|“||Magic is science, Dave. It's energy, and latent energy is everywhere. We call it Mana.||„|
|~ Balthazar Blake to Dave Stutler about Mana.|
Mana is a form of latent energy with supernatural properties that exists all around us, particularly in the form of energy generated by the presence of living things. Though not only referred as electromagnetic energy in the 2010 Disney fantasy movie The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the Nintendo DS videogame adaptation of the film mentioned Mana as energy with supernatural properties that can be tapped by sorcerers through their brainpower, allowing them to shape and bend reality.
In Fantasy Settings
In fantasy settings, Mana is the metaphysical sentient source of energy that surrounds living and non-living things, sympathetic magic, or impersonal force of nature that is always moving from one location to another, seeking material elements or people to inhabit. It is also formed within the soul whenever a creature comes into being. The soul is not necessarily a collection of mana, but the creature itself. When the being dies, the mana returns to the environment waiting to be used again and again. The energy can then be transmuted by the user into magical power that yields upstanding results in both practice and combat.
The Sorcerer's ApprenticeIn Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, though only confirmed in DS adaptation of the game, Mana is mystic energy that if harnessed by a sorcerer through their brainpowers, they can perform impossible feats such as bringing objects to life as sentient creatures, revive the dead, transmutating an object into other forms, etc. By using one's ability to manipulate matter to grasp and harnessed Mana from around him/her with a catalyst (ex. magic rings) as conduit, one can shape reality at will, and the art to performed such feats are called sorcery.
While it is actually possible that sorcerers can use magic without catalysts as seen in Dave Stutler's case, the said feat might be too difficult for those whom not happened to be descendants of Merlin and much more likely would strained them. That's why catalysts (and in lesser extent pointy shoes) required to help a sorcerer to focused their powers.
Effects and NatureBeing mystical in nature, Mana can be harnessed by sorcerers not just to enhance their mental capabilities, but also to shape and bend reality at will. The potential of Mana seems to be limitless, as with other fantasy fictions, considering that it can be utilized whether still following the natural order or otherwise. One instance of Mana usage that still following natural order is the Plasma Bolt spell: When a sorcerer conjures Plasma Bolts, the bolts are generated by using Mana to accelerate oxygen atoms into hyper-charged matter in the form of electrical plasma that condenses into a spherical form. The way Mana utilized in that spell is actually similar with how tesla coils generated discharged plasma tendrils by imitating properties of equipment and parts of actual tesla coils. For instance of Mana usage that defies natural order on the other hand, is when Mana is used to perform necromancy: When Morgana le Fay performed The Rising, the ritual caused several breaches between the world of the living and the land of the dead in some points of the mortal world so summoned spirits of deceased evil sorcerers can returned to their remains within the realm of the living before marches toward their summoner and followed her notorious biddings.
Aside sorcery, Mana can also used for scientific purpose for satisfactory results due to electromagnetic in nature. This exploited by Dave whom uses Mana to enchanted a powerbox at Manhatten's Battery Park and nearby streetlamps to create makeshift tesla coils against Morgana. Horvath also exploit this by having Drake Stone arranged satellite dishes in New York City as amplifiers for the Morgana Star needed for The Rising. In spite of benefits that one can gained from Mana's electromagnetic nature which allowed magitek (also referred to "magi-tech" or "technomagic") to be possible, it requires both proper methods and scientific knowledge to properly use Mana for scientific purposes, as it could backfire. Not only that, large quantities of Mana concentration may trigger electromagnetic interference if large enough, as seen when Balthazar Blake constructed the Merlin Circle, large quantities of Mana he channeled causes the lamps in Dave Stutler's laboratory flicker for a few seconds.
Much like in other fantasy settings, what made Mana unique if compared with other forms of energy known to man is having sentience of its own to some extent, where they respond to whatever the user feels and desires. This explained why when Balthazar animated his giant steel eagle from one of eagle statues on the Chrysler Building, the eagle possesses the sentience of an actual tamed eagle that is loyal to its master as if it possesses a soul. Since sorcerers in general capable to manipulate Mana to perform art of sorcery which enable them to shape reality, it would make sense if they not just aware with sentient nature of Mana, but also able to "program" the sentience of portion of Mana used to bring object to life that resulting the said object moves and behave as they desire. In this case, Mana's sentience is manipulated to partially mimic the nature of a soul, so animated creatures, such as Balthazar's Eagle, Dave's animated brooms, and the Charging Bull statue are not truly soulless creations.