Yoshitaka Amano’s Art for “Final Fantasy VI”
Acclaimed Japanese illustrator and character designer Yoshitaka Amano is known among die-hard Final Fantasy fans for being the lead artistic voice in some of the games, but he is probably not as famous in other circles. It’s a shame though, since this artist’s illustrations are sublimely beautiful. They capture the essence of what a fantasy RPG should be while also having a keen sense of aesthetic. As the perfect example, let’s look at Final Fantasy VI, the best game in the series, and it’s art.
As a quick synopsis, the game is set in a fantasy world with technology akin to our own Industrial Revolution, a genre that’s called “steampunk,” and features magical creatures called “espers” that grant magical abilities to certain characters. In creating the world, Amano brings forth such a convoluted landscape full of towers and domes that almost make the cities seem alive in a grotesque way. The characters are as stylized as the nature too: their empty eyes and thin lips make me believe they could be a bizarre grown-up version of Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.
After you play the game all the artistic choices will make more sense and the art will be placed in context, but even without having that gaming experience, Amano’s art still stands on its own as a calm but perturbed window into the artist’s imagination. Add to that the stupendous music by the game’s composer Nobuo Uematsu and you have yourself a classic.