Trent B – Intro Arts Project

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Amano History: Final Fantasy from the 1980’s

Yoshitaka Amano is, by far, most recognizable from his artwork for the Final Fantasy series of Role-Playing games developed by Squaresoft (Now Square Enix). With these games came a great challenge to Amano. Not only did he make artwork for these games, but since none of these games were quite like any other in the series, he had to accommodate for a lot of different themes and settings as the franchise grew. As of today, he has contributed artwork to 22 games from the franchise, with at least four of them still in development.

The franchise started in 1987, when Square was on the brink of bankruptcy. As a last wish before abandoning the RPG world of game development, they made a game to see the genre off, called “Final Fantasy”. Ironically, it started a revolution in the gaming world and led to being one of the most popular franchises in existence.

In the early days of this series, Amano had a lot of work to do. RPGs are long games and require artwork for nearly every major character experienced throughout the game. The artwork from the first game is shown below, depicting the “Warrior of Light”, whom serves as the main character of the game.

One year later, he worked on the follow-up game, dubbed Final Fantasy II. While the series medieval fantasy setting was kept, the character design changed considerably. Rather than designing the game around a Knight-like character that was more of a “gift from the gods to save the world”, the game’s main characters were low-poverty young people who led a rebellion. Below is promotional artwork done for the game by Amano, which depicts the four main heroes in the front with the main villain behind.

Judging by these two artworks, we can see two things that Amano is doing. Note how he made good use of bright colors to help the heroes stand out. In the first art, the Light Warrior is given bright red armor, as if to make sure he stands out to all he passes. In the second artwork, the same thing is done. Three of the heroes have very bright colors, with the villain in a deep, almost back purple color. This could show that Amano wanted bright and positive colors for the heroes with a dark, gloomy color to represent who the bad guy was.

You can also see the wavy sketches that Amano is known for in these artworks. The lady in the background of image one has very curvy and wavy hair, as does the Light Warrior coming out of his helmet. His cape is also shown with a wavy design. The second artwork has this wavy style as well. The villain’s hair flows outward at his shoulders, as does that of the female protagonist, though hers is not as apparent.

Below, I will throw in a few more artworks for the first two games, as done by Amano. These will be links, though. They are too big to fit into this article window.

Final Fantasy I – Chaos (The main villain)
Final Fantasy II – Hiryuu


January 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amano History: Vampire Hunter D

We’re going to go through Amano-san’s history in chronological order over the next couple weeks, as sort of a “Find the boundaries” sequence to researching the Japanese artist. While it would be sufficient to focus solely on his work with Square Enix’s Final Fantasy video game franchise, it is better to look at everything he has done, rather than just one main area. The first area is a set of visual novels that date back to the early 1980’s, called Vampire Hunter D.

Vampire Hunter D is a very important part of this history. Not only is it important to Amano, but visual novels in general. The first novel of Vampire Hunter D was released in Japan in 1983, which soon adopted an anime, and was exported to the United States soon after that. Now, you can look at the anime/visual novel culture easily now, because there are huge amounts of Manga and Visual novel franchises that are exported to the states, including the likes of Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Pokemon, and many more. In the mid-1980’s, however, this type of media was fairly new. The fact that Amano’s artwork was among the first of the genre that went to the West (North America) is important because early examples of a media are what makes people remember that media.

Vampire Hunter D, in Amano’s words, was inspired by Christopher Lee’s interpretation of Count Dracula. From this inspiration, the character “D” was supposed to have unearthly beauty, so as to land female fans for the franchise. Amano had drawn the illustration for D to be more based on beauty, than looking like a rough character. Amano didn’t have the privilege of designing D from square one, however. In an interview, Amano stated that he would read through a novel, and then do the illustration based on how D is portrayed in that particular novel.

Amano has stuck with Vampire Hunter D and has seen over 20 years of the franchise expanding through many different forms, including anime, video games, as well as anime movies. This has been the beginning of his legacy. From Visual Novels and onward!

I hope to update the blog soon with his next adventure into his artistic history.
L2K – Trent

Source 1
Source 2

January 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First Idea: Yoshitaka Amano

Here’s my first blog post with my first idea for the project. Upon hearing about the project, my mind started wandering, but I think I have decided my first choice for the project. That decision is the Japanese Artist, Yoshitaka Amano.

Amano was born in 1952 and has been most notably recognized for his colorful, wavy art designs for the game company Square’s (now Square Enix) Final Fantasy franchise. While he hasn’t been the head designer for the entire franchise, he has offered artwork for all of the games from 1987 to today, even if it’s promotional artwork or logo design.

An example of his art is this article’s picture, which depicts Yuna from Final Fantasy X, drawn in the early 2000s. More examples of his art can be found at the following link, which leads to artwork from the entire franchise, while specifying between Amano art, and Tetsuya Nomura Art (the “main” artist for the series’ current status)

Squaresoft Art
I chose this because I have a fair knowledge of this franchise, and Amano has gotten a fair amount of recognition for his unique artstyle for the games.

That’s all until I can research further.
Trent Berlinger.

January 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment