Yoshitaka Amano (天野 喜孝) was born in 1952 in a small town at the foot of mount Fuji in Shizuoka, Japan. As a child, he reveled in making unbroken loops of drawings on the huge paper rolls that his brother brought home from his job at a paper factory. "I don't remember a time when I wasn't making drawings," he recalls. While visiting a friend in Tokyo in 1967, he boldly took his paintings to the animation studio Tatsunoko Productions, creators of Space Ace and Mach Go Go Go. His talent was instantly recognized, and at the age of 15, his family reluctantly moved him to a company dormitory in the capital city.
After a year of training, Amano took part in designing characters for many of Tatsunoko's cartoons, including Gatchaman
(released in the US as G-Force and Battle of the Planets), Hutch the Honeybee
, and Cashaan: Robot Hunter
. Yet after fifteen years with the animation studio, Amano began to grow restless. He tendered his resignation at the age of 30, exchanging his established career for the precarious life of a freelancer. "Even the tax authorities questioned my decision," he remembers. "But once your life is too stable, your creative dies."
Amano soon gained a loyal audience through the Japanese publication Science Fiction Magazine, which serialized his work in their Twlight World feature. In 1984, he published his first collection of paintings, Maten (Evil Universe) . He went on to collaborate with numerous writers, creating close to 20 illustrated books. These works include Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D
, Kaoru Kurimonto's Guin Saga
, Yoshiki Tanaka's Arslan Chronicals
, and Rasen-O
(Spiral King) and Chimera
by Baku Yumemakura. At the same time, in 1984 he teamed up with director Mamoru Oshii to create the animated film Angel's Egg
, which became a cult hit in Japan.
His artistic success won him access to yet another format in the 1980s; concept illustration for videogames. His first project, Final Fantasy
(1987), has gained worldwide recognition. He also created character designs for the games Front Mission
, Gun Hazard
, and Kartia
Amano pushed his boundaries farther in 1997, when he began creating work in New York City. "New York" says Amano, "is my fantasy city, a place where I can dream freely and without constrictions of the known." His 1997 "Think Like Amano" exhibition in New York City's Puck Building presented a retrospective of his work, and debuted his series of ambitious New York paintings. In the fall of 1998 the exhibit travelled to Tokyo's Uenonomori Museum. 1998 also saw the premiere of 1001 Nights
, a collaborative film/music project with composer David Newman that was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The 3D computer graphic animated film was produced by Yukio Sonoyama and premiered as the inaugural event in the L.A. Philharmonic's innovative "Filmharmonic" series. In 1999, Amano has joined for the first time with Neil Gaiman to introduce a new edition of the wildly popular Sandman series.
- Final Fantasy XIV Online (2010), Square Enix, Inc.
- Lord of Arcana (2010), Square Enix Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (2009), Square Enix, Inc.
- Final Fantasy XIII (2009), Sony Computer Entertainment Incorporated
- Dissidia: Final Fantasy (2008), Square Enix Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy (2007), Square Enix Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy II (2007), Square Enix Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy IV (2007), Square Enix Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy III (2006), Square Enix Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy XII (2006), Square Enix Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (2004), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy X-2 (2003), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy Anthology: European Edition (2002), Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd.
- Final Fantasy Origins (2002), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy Chronicles (2001), Square Electronic Arts L.L.C.
- Final Fantasy II (2001), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy X (2001), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy (2000), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy IX (2000), Sony Computer Entertainment Incorporated
- Final Fantasy Anthology (1999), Square Electronic Arts L.L.C.
- Final Fantasy VIII (1999), Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd.
- Vampire Hunter D (1999), Victor Interactive Software, Inc.
- Kartia: The Word of Fate (1998), Atlus Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy VII (1997), Square Co., Ltd.
- Front Mission: Gun Hazard (1996), Square Co., Ltd.
- Front Mission (1995), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy III (1994), Square Co., Ltd.
- First Queen III (1993), Kure Software Koubou
- Final Fantasy V (1992), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy II (1991), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy III (1990), Square Co., Ltd.
- First Queen II: Sabaku no Joō (1990), Kure Software Koubou
- Final Fantasy II (1988), Square Co., Ltd.
- Final Fantasy (1987), Square Co., Ltd.