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.
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’.
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:
オエコマバ イリト ペモパボサ ムワラタ
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?
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.
Oye como va, Mi ritmo, Bueno pa’ gozar, Mulata
oe koma va i rito pemo pa bosa muwalata
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?