Anime Visions of STAR WARS
September 22, 2021
Music for Anime Series STAR WARS: VISIONS
– by Randall D. Larson
STAR WARS: VISIONS is a Japanese-American anime anthology series created for the American streaming service Disney+. The series is a collection of animated short films presented “through the lens of the world’s best anime creators” that offers a new, diverse perspective on STAR WARS.
Produced by Lucasfilm Animation, the series consists of nine short films produced by six Japanese animation studios (Kamikaze Douga, Twin Engine, Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Production I.G, and Science SARU), each telling their own original stories based on the STAR WARS universe.
Music for the short films has been composed by:
Kevin Penkin (IMPLOSION: ZERO DAY, MADE IN ABYSS series, TOWER OF GOD, EDEN): “The Village Bride”
Michiru Ōshima ((FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS, GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S., PRINCESS RACCOON, THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X): “The Twins” and “The Elder”)
Yoshiaka Dewa (THE AQUATOPE ON WHITE SAND, GEKOKUJÔ JUKEN, FLYING WITCH, AMNESIA): “Lop & Ocho,” and “Tatooine Rhapsody”
Keiji Inai (BURN THE WITCH, THE MISFIT OF DEMON KING ACADEMY, IS IT WRONG TO TRY TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON?): “The Duel” and “A-bee”
Keiichiro Shibuya ((HOUSE 475, SPEC: HEAVEN, HOSHI SHIN’ICHI MYSTERY SPECIAL): “T0-B1”
Nobuko Toda & Kazuma Jinnouchi (GHOST IN THE SHELL SAC_2045, ULTRAMAN , UZUMASA LIMELIGHT): “The Ninth Jedi.”).
Is STAR WARS: VISIONS Canon? Not Necessarily – But That’s OK
In an article published August 17th on the Distractify website, writer Jacqueline Gualtieri notes: STAR WARS: VISIONS is “an opportunity for… new stories that fans can’t know quite what to expect. The anime anthology series isn’t just another of Lucasfilm’s babies. The nine animated short films in the upcoming season were created with seven different Japanese production studios. To tell the stories that these studios wanted to tell, they needed to be given more leeway than other Star Wars creators typically get. But does that mean that the episodes aren’t canon?” Gualtieri notes that, at Anime Expo Lite in July of 2021, executive producer of VISIONS James Waugh clarified that the production studios were given the go-ahead to create stories that didn’t fit into the STAR WARS canon timeline. “We realized we wanted these to be as authentic as possible to the studios and creators who are making them, made through their unique process, in a medium they’re such experts at,” Waugh said, quoted by Gualtieri in her article. “So the idea was, this is their vision riffing off all the elements of the STAR WARS galaxy that inspired them — hopefully to make a really incredible anthology series, unlike anything we’ve seen before in the STAR WARS galaxy.”
Writing in DigitalSpy earlier today, David Opie interviewed Waugh, who told him: “I think these shorts are all authentic STAR WARS storytelling. But some are less on the timeline than others. Some could very much fit within our timeline. But VISIONS, as a whole, is more of a celebration of STAR WARS, through this unique perspective, this unique form, this medium and culture. And that was really the intention.”
Opie concludes: “…As this show proves, there’s so much more to this galaxy far, far away than just one particular dynasty. And to Lucasfilm’s credit, moves are being made to explore these new directions in other shows and films too. But VISIONS is our best, most exciting look yet at the future of Star Wars, one that mostly trades nostalgia for possibility. And isn’t that what STAR WARS is really all about anyway?”
Perhaps VISIONS might be considered to STAR WARS what WHAT IF…? is to the MCU. Either way, it’s terrific entertaining and contains some marvelous music within and without the recognizable STAR WARS musical traditions and its own unique variants.
STAR WARS VISIONS premiered today on Disney+. For more details on the series, see starwars.com.
Update 9/22/21/ 8PM: For even more details read Variety’s story “How Lucasfilm Made STAR WARS: VISIONS the Most Ambitious STAR WARS Project Since A NEW HOPE” here.
Watch the series trailer: