The Mana series, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu (聖剣伝説, "Legend of the Sacred Sword"), is a medieval-fantasy action role-playing game series created by Koichi Ishii, with development formerly from Square, and is currently owned by Square Enix. The series began as a handheld side story to Square's flagship franchise Final Fantasy, though the Final Fantasy elements were subsequently dropped starting with the second installment, Secret of Mana, in order to become its own series. It has grown to include games of various genres within the fictional world of Mana, with recurring stories involving a world tree, its associated holy sword, and the fight against forces that would steal their power. Several character designs, creatures, and musical themes reappear frequently.
Four games were released in the series between 1991 and 1999: the original Seiken Densetsu (1991)—Final Fantasy Adventure in North America and Mystic Quest in Europe—for the Game Boy, Secret of Mana (1993) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Seiken Densetsu 3 (1995) for the Super Famicom, and Legend of Mana for the PlayStation, though Seiken Densetsu 3 was not released outside Japan. A remake of the original game, Sword of Mana (2003), was published for the Game Boy Advance. All of the original games were action role-playing games, though they included a wide variety of gameplay mechanics, and the stories of the games were connected only thematically.
In 2006 and 2007, four more games were released as part of the World of Mana subseries, an attempt by Square Enix to release games in a series over a variety of genres and consoles. These were Children of Mana (2006), an action-oriented dungeon crawler game for the Nintendo DS; Dawn of Mana (2006), a 3D action-adventure game for the PlayStation 2; Friends of Mana (2006), a Japan-only multiplayer role-playing game for mobile phones; and Heroes of Mana (2007), a real-time strategy game for the DS. Children was developed by Nex Entertainment and Heroes by Brownie Brown, founded by several developers of Legends, though Ishii oversaw development of all four games. Three more games have been released since the World of Mana subseries ended: Circle of Mana (2013), a Japan-only card battle game for the GREE mobile platform, Rise of Mana (2014), a Japan-only free-to-play action role-playing game for iOS, Android, and PlayStation Vita, and Adventures of Mana (2016), a 3D remake of Final Fantasy Adventure for the PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Android. In addition to the games, four manga series and one novelization have been released in the Mana franchise.
The Mana series reception has been very uneven, with early games rated higher by critics than more recent titles. Secret of Mana have been regarded as some of the best 2D action role-playing games ever made, and their music has inspired several orchestral concerts, while the games from the World of Mana series have been rated considerably lower. As of March 2011, Mana series titles have sold over 6 million units.