As the Star Wars universe continues to expand, it has entered new, uncharted waters with Star Wars: Visions, the franchise’s first official foray in the world of anime. A 9-episode anthology series, Visions is made up of a collection of short stories of Jedi, Sith, and everything in between.
First and foremost, utilizing the talents of not one, not two, but seven different anime studios to bring this series to life was a brilliant approach for Visions. Each creative team brought forth their own signature art and storytelling styles, making for a diverse viewing experience. Every episode may not speak to every single viewer, and that’s okay. There’s a little something for everyone, because the world of anime is rich with variety, and it’s an overdue venture that fits very well into a galaxy far, far away.
Anime is not quite synonymous with the Star Wars franchise (here’s to hoping for more content in the future, though), so these may be new shores for some fans that are unfamiliar with Japanese animation but are also eager to engage with new Star Wars content. Visions offers viewers a Japanese language version or an English dub, the second of which may boast appeal for anime newbies by utilizing an impressive cast full of familiar names for its voice roles. Temuera Morrison also reprises his role as the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett in an episode, which is a treat in and of itself.
Each episode of Visions takes standard, established concepts from the Star Wars universe and puts an anime spin on them, which is something that works incredibly well for things such as spaceships, armor, and lightsaber fights. There are so many frames throughout that are just downright visually mesmerizing. The unique pacing and style of the storytelling from each studio also works incredibly well here. In a franchise that’s built upon heroes, villains, legends, and the mysteries of the Force, anime is a really wonderful platform for fleshing out these new stories in ways that we haven’t seen before and that may not be attainable otherwise.
Visions is a satisfying viewing experience for many reasons, one of which is the individual episodic structure. While each episode has its own plot, they’re all relatively short and must therefore tell a full story in a limited amount of time. Essentially, this means that each episode has its own exuberant, climactic moment where everything comes to a head. This is unique specifically to anthologies, as normally key plot moments can take several episodes to be built up, and it’s what makes this such an engaging watch from start to finish.
This may or may not be the ultimate goal here, but this mixed offering of stories feels like it could be a collection of back door pilots for fully fleshed out Star Wars anime series or films. Several episodes have more than enough potential to be expanded into ongoing stories because the promising seeds they planted in their short runtime demand to be revisited.
Overall, Visions is an impressive new achievement for Lucasfilm and the creative studios that brought it to life, and it’s not be missed.
Star Wars: Visions will begin streaming exclusively on Disney+ Wednesday, September 22.