I first discovered Yoshitaka Amano`s artwork when Final Fantasy VI was released, but also in a guidebook for this game, which was filled with many characters or scenes from the game. The designs were unlike anything that I imagined. To me, the paintings were wild, unique, excentric, and much more adult than the conventional character designs I found in 1990`s video games.
Though there is of course a sense of caricature in his artwork, I felt Yoshitaka Amano's penstroke was dramatic and told a story about each character, whether it was Celes, Locke, Terra or the devilish Kefka. In fact, each drawing clearly defined the context and personality of the characters that were there. But I was disappointed that the only drawings I could find were in this guidebook or on the Web.
But when I found out that Amano had released some of his character designs, sketches, and paintings for the first four Final Fantasy in this volume, I had to purchase a copy and relished each page. In each of them, I managed to spot and catch characters that I had found or played in the first four Final Fantasy. And I was marveled by the large sumi-ee painting called Dawn or Reimei in Japanese. To me, this painting was a visual presentation of Yoshitaka's imagination bubbling up before getting to work and bringing down the visual designs of the characters, monsters and architecture of the Final Fantasy worlds.
Then again, I still wish that all the illustrations had been separated together into chapters identified by the games they were involved. It would have make it a little easier in identifying who went for what game, especially for some of the monsters. But then again. That is just a little detail that hasn't ruined my pleasure of reading this book, which I will soon accompany with the latest and richer book that Amano will release in October 2012, which means this month.
So for me, this volume is an appetizer before the main dish.
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ParkaHALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on June 24 2009
Dawn: The Worlds of Final Fantasy contains the development sketches of the first four Final Fantasy games, I to IV. All the characters in this book are foreign to me since my first acquaintance with the game was Final Fantasy VII. All with the exception of the monsters and summons which are also used in later series. An index of titles is provided to identify the characters.
This is a character design book. Right at the start are a few foldout pages that unfold into larger illustrations. Most of the illustrations are done in pencil and watercolour. The designs are filled with detail although they are really sketches with furry pencil lines. A few black and white designs towards the end of the book.
If you're played the games before, you'll see familiar characters like Cecil Harvey, Rosa Farrell and Cid, just to name a few. There are of course lots of creatures ' high level ones ' like dragons, Leviathan, Ifrit, Odin, Bahamut, Chocobo, etc. It's interesting to see how the designs of these traditional legendary creatures have evolved since the first game, which was released in dot matrix. I'm really glad to see that Chocobo is now cuter in the later versions (original Chocobo in the pictures below).
There are no game screenshots or highly polished splash pages in this book. All are concept art by Yoshitaka Amano.
This book is recommended to character designers and game artists with reservations. Whether you like the book will depend on how much you like the style of Yoshitaka Amano.
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