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Seiken Densetsu – The Lost Tape

Posted on June 16th, 2009 at 7:24 pm by Sheexy Filed under Seikens


Today’s news starts with a little lesson about what Seiken Densetsu means. Most of you will already know this, but for those who don’t let me enlighten you.

To the right is the Japanese logo for Sword of Mana, or Shinyaku Seiken Densetsu as it is known in Japan. The two little Kanji at the top are “shinyaku” together, which means “New Testament,” but that isn’t important. What we are looking at is the main part “seiken densetsu”.
There are four Kanji, “sei” means holy, “ken” means sword, and the final two together, “densetsu” mean Legend. So basically we can say it means Legend of the Holy Sword.

Now let’s look at the logo for the original Seiken Densetsu. Not the one you know and love as Final Fantasy Adventure or Final Fantasy Mystic Quest though. The game for the NES that was cancelled and really had nothing to do with the Mana series we know and love today. It was going to be more similar to Final Fantasy following a turn-based fighting system, and was to be released on the Famicom Disk System. But that never happened and the name was eventually used for a new game Square was making for the Gameboy, known as “Gemma Knights,” which is the first Mana game we know today. But I digress, onto the logo:

Seiken Densetsu: Emergence of Excalibur

See that, “Emergence of Excalibur” there? That’s important here too. The Seiken Densetsu series has taken a few lines out of the various stories surrounding this legendary and maybe even holy sword.

First off is that in Final Fantasy Adventure, both in the Japanese and English versions the Rusty Sword does not turn into the Mana Sword, but rather it turns into Excalibur (XCalibur in the English due to limited typespace).

Secondly is that sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone are referred to as the same weapon. Secret of Mana puts the Mana Sword squarely into a stone at the beginning of the game.

So where am I going here?


For those of you who can’t read it, in the big characters known as Katakana it reads “Excalibur” and the Kanji below it you may recognize as reading “Seiken Densetsu,” so this is “Excalibur: Legend of the Holy Sword”.

Now look at that thing, it’s ancient, you can tell because it’s on VHS and no one uses that anymore. Who knows what mysteries could be locked away in this tape? Could it hold the secrets to “Seiken Densetsu: Emergence of Excalibur” and what that game was like? Could it be an anime retelling the story of Final Fantasy Adventure? Well, I’ve seen the contents of the tape and I will reveal all, continue reading to uncover the mystery of this tape.

Turns out it’s just the Japanese version of the Hallmark Entertainment television miniseries of “Merlin” from 1998 starring Sam Neill and other people like James Earl Jones and Martin Short.

I remember watching it when it was shown on TV back in 1998, and I thought it was kind of funny that it ended up with the subtitle “Seiken Densetsu” in Japan. I found this while I was searching for stuff on a Japanese auction site and decided to share it here.

Hope you enjoyed chasing that red herring as much as I enjoyed leading you on.

6 Responses to “Seiken Densetsu – The Lost Tape”

  1. manaman Says:

    Hey Sheexy, that’s a terrific write up. Very interesting that the mini-series took on the subtitle of the series we all love. Now, I have to confess, one of the reasons SoM will always be my favorite in the series and why it hooked me so much is because I’m a huge fan of the King Arthur legends and the words in the opening sequence of SoM captivates me to this day. It’s such a neat idea. It’s also why I would like a return to this idea and concept in any new games.

  2. Sheexy Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it manaman!

  3. nick912012 Says:

    Aww, I was hoping for some gameplay footage of the original. Sheexy, you tease.

  4. Shuu Says:

    You really wrote a news post about it, haha!
    Good read, I tried my best to stop myself from laughing at the end. : P

  5. Quemaqua Says:

    Haha, nice job. You had me going there. Good fun.

  6. Sheexy Says:

    Nick: I wish we could find something like that!

    Thanks for the comments everyone, I’m glad this was well received.