So over on the Japanese side of the web, there was a great site called “Death Queen Ward” that unfortunately went down back in July. The site started out as a “Village” in 2002, upgraded to a “Town” in 2009, later a “Ward” around 2013, and now it is back in “City” form as of 2022. When the site went down, I reached out to the owner over Twitter and that seemed to have spurred them to rebuild the entire thing to bring it back.
So, what is it? Well it’s a great repository for all things retro Square, mostly within the Famicom and Super Famicom era. So Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, and the original Trials of Mana fall right in place. The owner of the site, the Mayor Queen, has an extensive collection of merch and print media from that era along with a very impressive Phone Card collection. Trials of Mana in particular has some very rare and very expensive phone cards that I have opted out of collecting, just to save my sanity (and wallet).
It’s a very cool site, the new layout is particularly stylish, and it will be critical in helping me with my own rebuild of the Merchandise section here on Seikens whenever I can find time to get around to it!
I wonder where Death Queen City will go in the future… Death Queen District? Death Queen Metropolis? Maybe someday we’ll even see a Death Queen Ecumenopolis.
Ah, Mana Music Mondays, Do You Remember Me? It’s been over a decade. Back in the heyday of this site, from 2007 to 2012, I really felt The Calling to highlight some of the great Mana music tracks out there. I was posting tracks almost every week.
Those days aren’t coming back, but I’ve got a real Treat for you today. It’s a Day of Celebration. There are some real Revelations here that are going to Put Your Lights On and cause some Waves Within your understanding of the Mana universe. Let the Music Set You Free. Why don’t you and I take a trip to Anywhere You Want to Go, as long as it’s to the land of Final Fantasy Adventure / Adventures of Mana. I promise this eventually has to do with music (it already does actually, maybe you’ll catch on).
Well, All Right, time to get a Move on. Before We Go, there are Spoilers ahead if you haven’t played through Final Fantasy Adventure or Adventures of Mana yet. But I am sure that You Are My Kind, and already know this stuff by heart.
Dance Sister Dance
Our music track for today relates to the Girl in Final Fantasy Adventure. Remember her? She’s no Black Magic Woman, she’s The Healer. Here is a little run-down of her story for you up next.
Skip this if you want to get to the point, or if you Just Don’t Care.
At the beginning of the game, her knight, Hasim, has fallen, and she’s got No One to Depend On. That is, except for the Hero, a former slave who is now Free as the Morning Sun, with whom she pleads “Take Me With You“. Later on, Bogard tells the two to head over to Wendel. On the way, the Hero and the Girl accepted the Open Invitation to stay at Kett’s place. But the Hero awoke in the morning to find She’s Not There. So he goes Searchin’.
This Boy’s Fire
Turns out, he needs a magic mirror as Persuasion to get into the depths of Kett’s. It’s off to the Marsh Caves, where he meets a mysterious man who helps him out. With the Hydra defeated, the Hero gets a new spell and it Feels Like Fire. Back in Kett’s, the Hero found the Girl and defeated the Vampire who was ready to make her his Soul Sacrifice.
After finally making it to Wendel the mysterious man from before reveals his Evil Ways, he’s Julius! He kidnaps the Girl off Into the Night. So the Hero and Bogard take off after him; it’s Night Hunting Time. Shortly after, the Hero and Bogard made it to Julius’s airship, practically Breaking Down the Door to rescue her, but things go awry! Julius is on the attack! With Nowhere to Run, Bogard gets blasted off the airship, perhaps now he is Somewhere in Heaven for all we know. Julius proves too powerful, and the Hero just can’t Hold On either, so he plummets down below as well. The Girl is left alone with Julius… things have gone seriously Sideways.
A whole lot of story happens here, but the Girl isn’t involved so I’m going to Choose not to talk about it! I am Free to do as I please, after all.
Eventually, the Hero does meet back up with the Girl, but unfortunately she’s under Julius’s magic spell. And she casts her own magic spell too, reversing the flow of the waterfall. But the Hero gets blasted away AGAIN by Julius, but this Fortunate Son seems to have a knack for surviving. But he’s fed up with the adventure. He finds Bogard, bedridden, and doesn’t even say “Hope You’re Feeling Better“, he’s just ready to give up. Bogard manages to convince him to Try a Little Harder, and he’s back on track. The bonds of Brotherhood are strong between these two.
A whole lot more Adventure happens between here, as Everything’s Coming Our Way, including the end of the game.
Finally, the Hero makes it around the world and finds his way up the waterfall to save the day. At the end of the game the Girl goes through some Changes, you know Them Changes, and becomes Everybody’s Everything. She is her Mother’s Daughter after all. Time flows like a river, and history repeats Over and Over.
One of These Days I’ll learn to write more concisely.
Let’s get to the point.
Think back to the waterfall reversing scene. Do you remember the Girl’s famous line? The magic words that reverse the flow?
Klnka Imra Miryon Tin Qua
Of course you do, right? Well, that is what she says in the English and French translations at least (not sure about German). So, yeah, that seems like a load of nonsense doesn’t it? It doesn’t seem to be a simple Caeser cipher or any other cipher I tried. Did the translator mess it up somehow? Let’s take a look at the original Japanese text from that scene:
Say it Again, this time in a way that people who can’t read Japanese can understand it. I’ll write the Katakana in Romaji instead (it’s not perfect, but it’ll serve a purpose later).
oekomaba irito pemopabosa muwarata
Well, it’s definitely not the same thing… so what is it? Try saying it a few times and see if you can catch what is going on. Imagine a nice Latin beat with an organ, some electric guitar, and some rocking drums.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have noticed a lot of strange italicized phrases in this write up. Those are all song titles actually, and I only included the recap of the Girl’s story above so I could shoehorn even more of them in. Pretty Smooth right? Tell Me, Are You Tired of it? Ok, I’m done, no more of that. I managed to shove over 50 song titles in. But why was I doing it, and whose songs were they?
Legend of Santana
They were all songs by the band Santana or that involved the band leader Carlos Santana in some way. And the reason I chose those songs is right in the article title up top, just in the wrong language. I should have written it en español.
You see, in 1970 Santana recorded a cover of a 1962 cha-cha-chá (a genre of Cuban music) by Tito Puente. That cover was of the song Oye Como Va, and it’s one of my favorite songs. It’s real good, it’s in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In fact, it’s real great. It’s on the Donkey Konga track list (but not the Japanese version). Oh yeah, you know I was rocking out in-game to this one back in 2004. In fact, this was the song I was the best at (either that or the one by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones), I never missed a single note even on Gorilla mode. I was pretty cool, or at least that’s the Impression That I Get.
So let’s look at the lyrics to the song and the magic spell above together. I’m not going to translate them, because it doesn’t matter here. I’m also going to adjust some of the letters in the Romaji, because letters like B and V or R and L are sometimes interchangeable in Japanese, using the same symbols. B and P are also very related, as they are both plosives and use the same symbols apart from the diacritical marks (i.e., バ and パ; ba and pa). Same thing goes for S and Z as sibilants (i.e., サ and ザ; sa and za). Keep those in mind when looking below.
Oyecomova, Mi ritmo, Buenopa’gozar, Mulata
Hey, isn’t that neat? It doesn’t line up 100%, but it’s undoubtedly the same “words” just misheard perhaps. We can take things a step further, if you consider that sometimes words that end in R in other languages simply end in an A sound in Japanese (bosa to bosar) and that B and G share the same diacritical marks, the dakuten (those two little lines), which mean they make a “muddier” sound compared to the same symbols without.
But why Santana? Maybe someone on the team just really liked Santana. I don’t blame them, it’s a solid choice.
But you see, Oye Como Va has been covered by a lot of people. In fact, Chisato Moritaka, a Japanese pop singer, covered the song in late 1990. Interesting, considering Seiken Densetsu released in Summer 1991. But that’s just a coincidence, right? How do we know it was her version of the song, and not Santana’s that inspired the quote in the game?
Let’s read some commentary from the production staff that was included in the Japanese Advanced Knowledge guidebook for the game (I grabbed the Japanese text from here). Below is a comment from Yoshinori Kitase, director and producer at Square Enix, known mostly for Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger. His story with Square Enix actually starts with Final Fantasy Adventure, where he worked on game design and the game’s scenario. Here is what he said…
… and here it is translated… (thanks to Sevon for brushing up my translation)
The original story is by Ishii-san, but I also added my own interpretations and little details. I’m a big fan of Star Wars and the performer Chisato Moritaka, so maybe they influenced me…? I had a lot of fun this time around. -Yoshinori Kitase
Well well well, 見て at who popped up (Translator’s note: 見て means look). That settles it, I think, and some Japanese fans do as well. It also lends a lot of credence to the idea that “Jema/Gemma Knight” was inspired by “Jedi Knight” and the fact that Obi-Wan and Bogard seem pretty similar.
So there we go, let’s take a look at the actual music for this Mana Music Monday post. Listen to it and think about the words of the magic spell:
oe koma va i rito pemo pa bosa muwalata
You can definitely hear it, can’t you? It sounds a whole lot like it’s written there. This had to be a case of misheard/misremembered lyrics.
This version of the song is pretty fun. I definitely prefer Santana’s version, but there is nothing wrong with this one (well maybe those random yells that accompany the organ solo around the two minute mark). This is just a solid song no matter who covers it as far as I can tell.
So that’s the origin of the Japanese magic words in Final Fantasy Adventure, and a neat little jaunt into the ways the worlds of Mana and music flow together. I hope you found it as interesting as I did. I am still not sure about the origin of “Klnka Imra Miryon Tin Qua” but maybe one day I’ll figure that one out too.
It does share a suspicious amount of letters with the name Kaoru Moriyama… and that name just so happens to belong to the English translator of the game. Really makes you think, doesn’t it?
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If you’re in the mood for some new (old) Secret of Mana art, head over to Secret of Mana: Redux for a collection of images! There are also some new lore postings as well that I’ll mention below.
Characters:Serin – As seen on the right, there is a great piece of art from Dengeki Super Famicom showcasing Randi’s encounter with the mysterious ghost at the bottom of the falls.
Characters:Truffle – A cute bit of art of the characters meeting the folks from Matango. The characters seem a bit suspicious.
Characters:Luka – Scroll down a bit to see how Randi feels about Luka.
Locations:Ice Country – Check out the bottom of this page to see some absolutely adorable outfits for Popoie and Purim, Randi isn’t looking too impressed, however.
Locations:Kakkara – About halfway down the page you can check out some art about an encounter with the Spider Legs, and continue on to read about a small piece of cut material from the game.
Lore:Dengeki – Some new art from the 4/9/93 Square Power Book is showcased here, along with translations of the text accompanying it. Additionally, translations from the 5/14/93 issue can be found, including some Final Fantasy Adventure stuff, some backstory for Dyluck, and info on Popoie’s home!
Lore:Marukatsu – The 1/1/93 issue has some translations of very early information from the game, as well as many more comparisons to Final Fantasy Adventure. Head most of the way down the page for an absolute treasure trove of art from 9/10/93! Some really fun stuff here, don’t miss it! ManaRedux was able to get these art scans thanks to the help of bluebomber. Thanks!
Special thanks to Sevon (the webmaster of the nifty Legend of Mana pages and intensely immense SaGa pages) for all the help on many of the translations found on these pages!
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There are some cool new updates over at our affiliate, Secret of Mana: Redux! I’ll give you some highlights here, but you’ve gotta head over there for the full story!
Lore:Dengeki – February of 1993 has four new pieces of content with some cute illustrations! You definitely already know the game tips they’re giving you, but remember these were released months before the game!
Lore:Hippon Super! – February of 1993 again here, with more details about how Secret of Mana compared to the original Seiken Densetsu game, Final Fantasy Adventure. This is the kind of content I find really interesting!
Locations:Kakkara – Check out the small Dengeki article about the early history of the Moon Palace at the bottom!
Locations: Tasnica – Another little article from Dengeki at the bottom here, talking about the castle!
Locations: Lost Areas – Now we’re talking! This page is what Secret of Mana: Redux is all about. Check out all the crazy screenshots of places that don’t exist in the game anymore! A cannibal island that doesn’t exist, enemies in weird places, some whip areas that remind me of Final Fantasy Adventure map, and even more await you on this page. You won’t want to miss this page!
There is a whirlwind tour of the new stuff on Secret of Mana: Redux, and if you haven’t checked out the other pages on the site, make sure you do! There is a veritable treasure trove of content on the site that you can’t find anywhere else!
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Over in the Lore section of the site, there are a bunch of Print resources. There are some nice scans of interesting art (look over on the right for instance) and translations of the information in the pages. A ton of these scans have to do with the time before Secret of Mana released. It’s full of speculation and revealing brand new (at the time anyway) information about the game, it’s a great resource to see how the game came to be!
Here is what is new!
Dengeki – from this magazine you can check out a new translation in the April 1993 issue where they discuss how both Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana have the Rusty Sword in it. Famitsu – check out the May 1993 (that’s a few months before it released!) playthrough here. It’s one of the first times the game was played by people not on the dev team! Hippon Super! – here you can read about how the FFA and SoM charge systems work in the March 1993 section! Marukatsu – more FFA comparisons abound here! They’re all over in the February 93 section. Shonen Jump / V Jump – finally, just a few new images of Randi from July 93, but check out all the other neat art while you’re there!
Make sure to click around on the site, there is tons of information covering details about Characters you may not know, how different Locations changed throughout development, reviews of music tracks, and more!
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In some fantastic news we learn that a remake of the original Seiken Densetsu game, released in the west as Final Fantasy Adventure, is going to be making its way to the PlayStation Vita, Android and iPhone smartphones. I’ve seen no dates yet, but we do get a glimpse into the art-style of the remake in the video released by Square-Enix on YouTube:
You can also check out the new website covering the new game here.
The Remixes page is back in action, and in perfect timing (gee golly what a coincidence, huh?), as a new Seiken Densetsu remix has just been posted on OCRemix: Starlight Festival – Kiamet, a wonderful solo piano rendition of Powell from Seiken Densetsu 3 that brings across a sense of urgency through its Latin influence in style. The playing is very precise and includes some very nice harmonies and added textures on top of the original melody. The sound quality is exceptional.