Shadowbringers JP Art Book Contest Winner

 

Winner: Moriko Kimura, Balmung

Twitter: @khaliasenpai

Please write in a few sentences why you want the artbook:

I collect art books from my favorite games and I do so for a couple of reasons. The first is for entertainment purposes because there’s nothing more fun than excitedly flipping through the pages to devour pretty art. The second is for inspiration and insight on character design and concept art for my own illustrative work.

 

Please explain how this expansion has impacted you and your WOL.

I spent several days mulling over this prompt. Shadowbringers has been an emotional rollercoaster. Not only for me, but also for my character. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been utterly enamored with a piece of media like this expansion. Calling it just ‘good’ seems like a complete disservice, for I feel like I need several pages just to properly summarize my feelings toward it and the actual impact it’s had on my life in the past year.

Final Fantasy XIV has always had a special place in my heart, and it’s one of the few pieces of media where I am so desperately in love with it’s lore and it’s characters. There were moments in past expansions that moved me, but I honestly cannot say I’ve yet to be shaken to the extent that ShB left me. The music has always been a strong point within this game, but I cannot remember the last time I’ve been so hopelessly obsessed with an expansion’s music. I’ll never forget the overwhelming wave of emotion I felt the first time I entered Amaurot and heard Mortal Instants. How the music and experience stuck with me for weeks.

This expansion has also single-handedly jump started my creative drive and passion for my art. I’ve managed to produce more finished illustrations in the past year then I have in the previous half decade. Which in turn has led me to more work. So I guess I can say I owe a lot to what Shadowbringers has done for me.

But this expansion wasn’t only a monumental change for myself. It was also important for my WoL, Moriko. I’ve gone well out of my way to make sure each major step of the FFXIV story is incredibly relevant to Moriko and who she is as a character. ARR, while the beginning, opened her eyes to just how impactful one’s actions can be, for better or for worse. Heavensward taught her how to cope with loss, while Stormblood instilled in her the stepping stones to handling and dealing with the regrets that come with such a prestigious title.

Shadowbringers was about embracing hope; desperately clinging to the remnants, fighting tooth and claw to keep even the smallest flame alive.

And I don’t necessarily say this just from the point of view of her as a WoL. While it is true that the fate of two worlds and thousands of lives rests on her shoulders, with Moriko, she wasn’t always the WoL. Before her awakening, Moriko was a diplomat; specifically one that worked closely with friendly beast tribes in hopes of repairing their relations with the citizens of the various city-states.

It was always a job many didn’t take seriously but one that Moriko was determined to do. One that was so incredibly necessary because the tribes were people with feelings and livelihoods that deserved the same opportunities anyone else had. She was always acclimated with the uphill battles that came with being the WoL only because she had to fight so hard just to be heard as a diplomat. Sometimes it worked out, other times it did not.

On the source, she’s yet to see her work pay off on a grand scale. She’s had victories, but nothing quite like what she experienced coming to the first. Imagine her surprise when she arrives at the Crystarium and witnesses the tribes of this world as full fledged citizens of this city. A place where they lived and co-existed with other races, working in conjunction with one another to keep their home running smoothly. When she befriended Feo Ul and the residents of Il Mheg, it was business as usual. Moriko was astounded when her new allies were actually capable of coming to her aid amidst a battle and no one tried to impede them.

What these people have on the first – the community, the cooperation – she wants on the source for her friends. That is why Moriko keeps going. That’s why she refuses to give up even in the face of overwhelming odds.

Because it was never about being a savior to the world. There’s no point going through hell and back to eradicate the evils of the world if only some get to enjoy the peace that comes with it.

Everyone deserves a chance at a happy, fulfilling life.