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Thanatos is the main villain of the action-RPG video game Secret of Mana. He first appears as a mysterious evil sorcerer and one of the four generals of the Vandole Empire, but he is in fact in fact the real mastermind behind their plot. After he kills Emperor Vandole when he no longer needs him, he is revealed to be but a vessel to the incredibly powerful Dark Lich, who covets the world of Fa'Diel.

He is the counterpart of the Masked Mage, another masked evil sorcerer with similar looks and personality who share the exact same goal, and who turned himself into the Dark Lich.


Thanatos looks human, but his red eyes glowing through the sockets of his skull mask, and the skeletal left hand he hides under his cape in the remake, hint something much worse. Indeed, the being known as "Thanatos" is in fact nothing but an undead vessel for an evil spirit only known as the Dark Lich.


The Dark Lich is the ancient spirit of an evil sorcerer who long ago sold his soul to the Underworld of Mavolia (the Mana counterpart of Hell) for eternal life. He was once human but is now a wraith-like demon warlock, strongly tied to Dark Magic and Necromancy, who feeds on hatred and destruction.

His spirit manifests by taking over people, killing them in the process. The more he body-switches, the more his evil grows. His evil might is too much for normal vessels, who must subsist on stolen life-force and always end up falling apart. As such, he seeks a host from both Light and Darkness who could sustain him forever and tremendously boost his might. He needs a vessel to subsist and being destroyed under his true spiritual form would terminate him once and for all.


Thanatos is cold, imposing and callous but formal. Worse, he is cruel, wrathful, taunting and power-hungry. He remains hidden and acts through proxies, skilfully manipulating enemies and allies alike and only acting in person for important tasks, never meeting the heroes until they confront him. He recognizes their merits, but never sees them as threats and despises their defiance.

Powers and Abilities

Thanatos has incredible powers and control of Evil, Dark Magic and monsters, being able to curse countries, to drain life-force, to empower his servants, to brainwash and corrupt people, and to see and talk somewhere else. He drains life-force and the power of Mana to spawn monsters. He has enormous influence over Mavolia, and secretly controls the dark forces that the Empire are using.


Secret of Mana

Every few decades, there is one born in the shadow of Darkness. A human capable of augmenting my power beyond comprehension! Dyluck is one such human! His dark powers were sealed as a child. Now he possesses a foolishly naïve sense of justice. But no matter. With his body I will use the Mana Fortress to rule the world!
~ Thanatos revealing his plan before the final battle.

Original artwork of Thanatos

The story begins when the hero Randi draws the fabled Sword of Mana from a rock, unknowingly lifting the spell keeping the monsters from Mavolia at bay. The evil Emperor Vandole seizes profit of it to take control of the monsters, sending his generals break the seal on the Seeds of the Mana Tree (the earthly avatar of the Mana Goddess), spreading destruction on their wake.

The Emperor aims to release the Mana Fortress: an ultimate flying castle and warship sealed eons prior under a sunken island. With that and the powers he gained by selling his soul to Mavolia, he could take over Fa'Diel. Randi learns that only the legendary Mana Knight could have drawn out the sword. As such, he sets out to restore the sword’s power and stop the Vandole Empire.

The heroes confront Thanatos in the original.

Randi and his partners, the girl Primm and the sprite Popoi, defend several nations from the Emperor's generals. One of them, the extremely powerful Mystic Knight Thanatos is draining the citizens of Pandora of their life-energy, turning them into zombie-like slaves to topple the kingdom from within.

The heroes learn about him from the wicked witch Elinee, who captured the royal soldiers sent against her. She teleports their captain, Primm's boyfriend Dyluck, to Thanatos, as he proves too strong for her. They defeat Elinee, who is in fact Thanatos' corrupted pawn, but she lost her powers and cannot help them.

Randi and his friends confront the wizard in the Ruins of Pandora. He pits them against the Demon Wall he created with the stolen life-force, but they destroy it, lifting his spell over the kingdom. He now recognizes Randi as the Mana Knight, but teleports away with his hostages unimpressed. This leaves the heroes to wonder what he could be after, acting so different from the Emperor's other generals.

Artwork of Thanatos as the host of the Dark Lich in the remake.

Upon confronting Randi and his friends, the imperial general Geshtar states that Thanatos warned the Imperial Court about them. Speaking to a member of the Resistance reveals that Thanatos works apart. It is also said that the Empire used to be peaceful up until fifteen years ago, hinting that something happened.

Thanatos sends a brainwashed Dyluck to drain the life-force from the denizens of Northtown, prompting the heroes to storm the Northern Ruins. There, Dyluck drains an unsuspecting Primm’s life-force and teleports her to Thanatos, who needs her blood for his magic, but Rand strikes him with the Sword of Mana, briefly restoring his mind.

Randi and Popoi rush to save her, but Thanatos telekinetically knocks them back before paralyzing them. Fortunately, Dyluck transfers power to them and dispels Thanatos' magic. Irked, the evil wizard pits them against a powerful vampire and teleports away with Dyluck once more.

The Emperor later breaks the Seeds' seal, but Thanatos's fellow general and accomplice Fanha kill him right after, as they no longer need him. Thanatos reveals that everything was in fact his doing. He was controlling the monsters while manipulating Vandole as a smokescreen, having likely influenced his deal with Mavolia and corrupted him from the start.

The heroes confront Thanatos in the remake.

Thanatos seals the magic that could fully revive the Mana Sword, and leaves Fanha deal with the party in her immensely powerful demon form. He later forces them to fight Geshtar, whom he turned into an undead cyborg, and reactivates the Mana Fortress.

Thanatos waits until the heroes finally reach the Mana Tree to destroy it before their very eyes with the Mana Fortress, while telepathically taunting them. The dying tree reveals that Randi is from the Mana Clan, with his father Serin being the previous Mana Knight, killed by the Emperor and Thanatos at the start of the war. It then uses its last power to restore the Seeds and the Sword.

The heroes can storm the Fortress and face Thanatos, who is about to replace his crumbling vessel with Dyluck, the perfect host he needs. Adding Dyluck's sealed power to his own and controlling the Mana Fortress would make him unstoppable.

The Dark Lich in the original.

Primm severely wounds him, but he still possesses Dyluck who bids her a tearful farewell and forfeits his life before Thanatos can assimilate him. Without vessels, the Dark Lich attempts to possess one hero, but they end his blight for good. Alas, the Mana Beast is awake and must be stopped.

Dark Lich and the Fortress are ended, but so is the Mana Power and with it Popoi and the sprites. Randi and Primm return to Pandora to usher an era of peace, but Mana will only return once the Mana Tree is regrown.

Boss Battle

The Dark Lich in the remake.

The Dark Lich is considerably powerful, but easy to defeat with heroes at the right level. He has 6666 life-points, spams fearsome Shadow, Water, Wind and Earth level 8 spells; causes burn, poison, sleep, shrink, petrify, freeze, paralysis, confuse, or change into harmless Moogles; and dispels magic buffs. Curing and healing is necessary.

Dark Lich is weak to the Light element, so cast Light Magic on weapons, and attack him constantly with the Lucent Beam spell at least at level 6. Weapons only work when he is materialized. Shadow Magic is useless at beast and heals him at worst.

When he vanishes and phases his flaming hands through the ground, it can knock out and kill the heroes in seconds. He can be attacked with spells when his head appears, so do it quickly to make him reappear.

Other Media

Circle of Mana

Thanatos is playable in this card-based role-playing game. Each character is played as cards series to save the Mana Tree from monsters, and can evolve and gain power, equipment and Class Changes.


The Dark Lich in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.

The Dark Lich makes a cameo in the spin-off entries, gathering characters from many games to fight iconic monsters. He always appear in a boss rush gathering several bosses from Secret of Mana, being fought second-to-last before the Mana Beast, as in his game of origin.

In Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, the Dark Lich is fought in the Mana Mystery mode. He is highly powerful and resists status effects, but easily dispatched by a quick succession of attacks from a team of sufficiently powerful characters.

Of course, he resists Dark but is weak to Light. He dispels magic buffs and casts dangerous spells, including Syringe that drains the heroes' life-points, Thunderbolt that strikes all heroes at once, Evil Gate that deals percent damage, and the self-explanatory Sleeping Gas that must be dispelled.

In Final Fantasy Record Keeper, he is fought in the Mana's Quests, much more resilient and challenging than in the previous. He can cause Petrification, Confusion and Sleep; he casts very powerful spells like Earth Glide (all targets), Thunderbolt, Evil Gate and Syringe. He can disappear and phase his flaming hands through the ground, escaping physical attacks and dealing huge damage and sleep effect with his Hand Crush move, but fortunately less lethal than the original.

The Dark Lich in Last Cloudia

Finally, in Last Cloudia he is fought in the Secret of Mana Event under an aspect unique to this game. He is considerably powerful and resilient, and he teleports often, but his life-bar appears on screen.

He waits a long time to attack and can be dealt with with little trouble if the character spam powerful techniques. His spells are mightier than in his game of origin, striking and inflicting status (for some like Poison Gas and Freeze Ray), but they can be dodged.


           World of Mana logo.jpg Villains

Final Fantasy Adventure / Sword of Mana
Glaive Empire: Dark Lord | Julius Vandole | Goremand

Secret of Mana
Vandole Empire: Emperor Vandole | Thanatos | Sheex | Geshtar | Fanha
Others: Mana Beast

Trials of Mana
Main Villains: Masked Mage | Dragon Lord | Dark Majesty | Anise (in the remake)
Right-Hands: Goremand | Crimson Wizard | Belladonna
Others: Tainted Soul | Darkshine Knight | Malocchio | Benevodons

Legend of Mana
Main Villains: Anise (alternate) | Drakonis (Shiro Amano Manga)| The Lord of Jewels | Irwin

Dawn of Mana
Main Villains: Anise | Stroud

Heroes of Mana
Main Villains: Anise | Inath | The Mirage Bishop | General Cecilia Baxilios

            Last Cloudia Villains

Loug Zeus faction
Loug Zeus | Loug Mekia

Lily (Last Cloudia)

Dark Lich | Mana Beast