I can’t believe my copy finally came in the mail! This is probably the best investment in printed media I have ever made! Dark Horse initially released a small batch of first edition copies of this book. However, Dark Horse has released, this time, a non-limited edition of The Sky that is more easily available. To purchase a copy from amazon be sure to check this link!
Opening up the first volume today, I recognized a couple of familiar drawings. I flipped through the pages fairly quickly, until I noticed that there was a clear narrative moving along with each turn of the page. Not only had Amano documented the creative process of Final Fantasy, he was telling the game’s story through his own eyes as well! I began looking at each page much more slowly, taking in the big picture as well as each individual sketch. The same as Nobuo Uematsu has defined Final Fantasy through his music, Amano truly is synonymous with the visual world of Final Fantasy. Looking through these drawings, I could see how painstakingly Square’s in-game artists worked to bring Amano’s visionary ideas to life with integrity and consistency.
This is a slipcase set with three hardcover books. The cardboard slipcase is covered with some silky fabric with a beautiful print across and to the back. It’s very sturdy cardboard and even has a cover for the opening. The presentation is very nice. The paper is of very good quality. Nice and thick with a glossy texture. The binding is near-perfect.
The books themselves are delightful. Not only containing Amano’s most iconic works from 1987 to 2001, the books also have countless character, monster, and location illustrations. The reproduction is gorgeous, to the point where I’m still not completely sure I paid as little as I did for this collection.
The set contains three large format artbooks. Volume 1 collects works for Final Fantasy I-III, Volume 2 for Final Fantasy IV-VI and 3 for Final Fantasy VII-X. This is a collection of artworks from 1987 to 2001. Altogether, there are 576 pages.
The Sky I, II, and III showcase Amano’s ethereal illustrations for the first ten Final Fantasy games! Each hardcover book in The Sky Slipcased Edition is 11 5/8″ high by 10 5/8″ wide, and printed on glossy stock. Volume 1 contains Amano’s work for Final Fantasy I-III. Volume 2 contains his contributions for Final Fantasy IV-VI, and volume 3 features his art for Final Fantasy VII-X.
The slipcase containing The Sky I, II, and III features the same wraparound exterior artwork as The Sky Boxed Set, with a double-hinged flap that folds around the open edge and is held flat to the back side with a hidden magnetic closure, making it easy both to remove the books and to display the set closed.
The focus is on character designer Yoshitaka Amano and his character designs. There are over hundreds of drawings of characters and enemies in the unique Amano style of art.
Illustrator Quick Bio
Yoshitaka Amano, (born July 28, 1952) is a Japanese artist. He began his career as an animator and has become known for his illustrations for the anime Vampire Hunter D, Shinjuku, and for his character designs, image illustrations and title logo designs for the Final Fantasy video game series developed by Square Enix (formerly Square). His influences include Western comic books, art nouveau, and Japanese woodblock prints. He has won awards for his work, including the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for his collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Sandman: The Dream Hunters. In early 2010, he established Studio Devaloka, a film production company.
Over the years, I started to pick up on the subtleties of Amano’s works. Many of them were still, brooding, and somber; yet just as many were whimsical, vibrant, and active. But somehow, I could feel a small narrative in essentially every piece, that unmistakable Final Fantasy quality.