Watch this anime anthology breathe new life into an old franchise

Star Wars: Visions sees seven Japanese anime studios breathe new life into an old concept.

by George Griffiths
04 July 2021, 2:00pm

Image via Disney/Lucasfil

Seven Japanese anime studios have been tasked with breathing new life into an old concept for the Western cinema canon, and the results look to certainly be extraordinary.

Set to debut on streaming platform Disney+ later this year, Visions is the latest effort by Disney to diversify the Star Wars universe in the wake of the conclusion of its sequel trilogy in 2019.

To that end, you can now see a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of the anthology below, with each of the seven studios tasked with the creation of a singular short film.

“From the beginning, stories told in the Star Wars galaxy have counted Japanese mythology and the films of Akira Kurosawa among their many influences,” a statement on the show said.

“These new visions will further explore that cultural heritage through the unique animation style and perspective of each anime studio.”

The seven films and their corresponding studios are as follows:

Kamikaze Douga – The Duel
Geno Studio – Lop and Ochō
Studio Colorido – Tatooine Rhapsody
Trigger – The Twins and The Elder
Kinema Citrus – The Village Bride
Science Saru – Akakiri and T0-B1
Production IG – The Ninth Jedi

For Studio Trigger, The Elder will also mark the last work for celebrated anime director and studio founder Masahiko Ōtsuka before his retirement. Ōtsuka got his start in anime over at Studio Ghibli, serving as an assistant director on Pom Poko.

It’s also true that as much as a behemoth Star Wars became, under its original director and creator George Lucas, it pulled from a variety of different sources to re-launch and re-define what cinema could be in the 1970s, including Akira Kurosawa’s classic The Hidden Fortress, which would serve to build the foundations of the film’s world-building and narrative focus (A New Hope’s original focus on the series’ lowliest characters, the droids, can be traced back directly to The Hidden Fortress).

All seven films will land as part of the anthology when it drops on Disney+ September 22.

While this new undertaking seems to come around at the perfect time to reinvigorate a flagging Western franchise, it’s also a sign of anime being welcomed into the mainstream Western filmmaking culture at large.

Just earlier this year, Studio Ghibli sent fans into a tailspin when its official Twitter account seemed to tease at a Pixar collaboration.

Follow i-D on Instagram and TikTok for more.