Film and TV adaptations have been all the rage lately, whether the source material is video games or old movies. This time, it looks like it’s the Legend of Mana’s turn to be reimagined in a new way. The news for the new anime adaptation was only recently announced but fans are already buzzing with expectation. What can you expect from the upcoming Legend of Mana anime series? Here is everything we know so far.
What Is Legend of Mana?
Square Enix has been publishing games for years and one of the game franchises they handled was the Mana series. It started with just Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in 1991. That game was originally made to be a spin-off to Final Fantasy on the GameBoy console. However, the game’s success and popularity left some of the fans wanting more.
As a result, Square Enix published a sequel to the game called Secret of Mana in 1993. Afterward, they also released the game Trials of Mana in 1995. Both of those games were specifically made for the SNES. After these two titles then came the game now being remade into an anime: Legend of Mana, released in 1999.
Of course, the Mana franchise doesn’t stop there as further success gave way to more titles in the series. However, the game that Warner Brothers Japan will remake into anime is none other than the Legend of Mana. The Mana series just celebrated its 30th anniversary and is culminating that celebration through this very adaptation.
If you’re unfamiliar, the Legend of Mana that Square Enix published was an action role-playing game (RPG) released for the PS1. It’s set in a fantasy universe, following the adventures of an unnamed hero attempting to restore the land of Fa’Diel. Throughout the game, he attempts to restore the Tree of Mana and fulfills various quests to achieve this goal.
Legend of Mana’s Original Premise
While waiting for the Legend of Mana adaptation, fans might go on and on speculating what might happen story-wise. However, our best clue right now would be the original game’s plot. If the anime adaptation will take heavy inspiration from the original, then there’s no harm in revisiting its story.
In case you have forgotten, Legend of Mana takes place in the fictional world of Fa’Diel. However, despite being an action RPG, the game initially focuses on creating a section of the world. This sets the game’s tone and how it isn’t necessarily focused on action, despite it playing a large part.
In this world, the Mana Tree, the source of all mana and life, had already burned down 900 years ago. Hence, the land was struck with war, putting humans, faeries, and other groups looking for leftover mana. The player’s goal, then, is to restore the world’s mana instead of simply protecting the Mana Tree, like older games.
However, there’s a twist to this world that the player very quickly finds out. That is that the world is only part of his imagination. Hence, the goal to rebuild and restore the world is more of a revisiting of Fa’diel’s old memories.
This may seem like a strange and cruel way to layout the game. However, considering the first three games always ended with the Mana Tree’s destruction, this new premise is a welcome change. Humanity’s lust for mana always led to the downfall of the Mana Tree in previous games. This time, humanity already failed, and that lust underscores the rest of the Legend of Mana.
Legend of Mana Anime Adaptation Announced
During the Mana series’ 30th anniversary live stream, Square Enix announced the anime adaptation of the Legend of Mana. According to them, Warner Brothers Japan along with Graphinica Inc and Yokohama Animation Lab will produce the series.
Based on the release announcement, the title of the anime will be “Legend of Mana: The Teardrop Crystal.” However, there were little-to-no details about the anime as well as a target debut date. All we know is that those who produced the cinematic for the HD remaster will also work on the anime. Hence, we can perhaps get a glimpse of what the anime will look and feel like upon release. However, there’s not much else to go off from.
According to Masaru Oyamada, the game series’ producer, the animation was first proposed before they thought of the HD remaster. All they discussed with Warner Brothers Japan was producing an anime adaptation based on the game. However, as Oyamada watched the passionate pitch for the anime, he realized he also needed to remake the game.
As a result, both the project for the anime adaptation and the HD remaster began. Thankfully, passionate producers who love the series as much as the fans are on both projects. Based on the cinematic remaster trailer, we have high expectations for the potential of the anime as well.
Of course, hungry fans might already want to get their hands on the adaptation right this moment. However, as there is no clear release date, they might have to wait a long time before that happens. On the other hand, fans can relive their nostalgic memories through the HD remaster. They recently released the game on the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam for PC.
What to Expect from Legend of Mana’s Anime Adaptation
The official title for the anime adaptation is “Legend of Mana: The Teardrop Crystal.” Of course, that leaves people scratching their heads about what the anime is about if they’ve never played the game. However, fans of the series might take hints that it alludes to Legend of Mana’s Jumi Arc.
On the other hand, others might speculate that the anime adaptation could tackle other arcs like the Dragon Arc and Irwin Arc. However, at the time of writing, there has been no news from Warner Brothers Japan about the exact premise. That doesn’t mean we can’t speculate to our hearts’ content, though — and speculate we will!
Firstly, the most concrete clue we have so far is the trailer for the HD remake that was just released. Graphinica Inc and Yokohama Animation Lab were the organizations that worked on the cinematic trailer for the HD remaster. However, they’re also the same companies in charge of making the anime come to life.
As a result, we can expect the anime to also use the game trailer’s dream-like art style. Of course, it’s also highly possible that they’ll simplify the art given the taxing nature of animation. On the other hand, Square Enix also unveiled teaser art during the announcement that evokes the same mood. Hence, we can expect the anime adaptation to look somewhere between the two.
Secondly, in terms of how it releases, the anime adaptation seems to aim for international airing. However, there’s no word yet on which platforms will have the anime once it releases. Only time will tell whether it will release on Netflix or some other streaming website. However, because Warner Brothers Japan will help produce it, there’s a good chance it’ll be on HBO Max.
Thirdly, the premise for the anime adaptation is a bit vague at this point. All we know is that the title includes “The Teardrop Crystal,” alluding to Legend of Mana’s Jumi Arc. However, it’s still mostly speculation because nothing is confirmed yet.
On the other hand, what we do know is that the Legend of Mana anime will tackle familiar game elements. For example, it’s only natural for us to expect that the anime will explore the lives of familiar game characters. Moreover, the anime will likely feature the same locations and settings we find in the game.
However, adaptations like these don’t always necessarily follow the source material’s story. Hence, things are still up in the air whether or not the anime will retain the same plot. Of course, manga-to-anime adaptations usually stay pretty faithful for the most part. However, that is something we cannot guarantee or assume with confidence at the moment. We will have to wait and see if and when the first trailer comes out to confirm our suspicions.
Legend of Mana HD Remaster
Fans might feel bored and bummed out that the anime adaptation isn’t coming for a while. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy anything related to the Legend of Mana and its series. That’s because the original game itself has an HD remaster that was just released this year. Moreover, according to the reviews, the game feels like a wonderful modern retelling of the original. Hence, you might want to grab a compatible platform to play the game.
This isn’t the first time they remade a game in the Mana series. In fact, there was a remake of the original game for mobile and the PlayStation Vita back in 2016. The mobile versions also received an English version, entitled Adventures of Mana, in addition to the original Japanese.
On the other hand, Square Enix also published Collection of Mana for the Nintendo Switch in June 2019. That collection included the first three titles in the series beloved by the fans. Lastly, Square Enix also released the Seiken Densetsu 3 remake called the Trials of Mana in April 2020. It was available for all fans to play on the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, or PC.
Now, we’re finally getting the Legend of Mana HD remake on the PS4, Switch, and PC. They rebuilt it from the ground up just to accommodate modern standards and graphics. If the ratings on Steam are anything to go by, the game seems pretty well-received.
Apart from the HD remaster and the anime adaptation, Square Enix also made one other announcement related to the series. That is that the Trials of Mana remake will release on mobile devices, both iOS, and Android, starting July 15. Yes, that’s right. Fans of the game can use their phones — along with made-for-touch controls — to play the game. Moreover, the game will have customizable graphics settings to fit the user’s tastes and phone capabilities.
In addition, there will also be a new free-to-play game called “Echoes of Mana” coming out soon. More specifically, Square Enix said that the game will launch in 2022, also on mobile devices like “Trials of Mana.” The game will host a new story that brings both new and known characters together within the universe.
According to the trailer, some of the characters will come from the Trials, Secrets, and Adventures of Mana games. Moreover, the game will also feature a multiplayer mode, allowing for more fun gameplay with friends.
Legend of Mana Anime: Release Date & Platform
Unfortunately, the Legend of Mana anime adaptation is still in production. As of the time of writing, there isn’t a target date available so we’re not sure when it might come. Hence, fans may have to wait for a year or two before they can immerse themselves in the anime version.
Moreover, there is also no word yet on which platforms will have the anime once it’s released. All we know is that it will be available worldwide, so streaming platforms are a high possibility. More specifically, HBO Max is a plausible platform because Warner Brothers Japan is assisting in production. However, that simply remains an educated guess at this point.
The Bottom Line
The Mana series has been around for over two decades and fans far and wide have loved it. Now, thanks to that dedication and love for the series, Legend of Mana is getting an anime adaptation. News of the anime, along with that of the HD remaster, first came out during the 30th-anniversary celebration.
There’s not much we know about the anime at this point. However, we do know it’ll take inspiration from the Legend of Mana, likely incorporating similar characters and settings. Unfortunately, there is no release date or target year at the moment so we’ll be eagerly expecting the next announcement. Until then, fans can play the remastered HD version of the original game on PC, Switch, or PS4.