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Natsukashii – Manawave

MANAWAVE マナウェーブ by Natsukashii 懐かしい – Black Screen Records

Manawave is now presented on three color vinyl variants via Channel 3 Records.

It’s 1993. 3 years into the 16-bit era, Squaresoft releases Secret of Mana for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Mana is a top-down multiplayer action role-playing game, offering a distinct, vibrant art style, strategic real-time battle system, and memorable soundtrack, all encapsulated in a high-fantasy world driven by themes of magic, nature, and life-giving “mana”. A young Natsukashii is taken in by its vivid colors, animated characters, and engaging gameplay… but its rich, varied soundtrack by Hiroki Kikuta leaves the strongest impression. As he plays, Natsukashii often places his character standing in Mana’s world in order to listen to the looping themes again and again, filling his young heart and mind with Kikuta’s masterful music.

It’s 2020. The world is gripped by a pandemic. As economies are shaken and self-isolation becomes the new reality, a cultural gravitation towards nostalgic comfort grows. An older Natsukashii shares this longing and revisits Secret of Mana once more. While some aspects of the game have not quite stood the test of time, its soundtrack remains largely lauded. As he plays, Kikuta-san’s timeless melodies again stir Natsukashii with that same fervent essence he knew 27 years before, filling his spirit with inspiration. Heartfelt and determined, he begins to create Manawave.

Kikuta’s compositions provide the foundation for this modern homage, as Natsukashii infuses 12 selected tracks with crafted downtempo beats, lush synth instrumentation, textural ambiance, and dottings of environmental sounds and vocal samples. Lending serendipity to the project, Hiroki Kikuta himself generously provides liner notes, and art from legendary Secret of Mana artist Hiroo Isono is featured on the cover. Sometimes pensive, sometimes playful, always impassioned; Manawave is a genuine love letter to an enduring classic.

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