Let’s take a look at why Star Wars Visions is so dang good.
The Disney Era of Star Wars has been a bit of a mixed bag to be sure. It’s put out a series of devisive or downright bad movies. The death of the EU has lead to new books, some of which haven’t been well received. They’ve even had some lackluster TV shoes such as Resistance. On the other hand, there have been a lot of good things to come out of the Disney Era as well. Rogue One, Rebels, the end of Clone Wars and The Mandalorian to name a few. Some of these are downright amazing shows/movies. The high bar set by shows like the Mandalorian however has now been blown away by the release of Visions. Visions, the Star Wars/Anime Mashup, is the best thing to come out of the Disney Era. Let’s take a look at five reasons why this is true.
Visions has a bit of the snake eating its own tail, or things coming full circle feeling. The original Star Wars is heavily based on Japanese works, like those of Akira Kurosawa, and it’s no secret that the Jedi are based on the Samurai/Ronin in classic Japanese movies. If Star Wars was a Western take on Japanese ideas, its thus only fitting for Japanese studios to give us their take on Star Wars. In Visions we get a Kurosawa-sized version of Star Wars, bringing it full circle. Its most obvious in Episode 1, the Dual, with an art style that apes old black and white films, and classic story that sees a ronin defending a village from bandits. It’s not the only episode with the feeling, Episode 4 “The Village Bride” and episode 7 “The Elder”, just to name a couple more, wear the influence proudly.
OK, so to be fair I might be a little biassed on this one. Last August, 4 months before Visions was announced, I wrote about why they needed to make a Star Wars Anime. There was some solid proof out there that the concept was a good one and the mash-up made a lot of sense. And… well I think I was proven right. Visions so this is a natural fit and really delivered on something a lot of people had been wanting.
One of the common critiques of the Disney era of Star Wars is that it has failed to make the setting seem large and open. The bulk of Star Wars stories have remained focused on the same small set of characters, often in the same or very similar settings. The Sequels ultimacy ended up being about the same old feuding families. Even the Mandalorian, which started out fresh, couldn’t resist being drawn back to well known locations and tying in classic characters. The general lack of world-building the in Sequel Era left it feeling small and empty. It is not a place I want to play an RPG in for instance.
But Visions blows this all away. Aside from two fairly minor parts, every character in them is original. The places they go, are in general new and wondaful. Visions makes the galaxy feel big. There are a ton of stories out there, and while they might tie into overarching themes, Jedi Vs Sith, the conflict with the Empire, they don’t really tie into anything else. These are their own stories. We get new ships, new aesthetic, new race and world and buildings and new ways to use the Force. There is just so much cool stuff here, and it makes me love Star Wars again, makes me wonder about what other stories there are out there.
The Force, not the Jedi, is one of the really core ideas of Star Wars. It’s what makes Star Wars, well Star Wars. Now, you can tell cool and great stories without the Force or the Jedi. Not every story has to have Jedi in it. But the fact is that is a major part of Star Wars and one that’s kind of been lacking. With the death of the EU there just aren’t that many Jedi running around, outside of the Clone Wars era. Visions changes that for the better. Every episode is somehow tied to the Force or the Jedi. Most of them directly explore some aspect of the Force, or just show off some totally rad lightsaber fights. We get just a lot of cool Force stuff here and it really blew me away how much I missed the Jedi as major players in Star Wars.
Visions presented Star Wars in a way I haven’t seen it in a long while. It wasn’t just a fresh take, it was a pure take. It never felt this was some focused group over managed product. It wasn’t a product that was somehow reacting to the other parts of Star Wars and fan backlash. It wasn’t a product that felt like it was cynical tug at nostalgia in order to make money. This just felt like… well like Star Wars. Star Wars is ultimately a space fantasy. A lot of newer stuff has leaned more into the Sci-Fi aspects, and that’s not bad. But overall Visions really embraced the fantasy aspect and dang it it worked. Even when it looks vastly different, it still looks like Star Wars, and its all tied together by the sounds of sabers and the mysticism of the Force. Even as a discontented, maybe not canon anthology it felt like it was permeated and connected by some sort of invisible feeling, that this was really Star Wars.
Let us know what you thought of Visions, down in the comments!