Trent B – Intro Arts Project

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Amano History: Final Fantasy 1990-1994

After a two year break, Square teamed up with Amano to produce some more Final Fantasy games.  This next game, Final Fantasy III, proved to be an interesting turn for Square and Amano.  The changes was in the style of the characters in the game.  As opposed to young adult characters, as it were in I and II, III focused on more of a “kiddy” tone with it’s character design.  That can be seen below with this artwork of the character “Cid” from the game.

Whenever I see this artwork, I think that this character, more or less, belongs in a children’s cartoon. The thinking is semi-correct, since this series stayed rated E (Everyone) up to 1997, so it really was a family/children oriented franchise. The colorful and wavy designs still flow through this artwork.

The next game was in 1991, dubbed Final Fantasy IV, which is arguably the most important game in the RPG genre. For this game, however, Amano was given a challenge. This game had the main character go through a “Dark to Light” transformation throughout the game as he uncovered the mystery of his own mind. With this in mind, Amano had to make many sketches of this character, both as a dark, evil character and as a lighter, good character, as seen below in this artwork of the character Cecil Harvey.

Amano’s style of wavy lines was not as apparent in Cecil’s “Dark Knight” (bottom) form as much as his Paladin (Top) form. To make this character come to life, Amano had to take both evil and good, and make it come out in one character. The bottom form is very dark and dreading as the character did misdeeds through life, and the top was very bright and colorful after his transformation into a Paladin.

One year after FFIV came out, Square decided to do a more fantasy-ish approach with Final Fantasy V. The game was centered around a happy-go-lucky teenager named Bartz, the first time a not-so-serious protagonist was tested in the series. As such, they added some over-the-top comedic villains as well, much like you’d find in cartoons and anime of today. Below is Amano’s artwork for Gilgamesh, one of the main villains.

Note one major Amano signature that isn’t in this? Wavy lines. Gilgamesh’s hair does not show under his heavy garments, so it was difficult for Amano to implement his wavy design into this character. There are some wavy lines, but they are small parts of the garment stripe designs.

This, however, was very colorful. Amano depicted this character’s personality through the color of his clothing. The garments are dark red. Red is more of a bright color, depicting a good person, but the dark half of this is showing that he is a villain. Gilgamesh as a character was a villain who loved to have fun with what he did. Almost everything out of his mouth was comedic. This was a good color to represent who he is.

The last game we’re covering in this post is Final Fantasy VI, which debuted in 1994.  This is the final one for this post because 1) the post is getting way too long, and 2) FFVI was the last Final Fantasy Amano was the full head designer for.  Everything else was concept art, promotional artwork, and logo designs.

FFVI was unique that it didn’t follow the cliche’d “Medieval Fantasy” tone the series had taken up until this point.  They combined it with a “steam punk” type tone, with bits and pieces of technology here and there.  Below is artwork for the main protagonist, Terra Branford.

Terra has a very curvy figure, which made it easy for Amano to over-emphasize his wavy design of making art.  Not only was her hair wavy, but in the artwork, you could say her entire figure is wavy, from the shape of her legs to the cape hanging from her back.  Her clothes were made to be very bright red, signifying that she was to be the hero character of Final Fantasy VI.

After Final Fantasy VI, Tetsuya Nomura took over as the head developer for the franchise (with the exception of Final Fantasy IX in 2000), so Amano stuck with promotional artwork, concept art, and logo design after Final Fantasy VI hit shelves.

This is a story for the next time, so I’ll be back with the new direction the style of the series took.

Trent – L2K

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January 26, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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