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Post #1450820

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Star Wars: Visions (animated short films) - a general discussion thread - * SPOILERS *
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Date created
27-Sep-2021, 11:42 PM

I decided not to watch this all in one sitting, and I also didn’t watch it in the order that they’re displayed. I decided to start with the ones I was least looking forward to and then went in order of how much they interested me before I finished with The Duel which is the first episode in the collection. Also after each episode, I also went into the extra’s and looked at the filmmaker’s focus on each one before moving to the next short.

I watched them in this order
Lop and Ocho
Tattooine Rhapsody
The Elder
The Village Bride
The Twins
The Ninth Jedi
The Duel

9 Lop and Ocho This was a real flop for me. I wasn’t that excited about it, because of the main character being a bunny girl, but that actually wasn’t much of a problem. The biggest issue with this one is that it feels really incomplete. None of the characters are well developed and I think Ocho in fact is the most poorly developed. The way she was characterized before she officially joins the empire and after she joins feels really abrupt. It also ends pretty abruptly and doesn’t have much of a conclusion. It feels like it got cut off way too soon like this was the beginning of a much longer story. It wasn’t until I watched the behind the scene feature about this one that I fully understood what the studio was going for. I got some of it from watching the short, but that I needed to go look at the behind the scene video for me to feel that is a failure of the short. It’s a real shame because I feel like if we got to fully explore Ocho’s descent to the dark side it could have worked better. I also think if we’re able to get a full movie or another 2-3 episodes to fully explore or conclude the story this would be really strong but without those, the short just isn’t all that good.

8 The Twins This was a really fun short. The plot is rather simple, but since the focus of the short is on the action it’s exactly what it needs to be. This is very clearly animated by Imaishi, whose style is immediately recognizable, to give us fight scenes on par with some of his best works. However, maybe because the plot is so simple I didn’t really connect to this one all that much. Don’t get me wrong I like cool action scenes as much as the next person, but I would have liked a little bit more substance. However, as a spectacle and piece of popcorn entertainment, it fully succeeds.

7 Tattooine Rhapsody was probably the most fun of these shorts. The idea of making a rock opera in Star Wars was pretty unique and in the wrong hands it could have ended up just feeling embarrassing, but the confidence the staff had in this project really shone through. It’s also the only one that features established characters from the franchise in the plot. It was also interesting to see the main character be a Jedi who turned away from fighting and became the lead singer in the band. All of the band members are well defined and the middle portion of the episode really sells that bond that all of them share with each other. It also doesn’t hurt that the music is really good. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays the main character and it turns out he’s a pretty good singer, Galactic Dreamer is a banger that’ll be playing on loop in my head over the next few days. I also went through and listened to the song in all of the languages it was dubbed into. Anyway, this episode was really enjoyable and I can defiantly see myself coming back to this one.

6 The Elder was definitely an interesting story it was rather more introspective than some of the other ones. The characters were well defined, and it did a decent job of introducing some mystery into the proceedings. I would definitely be interested in seeing these characters return. Like all of them, there is potential for the story to be expanded and turned into a series. I could see this being the prelude to a story about the return of the Sith, but I think it ended in a decent enough place that it works as a standalone. I’d also like to call out the score which feels a lot like John Williams’s score. In fact, this is one of the shorts that feels the most like Star Wars.

5 TO-B1 was the first one I watched because didn’t think I’d like it all that much but I actually found it pretty charming. The story was cute and the relationship between him and Mitaka was really well done. The animation was also really inventive and fluid throughout the entire thing. All of the characters were extremely expressive. The parts of this where he’s searching for the Kyber Crystal and exploring the force for the first time felt a bit shorter than I would like and I kind of wish this was a full 30-40 minute movie so some of those parts could breathe a bit more. However, it did tell a complete story and I was pretty satisfied after watching it.

4 The Duel was the short that I was most looking forward to and that was 100% because of its art style. While it wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped it was still a brilliant watch. I loved the sketchy black and white art style, and it looked a lot like they were blending some 3D into the 2D animation. It’s your standard Ronin helping a village story, but there were some fun touches on the formula such as the chief being a little kid. The idea of having this former Sith being the wanderer was also pretty inspired. I also liked how the short kind of does a fun homage to the Anakin and Obi-Wan fight in Revenge of the Sith, with the fight on the river log clearly being modeled on their fight on the magma barge. I also appreciate the soundtrack sounding a lot like Star Wars. I’m glad we’re getting more to this and I’ve preordered a Hardcover of the book, the cover art is so cool.

3 The Village Bride. I really enjoyed this one and it’s definitely one of the ones that feel the most complete as a story. The stands out for me in this one is the visuals. It focused on the beauty of the planet, and the beauty of quiet moments. It also had some pretty unique character designs and the style of animation was not what I’m used to but I still really liked it. It was also I think the only one that had actual anime voice actors, most notable Stephanie Sheh, in the cast and not just Hollywood talent. The story was also simple but effective and I liked how the people of the planet connected with the Force.

2 Akakiri was fantastic. It really felt like a samurai movie. It was probably the most stylish one of them all, not including the duel, with absolutely gorgeous animation, and the minimalistic soundtrack. This one actually reminded me quite a bit of Samurai Jack, mixed with an Akira Kurosawa film. It’s also probably one of the darker shorts in this collection. The tone is pretty bleak throughout, due to how the music colors even the more upbeat moments, but there are moments of beauty throughout. The music has a heavy focus on percussion and the whole piece feels very dreamlike. The ending is pretty dark and the way the color red drowns out all of the other colors was fantastic. This is definitely the second strongest of the shorts and it’s the only one where I have no complaints, so it’s a shame that it seems to be one of the least popular shorts. I usually see it hover around sopts 7 or 8 on ranking lists which is a shame and I think it might possibly be due to the art style. Science Saru typically has more out there character designs and the way their animation typically distorts characters to create fluid movements usually seems to be controversial. I quite like the fluidity that this type of style brings to the table, but I know it takes some people out of the moment as many like characters to remain on the model and not distort to create fluid animation. However I really vibe with this studio’s style, and this is the one that I really want to see expanded on later down the line, but unlike with Lop and Ocho, it’s because it was so good that I want more. It’s pretty much the perfect short, but there was one that I liked more

1 The Ninth Jedi ended up being my favorite. It was one of my most anticipated, partially because of the trailer shot where Kara uses her saber to destroy a speeder, and mostly because it was directed by Kenji Kamiyama as he was the director of one of my favorite series, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, as well as Serei no Moribito, and Eden of the East. This did not disappoint. I really loved the concept of the color of the lightsaber being dependent on each person’s connection with the force, and it also had a pretty good story. It also had a pretty cool twist, which was spoiled for me, but it was still really cool. I think this also probably had the best action out of all of them with the speeder chase throughout the forest and the final lightsaber fight being extremely well animated. This is also the longest of the shorts, with it being a full 23 minutes, and it made excellent use of that time. This is the one I want a sequel to the most, as this feels a lot like a fantastic pilot episode for a full series, and in the behind-the-scenes look at this episode Production I.G wants to do more as well, so hopefully, we’ll get it. I’d really like a full 13 episode tv series, but I’d also be fine with a 40-50 minute OVA or a full movie.

So in conclusion I consider this project a complete success, not all of the shorts were great, but there were none that were outright bad, and the top 3 were truly amazing. The real weakness of this project was that some of these shorts feel like they’re too short to tell the story that the filmmakers want to tell, so hopefully, if we get more they’ll allow the studios to go longer with the shorts. It still remains to be seen how popular this ends up being, but it seems to be fairly well-received by the fandom, or at least the audience ratings on the review aggregate website still appear to be decent, so I’m hopeful we’ll get more of this.