Star Wars: Visions
Star Wars: Visions (2021-) Season 1 review
Star Wars: Visions is a new series on Disney+ set in the Star Wars universe. The series features 9 episode from 7 different anime studios, each with their own stories and focus per story. While the series received a mixed reception upon its release, the reviews from critics especially remain high. Regardless, the entire first season dropped on Disney+ just a few weeks ago.
Now I would love to do a play-by-play of each episode, but A. That’s alot of reading, B. I don’t know each studio that well, so I don’t feel terribly qualified as far as the anime element goes, and C. I kinda want to leave them a surprise! Because yeah, this series was a nice surprise! An overdue surprise yes, but a welcome one. So let’s dig in!
One of the best things that Visions brings to the table is of course the visual style. While not every episode lands in every way, such as the less than fluid animation from The Duel and the more abstract and texture-less style from T0-B1, the series looks simply fantastic overall! The anime style is ramped up to an 11 in The Twins and down to a minimalistic 2 in Akakiri, but at its absolute best in episodes like The Villiage Bride and, or all the episodes, Lop & Ochô!
The storytelling episode to episode was also very interesting! I found it fascinating to see what the different studios found inspiration in an which themes from Star Wars that resonated with them the most. I do wish there were a bit more variety in the episodes though. Almost every episode features many of the same elements: Jedi, Sith, or the moral grey between them; the phrase ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this,’ creative takes on lightsabers, stories that play on Kurosawa stories that inspired Star Wars in the first place, and a few more elements that feel a bit repetitive.
THAT SAID, all you have to do to avoid this feeling repetitive is space out your viewings. This review is late because I didn’t want to crowd these episodes after hearing they are better not binged. The only downside then becomes all too short. I think every episode is the perfect runtime for the story they want to tell, I just of course wanted more after each one. Which brings me to another little complaint I have: The last episode. It’s a great episode, but it shouldn’t have been the last one. (All these complaints by the way? No fault of the studios who made them.)
One of the things I find most interesting about this entire series is actually how many elements are drawn from the sequel trilogy! I’m not saying I love the sequel trilogy, but the ever changing perspectives of the Star Wars movies might turn in the favor of the Sequel Trilogy with some expanding material like Visions! Think about it! We had the prequels, nobody liked them, then we got shows and a very nostalgic attachment to them, now they seem to have entered a level of respect from Star Wars fans!
Okay best episode… The Duel was solid Kurosawa, I really liked Tatooine Rhapsody for trying something different, again The Village Bride was stunning, and James Hong’s performance from The Elder was chilling. But I have to go with popular opinion here and say that The Ninth Jedi was absolutely amazing. I don’t want to spoil anything about any of these of course, but the depth in worldbuilding, characters, and storytelling told in just 22 minutes is absolutely incredible!
Worst episode? Easily T0-B1. Just, very silly. The take on Pinocchio wasn’t all that unique if you ask me, especially compared to some of the stronger episodes. But the tone in this one was a bit all over the place, and I didn’t really buy the character arc. I don’t think it needed more time, but more focus. This would have been a nice episode to deviate from the Jedi trope. Music was awesome though! Heck the music in this entire series was just great!
So overall, and I think this series literally has to be talked about overall, I think Visions was a great idea with mostly great execution! Sure there are a few weaker episodes, and if you watch them back to back, they feel a bit repetitive. But for me, this might have been the most refreshing Star Wars experience I’ve had in a while. It’s not just more of the same, it’s unique stories told though unique perspective that pay homage to the core elements that inspired Star Wars in the first place! Dang it, I thought this series was just great! Even when it’s not. 8/10.
So yeah, Star Wars Visions? Did you watch it yet? What did you think? Which episodes were your favorite and least favorite? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and want to read more like it, be sure to let us know in the comments what we should talk about next! And of course, thanks for reading!
-review by Ryan Prince