Tetsuya Nomura, of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts fame, has worked with Square Enix since they were simply called Square. He's known for some of the most iconic characters in JRPG history. Cloud, Sephiroth, Squall, Sora; he's worked on them all. While gamers all over the world know of his love for zippers, belts, and accessories, a character designer with such a long career is bound to have a few slip-ups. So here are the 5 characters that epitomize where a love for zippers and belts can go wrong.
Let's start with a pretty well-known example: Donald Duck. Now, I know what you're thinking. Kingdom Hearts has zippers on every single character, what makes this example so egregious?
Well, for every other character, you can kind of make up an excuse for why it exists. Sora has zippers on his shoes. Well, most of us use shoe strings, but zippers work too. This checks out. Pete has zippers over his crotch. Wouldn't you know it, so do most of us. This, too, checks out.
But I ask you to give me a single good reason why Donald Duck has a spiral zipper on his hat. I'll be waiting...
Oh boy, Nooj. Where do I start? (Other than his silly name, of course.)
Maybe I'll start with that tuft of fur on his shoulder. Or all those belts across his, well, everything. Maybe I'll make fun of his onesie. Or the armor that only protects one leg? The boots that clash with everything else in the outfit? What about that...thing coming out his back? Oh, that's his hair.
I'm well aware that there are lore reasons for all the belts, but that's kinda like the "Quiet needs to breathe" excuse. Dumb and dumber.
Now I know what you're thinking, and no. I don't hate fanservice. But when fanservice completely clashes with a character's backstory, personality, and story role in every possible way, then it becomes a problem. Shalua is supposed to be a serious scientist searching for her sister (Say that 5 times fast.). But what about her design suggests that?
She has a lab coat with sleeves that appear to be too long for her. Oh, and she's wearing glasses that combine with her hairdo to say,"I'm a sexy librarian!" I guess that's two of the boxes checked off for being a serious character? Or at the least, that's as close as she gets.
Peering beneath the lab coat only reveals an even more ridiculous ensemble. Just look at that skirt. There are two small belts holding onto a piece of cloth so large that it constitutes a second mini skirt. And you just know it would get stuck on everything. Her wardrobe doesn't seem very practical for lab work either, a single splash of anything on her could prove to be a lot more dangerous than it should be.
Oh, and she lost an eye, an arm, and a bunch of organs. Yet somehow, she doesn't have a single scar on her body.
Wait, where's the rest of his outfit? What's so bad about this design? Truthfully, the rest of his outfit is perfectly inoffensive. I mean, it's ridiculous -- what type of monk shows of so much chest -- but inoffensive. Really, the only thing that's awful about this guy -- other than the whole kidnapping Yuna, killing off the majority of the Ronso population, and attempting to murder your whole crew like 5 times over (but who's counting) -- is his stupid hair.
Look at it. Look. AT. IT. Please tell me I'm not the only one who gets angrier at this the longer I stare? Actually, this might be a genius move on Nomura's part. His hair made me immediately hate him more than most other antagonists manage over the course of a game.
And don't make a,"But that's just regular ol' anime hair, there's nothing too bad abo-".
Go find me another three claw hairstyle design!
Tetsuya Nomura was invited to redesign Batman as part of Square Enix's DC Universe Variant Play Arts Kai line (otherwise known asSEDCUVPAK), and boy...it's a mess.
Like the worst of Final Fantasy designs, it tries way too hard to be cool and unique at the same time. There's nothing to focus on because everything is just a giant condensed blob of detail. Every time you focus on something, you can see that it branches out into smaller and smaller unnecessary details until you can barely see the original shape anymore. Here is a piece where Nomura could have really used the "less is more" approach.
It's impossible to play a JRPG without encountering one of Nomura's designs or finding an artist influenced by said designs. Make no mistake, the man does good work. If he didn't he wouldn't still be leading projects for one of the most powerful AAA publishers in the industry after almost three decades.
Shit on FFXIII all you want, but there were some great character designs in that game.
But sometimes...perhaps too often many would argue...he tries way too hard and we end up with At least he deserves props for helping keep Hot Topic's open across the world.