Star Wars fans have been riding high ever since the first season of The Mandalorian hit. Even though the film side of things left a bit to be desired for some fans; the work being done on Disney Plus with both the animated and live-action properties have seemingly reinvigorated the franchise. And with numerous projects on the horizon such as a Boba Fett show debuting later this year and an Obi-Wan mini-series starring none other than Ewan McGregor debuting next year, there’s no end in sight! And the newly showcased Star Wars Visions is no exception!
Star Wars Visions is an anime inspired Star Wars show that will be hitting Disney Plus on September 22nd! The show will be a small series of 9 shorts from 7 different anime studios. These studios come from all over the world and the vision behind this was the give different creators the opportunity to infuse their unique style on the world of Star Wars. And because of this they were given zero creative restraints and will essentially be creating these stories within a box. Which means they are not canon to the overall history of Star Wars.
This is a notion that is to be applauded. Creative freedom is always a good thing. But it’s because of this concept that has caused some Star Wars fans- including myself, to be a little concerned for what the show has to offer.
If you’ve seen the trailer you’ll notice the heavy influence anime has on it. It’s not just the inspiration behind the series, but the essence of what the show is. And for Star Wars fans this is a big shift than what they’re used to when it comes to The Clone Wars, Rebels, and even recently The Bad Batch.
Make no mistake, the style of animation is breathtaking and beautiful and it certainly gives a fresh take on the Star Wars franchise, but it is a bit over the top and you can definitely tell the creative liberties that were taken. A few things that had me scratching my head was the spinning lightsabers, the fighting in space, and the floating umbrella person, just to name a few. And while I don’t have a huge issue with this since it’s not canon, the overall disregard for the canon and mechanics of Star Wars might make it hard for fans to connect to it.
And the thing is, I’m all for over-embellished action when it comes to animation. Look no further than the newly debuted What If series on Disney Plus. I got a kick out of seeing Peggy Carter fly through the sky with the Captain America shield, taking out fighter planes and tanks in epic fashion. But it was done in a way that still felt familiar to the MCU canon.
With Visions it seems more like its dropping Star Wars characters and ideas into an anime world instead of bringing the anime world to Star Wars. And that may sound confusing, but it’s a slight distinction that I think will make the difference for some people.
With the Japanese dubbing, the lightsaber whips, and the multi limbed lightsaber wielding Jedi, it might just be dipping into my least favorite side of Star Wars.
Goofiness and over-the-top action will always be a part of Star Wars, but it has usually come with a certain sense of verisimilitude that kept it all grounded. And when it doesn’t, it’s noticeable. Look no further than the Canto Bight scene in The Last Jedi or the Droid Factory scene in Attack of the Clones. And when it comes to the dubbing, I don’t really have an issue with that when it comes to newly created characters, but when it comes to characters we know, there’s a bit of a disconnect for me personally when they don’t sound like how they usually do.
This isn’t to say the show doesn’t have a lot going for it though. The anime-style fused with Star Wars sensibilities such as lightsabers and space ships look really cool, and the Akira Korusawa inspired imagery is also something that fans will enjoy considering Star Wars in its inception was heavily inspired by not only old western films but also samurai films. It’s something Dave Filoni even riffed on when he did his episode of The Mandalorian in season 2 with Ahsoka. So its nice to see the Japanese influence in such a big way. And I’m not gonna lie I got a kick out of seeing a Jedi stopping a stun blast in mid-air.
And I think that’s the kind of stuff that’ll keep me invested. The new perspective and style and sensibilities that each of these studios brings. But like the force, it depends on how well all that is balanced with what we know of Star Wars to be that will be the deciding factor on whether this show is for me or not.
Star Wars has always been about taking inspiration from other genres and bringing them to the world of Star Wars. Whether it be old Flash Gordan serials or WWII films. But this is one of the few times it’s almost a literal translation of those inspirations. I just hope it doesn’t lose what makes Star Wars special in the process. But we’ll soon find out, and here’s hoping I’m wrong…
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