Friends of Mana was an online game released by Square Enix in October of 2006 for mobile phones, as a part of the Mana series of games and an entry in the World of Mana subseries. The game was never made available outside of Japan, and as of its discontinuation in February of 2011 Friends of Mana became lost to time. Here is archived the fruits of the community’s attempts to understand and remember this elusive piece of history in a series we all hold in very high regard.
Before you begin, there are a few things worth noting about the information presented in this archive.
Notes on Information
Since Friends of Mana was shut down, documentation of the game available to the English community has been spotty and inconsistent. The purpose of this archive is to provide a richer and more comprehensive set of resources for information about the game, one that consists of a mess of screenshots, promotional material, and Japanese fan documentation. We hope that this information can give you a satisfying sense of Friends of Mana, however hope it is understood that we have no means of seeing this game through a clear lense, and that this documentation will for the time being remain, to some degree, spotty and inconsistent.
Notes on Translations
Translations of this archive’s information have been written for the purpose of conveying the information to the best of baba’s own understanding, and in a manner that is easy to consume and to comprehend. If you have difficulty understanding something or otherwise feel a translation fails to live up to this standard, please feel free to reach out.
When applicable, an attempt has been made to translate names faithfully to their officially localized counterparts, for readers’ convenience and out of respect for series’ localization conventions. However these official localizations are not always consistent; for example the original localization of Secret of Mana changed “ニキータ (Nikiita, Nikita)” to “Neko” whereas starting with Legend of Mana it was localized as “Niccolo,” severing the reference and obscuring the character’s origin. In general, names have been made to fit with either the most common localization or with Legend of Mana’s official 2000 translation, largely out of personal taste. This means ex., “バイゼル (Baizeru)” has been translated as “Vizel” even though “Beiser” has since been established as the modern norm.
In some cases, liberties were taken in translating names for the sake of better conveying the source material, ex., “さぼてんちゃん” (saboten chan, cactus-chan) was changed to “Lily Cactus” (credit to Sevon of the Mana Series Discord Server for that one) for the sake of a more fluid reading experience and to better emphasize the connection to Lil Cactus’ name, which was originally “さぼ てん君” (saboten kun, cactus-kun).
The Belbo Problem
Belbo is a major NPC in Friends of Mana who helps the player with crafting, or ‘item synthesis’. He is a student of Professor Bomb and a highly proficient blacksmith who holds himself with a gloomy air but is very passionate about his work. If you’ve played Children of Mana, you’ll likely recognize Belbo as one of the three Bomb brothers, and you would normally be right, but that is not the case here. You see, in the original Japanese release of Children of Mana, Belbo was not named ‘Belbo’, but rather ‘Bilbo’. This is to say, the Belbo you see mentioned in these translations is not in fact Belbo of the Bomb brothers, but rather their cousin. Bilbo, likewise, is translated literally when referenced, though he does not make any major appearances. We had considered changing the new character’s name for respect of Children of Mana’s official localization, but ultimately decided that in this case it was in the material’s best interest that the name remain unchanged, and we hope this decision does not prove an inconvenience to you, the reader.
Friends of Mana’s Weekdays
In Japanese culture, the days of the week are explicitly identified with elements. The Mana series in general uses the different elemental spirits to represent days of the week, however Friends of Mana adopted a different system that more closely matches traditional Japanese weekdays. As it’s not a precise match, weekdays are translated as elements rather than made to match English equivalents, but an attempt has been made to ensure the connection to real time is not altogether lost. Please refer to the chart below if you ever find yourself lost on this matter.
|Friends of Mana||Japanese||English|
|月曜日 (moon day (luna day))||月曜日 (moon day)||Monday|
|火曜日 (fire day (salamander day))||火曜日 (fire day)||Tuesday|
|水曜日 (water day (undine day))||水曜日 (water day)||Wednesday|
|木曜日 (tree day (dryad day))||木曜日 (tree day)||Thursday|
|風曜日 (wind day (jinn day))||金曜日 (gold day)||Friday|
|土曜日 (earth day (gnome day))||土曜日 (earth day)||Saturday|
|??||日曜日 (sun day)||Sunday|