By: Keilany Ligons
On September 22, Star Wars: Visions, an anthology series of the franchise, aired on Disney+. The experimental show allows 7 popular anime studios to run wild with their imagination and create new stories and interpretations of Star Wars lore. Each episode runs about 14-25 minutes and has its own sense of uniqueness, some episodes being more straightforward than others, and some being set up to leave the end of the story to the viewer to decide. While all the episodes are great in their own ways, there were definitely episodes that were more interesting or easy to understand than others. Here is my ranking of every episode, starting with worst to best.
*WARNING: Some of these may contain spoilers from the episode.
9. Akakiri (赤い霧)
A good plot was presented, but it didn’t feel as well executed as it could have been, there isn’t much to say about this episode besides that it was probably the least interesting episode of the series, possibly due to how simple it felt. Akakiri definitely was still good, but the most interesting thing about this episode was a cliffhanger with no happy ending. While this episode does show some similarities to Anakin Skywalker’s transition to the dark side, it felt a lot more like a jumble of scenes with barely any time to process what happened. Along with that, it lacked an interesting art style to help support it.\
8. Tatooine Rhapsody (タトゥイーン・ラプソディ)
Tatooine Rhapsody was definitely one of, if not the most lighthearted episode in the series with a bright animation style to fit. This episode had a fun and uplifting story that differed not only from other episodes in the series but from lots of Star Wars material. Its bright colors and cute art style make it feel more directed towards younger viewers. However, its simple and straightforward storyline struggles to gain attention. While it is a cute episode with new characters and recognizable ones, it isn’t as easy to pay attention to when you’re hoping for something closer to the movies.
One of the most anime feeling episodes of the series, this episode may be illogical based on how it’s viewed. In this episode, a childlike droid named T0-B1 or Tobi dreams of becoming a Jedi despite the disapproval of his creator Mitaka, an armless professor working on making their lifeless planet habitable. At some point in the story Tobi skillfully uses a lightsaber and talks to a force ghost. Since droids can’t be force sensitive as they’re non-biological beings, the story becomes unrealistic even for a franchise about space swords. Another one that has more of a kid-ish tone, the episode is cute and soft with similarities to classic anime like Astro-boy, but technically it doesn’t make much sense.
6. The Elder (長老)
This episode was among the ones with a very straightforward, but good, plot. It was an interesting episode, but it didn’t exactly feel like something new. Besides this, the episode had well-animated fight scenes along with similarities to anime of the samurai genre with the scenery, clothing, and even a katana-shaped lightsaber. Even though this wasn’t the most exciting episode, it still had a good story that could have had potential as a series had it been continued.
5. The Village Bride (村の花嫁)
This episode, along with the following episodes on this list, is another with a great setup to something in the future, even though that’s something we might never get. The Village Bride stood out by not leaving any characters out. Almost every character with lines is given enough depth to leave the viewer interested in seeing more of them and their story. The episode also has a bright color scheme and gorgeous backgrounds that help support its story and hold onto attention.
4. The Twins (ツインズ)
There was a lot going on in this episode but in the best way possible. The Twins was a very dramatic episode, which is why this one is the most similar to common popular anime. With several bursts of flashing lights and lasers and explosions, it makes it a bit hard to see what’s going on at times but it’s still fun to watch. In this episode, genetically made twins are created to serve the empire and their battle against each other after one betrays. An episode with more originality than some of the others on this list, it let fans see lightsabers used in a completely new way, which alone could keep someone watching, and almost never has a dull moment. There’s always something happening in this compelling episode that makes you want to keep your eyes on the screen.
3. Lop & Ocho (のらうさロップと緋桜お蝶)
The first thing that stands out about this episode is that it has one of, if not the best, animation in the series. The art style of Lop & Ocho is absolutely stunning and stood out so well it could be talked about forever. The story is compelling and brings a new and original story to Star Wars that leaves its future up to the imagination. It didn’t feel one-dimensional and was consistently showing the viewer something new. Another thing that stood out was the story’s protagonist, who looks to be of a rabbit-type species. While it wasn’t confirmed, she could be a part of the lepi species, a rabbit-like species from the Star Wars books, and that would make this their first time being shown on screen. All these things were big parts of supporting the story of this episode, even though the story held its own well.
2. The Duel (決闘)
Not only does this episode also have one of the best art styles in the series, but its entire tone is also completely different than any other episode. The entire thing is in black and white, the only color being things that light up (ex: lightsabers, blasts, etc.) and the sketch marks on everything can be seen with each movement, simultaneously giving it a 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional look. It also takes much inspiration from period genre anime, and old Japanese action films with its shots and fighting choreography, along with its darker and more serious tone. The story was a bit straightforward, but keeps the viewer’s attention and ends with a great way to make a continuation.
1. The Ninth Jedi (九人目のジェダイ)
The amount of popularity this episode gained alone could have given it the top spot on this list. The best way to summarize it is that it was everything that the new trilogy should have been. The longest episode in the series, The Ninth Jedi was definitely the most Star Wars feeling episode. The episode gives a unique take on the Jedi and Sith that is sure to satisfy fans who were disappointed with the direction that the most recent movies went in. The episode gives several exciting twists in its strong and visual story while making great use of Star Wars lore and engaging in creative freedom. It also introduces lightsabers that change color based on the heart of the person wielding it, which has never been seen on screen before but leaves you excited to see how it can be used in the future. Overall, the episode gave an intriguing and satisfying story that never had a dull moment, making this feel like its own cinematic experience from the small screen.