The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

Video games have long been more than just completing a level or beating that particularly difficult boss. A great deal goes into the creation of a video game and for those who have heard of the venerable Final Fantasy series, than you know how much goes into each edition in the franchise. From music to merchandise there are many ways for fans to share in the celebration. One of the most special aspects of any Final Fantasy game is the art associated with the characters and environments. Lucky for Final Fantasy fans everywhere, the wonderful art by Yoshitaka Amano is getting released in a slipcase edition by Dark Horse. The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy covers Amano’s wonderful creations ranging from Final Fantasy I to X.

Final Fantasy The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

This special set was previously released in a collectible boxed set, but now the three books filled with Amano’s otherworldly art is getting a second chance to end up in fan’s hands. Three hardcover books break down all the art from FF I-X and the set comes in a nice slipcase with its own wrap-around art. The first book contains art from the first three games while the second book takes fans through games IV-VI. Finally the third book finishes games VII-X. The art is printed on glossy stock pages that breathe these images to life.

Amano’s work has appeared in other forms of media before, but they have never appeared so bright and vibrant than now. I was fortunate to come across the original set which is now unavailable. I have taken the liberty of capturing some of my favorite images. Amano’s work has never looked better, and what is also so stunning about the art is just how timeless it is. When I play the original Final Fantasy, I can clearly see how far video games have come, but the basic mechanics and art that went into this series is truly timeless and special. I want to stress that the images I have taken are from my own books, these are not licensed images from Dark Horse. I also want to stress that these images do not do the product true justice, but I feel it important for potential buyers to see just exactly what they will be getting.

Final Fantasy I

0022 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

0061 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

The game that started it all! There are plenty of wonderful images for this game. Most of the art for FF I contains the villains encountered in the game. It is fun to look at this art because so many of the themes from this first game play out in varying ways throughout the other games. Certain images in each book will be colorless while other images will just be explosions of color that provide their own sense of vibrancy as if the art is ready to jump off the page.

Final Fantasy II

0082 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

The art continues with FF II and its theme of ethereal looks, and introduces labeling of the cast. There are pages of individual characters as well as large pictures featuring the entire cast. These are usually breathtaking and encompass a great deal of wonder.

Final Fantasy III

0101 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

0132 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

Here are some examples of images that just come alive. The interesting thing about this series is that fans certainly have their favorites. Personally I love Final Fantasy IV and VI with a passion, but in cases like FF III, it is nice to just look at this art and be amazed at Amano’s talent.

Final Fantasy IV

0141 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

0151 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

Two of my favorite images, I just can’t get over the amount of work that Amano went into with these games. The art can also stand apart from the games; I would recommend these books for folks who have never even played a Final Fantasy game. These books just contain some wonderful and striking images.

Final Fantasy V

0161 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

There are even certain images that sprawl out across two pages. Amano utilizes so many techniques to create such depth in his pieces. He can create something that is tranquil and full of beauty and the next page can be something creepy and terrifying.

Final Fantasy VI

0171 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

018 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

024 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

The middle book is the longest out of the three. Fans of the sixth game will rejoice, because there is a great amount of art to pour over in this book. Setzer and Celes have nice images and there is a great deal of attention paid to Terra. Also at the end of each book is a special section with some extra pages of art that play off like “extras.”

Final Fantasy VII

0271 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

Much like the jump from 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional gaming, the art between FF VI and FF VII takes on a different look. There is a subtle shift with how the characters look and how the images feel. I’m far from an art critic, but there is definitely a nice difference, almost like an evolution.

Final Fantasy VIII

028 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

0301 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

031 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

The third book of this set features grander images. It both helps and hurts the set. On the one hand I love the intricate and sprawling images that are made for the later games; however I miss the lack of attention to specific characters like in the earlier books. The third book is shorter than the second, when I would have liked it to have been longer. I in no way could ever discount the popularity and importance of earlier FF games, but FF VII and VIII exploded into our pop culture conscious in such a way, that this third book should have been much longer. (After all, it covers four games while the other two only cover three each.)

Final Fantasy IX

033 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

The section on the ninth installment in the series has some nice images as well. However, fans of this game will also enjoy the original publication of The Art of Final Fantasy IX which features more detail from that game.

Final Fantasy X

0351 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

036 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

038 The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

Though not my favorite game in the series, I do think some of the most stunning art from the series can be found in this section. The art is breathtaking and Amano certainly celebrates the love story between Yuna and Tidus.

I have only shown a sampling of my favorite images from this set, there are certainly many more and these images look even more stunning in person. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in fantasy art or is a fan of the series. Please head over to Dark Horse for more information on The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy. Pre-Orders are being taken now and the set is scheduled to be released on July 24, 2013. Here are some more details that can be also found on the Dark Horse link from above:

Publication Date: July 24, 2013
Format: FC, 640 Pages; HC, 11” x 12”
Price: $89.99
Age range: 18
ISBN-10: 1-61655-160-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-61655-160-5

pixel The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy

More fun articles: