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Star Wars: Visions debuts on September 22nd on Disney+ and has a unique challenge ahead of it. While legions of fans know the mythology of Star Wars backward and forwards, Visions offers a much different approach to this galaxy far, far away.  Star Wars: Visions features the collective interpretations of some of the top Japanese anime production companies as they take on the lore of Star Wars through the lens of Japanese storytelling. This combination proves to be a journey, unlike anything Star Wars fans have ever seen. 

F in a scene from “STAR WARS: VISIONS” short, “THE VILLAGE BRIDE”, exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Star Wars: Visions takes some of the essential thematic elements of Star Wars, such as loyalty, found family, what it means to be a Jedi and their connection to the Force, the nature of evil, and the elegance and wonder of a lightsaber with some of the most moving animation I’ve ever seen. Star Wars: Visions is a gorgeous tapestry of the Star Wars mythos interwoven with the beautiful and spiritual aspects of Japanese storytelling. It is told in several original and unique styles that are a credit to both genres. Visions is a triumph of art, storytelling, and culture that is sure to have a significant impact on fans of both anime and Star Wars.

Tsubaki (voiced by Yū Miyazaki in Japanese and Henry Golding in the English Dub) in a scene from “STAR WARS: VISIONS” short, “AKAKIRI”, exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

There are nine stories in all, ranging from thirteen to twenty-four minutes in length, and each one takes the saga in intriguing new directions. There is a semi-broad range of cost sprinkled throughout each narrative, but in each story, good and evil are clearly defined and each will leave you longing for the next chapter of each respective story. Personally, “The Village Bride”, “The Elder”, “Lop and Ocho”, and “The Ninth Jedi” are my favorites because they feature powerful lessons on the Force, nobility, bravery, and incredible lightsaber duels. 

Ronin in a scene from “STAR WARS: VISIONS” short, “THE DUEL”, exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

But there is something to savor in each of the episodes. “The Duel” is somewhat meta because it is inspired by Star Wars, which was inspired by Akira Kurosawa, and it works exceptionally well, particularly with the use of color, how time is kept during the episode, and the allusions to other Star Wars iconography. Be certain to watch all of the behind-the-scenes episodes as well, because they add some cultural background and context. Plus, the creators’ enthusiasm is inspiring and contagious. 

Karre and Am in a scene from “STAR WARS: VISIONS” short, “THE TWINS”, exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

I am very much a novice when it comes to anime, which is why Star Wars: Visions is the perfect gateway to a brand new universe of story and storytelling.  James Waugh (Executive Producer) and Kanako Shirasaki (Producer) have assembled a dream team of anime studios who love Star Wars and it shows in every cell of animation. Star Wars: Visions is aptly named, with creativity and passion coursing through each episode. This new and bold interpretation of the Star Wars franchise told through a different aesthetic and cultural lens is a wonderful new trajectory for the franchise that I hope we see much more of. Be on the lookout this week on Coffee With Kenobi, as James Burns (Jedi News) Holly Frey (Full of Sith) join me to look at each episode in more detail. 

What do you think of Star Wars: Visions? What episodes rank among your favorites? Be sure to let me know in the comments below or on social media!

 

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