Star Wars: Visions Season 2

I know I'm a bit late to the party commenting on this one, since it came out back in May, but at the time I was watching something else and not that keen on immediately starting on this one. However, I finally got around to watching it this month, and I still wanted to jot down some thoughts.

I hadn't read anything about what was planned for season two, so I was completely (and pleasantly!) surprised to find that the shorts weren't all anime this time, but rather a variety of very different animation styles, from studios all over the world. The first three episodes alone made my eyes pop with how colourful and different they were. Let's do a very quick (spoilerish) commentary on each invidual episode again:

1. Sith

This one started off with a very psychedelic art style, which made me wonder whether I was seeing some kind of dream. I really liked the idea of a Sith wanting to retire and a Force user in general using their powers to be artsy, which is not something I recall ever seeing before.

2. Screecher's Reach

You start off wondering if this is going to be something like The Goonies, but it actually gets really scary and the ending was quite poignant and surprising.

3. In the Stars

This one was very sad. Then I read some discussion about the episode online and saw people say that the ending can actually be interpreted as the two protagonists having died, which makes it even sadder.

4. I Am Your Mother

I squeed in delight when I saw Aardman Studios come up in the intro - I had no idea a studio I'm actually familiar with had contributed to this season! Unsurprisingly, I really enjoyed this one. A perfect, fun blend of Star Wars and quirky English humour (two things that you wouldn't necessarily expect to go well together, but they made it work).

5. Journey to the Dark Head

The only traditional anime episode this season, and it was also good. They perhaps try to cram a bit too much characterisation via backstory into the episode, which doesn't necessarily work so well in this short format, but it was still visually stunning and exciting. Probably had the best villain of the season in my opinion.

6. The Spy Dancer

Star Wars meets the French Resistance! You kind of wonder why nobody thought of this one before, seeing what an obviously good fit it is. Also, this was the second episode in the season with no Force shenanigans (I Am Your Mother was the other one) and I didn't miss it at all.

7. The Bandits of Golak

Again, India meets Star Wars was an interesting combination. I liked the old lady splitting her cane into dual lightsabers.

8. The Pit

Possibly the weakest of the episodes, as it was a bit slow at the start, but still enjoyable. I liked the message of people coming together to help each other and push back against an oppressive regime. Also, I know this isn't canon, but I thought it was interesting and pecuilar that all the slaves were humans and the rich citizens protected by the Empire all seemed to be aliens.

9. Aau's Song

Another interesting art style, with all the characters looking like adorable plushies. The Force manifesting itself through sound/song was another interesting idea. I also liked the Jedi character just being genuinely kind and helpful... I think I've had my fill of subversive stories telling us how flawed and not good the Jedi are for the moment.

In summary, while I already liked season one, I liked season two even more, both for the wide variety of art styles and the obvious influences all the studios from different parts of the world brought to their interpretations of Star Wars. Personally I also really liked that the episodes weren't all just variants of Jedi vs. Sith like most of season one, and two episodes got by without using or referencing the Force at all.

If there was an overarching theme to this season, it's probably something like "little kids finding the Force", since that does apply to the majority of the episodes - and that's also the main point I've seen raised by detractors of the season, in that they are not that keen on the trope of little kids doing dumb kid things... which I think is fair; I just didn't mind that much personally.

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