Star Wars Visions offers franchise fans a different look

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The majority of the Star Wars Visions series episodes are both interesting and entertaining.

Star Wars Visions is a newly released show on Disney+ that is a little bit different from other Star Wars shows. The show adapts a different Japanese animation style, similar to an anime, for each episode. The entire basis of Visions is that Disney told seven different professional animation studios and teams to create and animate a Star Wars short story of their own design. That was all the instructions they were given, and well, some studios made amazing stories with beautiful art and animation, while others… not so much. What follows is a summary and review of each episode of the first season. Spoilers ahead for anyone who has not seen the show. 

Episode 1: “The Duel” was produced by Kamikaze Douga, who has previously animated the first three parts of “JoJo’s Bizzare Adventures.” When first starting the show, the viewer has no idea what to expect, and after watching how incredible this episode is, the expectations are high for the rest of the episodes. 

“The Duel” takes on a black and white art style for the episode, which is something Star Wars fans haven’t seen before. What was even better was the shinobi-like style for the main character and villain. At the beginning of the episode, we are introduced to the main character who we assume is a Jedi, based not only on his appearance but also his companion droid, which is a common Jedi companion. However, a Sith shows up with a new type of lightsaber that is similar to an umbrella. The main character pulls out a red lightsaber similar to the way that a samurai pulls out a katana from their belt. He says that he is no Jedi, but neither is he a Sith. Rather, he is a force user that hunts down Sith and collects their kyber crystals, which is where his red blade comes from. 

 

After an amazing duel of back and forth slashes, different force techniques, and an incredible soundtrack, our “Sith slayer” main character is victorious and takes the kyber crystal from the Sith’s saber. All in all, this is by far the best episode in the show. Kamikaze Douga should talk to Disney about possibly starting their own Star Wars show. 

Episode 2: “Tatooine Rhapsody” was produced by Studio Colorido and is not too bad. After the first episode set those high expectations, this episode comes across as a little bit of a letdown. The art style in this episode was a little similar to the cartoonish art style in previous Star Wars shows. 

The story is set around a Jedi youngling named Jay, who is probably around the age of a preteen. He has lost his way with the force and joins a band after meeting Geezer. The band struggles to finish a performance because they are being pursued by the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett, whose voice is reprised by Temura Morrison. Geezer gets captured by Boba Fett and is taken to Tatooine to be executed in front of Jabba the Hutt. Jay asks Jabba if they can put on a performance before he is executed and he allows it. They perform a song that, well, is actually pretty good. Both the English and Japanese dub of the song sound like legitimate songs and are really well made. 

Although Studio Colorido didn’t live up to the first episode, they still made a pretty good one. The song was the highlight of the episode, however.

Episode 3: “The Twins” was produced by Trigger, who has previously produced popular anime “Kill la Kill” and “Darling in the FranXX.” The art style in this episode was a mix of both Japanese anime and American cartoons. 

The story is set upon two Star Destroyers conjoined by a lethal weapon of destruction in the middle of them. Each Star Destroyer is controlled by twins Am and Karre. Am is a Sith who only believes in the expansion of the empire, while Karre is having doubts about his role as a Sith and the empire. In order for the weapon to fire, it requires that both twins wear armor that absorbs the power of the kyber crystal. However, Karre believes that the kyber crystal will destroy their bodies due to its massive power, regardless of their armor or force abilities, so Karre steals one of the kyber crystals from the weapon to protect his sister. 

Am is enraged at her brother for betraying both the empire and the dark side, and she unleashes all of her firepower on him. Am grabs the kyber crystal as Karre tries to flee and attempts to use the power of the kyber crystal with her armor. She loses control of the power and it begins to overload her armor, nearly killing her. After going into hyperspace, Karre crashes onto a planet. He vows to find and save his sister as the episode ends. Despite the episode being slow, its finale is well worth the wait. 

Episode 4: “The Village Bride” was produced by Kinema Citrus. The episode is really slow, but it does have its upsides. The art style creates a Japanese vibe to the universe which is different but works really well. 

In “The Village Bride,” a force user and her master are exploring a new planet they landed on. They come across a groom and a bride preparing for their wedding in the forest. They are invited to the wedding and the feast after making a good impression. An old separatist ship shows up and says they’ve come for their share. Their “share” is the bride who has given herself up as a peace offering between the family and the raiders who have rewired old droids. Asu, our main character, stops the raiders in their tracks with the coolest lightsaber Star Wars fans have ever seen. In the shape of a katana, the yellow lightsaber ignites with an amazing sound and thin, curved shape like a sharp blade. Asu defeats the raiders, and the tribe is able to continue their wedding in peace. 

Like the previous episode, this episode was slow, but the fight scene more than makes up for that. Kinema Citrus did create an intriguing story with this character and art style though, and it would be nice to see them get their own spin-off series.

Episode 5: “The Ninth Jedi” was produced by Production IG, who has previously worked on popular shows such as Attack on Titan, Haikyuu, Vinland Saga, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. This experienced studio uses an art style similar to those of these popular anime, making this episode feel like a true anime. 

“The Ninth Jedi” episode is centered around the daughter of a lightsaber builder who is making lightsabers for a group of Jedi and a group of force users who are trying to rebuild the Jedi order. After finishing the sabers, the craftsman gives them to his daughter to take to the Jedi while he is swarmed by bounty hunters. After arriving on the planet to give the Jedi their lightsabers, she realizes that she has made a grave mistake. Six of the force users gathered are actually Sith, and the daughter and the two others are left to defend themselves against the six Sith. In the end, they are victorious due to the strength of their leader Margrave Juro, who names the daughter “the ninth Jedi” of his newly rebuilt Jedi Order. 

This episodes’ story and action sequences are phenomenal. This episode could most certainly be made into its own spin-off series, so look out for it in the future. 

Episode 6: “TO-B1” was produced by Science Saru, who has previously worked on Devilman: Crybaby. The art style used in this episode is odd; it isn’t cartoonish, but also isn’t Japanese animation. It almost seemed like a slideshow that was edited for animation, similar to stop-motion animation. 

This episode is about a human-like droid named TO-B1 who wants to be a Jedi, like his creator. In order to become a Jedi, he must bring life to the planet by making it rain. This is what his master was attempting to do before he was killed by an Inquisitor that landed on their planet. TO-B1 finished his master’s work and was able to craft a lightsaber and use the force. The Inquisitor noticed his presence in the force and went back to the planet to kill him. However, TO-B1 was able to avenge his master and kill the Inquisitor. 

Overall this episode isn’t that good. It has a great story, but the story is muddled and the pacing is off as it takes too long to get to the general point of the story.

Episode 7: “The Elder” was produced by Trigger, their second episode of the show. The art style used in this episode is different from the cartoonish approach in Episode 3. This time they used an old Japanese animation style from the 70s and 80s. 

The episode is centered around a Jedi Master and his padawan. While flying in their ship, they sense a dark presence coming from a nearby planet. After landing on the planet, they speak to the villagers who say an elder landed on their planet and went up on the mountain. They find the elder’s ship, which is an ancient Sith starship. The padawan goes up the mountain by himself while the Master stays back and investigates the ship. On his way up, the padawan runs into the elder who pulls out two red lightsabers shaped like katanas. The padawan is outmatched and is cut down almost instantly. The master senses that his padawan is in danger and rushes to the mountain. He fights the ancient Sith, who puts up a good fight against the Jedi Master, however, he is bested due to his old age and slow reactions. The episode ends with the elder blowing himself and the ship up while the Jedi Master and Padawan escape. 

This episode has an absolutely incredible story that is aided by its fantastic fight scene and beautiful animation. Its only downside is that it is no more than 11 minutes long and feels like it was cut short. Otherwise, Trigger made up for their previous episode with one of the best episodes of the series.

Episode 8: “Lop and Ocho” was produced by Geno Studio. The art style used in this episode is very similar to that used in episode 5, “The Ninth Jedi,” in that it feels as if it is truly a professional anime. Episode 8 is the longest episode in the series; however, unlike some other episodes, it never feels slow. Rather, its great pacing and storytelling give it a movie-like feel. 

To sum up the general gist of the story, a rabbit-like being named Lop escapes from her planet which is controlled by the empire. She is taken in by a rich Japanese family that consists of only a father and daughter. After a time skip, we see the father commencing an attack on the empire. The daughter is upset with this because she believes that they need the empire to be able to become an improved society. 

The father tells Lop that she must save his daughter/her sister from her path to the dark side. He begins to tell her about a Jedi that showed up in their village a few hundred years ago that gifted his great-grandfather a lightsaber that has been passed down for generations. The father tells Lop that it was her turn to wield the saber and save her sister. Lop hops to the imperial command center and has a duel with her sister, who loses her temper after seeing Lop with the saber. She is bested but escapes on an imperial ship and the episode ends. 

Unfortunately, there is little hope for a sequel to this episode, but if enough fans show their love for this episode, it is possible that Disney could allow Trigger to remake it into a movie with even more backstory and character development. This episode was absolutely phenomenal and is the second-best episode of the series.

Episode 9: “Akakiri” is produced by Science SARU, also their second episode in the series. However, it is also their second miss in the series, using the same art style as their previous episode “TO-B1.” 

This episode is about a Jedi who is experiencing nightmares about his loved one’s death. For those that don’t know, this is the same way that Anakin Skywalker became a Sith. He goes to visit his loved one and sees that her village has been taken over by a Sith. The Jedi goes to challenge the Sith but is no match. She sends a bunch of armed, masked soldiers at the Jedi. The Jedi swings his saber around recklessly, killing all of them. However, he looks at the soldiers and sees that one of them that he killed was actually his loved one. 

The Sith says that she can bring her back to life, but he must become her apprentice. He obliges and turns to the dark side in the process. After his loved one is revived, he tells her he did what he had to do, and walks away with the Sith. 

This episode may seem pretty interesting with a decent story, except for the fact that all of this happened in the last three minutes of the episode with the first 15 minutes consisting of walking through a forest. So, despite it being a decent story, both its and pacing weren’t the best.

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