Raya and The Last Dragon Is A Must Watch: A Spoiler Free Review
Star Wars: Visions (2021) is a new anthology anime show, where seven different Japanese studios come together to tell nine stories set in a galaxy far away. With stellar art direction, a staggering level of detail, and gorgeously choreographed lightsaber duels, this series is quite the spectacle. However, with the short episode lengths, it isn’t easy to get emotionally invested in the characters or their struggles.
The best thing about the show is how the Stars Wars universe has been delightfully reimagined in a variety of artistic styles. For instance, the opening episode “The Duel” has a Ronin-like character in a feudal Japanese landscape and features an intense Jedi battle. “The Village Bride” has an enchanting fairytale vibe to it, reminiscent of Princess Mononoke and Avatar: The Last Airbender. “T0-B1” is exceptionally adorable, where an Astro Boy-like character learns to use the Force to terraform a planet.
The conflict between family loyalties and political affiliations is tragically explored in “Lop and Ocho.” Finally, “The Elder” features an excellent Master-padawan dynamic, along with a focused meditation on the benefits and dangers of power.
Image via Disney+
However, the episode that really stood out for me was “Tatooine Rhapsody,” where a rock band performs a grand concert to save one of their band members from being executed by Jabba the Hutt (surprise cameo!). It’s a fun, suspenseful, and sweet ride.
Overall, the episodes feel more like vignettes rather than fully-fleshed-out narratives. While the visuals are spectacular, most of the stories seem half-baked, as though they were teasers to a secret, grander universe, and they conclude on an unfinished note. If you’re a fan of Star Wars or the anime aesthetic, watching this show might feel like returning to a familiar world where you wish you could’ve stayed just a little longer to get properly introduced to the characters.
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