Magical Vacation

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This article is partially or fully comprised of content from Magical Vacation. Due to the fact that there is no official English translation of this game, the translations are instead derived from magicalpatcher's English patch, found here at Romhacking.net. Please keep in mind that these translations may or may not be accurate to the original Japanese version of the game.
This article is about the game. For the series, see Magical Vacation (series).

Magical Vacation[a] is a self-proclaimed "communication role-playing game" developed by Brownie Brown (presently 1-UP Studio) as their first original game. It was released for the Game Boy Advance on December 7, 2001 in Japan, and has never been localized outside of the country. It is the first title in the Magical Vacation series and the preceding work to Magical Starsign (released in Japan as Magical Vacation: When the Five Planets Align) on the DS. The game was later re-released as a part of the Value Selection series in 2006, and then ported to the Wii U Virtual Console in 2015, but both still remained Japan-exclusive. In 2016, an unfinished English translation patch for Magical Vacation was published to romhacking.net by user magicalpatcher.

Magical Vacation features vibrant artwork from Shinichi Kameoka and Kōji Tsuda, whose previous works include various titles in the Mana series and SaGa Frontier. The game's soundtrack was written by early Megami Tensei series composer Tsukasa Masuko.

Blurb[edit | edit source]

【精霊コンボ】がカギを握る本格派RPG!
臨海学校に来ていた魔法学校の生徒達を持ち受けていたのは、異世界の魔物エニグマであった。次々と連れ去られるクラスメイトを追い、プレイヤーは異世界へと旅立つ…。

"Spirit Combos" are the key in this full-fledged RPG!
After arriving at the Seaside School, otherworldly creatures called enigmas abduct the Magic Academy's students. Pursuing their classmates, who were taken away one by one, the player embarks on a journey to another world...

Plot[edit | edit source]

Main article: Plot summary of Magical Vacation

The story follows sixteen students who attend Will-o'-Wisp Academy, a school in the Kingdom of Kovomaka where youths are invited to learn magic. Over the summer, they are sent out to the Valencia Beach Seaside School with their teacher, Miss Madeleine. However, things take a bad turn at nightfall, when creatures called enigmas abduct the students and warp them to another plane of existence. Finding themselves amidst a covert war between light and darkness, the fate of Kovomaka Kingdom lies in the students' hands.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Battle system[edit | edit source]

The protagonist casting a spell to trigger a Spirit Combo.
Main article: Combat in Magical Vacation

The turn-based combat of Magical Vacation is fixed around sixteen elemental spirits, which have various strengths and weaknesses against one another. On a character's turn in battle, the player is able to call spirits of that character's particular element. Using a spell of that same element in a following turn triggers a Spirit Combo, multiplying the spell's damage output depending on how many spirits are on the field. Spirits are free to be used by the player or the enemy, regardless of which side of the field were called to. Outside of combat, characters' gear can be equipped with stickers, improving their resistance to certain elements and also increasing the growth of their own magic.

Link Mode[edit | edit source]

Main article: Link Mode

Link Mode allows two players to connect their own copies of the game and engage in three different activities. Let's Amigo registers linked players to each other's amigo lists, Let's Onsen offers upgrades to the protagonist's stats, and Let's Battle puts both players' parties against each other to earn stat-boosting ranks.

Development and promotion[edit | edit source]

魔法の夏休み the magical vacation

Shortly before Brownie Brown Co., Ltd. was established on June 30, 2000, its tentative staff announced Magical Vacation on June 7.[1] This made it the first game to be announced for the Game Boy Advance with a title, which would soon be released in March 2001. Early interviews suggest that the game was planned to be compatible with the Mobile Game Boy Adapter accessory, though the final release never utilized such a feature.[2][3]

On the Brownie Brown website in 2006, it was revealed that the game's working title was Magic Summer Vacation, or as it was originally translated, the magical vacation.[b] This prototype plot followed four groups of students who ventured through alternate planes of existence to find their missing teacher. The groups were the main party, lead by a protagonist named Tackle; Greybow and his subordinate Irvine; Erikson, seeker of Moria's Ankh; and Aranciak, bearer of Ushu's Ankh. Moreover, the students possessed scooters and cell phones, suggesting the game would have mixed high fantasy with modern technology.

In early August 2001, Brownie Brown staff made a post on their own message board in response to positive fan reception, thanking onlookers for their support during Magical Vacation's development. The post stated that an official trailer for Magical Vacation, plus a live demo of the game, would be featured at the upcoming Tokyo Nintendo Space World event.[4] During Nintendo Space World, gameplay of Magical Vacation was presented in a thirty-second-long trailer with the planned release date being December 7. Journalists were quick to praise its detailed environments and visual homages to 16-bit console RPGs, as well as its evident Mana series heritage. Hopeful for an overseas release, they assumed the game would not leave Japan until 2002, but their anticipation was in vain.[5]

The first commercials to advertise Magical Vacation aired in late November 2001, featuring Japanese celebrity Mika Nakashima. In the commercials, Nakashima runs to the shore of a beach and cries out a promise to save her friends, in reference to the game's events, followed by the slogan, "最も強い武器は友情だ" (The most powerful weapon is friendship).[6]

Let's Amigo Events[edit | edit source]

Cosplayers at the Osaka venue.
Main article: Let's Amigo Events

Two events were held shortly after Magical Vacation's release in Japan. They would act as large get-togethers for owners of the game, who could meet up and use its communication features to unlock special content in their own save files. Casual fans, superfans, cosplayers, and Brownie Brown staff alike appeared for both venues. The first venue was held in Osaka on January 26, 2002, with around 300 participating players. The second one took place in Tokyo on January 27, with a much higher turnout of around 950.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Magical Vacation became an instant cult classic among Japanese RPG fans following its release. In the June 2006 issue of Nintendo Dream, the game was reported to have sold over 270, 000 units exclusively within the country's borders.[7] Famitsu magazine gave Magical Vacation a platinum score of 35 on release, commending it for its unique battle system, varied and interesting characters, and excellent graphics. However, their feelings were mixed on the complex layouts of dungeons, lack of multiple save slots, and the game's dark storyline.[citation needed]

Wii U Virtual Console version[edit | edit source]

The Wii U Virtual Console port of Magical Vacation retains almost everything present in the original release, except for multiplayer connectivity. To remedy this, selecting Communication/Link Mode on the title screen grants the protagonist magic levels for all elements except light, each at magic level 1, and instantly gives the protagonist dark magic. Amigo mojo and upgrades to Ricebird Springs are absent from the Wii U version as a result.

As of March 27, 2023, this version can no longer be purchased due to the Nintendo eShop's discontinuation on Wii U and 3DS systems. On the date of its closure, the game was shown to have ranked 9th on the Wii U's best-seller's list in Japan.[8]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Main article: List of crossovers

Sword of Mana[edit | edit source]

Magical Vacation being referenced in Sword of Mana.

Sword of Mana is a 2003 action RPG codeveloped by Square Enix and Brownie Brown for the Game Boy Advance, and is the fifth release in the Seiken Densetsu series. Shinichi Kameoka was involved with this game as its character designer and scenario arranger. In the heroine's route, she visits a boy in the town of Topple and offers to help him find his missing book. By retrieving the book and returning it to the boy, he will reveal that it is titled Magical Vacation, describing it as a story where students fight with various magic elements. Like Magical Vacation, Sword of Mana has both a communication feature and an Amigo list, the latter of which unlocks additional content in either players' copies of the game. Curiously enough, in the Japanese version, the boy refers to the book as Magic Summer Vacation, a nod to Magical Vacation's working title. Gummy frogs (localized as GummiFrog) are a purchasable item in the game, and Brown makes a cameo appearance, offering to give the player a brownie ring accessory.

Super Smash Bros.[edit | edit source]

Characters from Magical Vacation appear in the Super Smash Bros. series series as collectibles. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mokka, a Traveling Putty, and a pyrite appear as trophies.[9] Additionally, the male and female heroes, Kirsche (spelled as Kirsh), an HP pot, a sparrow, and a Traveling Putty can be obtained in the form of stickers.[10] Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reintroduces the protagonists, Mokka, and a Traveling Putty as collectible spirits.[11]

EGGLIA[edit | edit source]

EGGLIA: Legend of the Redcap is a role-playing simulation game developed by Brownies for iOS and Android devices. It was released in Japan on April 30, 2017, but its servers were shut down on August 30, 2018, with the game subsequently being re-released as EGGLIA: Offline. In February of 2022, Brownies released an enhanced port of the game for the Nintendo Switch, naming it EGGLIA Rebirth. Many elements of EGGLIA can be considered direct callbacks to Magical Vacation, and even Shinichi Kameoka's history with game production as a whole. Some notable examples of these callbacks include, but are not limited to: a new type of pooka enigma, a wolks with pants for a hat, and recruitable elemental spirits.

English fan-translation[edit | edit source]

Main article: magicalpatcher

On June 7, 2016, romhacking.net user "magicalpatcher" released an English patch that could be applied to emulated versions of Magical Vacation. For the first time ever, English audiences were able to play the game in their language, whether they were newcomers or fans of Magical Starsign. The patch makes several changes to the names of characters, spells, and locations, some which are consistent with the English localization of Magical Starsign (e.g., Grand Dragée being renamed to Biscotti). While this English fan-translation is playable from beginning to end, it does suffer from minor technical errors. Some examples include mistranslated and untranslated dialogue, typos, graphical glitches, dialogue-induced softlocking, and the absence of translated credits/post-credits scenes. The most recent update for the English patch was released on September 23, 2019, meaning it is unlikely that these errors will ever be revised.

Videos[edit | edit source]


Commercial (Short)


Commercial (Extended)


Wii U Virtual Console Trailer

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Japanese: マジカルバケーション, Hepburn: Majikaru Bakēshon
  2. Japanese: 魔法の夏休み, Hepburn: Mahō no Natsuyasumi

References[edit | edit source]

  1. IGN Staff (June 7, 2000). "Nintendo's New Game Boy Advance Development Team". IGN. Archived from the original on August 15, 2000. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  2. Long, Andrew (November 3, 2000). "Brownie Brown President Talks About Name, Game". RPGamer. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  3. IGN Staff (September 29, 2000). "Beware of Hitchhiking Brownies". IGN. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2023.
  4. Metts, Jonathan (August 25, 2001). "Brownie Brown Confirms GC Development". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  5. Harris, Craig (August 23, 2001). "Spaceworld 2001: Magical Vacation". IGN. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  6. 83Chrisaaron (December 26, 2020). "Magical Vacation (Mika Nakashima) (Long) Japanese Commercial". YouTube. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  7. Nintendo Dream June 2006, page 27
  8. Nintendo (August 19, 2015). "Magical Vacation | Wii U | Nintendo". Nintendo. Archived from the original on April 6, 2023. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  9. List of SSBB trophies (Others) - SmashWiki.
  10. List of stickers (Others) - SmashWiki
  11. List of spirits (Others) - SmashWiki

External links[edit | edit source]


Characters
Party ProtagonistPistachioAranciaGanacheKirschePecheBlueberryLemonLatteCassisCiderSesameChocolatCabernetOliveCandyChappyPotPucine the 4thDodoRicebirdPookaGummy FrogPuttyBrownMagic doll
Characters MadeleineBiscottiChardonnayVanillaBalsamicoPizzaVolcaneraTiramisuMousseMille-feuilleChiffonMeloneTortillaTarteTatinGateauParmesanQuattro FormaggiDab HasnelGrenadinePeabee AnjayMaceCinnamonGingerNectarMuskCocoaRad HasnelShallotKleinBlackcurrantEquillekrewKerendu
Spirits FireWindPoisonBeautyBladeSoundStoneInsectWoodBeastWaterThunderAncientDarkLightLove
Locations
Material Realm Will-o'-Wisp AcademyValencia Beach
Light Realm Mimolette ForestForest CaveOturan VillageWetsomus RuinsRicebird FieldsRicebird SpringsGreen Tea VillageCold Honey PalaceRekcarc QuarryVille de SourisTour de la RocheUfot VillageIko Domnag
Dark Realm Spollacs Swamp EdgeMasala Chai VillageIce IslandGelato CaveTapioca Tea VillageEcir ThicketMuy Mot DesertOpopmat CaveAkvavit CastleEnigma ForestTreeman's ColonyOsim VillageEastern ForestMt. MorbierAbos VillageSpollacs SwampBrownie CavernToptoh Mines
Abyssal Realm The Great RockGazpacho VillageTandooriThe BadlandsMay VillagePyramidArkoAbyssal CorridorEarth of DarknessDespair SwampDrazzig GrottoRevival Chamber
Bonus dungeons Garam MasalaTuoekatYekrut
Gameplay
Gameplay CombatMagicItemsEquipmentStickersLink Mode
Menu BiraBestiaryMagic notebook
Development
Corporate NintendoBrownie Brown
Staff Nobuyuki InoueShigeru MiyamotoShinichi KameokaTsukasa Masuko
Other Media
Guidebooks Magical Vacation Complete GuideMagical Vacation: A Mysterious World
Manga The Day Before the Seaside School