The Sky : The Art of Final Fantasy is a gorgeous collection by Yoshitaka Amano and his art work on all of the Final Fantasy series. Intended to be a collector item, this book consisted of a variety of detail that centered on his vision of the Final Fantasy series. If you are familiar with the game series, you’ll be more appreciative of this book since you could still see the genius behind this master of art. Although most of the game series are out-dated with its turn-based system and scratchy 3D that many would cringe, the art of the original game series pre-FF7 are surprisingly even more better than the game itself. Its like the original game series developer failed trying to imitate and adapt Amano’s work until the technology got better.
The review copy I had only consisted the first two volumes and missing the final volume which I didn’t mind much. There were multiple of watercolor and pen work in the volumes. Majority of the volume was just on the various monsters in the game and you could see how the Amano’s visionary made the storyline even more intense and surprisingly, more adult and serious.
I am a gamer of the series since I was 10. I saw and experience the transition and betterment of the game series with gaming technology. But surprisingly, Amano’s artwork remain consistent and simply awe-inducing. I completely adore the steampunk, fantasy and the dystopian scenery. The intricate and colorful depiction of an airship, the grand castle in the middle of the desert, the characters itself (which if you played anything before FF6, you’ll notice all of the characters looking like child-like or teenager with bad 3D and this part certainly will surprise you even more), frightening creepy monsters even more frightening on pen art than on the game itself and you could see that Amano’s vision of the game was severely limited by the game technology and it shows.
Thankfully, we have seen his ideas realized with FMVs in the later series (especially the fantasy element in Final Fantasy 9 and above) and with the advancement of Playstation generation, game developers have certainly on par with adapting Amano’s art into the gaming scene. But somehow that is also a poor comparison since there was no way for Squaresoft to fully adapt everything Amano does because his work surpass realism and completely saturated with the fantasy element of the Final Fantasy.
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.