I just binge watched all ten episodes of Star Wars: Visions on Disney+. Couldn’t help it because they were just that good! Not only was I impressed with the visuals and the stories, but I even recognized some of the voice actors from my favorite anime shows. This was a match made in heaven with new content that brought me the Star Wars universe in a completely new light. The anime style differed from each episode, and the stories were completely different too. In fact, I even think they changed some canon with this anime series (I’ll explain later). In any case, I was completely enthralled by this series and I hope they do more of them in the future.
Similar to the Animatrix short stories that came out around the same time as The Matrix: Revolutions movie, Star War: Visions brought anime storytelling to the popular universe of the Jedi and the Sith, which makes sense since the look of these force users have a Japanese-vibe to them. According to Kathleen Kennedy, “Star Wars: Visions will be a series of animated short films celebrating the Star Wars galaxy through the lens of the world’s best anime creators. This anthology collection will bring ten fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to Star Wars.”
For the most part, these shorts focused on the constant war between the Jedi and the Sith, with one exception, and that’s what many Star Wars fans look for in storylines. I mean, even The Mandalorian TV series focused on “The Child” and the Jedi. There’s nothing wrong with that but honestly, I thought there would be more diverse content. The one episode that didn’t go that route was Tatooine Rhapsody. Gotta love a Padawan escaping Order 66 by becoming a rock star with a droid guitarist, tri-bodied drummer and a Jabba family outcast on bass (nose ring and all). That was awesome!
My favorite had to be The Duel because it felt like an old Japanese samurai film but with aliens and lightsabers. The rogue Sith hunting down other Sith was a shocker, which made it even more enjoyable. Plus, the R2 unit wearing a straw hat was totally in character for this anime. The changes I mentioned to canon (which every Star Wars nerd swears by) was in the episode The Ninth Jedi. The “saber smith” (love that name) said that the kyber crystal projects the color of the lightsaber depending on the force users will and abilities. Hence, in this episode, when the Sith wielded the lightsabers, they were all red. However, previously we were told that each crystal has its own color and when a Sith kills for the first time and the kyber crystal is soaked in blood, it becomes a red lightsaber. So, in essence, Star Wars: Visions has changed canon to the Star Wars universe.
Speaking of lightsabers, all ten episodes had different versions of the legendary weapon. Some looked like they do in the movies while others looked like a katana or bladed-version of a lightsaber. There was even an spinning umbrella lightsaber . . . Talk about deadly! The style of animation differed in each episode, but you tell the anime influence from the stylized drawing of the characters to the way they animated it all together. I mean, The Twins reminded me of Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill while TO-B1 had the style of Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo. It made each episode unique as they told their story.
I hope that this is the first in anime storytelling from the Star Wars universe. I want to see more! These are definitely ones to watch.
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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers. Get ready for The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series, coming soon, and the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates.