Tetsuya Nomura was born in Kochi prefecture Japan on October 10th 1970. Nomura is best known for his great works in the Final Fantasy lineage, as well as the collaborative work of the Kingdom Hearts series with his company Square Enix (Former name; Squaresoft) and Americas Disney Interactive studios. In the beginning of Nomuras career he created art for advertisements, which soon paid off by landing him a job with Squaresoft for the production of Final Fantasy V in 1994. Nomura has accomplished great things in his working career from a hard working novice artist to a master and leader of the world’s greatest RPG storyline. Aside from his mark of mastery in one design he still can pull off other styles and elements, which makes him remarkable.
FINAL FANTASY VII. 1997
As Nomura remains my all-time favorite character designer and storyboard director, I prefer to start this discussion with his old works rather than the ones that show his perfection. We will start with the beginning of his journey from his first major position as director in FFVII to master designer basically ending with FFX (FF: is the abbreviation for Final Fantasy).
TETSUYA NOMURAS: CLOUD STRIFE WITH A CHOCOBO. 1997
The picture of these two characters Cloud Strife and the creature known as the Chocobo was drawn by no other than Testsuya Nomura himself. Even though this was his third time working on the FF project Nomura shows great success in adapting to material that was before his time. The reason I say this is because the Chocobo is not one of Nomuras own creations, in fact the Chocobo has been in existence since the second Final Fantasy. With the time the Chocobos been around and Nomuras time working for Squaresoft you’d expect there to be troubles, however there seemed to be none at all. Instead of copying the original Chocobo characteristics Nomura just drew the creature in his own style and image. This has both its flaws and advantages when looking at the previous design for the Chocobo back in FFII.
FINAL FANTASY II: CHOCOBO. 1988
As you can see when comparing Nomuras Chocobo with the original character design it seems off, making you wonder why the original Chocobo went through a drastic makeover. Keep in mind that appearances are always deceiving, because the change didn’t improve or become worse. If the first Chocobo was designed in FFII, then truly there is a need for a change in character design if it’s been 9 past the original. Normura and the creator of the original Chocobo remain two different people with two different styles, thus this is another reason why you cannot be so quick to put down Nomuras idea. The one thing that should be judged is detail, and how on point the subject is. The Chocobo is “A breed of flightless birds, characterized by their yellow feathers, distinct odor, and the unforgettable chirp, “kweh!” Domesticated for their gentle nature and quick feet, they are often used as a mode of ground transportation.” (—Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy Museum profile) In his own way Tetsuya provides detail but not as up to par as the 1988 design. It’s shading of the fur and sharp ends of the feather truly scream flightless bird that was once wild and undomesticated. Its ravenous claws show what the civilization the FF worlds took it in for in this 1988 piece. Still Nomura truly brought out the idea of a bird creature more than his predecessor; the 1988 piece doesn’t say bird it just looks like a creature with cartoony eyes and a conjoined beak. Both remain well-crafted and excellent contributions to the FF lineage.
FINAL FANTASY VIII. 1999
FINAL FANTASY VIII: SQUALL LEONHEART. 1999
As time continues to shift and technology begins to advance so does the art, and in this case Nomuras usage of different mediums shown in his many concept arts for Square Enixs next project Final Fantasy VIII. What makes Tetsuya Nomura so great is that in just years’ time after the successful creation of FFVII he was able to develop new skills in not just his coloring techniques; which add a lot of softer shades that tend to fade in and out, but his style of animating or drawing shifted as well.
FINAL FANTASY VIII: SEIFER. 1999
Looking at the two characters portrayed for this new story Nomuras playful style of drawing had evolved from that to fit a storyline that is more dramatic, and could seem fitting to the audience that certain characters do go through events that don’t always turn out in a positive manner. In my opinion the change is a wonderful thing, because many of the FF stories don’t have endings that many of us are pleased with, nor does the old style of character animation fit the environment.
FINAL FANTASY IX. 2000
Final Fantasy XI is one of the numbers in the series that remains on the subtle side of every ones minds, mainly because of the storyline being a little more insignificant compared to FFVII: Clouds story, or FFVIII: Leons story. Even so before I move onto FFX here are some of Tetsuyas art on it.
FINAL FANTASY IX: ZIDANE TRIBAL.2000
FINAL FANTASY IX: VIVI. 2000
FINAL FANTASY X: LOGO. 2001
Lastly the era in which Tetsuya accomplished his mark of mastering the art of directing, improving, and creating. In fact number X in the FF series was beautifully done that there was a sequel for it. Its title was simply Final Fantasy X-2. This story marked the beginning of Nomuras final art transformation journey; he went from simple traditional style of anime and coloring to finding his own meanings in how to portray a character. His peers often say that he puts his own heart and fashion into his characters with the jewelry and clothes they wear. These last few images show everything Nomura has learnt throughout the years from proportion body structure, details in shading, and maintaining the general idea when creating a character.
FINAL FANTASY X: TIDUS
FINAL FANTASY X-2: TIDUS
FINAL FANTASY X: YUNA
FINAL FANTASY X-2: YUNA
FINAL FANTASY X: RIKU
FINAL FANTASY X: WAKKA
Together I believe all of these images create Tetsuya Nomuras greatest accomplishment, however in his mind I’m sure there are just many other great things to be discovered and drawn.