As if Star Wars Jedi: Survivor wasn’t enough content to keep us going between The Mandalorian and Ahsoka, Star Wars Day 2023 brought us the release of the second season of Star Wars: Visions. As someone who doesn’t mind animated shows but doesn’t watch much, especially anime, season 1 was a mixed bunch, but with this season featuring a range of animation styles from studios around the world, I was interested to see how I thought about the latest bunch.
So for this I’m going to give very brief thoughts and try to remain as spoiler-free as possible, using only the summary given on Disney+. However if you want to go in completely blind, I recommend reading this after you have seen the episodes as there may be some mild spoilers or some comments from which you could correctly guess what will happen.
Animated by: El Guiri
A former Sith apprentice fnds their peaceful life threatened.
A visually stunning first short, almost every single frame of this was a work of art, which is no real surprise given the role that art has in this story. We get some great action and a relatively simple but enjoyable story, even if the involvement of the art was a little confusing at times. Plus another droid to add to the ever-growing “protect them at all costs” lists.
Animated by: Cartoon Saloon
A young girl, out on an adventure with her friends, discovers a legendary cave with a dark pull.
My least favourite of the season, I’d also argue that this one could have perhaps done with a warning that it may not be suitable for younger children. The animation and writing of the first half of the short rally left me feeling that this was one intended for a younger audience… and then it got dark, and even the ending isn’t really the happy one you would expect. A reminder that even villains like members of the Sith once had innocent beginnings.
In the Stars
Animated by: Punkrobot
Two sisters, who are the last of their kind, fight for survival when Imperial forces discover them.
I wasn’t expecting much going into this one but it ended up being my favourite. A story of 2 sisters who are all that remains of their people, the history we need to know is given to us in a great way, which helps set up a story with a very poetic ending. An interesting visual style that I ended up really enjoying, this had an incredible blend of action, exposition and emotion and honestly brought tears to my eyes.
I Am Your Mother
Animated by: Aardman
Young pilot Anni, embarrassed by her clingy mum, must team with her on a wild, madcap academy race.
The only studio name which I was familiar with, I came in expecting light-hearted family fun that I could probably enjoy but not worry about ever watching again, and that’s pretty much exactly what they gave me. A pretty familiar coming of age story that I’m sure you could guess most of the story beats from by looking at the summary above, but at just 13 minutes long (the shortest of the season), it doesn’t outstay its welcome and has some fun action.
Journey to the Dark Head
Animated by: Studio Mir
A hopeful mechanic and disillusioned Jedi team up for an unlikely quest to turn the tide of war.
One that I thought I’d have a good job of enjoying, it turns out that this is another studio who I do have a little experience with, having watched a couple of their previous productions. This felt very Star Wars-y insofar as it centres on 2 adolescent heroes going on a mission to fight evil, while the young padawan must overcome fear and trauma from his last experience fighting a Sith.
The Spy Dancer
Animated by: Studio La Cachette
The premier dancer at an Imperial-frequented cabaret is tested when her identity is compromised.
I must admit that I enjoyed this one much more than I expected, as it ended up having quite an emotional story. Was initially put off by the visuals as I didn’t enjoy the look of the stormtroopers, but bar that, the rest grew on me as the short went on. I will say however that the Disney+ summary probably isn’t the best, though I will leave you to decide that yourself…
The Bandits of Golak
Animated by: 88 Pictures
Pursued by the Empire, a boy and his Force-sensitive younger sister seek refuge at a vibrant dhaba.
I really enjoyed this one. A really nice hyper-realistic animation style that made the familiar aliens and stormtroopers look really good, while the colours were incredible. The Indian influences from 88 Studios really show here, but they do not feel out of place at any point. I’m starting to notice a theme here as this is yet another story about siblings and once again it had an emotional impact on me. Another great blend of story, action and emotion.
Animated by: D’Art Shtajio and Lucasfilm
A young prisoner, forced to dig for kyber by the Empire, plans an escape for he and his people.
A solid story of bravery and sacrifice that highlights the evil of the Empire. The visuals are great, showing a real difference between the despair of the pit and the opulence of the nearby city. I must admit that the fate of our protagonist was not what I expected, but I like the way that the story played out, while yet another link between 2 close family members (in this case a father and daughter) gives a good emotional pull. There is also a post-credits scene: nothing major but a nice emotional final beat to the story.
Animated by: Triggerfish
A child who longs to sing must stay quiet because her voice can cause great calamity in the mines.
I am a sucker for music heightening emotional moments in movies/shows, so while this was a little young for me and I guessed the ending in the opening minutes (helped greatly by opening text which gives background and history), I was still left enjoying myself and pulled in by the emotion.
What do you think about volume 2?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….
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2 thoughts on “Star Wars: Visions (Volume 2)”
Really enjoyed this season. The Sith is my favorite, and I will admit, it’s mostly because it’s gorgeous. But I loved the story, too. I’ve got my own reactions coming out tomorrow.
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I look forward to seeing how we differ! Thanks for reading