Trials of Mana’s Absurd Voice Acting Is So Bad It’s Good
History is full of examples of movies that have gone on to legend from trainwrecks, a sort of ethereal threshold that when crossed turns the camp and the crass into a mesmerizing meditation. From works that have been turned into cultural rituals like Rocky Horror Picture Show or the sheer lack of … anything that is The Room, there are myriad examples.
Trials of Mana is an incredible remake that I wholeheartedly recommend, especially if you’re a fan of the Mana series. Colorful visuals, a modern interpretation of the ancient 1995 combat system, whimsical music, and a simple, standard route to the end with some cool choices on the way make it a worthwhile remake in my eyes. You can read our official review, penned by the incredible Kimberley Wallace, here.
One aspect of the game stands out and turns Trials of Mana into an absurd spectacle and carnival act. The English voice acting is surreal stuff; it’s so beyond the pale that it must be seen and heard to imagine. You can turn the English dialogue off of course, for Japanese voice acting, but if you do – you’re going to miss out on the magic.
Dark magic, perhaps, but it’s an auditory wonderland that begs to be heard. In my opinion, you must play the game with these voices intact – with the possible exception of Charlotte, whose childlike intonations feel incredibly out of place and akin to the raking of nails on a chalkboard, ear razors with no respite. Come with me on a journey as we explore some of the more egregious examples from a playthrough, and I assure you, these gems are merely a taste of the audible loot from overflowing coffers.
So do yourself a favor. Play Trials of Mana with the sound on, with the volume raised. Enjoy the insanity and the absurdity. Lean into the campy abomination that is the voice acting in this title. Make an evening of it. Bring popcorn, as these bizarre inclusions in an otherwise excellent remake are something truly special – if not exactly a strong point.