Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy (Slicapsed Edition)

The first thing I noticed when I reached my room after the 2 week trip was the big dirty ugly looking package shown above. It was like an early Christmas present but from Black Pete instead of Santa Claus because I had always been a naughty boy. Haha..

The content was The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy (Slipcased Edition) by Yoshitaka Amano. My holiday was so good that I forgot that the item was ready for shipping in early August. Having missed the hardcover version, I was looking forward to this. I was excited to notice how bulky and heavy (it was even heavier than the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Memorial Ultimania) it is but I was also disappointed with the way USPS handle the package.

To my disappointment, Amazon packaged the item in an oversized box with no padding. As a result the box was badly dented on few corners. The good news was I was offered a replacement or a refund. I chose a refund as a replacement might came in the same damaged state.

I am impressed with the hard case box which is covered with fabric material. It gives an exclusive feel upon touching. Unfortunately, mine has a loose string coming off. Bleah.. There is a small ribbon on the right side to open up the case and get the 3 books.

Book 1 (144 pages) consists of illustrations from Final Fantasy I (28 pages), Final Fantasy II (46 pages), Final Fantasy III (47 pages), and miscellaneous Final Fantasy I to III pictures on the last few pages. No idea why they put it under miscellaneous when the arts are easily distinguishable coming from which game.

Book 2 is the thickest with 276 pages in total. It is expected because it covers illustrations from Final Fantasy IV (58 pages), Final Fantasy V (70 pages), and Amano's personal favourite Final Fantasy VII (124 pages). The last few pages are again miscellaneous images from Fintal Fantasy IV to VI.

Book 3 (156 pages) has arts from Final Fantasy VII (20 pages), Final Fantasy VIII (20 pages), Final Fantasy IX (58 pages), Final Fantasy X (36 pages), and miscellaneous artwork from these four games. I find it really shocking that there are so few arts from FF VII and VIII which I believe to be the most popular games in the series.

Overall, I am not too pleased with this collection. I just don't quite enjoy Amano's style which appear as random lines and scribbles to me. However, part of his "magic" is to have great illustrations in the midst of these apparent random lines and scribbles. The illustrations from early FF games have more monsters than humans so that was a meh. And frankly, Amano's drawings of humans are not pretty too. That makes me really appreciate the character designer in the game who designs handsome guys and gorgeous ladies out of the not-so-pretty illustrations. Plus the fact that there are only 20 pages of FF VIII which is my personal favourite game. 20 out of 576 pages is just ridiculous. Haiz.. If I have to choose, I like Amano's illustrations from FF IX best: great penciling and coloring. In addition, the illustrations of the characters look very much like the end product which we see in the game.

The fact that I did not get the hardcover edition despite having pre-ordered for it still stings. This slipcased edition does not come with all the bonuses, a card signed by Amano himself, and most importantly All About Yoshitaka Amano book. I am sure I will enjoy reading more about this man more than his pictures alone. Oh well.. picture time. I took the pictures using my digital camera instead of my Galaxy Note. Brighter pictures but some appear rather "red" if I did not place the focus correctly :( The reddish hue is because of the red light from the camera.. No idea what that light is called. Haha..

The front (left) and the back (right) of the slipcase/box

Sideways views of the slipcase/box

Showing the front covers of 3 books
The back covers of the 3 books. Squall & Rinoa picture is the best of course :)
Lastly, the insert (a piece of paper) which comes is sort of the "back page" of the box with brief summary of what the item is all about. On the opposite side is an advert showing other Yoshitaka Amano artbooks which are released by Dark Horse. Hhmmph.. no longer interested!

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