This anime anthology takes the Star Wars themes we know and love and delivers them in nine brilliantly fresh lenses. Each episode showcases it’s own unique story and style which varies wildly episode to episode. The series is a shining example of how the best qualities of Star Wars translate worldwide!
Like all anthologies, you’ll have your own favorites! Here are some of my thoughts!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
This piece feels like a classic samurai film. The score, the black and white style, and the film grain effect all set the perfect mood for this piece. Personally I’m a huge fan of samurai films so this is my jam! A wandering swordsman fighting off a dark warrior at a village in peril? Yes, please! I love the moment the Ronin draws his blade from his scabbard! CHEF’S KISS. Give me all the umbrella sabers!
Not to mention that this short is the perfect stepping off point for an amazing book Ronin: A Visions Novel!
While not quite a rock opera, this is one of the cutest in the collection! The idea of a Jedi survivor hiding as a singer of a rock band is something we’ve never seen! I love the fact that the band becomes a little family of their own. Teeny Boba Fett voiced by Temuera Morrison! The band with a hutt bass player! While the pop punk style of the band isn’t my personal taste, all of the score music throughout the episode is full of warmth and energy! I love the look and sound palate of this particular short!
Over the top huge anime action! If that’s your jam then this is the one for you. From a kyber powered six lightsaber whip wielding suit to attacking a star destroyer atop a space faring X-Wing! The music is epic, the action swings from the fences and the entire energy of this one is bananas!
The Village Bride
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of Star Wars ever created. The themes of harmony and nature fit perfectly with familiar core Star Wars themes. F has the best outfit, lightsaber, and shoes in the galaxy! The voice talent shines here as well. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa himself! Christopher Sean is back in Star Wars! The score for this one is haunting and choral in a way Star Wars seldom gets.
The Ninth Jedi
What can I say about this one that hasn’t already been said. A deep history, compelling story, and some mystery make this one memorable. The idea of sabers that change colors according to those who wield them is rad. The saber smith who is able to create lightsabers, which have apparently been lost to time long ago. The main character Kara, has some wonderful character moments. From a speeder chase, to wielding a saber herself! This one feels like it gives an entire world of story while still having plenty of action!
The story of a robot who dreams of being a Jedi. Can it get any cuter? T0-B1, his patient creator, and his robo buddies all work towards creating life! The themes of the boy who wants more and what being a hero really means shines through. T0-B1 feels like a fairy tale and delivers the tragedy and triumph with real heart.
The Elder feels like it could drop into canon anywhere between The Rule of Two and The High Republic. Tajin and Dan have a very natural dynamic that feels as familiar as Jinn and Kenobi. The creepy baddie is super dangerous, disturbing, and devious! I love the Elder’s blades, actually most of the lightsabers in this series rock. A short simple story with great action and characters!
Lop and Ocho
Anyone looking for their found-family Star Wars can stop right here. The story of the orphan being adopted into a family is the heart of Star Wars. The battle between the Empire and the planet Tao feels like the battle between tradition and harmony and imperialism and industrialization. The landscapes are breathtaking hand-painted pieces and the characters are very endearing. The ending of the story is bittersweet, truly touching, and relevant in our current world.
This story is a huge shift in tone. A Jedi returns to his first love to help her save her world and in doing so, seals her fate. The story is a mirror of the Anakin/Padme story but takes a different turn on towards the end. The music makes the whole piece feel organic and eerie. I loved the character design and the loose feel of the animation. While the end of the story is a bummer, it is definitely one of the shorts that stays with you in a good way.
Bits and Pieces
Visions is a wonderful watch and takes Star Wars into new and exciting places. My personal favorite is The Village Bride. The animation, voice acting, and music all really deliver something surprisingly gorgeous. I hope we get more projects like this that give imaginative creators the freedom to deliver stories unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
This is a must-watch, not just for Star Wars fans, but anime fans and those looking for a Star Wars experience outside the boundaries of what that Star Wars could mean.
- Sal P.