Addiction is a fair word.
That said, sitting down with this book was a refreshing trip down memory lane. Starting with the art of Final Fantasy 1, I had a harder time remembering the creatures from the actual game and the concept art I had before me, though some illustrations came right from the instruction manual and I recognized immediately. These were the same drawings I tried to recreate on my notepad during 4th grade Math class, and they looked just as beautiful as I remember. Everything from the infamous Evil Eye to the Hydra to Chaos himself are all here. As I scrolled throughout the series, I had to take a moment and appreciate the vast amount of creativity involved in creating all these monsters. Over the series' 25 years, I kind of took for granted the beasts I'd been hacking and slashing for hours on end as mere annoyances preventing me from reaching my greater goal. Through this book, I was able to get a better understanding of just what goes into creating something as a simple goblin whose only purpose is to be destroyed a thousand times over by games' end.
I got most excited when I reached Final Fantasy 6 (FF3 for us Americans), which is one of my all-time favorites, and the artwork became more recognizable. I was surprised, however, that the section for FF7 wasn't larger, as it's often regarded as the most popular of the series. Nevertheless, the art of FF7 had some fantastic pieces for Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth. A good number of the Cloud drawings have Red XIII proudly by his side, depicting him as if he was a more integral part of Cloud's story in the earlier drafts. I was reminded of a large Red XIII subplot that was cut from the final game, so perhaps that's the case.
In addition to all the books of art, we are also treated to All About Yoshitaka Amano, an in-depth look at the man himself. Included here is an interview with Amano along with mail from fans, a timeline of his career, a look into his studio, and his life in SoHo. This is probably the most comprehensive look into Amano's world for the English-speaking audience. As a long-time fan, I appreciated hearing him speak of how each game is different and not a continuing story, and how his art reflects that. When you see art from FF1, you know its from FF1 and not, say, FFIV.
The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy is a must have for Final Fantasy fans or even those who are just passionate about art. With the holiday season approaching, I would recommend adding this to the ol' Wish List.