool, but still feel kind of cute and kid friendly.  There’s a familiar kind of sentimental feeling you get with his backgrounds and art.  Funny as it sounds, it reminds me a lot of the Winnie the Pooh or Teddy Ruxpin cartoons from my childhood and his art style brings up those warm fuzzy feelings of wonder and excitement.  If that makes sense!

That's why it was cool to finally read some info on Friends of Mana.  It was done in almost exactly the same art style by the same artist.

I really like the high quality reproductions of Hiroo Isono's posters.  There's the infamous box art for Secret of Mana and the poster of the Mana Tree from that game.  He also created art for Trials of Mana and Dawn of Mana in the same style.   Sadly, he did not make one for Legends of Mana, perhaps that style wouldn't fit?

Hiroo Isono's works look amazing! I would love to have a big 24x36 pic of one of his works of the Mana Tree. 

I think his art could have fit. At least like a cover or insert. I don’t think it would of contrasted badly with Kameoka’s character artwork, even though they are quite different.

I'm not sure if you've seen the Final Fantasy Ultimania series, but this book is reminiscent of those.  Ultimania had a lot more material about the development of the games, and just a greater quantity and diversity of things in general.  So that's one of the reasons I was disappointed that the SNES Secret of Mana section had nothing new along the lines of game development.  We do get a few tidbits about how the characters developed, but that's about it.  The most significant release in series history gets five pages out of over two hundred that only features art we've seen for 25 years!  

Mobile Randi
Yeah.  It sucked there wasn’t really anything I hadn’t seen before for Secret of Mana artwork.  I had hoped for more art and sketches from the original Trials Of Mana too.  But I wonder if since those were older games, they didn’t get much original art done aside from the remake's art (which I really love!)

I thought it was a bit strange that the PC remake's characters were reduced in height from the mobile port.  I actually like those renditions the best.

Oh wow!  Never knew the characters were reduced in height/size for the PC port!  I just looked up pics!  That is actually kinda cool. I like them like that better! It’s surprising they did that.

I'm very fond of the new art for the Imperial henchman, as well as the comment about the huge shoulder pads that were in for bad guys in '93.  *laughs*  I find it ironic that Sheex is depicted as the dark knight with his dark sword, which is still not mentioned in the actual game.  Another thing that jumps out at me is how the games all seem to have the same general characters that change a bit each time.  Nothing is a sequel to anything else, they're all spiritual siblings.   

2018 Remake
I also like that none of the games are really sequels to each other.  It’s kind of similar to the Zelda series.  For example, my fiancĂ©e just began playing Trials of Mana (and is loving it!) but she was hesitant to try it at first, never having played any other games in the series.  That was until I explained it’s like Zelda or Final Fantasy, where each entry is pretty much it’s own story.  I think that makes it a bit more accessible and creates strong fan bases for the various games in the series.

I like the new artwork and designs for Secret of Mana a lot!  Sheex does look cool!  Though I wish the adults would have looked more....detailed?  Or “adulty” *laughs* rather than the style where they all just have large cartoony heads.  (I fixed this with my art of Jema in my Secret of Mana poster...his body is proportional!)

And on that note, we will feature Rhett's artwork in Part 2!


Be sure to check out the Secret of Mana subreddit at https://www.reddit.com/r/secretofmana/ and its Discord discord.gg/TvAZU2.

To contact me, please use the e-mail link in my profile.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Deleted Content From the 2018 Remake

Welcome back to Secret of Mana Redux.  I hoped to have some material on the Trials of Mana remake, but I have no time to play it at the moment, and attempts to have someone else take over fell
through.  At the end of the day, this is not a Trials of Mana blog, so we're covered for now.  

In other news, the relocalization project that I mentioned in a previous article has been resumed.  A hacker known as Queue took over zhaDe's project a few years ago, and is trying to improve the game any way it can be done.  The project should be complete in the next few months, and I hope that it's as rewarding for you to play as it was for me working on it.

Today, we're going to take a look at content that was cut from Secret of Mana's 2018 remake.  It was posted on tcrf.net last year, but I was not aware of it until someone sent me a text dump of the 2018 script and I was wondering how I missed these strange conversations.  It's hard to say why this was left out---deadlines, lack of budget, lack of confidence in the quality, a desire to maintain the integrity of the original...who knows?

We have a new prologue for each character, as well as four sidequests and a synopsis that was likely written for translators to grasp the story.  In our last article, I speculated about lost prologues for each character similar to ToM, but I doubt these would have been the ones on the SNES.

All we have is the script, and no other description of the events, so we'll try to fill in the gaps.

Randi

In Randi's prologue, we have a very surprising appearance from Dyluck, who I imagine was walking by Randi and his friends during a fight.  

Dyluck: Now listen here, fighting is not allowed. Understand?
Timothy: But—
Elliot: It's this loser's fault! He's dumb and we don't want to play with him.
Randi: Wah...
Timothy: Yeah, he can't do anything right! Plus, he's not from around here!
Elliot: Yeah! They just found him and took him in! He wasn't born in the village!
Elliot: Can we go now? Come on, Timothy. Let's play over there.
Dyluck:  Kids say such mean things...
Randi:  ...
Dyluck:  Listen, I was the same as you when I was young.
Dyluck: Because of my power, I was shunned by those around me.
Randi: Power?
Dyluck: O-oh, never mind about that. Just know that even if you're having a hard time now, things will get better.
Dyluck: You'll understand one day, and I'm sure you'll find friends that will last a lifetime. Just like I did once I grew up.
Dyluck: But don't give into the bullies; no matter what they say, you mustn't fight them. Got it?
Randi: ...Okay.
Dyluck: Good to hear. Now that I've finished my business at the Water Palace, I need to return to Pandora and report.
Dyluck: Remember, you're not alone. Understood?
Randi: ...Okay.

Randi: That man must be with the Pandora military. I wonder if I'll ever be that strong...
Randi: Guess I'll head back to the elder's house.
Randi: It's too dangerous to wander around. Guess I'll head back to the elder's house.

Note that here, Randi knew about the Water Palace long before the events of SoM.

Next, someone we assume to be Purim enters the fray:

????: Hey, you! Have you seen Dyluck?
Randi: Who?
????: He's a handsome, capable, young soldier and I think he came this way. You seen him?
Randi: A soldier? Yeah, I think I did—
Randi: He went...Uh, um... Where was it again?
????: Hey, I asked you first! Do you know or don't you?
Randi: I-I think he went to the Water Palace...
????: Yes, but I already went there and he'd left by then!
Randi: I-I think he said something about telling the people of Pandora...
????: Pandora?! But that means he went back the way I came! Ugh! I don't want to go home yet!
????: Well, thanks for your help...
????: You look troubled. Don't frown so much or it'll stick that way, okay?
????: No one wants to bother with a guy who's down in the dumps!
????: Plus, nothing good is gonna happen to you unless stop letting stupid things get you down!

Now we're actually going to the Water Palace.  It's difficult to reconcile this with the events of SoM, where Randi had no idea how to get there, or gave any indication that he had met Luka.

Randi: No one will like me if I'm upset?
Randi: Maybe if I visit the Water Palace like that girl and the soldier, I'll become stronger!
Randi: ...Okay! That's the plan—leave the village and head east to the Water Palace! (note: the Water Palace is west of Potos)
Randi: Wow!
Randi: I can't believe that girl and the soldier managed to get to Potos from the Water Palace so easily...
Randi: I-I can do it! Just a little...further!
Randi: Oh wait, this isn't the way.
Randi: Is this the Water Palace? I did it!
Randi: Since I'm here, I should probably go inside.
????: So many visitors today. What business do you have here, young man?
????: I'm sure you're wondering what a little lady like me is lecturing you for, is that right?
Randi: Uh...well...
????: Hm, no need to hide it.
????: There are many things in the world that are not what they seem. You yourself are one of those.
????: You may seem weak at first glance, but I sense a strength sleeping deep within your heart.
????: Never lose sight of it, for perhaps one day you may be called upon when the world is in dire peril.
????: You could save the world—or even save whatever is most precious to you.
Randi: Strength in my heart?
????: Yes...a strength known as courage.
Randi: Courage...
????: That is all I can say for now. You should return to your home, young man.

Luka: Hmm...perhaps I should test him.

Later on...there may have been some quest that needed to be completed.
Randi: Whoa! Where'd all these monsters come from?! They weren't around when I got here!
Randi: Whew! That was close...

Luka: This might have been the most important meeting in all my two hundred years...
Luka: Like father, like son. Isn't that right, Serin?

Randi: I've got courage within me... Okay!
Randi: I'll protect Potos, just like the legendary knight! But I need to get stronger!
Randi: I can do it! Let's go! Just a little more...

This prologue was a weak attempt at adding a feel good backstory that retcons the main scenario.  It doesn't add anything new to anyone's character, nor does it have interesting story elements.  I like the idea of Dyluck and Randi meeting before Purim joins, but that would have been better when he's about to leave to fight the witch.  I also like that Luka was in touch with Serin all along, but that would be more at home with the main story and not an inadequate prologue.  Maybe we'll fare better with the next one.  Want to guess what Purim's prologue is about?

Purim

Purim: Ugh! I can't believe my dad!
Purim: He says he wants me to get married and then forces me to meet these pathetic losers!
Purim: Who cries after a playful whack on the arm? My dad could have at least found someone with personality!
Purim: He can't expect me to marry one of them! I won't, I won't, I won't!
Purim: What dad doesn't let their daughter have a say in their future husband these days? Get with the times!
Purim: I haven't found anyone in Pandora that I like. It's time I hit the road and made my own way in the world.
Purim: I suppose I'll start off in Kippo Village. I hear the people there are more lively anyway.
Purim: I can't let my life be decided for me. I need to get out there and face my destiny!
Purim: Maybe instead of staying put and fighting with my dad, I'll find the man of my dreams during my travels!
Purim: No! No more Pandora! I need more excitement in my life.
Purim: I'll start off in Kippo Village. I hear the people there are more lively anyway. Time to go!

The next few lines are from unknown events that occur along the journey.  

Purim: Huh?
Purim: Hmph! This is nothing! You think this can phase me?
Purim: Um...huh?
Purim: No way! I can't handle this all by myself!
Purim: Eek!

And then it happened...

????: Are you all right, miss?
Purim: ...Huh?
????: Miss? Do you need assistance?
Purim: Huh? Uh, no. No, thank you, I'm all right now.
????: Oh, well that's lucky!
????: But, I'm afraid it's very dangerous to travel alone in this area. Do you need an escort?
????: Kippo Village is my hometown. If you stay here with my parents until I return, we can travel together.
Purim: Your parents? I-I mean, yes! I would be happy to!
????: Glad to see you're still so energetic. You must not have been injured too badly. Let's head to Kippo Village for now.
Purim: O-of course!
????: Father, Mother, would you please look after this young lady?
Dyluck! You only just came back and you're heading off already?
Dyluck: I'm sorry, Mother. Official business calls me to the Water Palace.
Word of your accomplishments have reached the village! They say you're the most capable man in the ranks.
Dyluck: I'm honored, Father, but please don't exaggerate.
Your modesty serves you well, my son!
Dyluck: I will return as soon as I am able.
Dyluck: Please make yourself at home, Miss. I will be back shortly. Until then, goodbye.
Purim: "Dyluck"... He must be the pride and joy of Kippo Village.
Purim: I never expected to meet such a great person on my journey...
Purim: Oh! What am I saying? I can't just sit here and let destiny pass me by! This has got to be fate!
Purim: Where did Dyluck say he was going? The Water Palace? I better follow him!
Dyluck has business at the Water Palace. My son's always taken on lots of responsibilities.
Miss, you are welcome to stay as long as you like.

Purim also goes to the Water Palace. 

????: Oho! I am Sage Luka. What do you need, young woman?
Purim: Um, have you seen a handsome young man named Dyluck come through here?
Luka: Yes. He came here before heading toward Potos Village.
Purim: Potos?
Luka: Yes, it's a small settlement to the east of here.
Purim: East? Got it! Thanks so much!
Luka: You would do well to wait, young woman.
Purim: Wait? I can't! I don't want to miss my chance!
Luka: Impatience leads to mistakes. Heed my words and I'll give you some advice.
Purim: Advice? I don't know what advice I need from a little girl.
Luka: Hm. I am wiser than you think. Besides, this concerns you.
Luka: You are destined to find two trusted friends that will be your allies.
Luka: They will change the course of your whole life. Remember this.
Purim: Two friends? Well, Pamaela's been my friend since forever.
Purim: ...I guess that means I'll make another friend sometime soon!
Purim: Right now, though, I'm more interested in finding Dyluck. But, uh, thanks for the advice, I guess!
Luka: More interested in a lover than a friend, I see?
Luka: The one you seek, Dyluck, is headed east to Potos.
Purim: Such a helpful kid. Cute and precocious to boot!

Now we come to find out that this is the same time as Randi's prologue, and the two had also met before.

Purim: Hey, you! Have you seen Dyluck?
????: Who?
Purim: He's a handsome, capable, young soldier and I think he came this way. You seen him?
????: A soldier? Yeah, I think I did...
Purim: Where did he go? Tell me!
????: He went...Uh, um... Where was it again?
Purim: Hey, I asked you first! Do you know or don't you?
????: I-I think he went to the Water Palace...
Purim: Yes, but I already went there and he'd left by then!
????: I-I think he said something about telling the people of Pandora...
Purim: Pandora?! But that means he went back the way I came! Ugh! I don't want to go home yet!
Purim: Well, thanks for your help...
Purim: You look troubled. Don't frown so much or it'll stick that way, okay?
Purim: No one wants to bother with a guy who's down in the dumps!
Purim: Plus, nothing good is gonna happen to you unless stop letting stupid things get you down!
????: No one will like me if I'm upset?
Purim: Of course! Now, be happy! That's an order!
????: Y-yes, ma'am!

I imagine the random lines without a designated speaker are from townsfolk.

Oh no, that little boy got picked on yet again.
The monsters are multiplying. It's harder than ever to get to the Water Palace in the west.
There've been a lot more monster sightings in these parts lately.
That soldier from Pandora was amazing! I wanna be like him when I grow up!
Nothing here for someone your age but water, milk, or medical herb juice.
Once you're a little older we can play together.
I wonder what I should make for dinner.
Purim: What's a strong one like that doing in a place like this?
Purim: But I know I can make it! I'll rely on my love to get me through this!
Purim: My desire to see Dyluck again lends me strength!
Oh, look! It's Dyluck, the finest soldier in the king's guard!
Have you ever seen such a cool soldier?

Purim finds Dyluck at the right time...

Purim: Dyluck?! He's here?
Would you listen to those cheers? I'm jealous, Dyluck!
You must have a hundred suitors by now!
Dyluck: Men, we need to focus on our mission. Besides, I've already fallen for...
Fallen? Fallen for whom?
The famous Dyluck has fallen for someone? Do tell!
Purim: Yes! Do tell! Please!
You must tell us the story, Dyluck! Do you have a lady love hiding somewhere?
Dyluck: ...Fine. Better to be honest than wait for the rumors to spread.
So, what kind of lady managed to snag a man like you?
Dyluck: She was very spirited, and surprisingly strong for such a young lady.
Dyluck: When I approached her, I was so enamored that I forgot to ask her name. It...it was love at first sight.
Dyluck: But I had a mission. After we defeated the monsters in our path, I left her with my parents to keep her safe.
Purim: ...Dyluck?
Dyluck: I-it's you!

We're now back to what I presume is the inn conversation that started all this.

Purim: ...And that's how Dyluck and I first met. It was just like a story from a fairy tale!
Purim: The brave soldier helped the beautiful heroine and the two fell in love at first sight... It's so romantic!
Purim: I remember the whole thing like it was yesterday... Oh, Dyluck!
Purim: ...Hey, you two!
Purim: You guys are the ones who asked me how Dyluck and I got together!
Purim: And now you're falling asleep in the middle of my story?!
Purim: I can't believe the both of you!

It's quite possible that Purim's prologue was an alternate to Randi's.  There is an inn conversation in the remake where the sprite falls asleep, so it's possible they ditched the prologue for that instead.  

Popoie's prologue is the most intricate.

Popoie

Grandpa: Listen close, little one. This is your first time out alone, but I need you to visit the Wind Palace for me.
Popoie: Come on, Grandpa! I'm not a little kid anymore!
Grandpa: This is still your first time out on your own! You do have a tendency to let your mind wander.
Popoie: Aw, I'm not that bad! Don't you trust me?
Grandpa: Oh, would you do one thing for me before you head to the Wind Palace? Go check on the moogles.
Grandpa: If you complete that errand, I'll be less worried.
Popoie: Okay, I'll check on the moogles for you first.
Grandpa: Stay on task. With my sharp eyesight, I'll see if you're slacking off.
Popoie: Oh yeah! You've got the best eyes in the village! I won't dawdle!
Grandpa: Good. Moogle Village is to the north of the summer forest; don't forget.
Grandpa: Moogle Village is to the north of the summer forest; don't forget.
Grandpa: Good job, little one! I'm sure you can handle the Wind Palace. Now go make an offering to the Mana Seed.
Grandpa: It's east of the summer forest. Talk to the Cannon Travel operator and he will help you to get to the land below.
Hi there, little one! Off running errands in the Moogle Village?
Popoie: Hmph! I don't want anyone but Grandpa calling me "little." But...it is my name; I guess I'll just deal with it.
This village is fantastic! As long as we look out for monsters, we have our pick of any kind of food imaginable!
It's so peaceful here. I wish other lands would learn from our example.
As long as we have the Wind Palace, the sprites and moogles won't have anything to worry about!
Morning, little one! Head north if you want the Wind Palace.
Popoie: ...Wait a sec! I'm supposed to go to Moogle Village before I head to the Wind Palace!
Popoie: Looks good! The moogles are doing fine.
Popoie: Moogles, check! What was next?... Oh, right! The Wind Palace.
Popoie: Hah! And Grandpa was worried I'd forget! Wind Palace, here I come!
Popoie: ...Did the Mana Seed always look like this?
Popoie: Last time I was here with Grandpa it looked more like a normal seed...
Popoie: Meh, whatever! Guess I'll report back to Grandpa!
Grandpa: Hm? The Mana Seed seemed strange? Could it be...?
Grandpa: Be wary, little one. The Time of Calamity may be upon us.
Popoie: Calami-what?
Grandpa: It is a time of turmoil foretold in the oldest of sprite legends.
Grandpa: "When the Seed of power fails, the young sprite must begin their journey to face the Time of Calamity"...
Grandpa: It is your destiny to journey out into the world, little one. You must leave before nightfall!
Popoie: Huh? Up until now you've never let me leave the forest alone...
Popoie: Alright! So long, Sprite Forest! I'm off on an adventure!
Grandpa: This isn't a vacation, little one!
Grandpa: Visit Sage Luka at the Water Palace in the lower land to tell her that our Mana Seed is reacting. Understood?
Popoie: Got it! Lower land, Water Palace, something-or-other-Luka!

In contrast to Randi and Purim's prologues, this feels like a proper backstory.  We get a sense of what life was like for Popoie before SoM, and we have a direct catalyst for the events that took place before the game.

This prologue has a quest that is better defined than the first two.  

Popoie: So I gotta go talk to the Cannon Travel Center to get to the lower land, right?
Grandpa: Yes. Go east of the summer forest. Talk to the Cannon Travel operator and he will help you to get to the land below.
Grandpa: Oh, before you go you need some GP. Here's 50 GP. Now, don't lose this, okay?
Grandpa: You need to give this to the Cannon Travel operator. Then he'll help you get to the land below.
Popoie: Oo! I'll take that! I can use this GP to get more stuff out there on my adventure.
Popoie: Got it, Grandpa! I'm off to see the world!
Cannon Man: Welcome, welcome!
Cannon Man: If it isn't the littlest sprite! You wanna use the cannon? Nuh-uh! It's not a toy!
Cannon Man: Oh, you're running errands for your gramps? You need to go to the Water Palace? Hmm...
Cannon Man: Think you'll be okay down there by yourself? Lemme give you a little test.
Popoie: Ugh, is this homework?
Cannon Man: Yep. Lately the monsters around here have been going crazy.
Cannon Man: Defeat five monsters in the Forest of Seasons, then come back here.
Cannon Man: If you can do that, you can handle the beasts down below! And then you can use the cannon.
Popoie: Defeat five monsters in the Forest of Seasons... Really?
Popoie: Ugh, more chores? Oh well, I'll get it done in no time flat!
Cannon Man: Welcome, welcome!
Cannon Man: If it isn't the littlest sprite! You wanna use the cannon? Nuh-uh! It's not a toy!
Cannon Man: Defeat five monsters in the Forest of Seasons, then come back here.
Cannon Man: If you can do that, you can handle the beasts down below! You can use the cannon.
Cannon Man: This time, defeat ten more monsters in the Forest of Seasons, then come back here.
Cannon Man: If you can do that, you can handle the beasts down below! You can use the cannon.
Cannon Man: A quick trip to the Water Palace, right? That's 50 GP!
Pay
No way!
Popoie: Hey, there! I got those five monsters for you! No sweat!
Cannon Man: Really? You didn't cheat, right?
Popoie: Rude! Me? Cheat? As if!
Cannon Man: Well I'll be! Lemme just tally those up and make sure. In the meantime, how about you hunt a few more?
Cannon Man: But this time, defeat ten monsters in the Forest of Seasons, then come back here.
Cannon Man: If you can do that, I'm completely sure you can handle the beasts down below! I'll even help you get there!
Popoie: Bleh, what a pain...
Popoie: But ten monsters isn't too bad. I can defeat them in no time!
Popoie: I'm back! I got those ten monsters for you, as promised! No sweat!
Cannon Man: Oh boy! Then, one more thing—stand there and spin around three times.
Popoie: Spin three times?
Cannon Man: Yep, yep! Now bark once.
Popoie: Lemme get this straight—after defeating all those monsters, you want me to spin around and yip like a puppy?
Popoie: What do you take me for, a performing poodle?! Why I oughtta...
Cannon Man: Okay, okay! My bad! I'll give you a proper send off to the lower land to make up for it.
Popoie: Hmph! As long as you're sorry! Now send me to...where was it? Oh yeah! The Water Palace!
Cannon Man: Wahaha! Got it. It's 50 GP for a quick trip to the Water Palace!
Cannon Man: Never seen another sprite like you, tyke! So small, with such a big voice.
Popoie: Lean down and say that to my face!
Cannon Man: Wahaha! I got the cannon ready for you... Wait! Don't move! Ah! Now the target's off!

They lost their memory because they were their usual self!  Good stuff.

????: Ow, owowow! Someone should fire that operator...
????: Huh? Wait, where am I?... Who am I?
????: Um...was I...? Wait, um...uh... I don't remember!
????: Oh well! I think I'm supposed to go to a water something...
????: Water...Water something.
????: Whoa! What's that? Think you can sneak up on me!
????: Guess the land below's pretty dangerous. Now, where was I...?
????: Oh, right! The water...something! I gotta find that place!
????: Wahoo! I made it! This looks like a Water Palace to me!
????: Okay, so...what do I do now that I'm here?
????: So why did I go through all this again?
????: What did I do this for anyway? I can't remember why I'm here!
????: Arg! Now what? I didn't sign up for something so frustrating!
????: Whoa! The water is rushing this way... Did I cause this?
????: Ack! It's a flood! I'm gonna get washed away! Heeelp!
Dwarf Elder: This little thing just washed up! Are they breathing?
Dwarf Elder: Wait! What's a sprite doing down here? Especially such a little one...
????: ...urg...uhhh...
Dwarf Elder: They're alive! Gotta get them to safety for now, figure out the details later!

This feels more like a prologue that would have been at home with the SNES release.  The cannon travel quest is a bit contrived, but so are a lot of things in this game.

Now we move to the sidequests.  The first one also seems to come from an inn conversation...

Shade and Mavolia

Randi: I think we've done all we can...
Purim: You're right. We can discuss it all night, but there's so much we don't understand.
Popoie: Let's ask a pro! Hey, Shade! Come on out!
Shade: I am Shade, the elemental of darkness and former king of Mavolia.
Popoie: That's exactly what we wanted to ask you about. What was it like in Mavolia?
Popoie: What powers does the underworld have? We gotta know!
Shade: Oh, so you wish to know the true power of darkness?
Randi: It might help us figure out what the empire has in store for us. Any information would be useful.
Shade: ...Very well. You must experience it to fully grasp such power.
Randi: Experience...? Wait! That's not what I—
Shade: Silence! You all must come with me to the underworld...
Purim: Come with you WHERE?! No way! I don't want to go to Mavolia!

So far, we have more exposition from Shade and a new location.  Seems promising...

Randi: This...is the underworld? It's not what I expected.
Purim: It's a lot less...malevolent than I imagined.
Popoie: Hey, Shade? What is this place?
Shade: This is Mirage Tower. Here my brethren and I would battle to prove our strength and develop our powers.

Trials of Mana has a Mirage Palace, but that was not in Mavolia.  

Randi: So it's training grounds.
Popoie: Mirage Tower, huh?
Purim: But that means that all the monsters here have dark powers! Why did we have to come here?!
Shade: The only way to leave the tower is to reach the top. Forfeit and be destroyed. You must fight to progress.
Shade: If you wish to know the true power of Mavolia, you must defeat dark entities from my memories.
Purim: But we didn't want to be here in the first place!
Popoie: Is the only exit really at the top of the tower?
Purim: I guess we're supposed to climb for our lives!
Popoie: Ack!
Randi: And we have to defeat all these enemies that can tap into the powers of the underworld?
Shade: Correct. Show me what powers you truly possess.
Randi: We gotta do what we can to get to the top. Let's get going!

After awhile...

Popoie: Phew! I'm beat! Can we take a breather here?
Randi: If you'd thought about what to ask Shade before you called him, we wouldn't be in this mess...
Popoie: Wait! Are you saying this is my fault, Bro?
Randi: No, but if you'd phrased your question a little better in the first place—
Popoie: So you do think it's my fault!
Purim: Come on, you two! Now is not the time for this!
Purim: The forces of darkness will try to exploit any weakness we've got, including rifts in our teamwork.
Popoie: Uh-oh, you're right! I think the endless battling was getting to me. Sorry, Bro.
Randi: I'm sorry, too. This wasn't your fault.
Purim: That's better. We've gotta get to the top of this tower together!

And once we get there...

Shade: You have come to understand the potential of the underworld's power.
Shade: Power is life. Those with the strength rule over the weak.
Shade: Anger, hatred, resentment... These negative emotions are what feed the subjugation of lesser beings.
Shade: That is the true power of Mavolia.
Randi: I think I could do without that type of power. I've been on the other side of the equation, after all.
Purim: I agree. My dad tried to use his status to force me to do whatever he wanted.
Popoie: Yeah, power doesn't solve anything! All it does is hurt the little guy.
Shade: That is one belief. Now prove your convictions by making it through the underworld.
Shade: That will prove that power is all that matters.
Popoie: Mavolia is not the place for me! Can't catch a break here!
Shade: Those who live in the darkness do not wish for tranquility. Nor do those who make contracts with the underworld.
Shade: Besides, power is simply the means to tempt humans into defiling their souls with the dark.
Purim: Defiling their souls? What?
Shade: When a human makes a contract with Mavolia, they gain the power they seek in exchange for their pure heart.
Shade: They may live in the human realm, but their body is reclaimed by the underworld.
Randi: So the empire wants to rule the world with the strength they gain after darkness invades their hearts...
Randi: ...No, I won't accept a world run by fear and brute strength. That can't be right!
Purim: People will just get exploited! No one should have to shut up and do as they're commanded like that!
Popoie: There'd be a constant power struggle! It'd be a fight to the finish just to survive!
Shade: And so it shall be, for as long as Mavolia exists, humans will seek its power. Greed is a powerful emotion.
Popoie: Hang on, I can use Shade's powers, right? Does that mean I've made a contract with the underworld?!
Shade: I am no longer a denizen of the underworld. I am merely the Mana elemental of darkness.
Popoie: O-oh. That's good to hear. Had me worried for a moment!
Purim: Hah! There's no way their heart is defiled with darkness!
Randi: Yeah, can you imagine them as an evil sprite?
Popoie: Eek! Bro, don't go there! I don't wanna be evil!
Neko: Meow? What a strange place to bump into each other, purrr... Do mew need anything?
Randi: What's that?
Popoie: Are we nearly at the exit?!
Purim: We made it to the highest floor of the tower! Finally!
Shade: Interesting... It appears that you three do not need the powers of Mavolia to succeed.
Shade: You now know about Mavolia and the powers the underworld possesses. I will return you to your world.
Purim: We made it! Can we sleep now? I don't want to go on any more adventures tonight!
Randi: So Shade was the ruler of that whole place? That's really impressive.
Popoie: And since I can control Shade's powers, that makes me even more impressive! Come at me, dark minions!
Shade: I see, so you wish to fight more of the monsters in the underworld. Shall I send you to another dungeon?
Popoie: No! Nope! I'm fine! I was kidding! Please don't send me there again!

This also feels like something that would not have been out of place on the SNES release.  Shade is a very neat character and his background tells us more about the Empire.  And the idea of a long dungeon with stages comes up quite a bit in Squaresoft RPGs of the time.  

Now, we return to the Inn for another diversion...

Return to Potos

Luka: Listen... Listen to me...
Popoie: Whoa-ho! There's a voice in my head! You better answer, 'cause this is weird.
Luka: Can you hear me?
Randi: Is that you, Luka?
Purim: Luka? Does she need something?
Luka: You must return to your village. Potos is in danger!
Randi: Potos? What's wrong?
Luka: Several terrifying monsters have appeared around the village!
Luka: The people have taken cover, but they cannot leave their homes. You must go to their aid!
Randi: B-but, I can't go back. I've been exiled and...and...
Purim: Don't worry about that now!
Randi: I-I want to help them, but...
Purim: Oh, come on! Who cares that you're breaking the rules!
Popoie: Bro! You can't just sit by and let your home town get attacked by monsters!
Randi: I...
Luka: I cannot allow this tragedy to befall the village.
Luka: You may have reservations, but you three must travel to Potos! You cannot delay!

This is the first of the deleted material that takes place in the main game.  I imagine that new areas would have been created to flesh out the area around Potos.

Luka: You're now outside of Potos Village.
Luka: You see how dangerous the situation is. Can you really leave the villagers to fend for themselves?
Luka: Ask yourself what the hero of legends, the wielder of the Mana Sword, should do.
Randi: There's no question; I want to help Potos! But I broke the rules of the village and they threw me out!
Popoie: Who cares? There's more important stuff to worry about—like the monsters we gotta defeat to save the village!
Purim: Besides, you don't need to set foot in the village to protect it from the outside!
Luka: The monsters are on the move! They'll reach the village soon, unless you stop them!
Luka: What say you?
Randi: I-I'll do it. I gotta save the people of Potos!
Popoie: That's the spirit! Now let's go defeat some monsters!
Randi: Hmm...
Purim: Even you get worried about stuff sometimes, I see. Make sure you're focused during battle.
Popoie: Yeah, if you get your rear kicked, then there'll be no one to save the village!
Randi: I know... But it's hard being this close to Potos.

I've written in the past that Randi only mentions Potos again in the remake's Inn dialogue.  This adds some character development.  

Popoie: These monsters are tough! Why couldn't it be cute little weak monsters for a change?
Purim: Do you think the monsters are getting more vicious because the empire is using up all the Mana?
Popoie: But that'd mean these attacks will keep coming! There might be more villages in danger as we speak!
Randi: Huh? Oh, sorry...
Purim: You're distracted. Still worried about getting thrown out of your village?
Randi: N-no, nothing like that. Come on, let's finish this!

Randi: I remember this place... I used to come here a lot before...you know.
Randi: I've got too many memories of these areas. I can't help but remember what everyone said...
Randi: ...how they looked at me...
Purim: I...can't imagine.
Randi: It's all right. I'm fine! We need to hurry and get to Potos right away!
Popoie: There we go! That's more like you, Bro!

Randi: This place looks familiar, too. We should be in Potos soon!
Popoie: Great! That means we're nearly done with these monsters!
Purim: We can't stop now! Let's save Potos!

Randi: ...I don't think I would have made it here without you two.
Randi: If you hadn't pushed me along, I would have lost my nerve on the way.
Randi: Thanks, you guys.
Purim: Hey, isn't Potos the other way? Where are you going?

Popoie: Well, that's the last of the big baddies! Are we done here?
Purim: Aren't you glad we came and helped out?
Popoie: Right? Helping people in trouble is what being a hero is all about!
Randi: Yeah, but I'm only here because you two supported me along the way.
Luka: Good work. The monsters that threatened Potos Village have been eliminated.
Luka: I knew you would do what's right in the end.
Luka: Now, what is your next move?
Randi: What do you mean?
Luka: Do you wish to visit your hometown of Potos, or shall I send you back to the inn? It is your choice.
Popoie: I think you should go back and see your old place!
Purim: They're right. This is the perfect chance, and you did just save the whole village.
Popoie: Hey! I helped!
Randi: ...No. I think I'll go back to the inn.
Popoie: What? Why?
Randi: I don't want to go back to Potos until we've defeated the empire and saved the world. It just wouldn't feel right.
Popoie: Whoa... You're really something, Bro! Almost brought a tear to my eye...
Purim: That's really admirable of you.
Randi: Aha ha. I'm not trying to be admirable; I just want to do what I set out to do.
Randi: There you have it, Luka. Send us back to the inn!
Luka: As you wish.
Luka: He is as worthy of a hero as his father before him.
Luka: You'd be proud of his determination, Serin...

Truffle

It had to happen?  Mushbooms vs. rabites.  If we return to Truffle at some point...

Truffle: There you are! Good timing, you guys! I have a favor to ask you heroes.
Randi: A favor?
Truffle: You remember that dragon cave where you found Flammie? Well, we've got a problem...
Purim: What's wrong?
Truffle: Now that the dragon's out of the way, the rabite population in the area is going crazy!
Truffle: Think you could help out with our rabite problem? It should be easy-peasy for a legendary hero, right?
Popoie: Ain't that a little beneath a legendary hero? Pest control isn't in the job description.
Randi: But it is partly our fault that Flammie isn't around here to keep the rabites in check.
Purim: And we owe Flammie and King Truffle for helping us out of a tight spot in the past.
Popoie: You mean the imperial palace? Well, I guess there is that…
Truffle: Fantastic! I helped you, you guys help me. Then we'll be even!
Truffle: Head out to the Cave of the White Dragon. There's an entrance on the first floor to the right.
Truffle: Head to the first floor entrance on the right and get rid of all those rabites near the Cave of the White Dragon!
Oh my! You're journeying across the world on the white dragon I saw! How heroic!
Guard: You are the heroes of legend!
Guard: King Truffle has done a splendid job ruling our country! Thank you for all your help!

Even if this was not intended for the SNES release, I imagine that this sort of thing would have been more commonplace.  After all, nothing particularly special happens if we visit Truffle later in the game.

Purim: Whoa! Look at all these rabites!
Popoie: Usually they're so cute...but this is too much!
Randi: I wonder what caused this rabite infestation? We should head further into the cave.
Popoie: What is with that giant rabite?!
Purim: I bet that's what's causing all the rabites to gather in the area!
Ohohoho! I never thought I'd see humans come this far. My children haven't been guarding the lair as they should.
Randi: Did that rabite just talk?!
Rabite King: I am King Rabite, leader of the rabite clan.
Rabite King: We rabites have banded together to make a kingdom! We will create a utopia
where the candy is plentiful!
Rabite King: To realize our dream of candy for all, we must increase our territory and, of course, our wealth!
Popoie: ...I can't decide if they're dumb or honorable, but it's bad news either way.
Rabite King: We will expand and multiply until we can take over Matango!
Purim: You're starting a war over candy?!
Rabite King: We need a kingdom run by rabites, for rabites, full of rabites! And we demand candy!
Rabite King: Soon the whole world will bow down before rabites!
Randi: We won't let you have your way, no matter how cute you are!
Rabite King: Wait! Stop! If you defeat me, my children will have no place to go! They'll be alone in the world!
Rabite King: You can't leave my children with no one! Spare me!
Popoie: You're the one starting a war! What do you think will happen to the kids in the countries you invade, huh?
Purim: King Rabite, you're no better than the empire!
Rabite King: ...Y-you're right.
Rabite King: How foolish of me... I cannot sacrifice other lives just to benefit my people.
Rabite King: Rabites aren't a strong species. Without me, my children will not stand a chance.
Rabite King: From now on, we'll stay here in the caves and live peacefully side-by-side with Matango.
Rabite King: Please forgive me and spare my people!
Randi: Do I have your word?
Rabite King: You do! I swear we will be peaceful!
Popoie: The king looks like he means it.
Purim: I think he's being truthful.
Randi: Okay, we will go and talk to King Truffle for you. But if you try and double-cross us...
Rabite King: I won't! I promise on my fuzzy honor!

The script is anticlimactic, so we can only hope that whatever else was there was more compelling.

Truffle: A rabite kingdom for rabites to live in peace and prosperity?
Truffle: Hmm... Sounds like he's got his heart in the right place, don't you think?
Popoie: Right place?!
Truffle: It's for the sake of his children, right? We only had a problem because we were his enemy!
Purim: I suppose...
Truffle: In that case, I think we can spare some candies for the rabites. I can even show them how to run a country!
Randi: Wow, really?
%S(min): Oh, how kind! How benevolent is the king! I'm so moved!
Truffle: On one condition—if the rabites ever try to attack this country again, we won't hold back!
Truffle: I'll call upon the legendary heroes and they'll show no Mercy! Hahaha!
Popoie: Wait, why do we always have to clean up the mess?

The sandship crew hardly had any content in the original, so they're brought back for more.  Note that this would take place after defeating the Mana Beast when Popoie is no longer in the party.

Molten Water

Purim: Can't someone do something about this heat?
Randi: You okay?
Purim: You were the one who decided to continue our journey to protect the new world. Are you sure about this?
Randi: The world wasn't magically fixed when we defeated the empire. There're still lots of people that need help.
Randi: Besides... I'm sure our companion and Dyluck would want us to do as much as we can to keep the world safe.
Purim: Yes... I think you're right about that. Those two sacrificed everything for the sake of the world, after all.

Purim: We're nearly at Kakkara Desert. Let's keep going!
Neko: We meet in the strangest places, purrr... Do mew need anything?

Purim: We made it to Kakkara! What's next, leader?
Randi: Uh, what was it that Admiral Meria said back in Tasnica...?
Meria: Thank you for coming all this way. I have an important task for you.
Meria: Molten water has started welling up from the area in Kakkara Desert where the republic's sandship sank.
Meria: Now that Mana is gone, along with the sprites and spirits, people think that molten water could be a new power source.
Meria: But an unknown group of interlopers has attacked our research team and we lost communications.
Meria: We need energy to save the people of the world! I need you to stop those invaders. Can you help?
Purim: So we need to find the sunken sandship...but how?
Randi: We should be able to spot the soldiers that are investigating the molten water. It's near there, right?
Purim: That's pretty vague, but I suppose we have to try.
Amar: Molten water is our hope for the future! It could be just the kind of energy source that we need!
What's "molten water"? Who wants water that you can't drink anyway?
Now that the empire is no longer at war, I might take this opportunity to move!
Maybe Salamando left us molten water as a thank you when he left the Fire Palace.

Purim: It took some time, but at least we're out of the sun and inside the sandship.
Randi: We have to get under this thing to find that weird water and those mysterious invaders.
Purim: Then what are we waiting for?
Commander Morie went down below to confront those interlopers all by himself!
I didn't realize he was so brave. Maybe I've misjudged him.
Right after the molten water was discovered they attacked! Where did those invaders hear about it?
The area under the sandship is connected to underground caves. That's where we found the molten water.
They're calling them a group, but it's just three interlopers.
But we can't let anyone know that three people managed to take out our troops. That'd be too embarrassing!
Randi: Hey look! There really are caves under the sandship!
Purim: So the molten water must be a little further in, right?
Morie: Didn't expect you guys... I tried my best, but I was no match for them. I'm not fit to call myself a military man.
Randi: Don't say that! You're doing your best for your countrymen!
Purim: Your wounds aren't deep. You should be fully healed in no time.

And surely enough...

Hechman #1: If it isn't those little brats from before! Long time, no see.
Purim: Not you again!
Hechman #1: Welcome to the Scorpion Army's newest plot for world domination!
Hechman #1: Or should I say the New-and-Improved Scorpion Army! Haha!
Hechman #2: Great name, boss!
Randi: So you were the interlopers who attacked the research team!
Hechman #1: Sure was! And we're using this powerful molten water energy to complete our
new robot—
Hechman #1: —the Super Special Deluxe Mega Robot Final Form, Mach 3!
Hechman #1: This indestructible machine is known as "Bloodthirsty Ted"!
Hechman #2: Nice one, boss!
Hechman #1: Now, show us your destructive power, Ted! Time to make these pipsqueaks run for cover!

After the battle...

Hechman #1: No! Ted... He was so young! You won't get away with this!
Hechman #2: Wait for us, boss!
Morie: You did it! Now we can continue operations with this molten water.
Commander! Are you all right? We saw the invaders retreating.
The commander defeated those interlopers! I'm proud to work for him!
Morie: N-no, it wasn't me! The true heroes are these two.
Morie: I didn't help at all. I was too weak...
????: No, Morie. You're wrong.
Morie: Gramps!
Meria: You've acknowledged your own failings. That's important.
Meria: You must first come to terms with your own limitations before you can become truly strong.
Morie: Gramps... No—
Morie: Admiral Meria! Thank you for the advice, sir!
Meria: You two saved the day yet again. I want to thank you on behalf of the people.
Randi: U-uh, really. It was no big deal...
Purim: We can't stand by and let evil continue in this world.
Meria: I don't just mean thank you for the molten water.
Meria: My grandson would never have grown into the fine leader he is now without you.
Meria: He's well on his way to becoming a top-tier admiral in his own right.
Meria: As a fellow military man and his grandfather, I'm glad you came along.
Meria: Thank you both.
Purim: I guess this is our cue to move on.
Purim: There are bound to be more people that need help out there.
Randi: You're right. Let's move out!

So that's what happened after SoM---Randi and Purim defeated the Scorpion Army yet again in a generic rehash of the previous encounters.  

Synopsis

This synopsis is the last thing in the script.  It was not intended to be seen by players, but it's interesting nonetheless.  The paragraphing is mine.

Randi and his companions disobey the village elder to search for treasure at the nearby waterfall. After falling into the frigid waters, Randi decides to look for a path back to the village. Guided by a mysterious voice, Randi pulls a rusted old sword out of the rocks. Blade in hand, Randi hurries back to the village.  

After defeating the Mantis Ant, Randi is counseled by Gemma, a traveling soldier. The Potos elder realizes that the legendary Mana Sword protecting the village has been removed, and Randi is summoned to account for his actions.  Exiled from Potos Village, Randi follows Gemma's advice and heads toward the Water Palace to meet with Sage Luka.  Sage Luka informs Randi that Mana power is weakening throughout the world, causing monsters to become violent. Though the Vandole Empire has turned its attention to the Kingdom of Pandora, first Randi must find a dwarf blacksmith to reforge the Mana Sword. And so, Randi heads toward the caves in Gaia's Navel.

On his journey, Randi joins up with a young girl named Purim. Purim is searching for her fiancĂ©, Dyluck. The two of them continue on toward Gaia's Navel. The dwarf blacksmith, Watts, agrees to reforge the Mana Sword. Meanwhile, Randi searches for the dwarf elder to learn more about the current situation. 

Having defeated Tropicallo, the elder asks Randi to take the young sprite, Popoie, along on his journey. Having lost their memories, the sprite must head to the Underground Palace. However, the party must find the witch Elinee in the Haunted Forest before they can get through. But first, Randi must return to Watts. Randi receives an axe strong enough to break rock from Watts the blacksmith. On the dwarf elder's advice, the party heads to the Witch's Castle in the Haunted Forest.

Despite defeating Spikey Tiger, the party is too late to stop the witch from sending Dyluck to the mysterious Thanatos. Purim decides to stay with Randi and Popoie. Suddenly, they receive an urgent message from Luka begging them to return to the Water Palace.

The party obtains the power of the water elemental, Undine. Sage Luka tells them to return to Gaia's Navel and Dwarf Village. From there, they must continue down into the Underground Palace.

After the party gains the earthen powers of the elemental Gnome, Luka calls out to them again. Gemma has not returned from his trip to Pandora. The party returns to the Water Palace to hear more details. Gemma has not returned from his trip to the Kingdom of Pandora. Sage Luka has heard some disturbing rumors surrounding the ruins in Pandora and urges the party to look into it.

The party meets Purim's childhood friend, Pamaela; however she mysteriously disappears as soon as they try to talk to her. Realizing that something strange is happening to the area, Randi and his friends head to the south to search the ruins. The person behind the witch's tricks and the problems in Pandora is none other than the imperial general, Thanatos. Gemma says that the empire is trying to break the seals on all the Mana Seeds hidden in palaces throughout the world. Randi returns to the Water Palace to protect its Mana Seed.

The party is too late to save the Water Seed. Though this doesn't appear to be the empire's doing, Luka tells Randi to search for the stolen Mana Seed in the Underground Palace near Gaia's Navel. A small-time crime syndicate known as the Scorpion Army is behind the Water Seed's disappearance. Once they recover it, the party returns to the Water Palace as quickly as possible.

Geshtar, another of the imperial generals, breaks the seal on the Water Seed. If all eight seals are broken, the destructive Mana Fortress will be revived, endangering the planet. Luka and Gemma tell Randi to visit Cannon Travel for help.

Randi and his friends make it to the Upper Land. They help the moogles defeat the invading Pebblers and bring peace back to their village. They decide to honor the dwarf elder's wishes and look for Popoie's homeland. After helping the Moogle Village, Popoie's missing memories suddenly return. The memories say that if the party goes through the Forest of Seasons from spring to winter, once they reach spring again, Popoie's village will appear...

When Randi arrives, the Sprite Village has been attacked and not a single sprite can be found. After searching the whole town, they decide to check in the nearby palace. The party obtains the wind elemental, Sylphid, from Popoie's grandfather. In order to better protect Mana power, they decide to go to the country of Matango to find the legendary white dragon.

King Truffle, the young leader of Matango, tells Randi what he knows about the Mana legend and informs the party of a white dragon that lives in the nearby cave.

The party leaves Flammie the dragon to King Truffle's keeping while they look for the next Mana Palace. Their journey takes them through Kakkara Desert to look for the Fire Palace.
In Kakkara Desert, the party is picked up by a sandship of the republic; however, the guards fear they are spies. Randi and his friends need to find a way to get away from their captors.
Struck down by Geshtar's imperial forces, the sandship sinks into the desert. Still searching for the Fire Palace, the party heads to Kakkara, the oasis town.

In order to find the Fire Seed missing from the palace, the party uses Cannon Travel to head for Ice Country. The tropics within Ice Country's Crystal Forest are said to be a summer paradise compared to the freezing countryside. Randi and his friends decide to search for the Fire Seed there. The tropics are far warmer than anything else in Ice Country. Randi looks into the reason for this strangely pleasant climate.

The party obtains the elemental power of fire from Salamando. After hearing from the Scorpion Army that an old man may have taken the Fire Seed from the palace, Randi and his companions continue to search in the Crystal Forest. Randi recovers the Fire Seed from Frost Gigas, who is actually the missing Santa Claus. The party heads for the Fire Palace to the west of Kakkara.

Now safely back in Kakkara, the party asks around in town to learn more about where to head next. According to the townsfolk, Cannon Travel has started offering trips to the empire. Randi and his friends decide to ask the Cannon Man to help them infiltrate the empire.

The party finds themselves in the empire, but in order to leave Southtown, they need to learn the secret code. Stumped, they decide to ask the people in town. Mara, widow of a Tasnican spy, tells Randi the secret code—634. 

The party then proceeds to the resistance's base in Northtown. Randi learns more about what's happened to Dyluck and Pamaela from Krissie, the leader of the resistance against the empire. The party decides to look for clues to their whereabouts in the Northtown Ruins.

Purim is attacked in the ruins by none other than a brainwashed Dyluck. Thanatos takes him away again, and the party heads back to the resistance's base in Northtown to regroup. 

The emperor sends the resistance an offer of peace. Doubting its validity, Randi and his friends head to the Imperial Palace. The peace offering was bait to lure the resistance into a trap. Captured along with them, the party escapes imprisonment and sets off to find the emperor himself. Geshtar tries to eliminate the party, but King Truffle manages to help them escape with the help of Flammie just in the nick of time. Randi and the others head to the southwest of the empire to regroup in Matango.

Reunited with Flammie, King Truffle tells the party about the Lofty Mountains, home of Sage Joch. Luka suggests they meet with Joch, so the party heads toward the mountains to the southwest of Matango.

Jehk, Sage Joch's disciple, tells the party that Joch went to the Palace of Darkness in the Lofty Mountains. Randi and his friends head off to find him. Randi is unable to find Joch in the Palace of Darkness, but instead finds the darkness elemental, Shade. The party returns to the Lofty Mountains to ask about Joch again.

Jehk tells the party that Joch has left for Gold Isle, a circular island to the northeast of the Lofty Mountains. Randi follows after him. Joch is not on Gold Isle, but the island does have the Golden Tower, also known as the Light Palace. However, the key was stolen by a republic spy who was caught and punished. Randi and his friends head to Southtown to look for leads.
Randi gets the key to Golden Tower from Mara, the widow. The party then returns to Gold Isle to enter the Light Palace. The party obtains the power of light from the elemental Lumina. However, they still cannot locate Sage Joch. Once again, the party heads for the Lofty Mountains.

Jehk tells the party that Joch has gone to the Moon Palace, beyond Kakkara Desert in the cosmos. The party again follows after him. The party obtains the help of Luna, the elemental of the moon. However, Joch is nowhere to be found. The party again leaves for the Lofty Mountains.

According to Jehk, Joch has left for the Republic of Tasnica. The party heads to the west of the Lofty Mountains in search of him. Randi finds Gemma in Tasnica, but hears frightening rumors of a spy in their midst. The party continues cautiously along their way through the castle. The imperial spy is none other than Dark Stalker impersonating the chancellor of the republic. Though the party manages to stop the spy, they cannot locate Joch. Yet again, they head back to the Lofty Mountains.

Finally, the party manages to catch up to Joch. He tells the party to progress through the Passage of Trials in order to learn true courage. Randi and his companions manage to defeat copies of themselves in battle in the Passage of Trials and learn that Jehk is really Joch in disguise. Joch tells the party that Vandole, the emperor, is trying to raise the Mana Fortress. They must head to the Mana Palace near the coral reef in order to stop him.

The party manages to obtain the powers of the tree elemental, Dryad, however, the final Mana Seed seal is broken. The Mana Fortress begins to rise from the ocean depths. Desperate for a way to stop the Fortress, the party heads to the ruins under the Mana Palace.

Unable to stop Vandole from raising the Mana Fortress, the party heads further into the ruins to block the emperor and his underling Fanha. Randi finds the emperor slain on the Grand Palace altar. To find out who took the emperor's life, the party chases after the unknown villain through a passageway behind the altar.

Imperial General Fanha betrayed the emperor in order to serve Thanatos instead. However, Thanatos leaves her to make his own way further into the palace. Randi gives chase in order to stop the true villain, Thanatos.

The party defeats Mech Rider, but it's too late to stop the rise of the Mana Fortress. They manage to escape the sinking palace on Flammie. Worried about Gemma and the others, the party heads back to the palace.

The world seems doomed to be destroyed in the clash between the fortress and the Mana Beast. Randi's last resort is to attempt to power his Mana Sword with the Mana Tree itself. The party heads to the Pure Land at the edge of the world. The party reaches the Pure Land and hears a kind voice guiding them deeper into the realm. The Mana Tree is destroyed by the Fortress, but the spirit of the tree uses the last of her strength to synchronize the sword with all the Mana Seeds. Randi vows to fulfill the will of his people, the Mana Tribe, and destroy the Fortress with his fully powered sword. The party moves on to confront Thanatos.

Dyluck uses the last of his strength to force Thanatos into his true form. Randi and his companions defeat the evil general and regain the power of Mana. However, the Mana Beast still threatens to destroy everything in its path. The party heads off to their final battle in order to save the world.

~

Next: The Art of Mana

Credits: Since we don't have actual screenshots, I posted generic official art that was found on the Wiki of Mana and the Female Villains Wiki among others.  Square owns SoM.

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