SPOILERS for Visions Season 2 ahead:
Visions Season 2 premiered on May 4th, and I have to say, it’s spectacular.
I enjoyed Season 1, with a few that I loved, some that were fine, and a few I just didn’t care for. With Season Two, I can confidently say that I loved them all to some extent, with a few favorites, and none that I didn’t like. They are all wildly different on the surface, with different anime styles but all beautiful in their own way; with similar Star Warsy themes running through them like a thread connecting them all. Here are some brief thoughts on each (and please forgive any mispellings or mistakes on names):
Sith. (El Guiri, Spain). The first one is my absolute favorite. Not only is it fantastically gorgeous, but I loved the story and the message that it illustrates. Lola lives with her droid in a place that comes alive with her art. She has nightmares, and tries to erase the darkness from her paintings, to no avail. It wants to be a part of her work. We find out that she is a former Sith, who left that life, and now her former Master has come looking for her. He is terrifying, and Lola must face her fear and overcome it, and to accept the darkness within her. She is no Sith, as she asserts, but must accept both the light and the darkness as equal aspects of herself. This realization helps her defeat the Sith Master. As she leaves the planet, she states that she is the Master now–of her own destiny, free to paint it anyway she wants. I loved this episode so much; it wowed me from the very start. I never knew anime could do these things, that it could look and feel like this. Absolutely amazing, and for me, the best of the bunch.
Screecher’s Reach. (Cartoon Saloon, Ireland). This one has a more cartoony look, but an even darker feel than “Sith.” There is no light anywhere, except perhaps in the hearts of the young ones that accompany Dal to Screecher’s Reach. They all work in a miserable factory, and Dal can’t take it anymore; she seeks escape in a journey to the dark cave. Her friends treat is as a lark, an adventure, but as things get real scary, they want out. But Dal is determined to face the darkness of the cave, often talking to a medallion she has around her neck, asking it for strength and courage. She faces the ghost/banshee/demon Sith or whatever it is in the cave, and kills it with its own red lightsaber. Once out of the cave, Dal speaks to the medallion again and a spaceship lands near them. A strange, creepy being descends and tells Dal that she passed the test, and that she must decide if she’ll come with her. Dal has dreamed of escape, and is excited at first, but is sad she must leave her friends. To them, and to us, the strange being is not benign, and we suspect the being is a Sith. Dal chooses to go with her, but her last look at her friends is one of uncertainty and fear. We fear that Dal has made the wrong choice, that her life going forward will be one of darkness. Probably the darkest of the bunch, and a bit depressing, lol.
In the Stars. (Punkrobot Studios, Chile). This one has two sisters living on a planet that the Empire has taken over. They are the last of their tribe, as the others were killed when they fought against the Imperials. Their mother had led the attack, and she had the Force, but it wasn’t enough. We get this background story through the tribe’s art: glittering, living pictures brought to life by starlight. But the starlight (who they believe are the souls of their lost tribe) is dimming, as the Empire’s factories belch smoke into the sky, obscuring it. The younger sister is fierce in her desire to fight the Empire, while the older sister, impatient with her young, headstrong sibling, feels a responsibility to keep her safe. The young one insists they have “Mum’s power,” or the Force, but the older one scoffs. The Empire siphons off their water supply, so the older sister goes to the factory to steal some water. However, the young one follows and soon gets in trouble. They flee, but when the younger sister is captured and is thrown from a ledge, the older sister reaches and uses the Force to save her. Together, they use their mother’s power to destroy the factory, the smoke clears and they can see the stars again, and the world will heal. The younger sister was pretty annoying at first, but of course she was right.
I Am Your Mother. (Aardman, UK). This one was used with stop-motion technology, and is a sweet story about a young girl learning to appreciate her mother, who, let’s face it, is pretty embarrassing, especially to a teen. Annnie (Ani?) goes to a fancy flying school taught by none other than Wedge Antilles. There’s a family race taking place, but Annie doesn’t tell her mother. She forgets her lunch, though, so her Mom shows up with it just before the race. At one point, she hurts Mom’s feelings by telling her how embarrassing she is, but Mom’s a tough cookie, and when the snotty rich girl and her horrible mother make fun of them, Mom is all in for the racing to show them a thing or two. They win, of course, and it’s a fun, light-hearted story, the lightest of all of them. I do love a particular Easter egg in this episode: when Annie and her friends are walking through the street, you can see Maz Kanata’s arm reach out and take Luke’s lightsaber from the items alongside the street. I never would have caught it myself; I learned about it from an interview with the creator on an episode of This Week in Star Wars, and I looked out for it on rewatch. Also, Annie calls her Mom “Red Leader” and Annie is “Red Two.” I think Wedge was Red Two in ANH.
Journey to the Dark Head. (Studio Mir, South Korea). So this one seemed like your more typical anime, with some over-the-top lightsaber battles and histrionic screaming matches, which isn’t really my favorite type. I didn’t like it at all at first, but on a rewatch decided it wasn’t too bad. Atta is a girl who grew up on a remote planet which has two statues: a buddha-like head that represents the Light, and another the Dark. When it rains, the rocks below can be prophetic, and she sees something with three figures that may take place in the future. When she’s grown, she goes to the Jedi Council and tells them if the Dark head is cut off, then the Sith war that has been raging will end (I’m assuming it will cut off their power or something? Not sure of the significance). They agree and send a young Jedi with her, Tal, who has a lot of anger in him. His Master had been killed by a Sith, and he is restless, seeking vengeance. The Sith had recognized it in him, and told him they’ll meet again and he will join him. The Sith follows them to the planet with the statues, and engages Tal while Atta tries to blow up the Sith head. But a problem occurs: both the heads have red and blue light, representing the Light and the Dark. Clearly, one cannot exist without the other. They will always co-exist. So she can’t blow them up; she uses the explosives to help Tal in his battle with the Sith. Tal kills the Sith after realizing why he was sent there: to face himself, and the anger within himself. Not a bad message, and the banter between the two is charming.
The Spy Dancer. (Studio La Cachette, France). The Spy Dancer is another one of my favorites. It tells of Louie, a dancer in an Empire-controlled world who uses her art for the Rebellion. Her swirling fabrics cascade around her as she twirls down gracefully and elegantly, all the while attaching trackers to the stormtroopers who are in attendance. It kind of reminds me of a Star Wars Moulin Rouge, lol. Years ago, her baby son was taken by an Imperial commander, and she hasn’t seen him since–until this night, when he returns with his “father’s” cloak and staff. Louie recognizes him, and though she fights him, she does not hurt him. The fight goes to the top of the building, where she escapes with the help of her friends, but not before embracing the frustrated, puzzled young man and telling him who he is. A beautiful, poignant story that’s at the top of my list.
The Bandits of Golak. (88 Pictures, India). This is another one high on my list. The story of a big brother helping his Force-sensitive younger sister get to a safe place, this one is visually stunning, and I love the Indian influence. The young sister, Ronni, is, again, annoying, being incredibly stupid in using her powers in public. Aside from this, I loved the Inquisitor, and the old Jedi woman who fights him. Parting the water in the pool, revealing a secret passageway, is super-cool, and I’d like to think it leads to the Path, the sort of underground Jedi railroad we saw in Obi-Wan Kenobi. I just loved the feel and the visuals of this one.
The Pit. (D’Art Shtajio and Lucasfilm Ltd, Japan and the US). This one has no Jedi or Sith, but it has plenty of Imperial stormtroopers. The stormtroopers had gathered a group of prisoners to mine kyber crystals in a large pit (for the Death Star, one would assume). Once the mine is spent, the Empire simply abandons them, leaving them behind in the pit. With the workers despairing, a young man, Crux, climbs to the top of the pit and travels to the nearby city, seeking help to get everyone else out. His pleas fall on deaf ears at first, as the people go about their business. But once he makes clear what’s happening, the Imperials in the city capture him and drag him back to the pit, hurling him down back into it, killing him. But the people of the city heard him, and head out to the edge of the pit. They are drawn to it by the trapped workers shouting “Follow the light!” over and over. The stormtroopers try to drive them away, but they do not succeed, and the city folk send ships down to save the pit workers. It’s a great story about ordinary people coming together to help each other.
Aau’s Song. (Triggerfish, South Africa). I’m not a big fan of the stuffed-animal look, but this one was charming, and links music with the Force. A young girl named Aau lives on the planet Korba, which is filled with kyber crystal, but they had been corrupted by Sith a long time ago. The Jedi often come to the planet to help heal the crystals. Aau’s father works in the mines, but she is not allowed to go, as her voice has an effect on the crystals that they don’t understand. The Jedi who comes to the planet senses that she has a gift and encourages her to use it. So she sneaks down to the mines and sings, and her voice heals the crystals–all of them. A sweet story about using the gifts we possess, even if we don’t always understand them or where they will lead.
I loved the international flavor of these shorts this time around, and I really hope this becomes an annual thing. Visions is a great way for creators to make unique stories with Star Wars flavors, something different in the fandom that we can all look forward to. If I had to choose my top three this year, it would be Sith, The Bandits of Golak, and The Spy Dancer.
Did you enjoy Visions? What were your favorites? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
3 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Visions S2”
Hi Tina, I have watched season 2 and also loved it. As with you I thought “Sith” was a very strong episode. And your memory serves you well….Wedge Antilles was in fact Red Two at the Battle of Yavin…and Denis Lawson who played Wedge in ANH was the voice actor for this episode.
And I’m gonna have to re-watch this one because I think I missed Maz taking Luke’s saber.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s super-quick, and I would have totally missed it if I didn’t know about it and was looking for it. Really cute.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi there…just saw Maz…though it looked more like Rey’s damaged saber than Luke’s pristine version!
LikeLiked by 1 person