On Wednesday, a new Star Wars show premiered on Disney+ called Visions. This show is super fun, and in a similar vein as Marvels What If…? in that every episode is non-canonical, and an animated anthology. Visions is actually an anime, with almost every episode done by a different anime studio in Japan. Because each one is so different, what I liked and disliked might be different from you, but if you’re not sure if you want to really get into it, or you want to see how similar your opinions are to mine, here is my Best to Worst ranking.
It seems all of these take place during the height of the Empire, after Revenge of the Sith and the rise of Vader, but before A New Hope and the construction of the Death Star.
The Ninth Jedi
This episode follows two parallel stories, one a group of Jedi that have been summoned to help restart the Jedi Order, and another a Lightsabersmith and his daughter, who are creating the “lost and ancient weapons” for these Masterless Jedi. This is my favorite episode, because it really emphasizes the relationship a Jedi has with their Lightsaber.
This episode was made by Production I.G., who also made Ghost in the Shell.
Many old Japanese stories follow a very similar pattern to old Westerns. Traveler comes to a small village that is being harassed by bandits. He fights off the bandits, and leaves. You put some cool Lightsabers and droids in the mix, and this is a cool episode. Also, a very unique animation style.
This episode was made by Kamikaze Douga who made JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Ninja Batman.
Lop and Ocho
On a planet occupied by Imperial Forces, a small family of two, a father and daughter, take in a (rabbit)girl that was brought on world as slave labor, and adopt her into the family. Years later, while the father begins to fight against the Empire and their oppression, the daughter believes that the working with the Empire is the only way for their world to advance, and not be left behind in time. Now this adopted daughter must decide, who will she support, as her new family is split right before her eyes.
This episode was made by Geno Studio, a relative newcomer to the anime production space.
We find two twins, born of the Dark Side of the Force, who tandem pilot a tandem Star Destroyer, powered by a Kyber Crystal, which also powers their individual power armors, which look like simplified versions of Vader’s outfit. There were certainly times when I went “That’s not how the Force works!” but for the most part it was pretty cool.
This episode was made by Studio Trigger who also made Kill la Kill.
The Village Bride
Similar to “The Duel” this episode also follows a traveler who comes to a town harassed by villains and saves the day. However, this one does have much more heart, and the music stands out wonderfully. The only reason I have it lower on the list, is because it’s not as exciting as “The Duel.”
This episode was made by Kinema Citrus who also made Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and used to be part of Production I.G.
This one was a fairly uninteresting story, and I didn’t love the animation style. However, I will say that the traveling sequence in this episode really gave a deeper sense of time than most Star Wars. Many times, Star Wars takes the Red Line approach from Indiana Jones, where instead of showing the travel, they just say where they’re headed, and a few seconds later they’re there. Here, we really see how it feels to travel by foot, when you’re used to Light Speed.
This episode was made by Science SARU who made the “Food Chain” episode of Adventure Time.
This is the only one that I believe was set in a different time period, as it was actually set before The Phantom Menace. We see a Jedi Knight and his Padawan, as they travel to a planet, in search of a disturbance in the Force, even though the Sith have been extinct for thousands of years. If you have an appreciation for the Prequels, then this is the most Star Wars-y episode.
This episode was also made by Studio Trigger, the same people that made “The Twins.”
In canonical Star Wars, the only music we know of is the Cantina Band, which plays a style of music very similar to Jazz, called Jizz. But, you know, sometimes you just want teenage rock, especially when the band is being hunted by Boba Fett, to be brought to Jabba the Hutt. If you ever wanted a Star Wars/Scott Pilgrim mashup, this is it.
This episode was made by Studio Colorido who have lately been making Pokemon spinoffs called Poketoons.
Lastly, we have Toby, the Jedi-Droid. For some, this was one of their favorite episodes, but I just never really got into the small robot boy superhero trope that is Astro Boy. If you like that style of anime, I’m sure you’ll really like this. It just wasn’t for me.
This episode was also made by Science SARU, same people as “Akakiri”.