May 4 was Star Wars Day, or the perfect reminder for fans to brush up on their Wookiee or sport their stormtrooper helmets. Rewatching classics like The Empire Strikes Back is always a good way to celebrate. For those looking for new content, I recommend the anthology series Star Wars: Visions.
The show debuted on Disney+ back in September 2021. With the help of seven anime studios, season one set a new precedent by putting Star Wars and Japanese anime together. The series did so well that it earned a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 96 per cent.
Season 2 was released on May 4 with nine episodes, this time created by nine studios worldwide. Each story has a host of animation styles and cultural influences that transcend season one.
The show has a vast array of vibrant, pop art colours, stop-motion miniatures, and original drawings of characters, action scenes, and worlds. The voice cast and writing are excellent in portraying every hero and villain as believable people.
The first episode, “Sith”, for instance, is about a former Sith apprentice living alone as a painter on a quiet planet. The environments are drawn as unfinished sketches with brush strokes of gritty colours, contrasting with brighter paint splatters that resemble Jackson Pollock paintings. This style, along with skilled voice acting, illustrates the heroine’s internal conflicts with her past.
The show uses its art for not only characters and environments, but also to provide fascinating interpretations of how our world’s cultures could exist in Star Wars.
Season 2 includes a few anime episodes to honour Japanese pop culture and the first season’s success. However, there are stories like “The Bandits of Golak”, which portray Indian cuisine, garments, and Bollywood action in a desert world of stormtroopers.
Like any Star Wars show, family is the central theme in the series. Most episodes examine the touching bonds between siblings, or the relationships parents share with their children. There are also coming-of-age subjects like independence and the consequences of life choices during youth. In any case, kids will certainly find many aspiring takeaways.
“I Am Your Mother” is a personal favourite. The story follows an awkward, rebel pilot and her eccentric mother as they try to win a spaceship race. The entry is made with stop-motion animation, the same style as Wallace and Gromit. It pokes fun at Star Wars tropes while having an adorable mother-daughter duo at the helm. Kids will ultimately learn to always hold onto the bonds they have with their families.
While I’m a big fan of Visions, I still prefer Star Wars: The Clone Wars or its follow-up series Star Wars Rebels as I find it more interesting to follow the same set of characters throughout a multi-season run. Visions feels supplementary to these more famous animations, but it’s still a welcoming treat.
Overall, the second season of Star Wars: Visions is a worthwhile show that honours George Lucas’s iconic universe. This show is incredibly refreshing, and I look forward to future seasons. Head for this series at lightspeed, and may the force be with you.
Final Score: 9/10
Favourite Episodes: “Sith,” “I Am Your Mother,” “The Bandits of Golak.”