I received the item in January but I only had the chance to "rant" about it as I was very upset regarding the prices etc. At that time, I quickly flipped through the pages to screen for any damages or missing pages. From then, it has been stored nicely in a box until today when I decided to open and enjoy it leisurely. After all, it set me poorer by $275.13 so I might as well enjoy it.
Ultimania books are essentially game guides but this set is an exception. This set is essentially a collection of concept arts from Final Fantasy I to XIV, excluding the spin-off games. There are 3 volumes with volume 1 covering FF I-VI, volume 2 covering FF VII-IX, and volume 3 covering FF X-XIV. As expected, some games are given more "love" by Square Enix. Haha.. Below is the approximate number of pages for each game.
FF I: 30 pages
FF II: 50 pages
FF III: 50 pages
FF IV: 60 pages
FF V: 60 pages
FF VI: 75 pages
FF VII: 120 pages
FF VIII: 80 pages
FF IX: 120 pages
FF X: 100 pages
FF XI: 50 pages
FF XII: 70 pages
FF XIII: 90 pages
FF XIV: 10 pages
As time and technology progresses, the games and thus the books are also getting better in terms of artwork and content. My favourite is the 3rd volume as there are more CG concept arts. The concept arts for the locations and environment are breathtaking. Game-wise, I love FF X's arts the most. The pencil sketches are very "clean" and look very similar to the eventual CG arts. I am a bit pissed that my favourite game, FF VIII, gets the least exposure in the volume 2. This alone is a good reason for me to feel that the whole set is a disappointment for me.
As FF III and FF IV have been remade for Nintendo DS initially, the CG-version of these characters are also featured here. I think it is time to remake (not re-release!) FF I, II, V, and VI. FF Dissidia gives a glimpse of the main characters and main villains from these games in the modern CG animation. It will be awesome to see all the characters in the CG version.
It's time for pictures. None of the pictures is mine as my camera and my lighting sucks for taking picture of books.
|The "special" bonus for buying the 3 books as a set from Square Enix Japan: the slipcase -_-|
|Front side of the slipcase|
Covers of the books with their respective "obi"/belt
Covers of the books when the "obi" is removed
When the external covers are removed, these gorgeous images are not found on the hardcover of the books. The hardcover of the books only have the prints which are covered by the "obi". The back covers of the books only bear a small Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary logo so nothing is spectacular about it.
|This picture looks big here but it is damn tiny on the back cover!!|
No pictures of the content as I think nothing is spectacular about the content. This is not because I am being biased and sore for the less-than-expected coverage of FF VIII. Haha.. Anyway, right from the beginning, there is no way this set can be satisfying. After all, how is it be possible to condense 25 years of history and artwork into a mere 1000 pages??