The universe of Star Wars is so vast that it allows for almost any narrative possibility. The Star Wars: Visions series is a sample of this through anime. Although the series invites you to think almost immediately about What would happen if …? (What if…?), Another story that explores different narrative options, is not the same.
Star Wars: Visions does not rely on the existing narrative but it does so on a universe of references recognized by locals and strangers.. Although it would be useful to know a little about Star Wars, this series works as a standalone product. Taking that last consideration to its maximum expression, it could be said that not only the series but each chapter can walk alone. To this is added a kind of upgrade, if it is associated with What if… ?: there is no aesthetic uniformity.
Each of the chapters of Star Wars: Visions not only brings a new story but also a different visual proposal, framed within the possibilities of anime. Staying in that genre allows you to explore multiple alternatives through which an entertaining product is achieved without ‘betraying’ either the pre-established references through the film saga or those of the genre.
Star Wars: Visions:
a look at anime from a global narrative
Star Wars is one of the most important pop references in contemporary history; if not the most important. The phenomenon spans multiple generations who grew up with the original trilogy of films and who are now approaching that universe through The Mandalorian. Different narratives, even different formats, to continue cultivating (and squeezing) possible stories.
Based on that, Star Wars: Visions redoubled the bet by combining with one of the most important narrative genres today, anime. This narrative form, globalization and pandemic through, has been making leaps in a sustained way. Digitization and streaming have contributed to more people approaching different stories and the pandemic is one of the reasons why people also dabbled in the genre. The more time on the screens, the greater the chance of approaching other speeches.
This integration of universes poses a series of challenges because one and the other do not seem too close.. However, Lucasfilm and the different Japanese studios that participated in the production found a common point: the lightsabers, the swords of Star Wars, to build multiple narratives through that weapon, taking into account that the Japanese tradition is also related to this resource.
As a general idea, enhanced through different cultural products, Japan finds in samurai mythology a way of presenting itself to the world. This reference is key within Star Wars: Visions. The series is not The Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954) nor does it aspire to be. But it is supported by different references to that philosophy to enter the world of Star Wars. That explains, for example, the appearance of a Ronin in the first chapter, “The Duel.”
That is not the only reference that can be found in that sense. Star Wars: Visions does not present aesthetic uniformity, something that was noticed from the beginning when it was presented as an anthology series. But he does manage to compact his narrative through those kinds of details. Another sample of the integration of narratives and culture is the “Lop & Eight”, the eighth episode, even more marked by the samurai tradition. In turn, the production does not stop winking with the familiar pulse that accompanies the entire Star Wars Universe with a conflicted father and son.
“The series is not The Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954) nor does it aspire to be. But it is supported by different references to that philosophy… “
Added to the aforementioned chapters are:
Twin Engine (Tatooine Rhapsody) The TwinsThe ElderThe Village BrideAkakiriT0-B1The Ninth Jedi
Some references and one drawback
To the above is added the norms of the genre, both in speeches and in spectacularity. Star Wars: Visions offers everything from classic screaming exaggerations to combat re-enactments reminiscent of Dragon Ball. and Caballeros del Zodiaco, to cite two canonical references. But it doesn’t just stop there, if you think about productions like Afro Samurai from which it also seems to drink.
Although there are nine studies involved, other references can be perceived depending on the chapter in question. Considering that the Star Wars universe poses constant relationships between humans and machines, it makes sense that there are sections of some episodes that evoke Fullmetal Alchemist, another contemporary anime classic.
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Star Wars: Visions works erratically. Very good chapters are followed by others that leave some doubts. Perhaps because of its brevity (no chapter is above average) and that makes it difficult to approach the characters. Therefore, it is not ruled out that there are those who see this production as one more way to commercially squeeze a franchise. It must be taken into account that, through anime, you enter a market as competitive as the Asian one, in addition to presenting yourself to other audiences through a booming genre.
At the end, several of the episodes leave the viewer feeling that they need a little more. It is not dissatisfaction but a kind of natural enjoyment: “I want to see more of this.” It is there when the unfamiliar viewer or, on the contrary, canonical when it comes to Star Wars, can express a complaint. That is why it should be remembered that Star Wars: Visions is an anthological series and, in another register, a commercial exploration of Lucasfilm and Disney. If you go towards it being aware of this, the experience can be rewarding from a narrative point of view and entertaining based on the aesthetic setting.