Yoshitaka Amano X Hyde Exhibit

Fans of the Final Fantasy series have always joked that its flamboyantly dressed protagonists wouldn't look out of place rocking the stage at a visual-kei concert. Get ready for the punchline--Yoshitaka Amano, character designer for the beloved RPG franchise, has teamed up with Hyde, vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the seminal J-rock band L'Arc-en-Ciel to create a gallery that showcases their shared phantasmagoric decadence. 

The Providence and Immorality -Nippon Evolution- exhibition paints the story of neo-Tokyo reduced to rubble in a holy war between the dueling aspects of Hyde’s personality. Amano split Hyde into a Devil that represents the darkness of his music and an Angel that embodies the purity of his soul. Both take flight on feathered wings like the singer on his globe-spanning career.

Their battle is depicted as a series of lithographs, either on parchment for dreamier pieces or thick cardboard for bold, manga-esque renderings of Hyde. The narrow hallways of the gallery twist and turn before opening to a round hall populated with foreboding glass monoliths. These acrylic paintings reveal Amano’s Apocalypse--pale horse and rider, seven-headed red dragon, the Gas Panic nightclub in flames. 

Two figures hang suspended from the ceiling towards the front of the space. These mannequins are life-sized sculpts of the Devil and Angel characters wearing elaborate costumes fit only for a hero of myth--or a rocker like Hyde. 

The air is filled with haunting organ scales, their tranquil rhythm shattered by clashing cymbals. As the final confrontation between good versus evil descended on Shibuya around me, I couldn't help but feel like I was part of an epic last boss battle. This is one RPG that I would totally play!

The exhibition runs in Laforet Museum Harajuku through the end of August.