Star Wars Visions

Brings New Visions to the Star Wars Franchise

~Felix Phommachanh, Technical Producer (CNUTV)~

A long time ago in a galaxy far away…

Disney’s Streaming service, Disney+, has led the Disney Empire into a new age of media. Using the IPs they acquired over the years, the entertainment juggernaut has produced several original shows for the market. From Star Wars the Clone Wars Season 7, The Bad Batch, and The Madalorian, the empire decided to try something new. 

George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, was inspired by the Japanese 1958 film “The Hidden Fortress”, created by Akira Kurosawa. Following this inspiration, Disney partnered with seven japanese anime studios to produce Star Wars Visions, a nine episode anime anthology series that pays homage to Star Wars. Each episode tells its own story and non-canon to the source material; however the episodes pay tribute and are inspired by the universe of Star Wars. 

Overall, the series was only with me personally having a few favorites and dislikes. I do enjoy how the creators had some created liberties with Star Wars Lore to make something that could be part of it. Another note was that I watched all the episodes in japanese with english subtitles, a personal prefere for watching anime. Each studio brought their own animation style and unique storytelling to the Star Wars franchise, with each episode having something I enjoyed. They also add a small behind the scenes episode per episode on how they went about creating them. I will be listing out each episode, the studio that created it, runtime, and what I like or dislike about the episode, but will not go in depth of the story. 

Episode One: The Duel

Studio: Kamikaze Douga

Runtime: 15 Minutes

Kamikaze Douga, an animation studio that specializes in 3-D animation, created a stunning black and white japanese samurai film. The combat sequences are fluid and seamless with each lightsaber draw giving a glorious light over the rest of the black and white episode. A solid episode.

Episode Two: Tatooine Rhapsody 

Studio: Studio Colorido

Runtime: 14 Minutes

Tatooine Rhapsody, is a nice episode, with it more being near the genre of slice of life/drama over action. The chilbi like designs of the characters were interesting, but the main focus was the music. The music in this episode was great and brought the focus towards a group helping a friend in need, grounding it and making it stand out over the other episodes. 

Episode Three: The Twins

Studio: Studio Trigger

Runtime: 18 Minutes

Studio Trigger, if you have seen this studio’s other works like “Kill la Kill”, “Little Witch Academia”, or “Promare”, then you’ll understand how over the top their animation style can get, and this episode doesn’t disappoint. This episode is more about spectacle over story with its big action sequences and exaggerated facial expressions, this episode goes from zero to one hundred real fast. I enjoyed it. 

Episode Four: The Village Bride

Studio: Kinema Citrus

Runtime: 19 Minutes

The Village Bride is my absolute favorite episode of the series. The episode has great visuals and nice pacing. The vivid colors and exploring the spiritual side of the force makes it a great episode, slower and more appreciative with its storytelling. 

Episode Five: The Ninth Jedi

Studio: Production IG

Runtime: 23 Minutes

The Ninth Jedi, produced by Production IG, was my second favorite episode of Visions. One of the longer episodes of the series, it takes established lightsaber lore and treats them like actual blades, being forged for their users. It has great pacing and great visuals.

Episode Six: T0-B1

Studio: Science SARU

Runtime: 15 Minutes

T0-B1 was an okay episode. Similar to episode two, Tatooine Rhasophy, it goes to a chibi character style, giving it an “Astro Boy” feel and look. The message and meaning of the episode is nice and sweet, but I felt a bit annoyed with how the character talks. Still a good episode, but not my favorite.

Episode Seven: The Elder

Studio: Studio Trigger

Runtime: 17 Minutes

The Elder was created by Studio Trigger, where episode three, The Twins, being exaggerated, this episode was grounded. The pacing of the episode felt slow at times and the story felt there but not at time. Comparing the two episodes they produced, I preferred episode two for being bold and up front then this.

Episode Eight: Lop & Ocho 

Studio: Geno Studio

Runtime: 21 Minutes

Lop and Ocho is a very telling tale with great themes of family and siblings. I would classify this as a coming of age story, beyond the Star Wars setting. The background and visuals are well done and the fight sequence is great. A solid episode.

Episode Nine: Akakiri

Studio: Science SARU

Runtime: 14 Minutes

Akakiri, created by Science SARU. It is a very interesting animation style choice; however the episode reminds me of Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith with its ending. I like the idea it was going for; however with only 14 minutes of runtime, it felt rushed with its flashback and flash forwards. 

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