My Ranking of the Star Wars: Visions Episodes
Star Wars: Visions debuted to the world this past weekend and it was as amazing as we all hoped it would be. Basically, Star Wars gathered up a bunch of different anime studios and invited them to make their own little Star Wars stories. They didn’t have to involve the Skywalkers or necessarily fit with established continuity. Just take the bells and whistles of Star Wars — lightsabers, the Force, the Dark Side, spaceships — and put them to good use.
Seeing as how there were only nine episodes of this (hopefully) first season, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to rank them from least to most favorite. Keep in mind, I am a dummy. I don’t know the first thing about the history or anime or its influences or anything like that. I’m just a dude who likes Star Wars and really enjoyed this show. And this is my ranking.
Join me after the jump for my least to most favorite. Expect FULL SPOILERS for all of Star Wars: Visions. And feel free to share your own rankings in the comments!
I’ve no interest in Astro Boy or Mega Man and didn’t really care for this episode. It’s really fun and colorful, with an awesome final fight. But I was not particularly moved by the little robot boy looking to become a real-ish boy. Just wasn’t for me.
8. The Twins
This is the only other episode that just didn’t really do anything for me. Essentially just a big lightsaber fight on top of a Star Destroyer…which, admittedly, sounds awesome. Again, none of these episodes are bad. They’re all amazing. I especially enjoyed the moment where the hero goes to lightspeed and cuts the Star Destroyer in half with his giant lightsaber. But this one was a little too Budget Luke Skywalker for my interests.
7. Lop and Ocho
At #7, we’re entering the episodes that I actually liked a bunch. This one was weird in its chosen protagonist. Not in the idea of a slave escaping the Empire and joining a happy family, just in the weird rabbit-specific nature of that protagonist. Odd choice. But it wasn’t so distracting as to take away from the story of an adopted daughter trying to save her family, as her sister is lured away by the Empire and her father is struck down. Cool stuff with the lightsaber as a family heirloom in this one, and the animation scope was impressive. This looked big. This was also one of the episodes where I reeeeaaallly noticed how many of these include a little sidekick droid.
Cool story, cool characters, really fascinating ending as the one episode that had the Sith victorious. I liked the twist of the hero striking down his love interest due to a bad guy trick, and I liked how he was tempted to the Dark Side in the end. And the bumbling sidekick guys were fun. Overall, just really good, really straight forward stuff.
5. The Elder
Interestingly, this was the only episode that focused on the rather popular Master/Padawan stuff. And I liked it for that. A cool new Jedi pair are off on a mission and encounter this really gnarly old Sith. We got some great lightsaber battles out of it, with some really good additional color. I especially enjoyed the moments of the master teaching his apprentice something. This episode leaned hard into that type of relationship, and I liked that a lot. Quality all around, and very standard Star Wars.
4. Tatooine Rhapsody
These top four are definitely the episodes I loved. And I love a good rock & roll story set in a universe that doesn’t usually tell rock & roll stories. It’s why I think Marvel should do more with Dazzler. But yeah, this was a really great episode about a band rocking so hard that they save their friend from execution at the hands of Jabba the Hutt. It doesn’t even have the Jedi lead pull a surprise lightsaber attack. It all comes down to the band being great. And the Boba Fett cameo was icing on the cake.
3. The Ninth Jedi
Again, this episode starred a plucky young kid with a lightsaber and a droid sidekick…but I think this episode was early enough along that it wasn’t as obvious yet. And this was also just a great story. A lightsaber smith was a cool idea. The little girl protagonist was really well developed. I liked that old droid cab driver. And the twist of the gathered Jedi being Sith was great! It all came together to tell an interesting, multi-faceted story with all sorts of nifty elements. This episode was a complete package.
2. The Duel
I think this episode was the most in touch with what people might expect from an anime. This one really dug deep into the tropes and aesthetic of Japanese cinema, and it did it so well that this episode was sublime. The characters were cool as hell, and they were surprising as well. Right in the middle of this classic Ronin story, we get a Seven Samurai with a bunch of neat bounty hunter dudes, including a heroic Trandoshan! Then the Ronin is as cool as can be, from stopping a lightsaber with the Force to revealing his red lightsaber. A defining moment of this series, working really well as part of the first episode. Then the villain takes off his cloak to reveal this epic head of bountiful hair, making her 10x cooler on the spot! The Duel had everything one could want from this project, and all of it was beautiful.
1. The Village Bride
I like a hero moment. Especially when the hero is not predisposed to be the hero in that moment. And ultimately, that’s why this episode is my favorite out of all of them. Everything was set up so well. The world-building is top notch, with subtle, genuine characters and a really interesting planet. Then you’ve got the main characters, an old man trying slowly and patiently to convince this young Jedi in hiding of what needs to be done. And then she does it, and it’s cool, and that’s why this is my favorite episode. In hindsight, I suppose the main character could have done more fighting in that climax…but still, it was all cool and all very pretty. And that’s a winner in my book.