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Star Wars Visions – Ranked

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Disney Plus

Star Wars: Visions has graced Disney Plus. A Star Wars anime, it serves as a collection of stand-alone stories. All together, they form a sort of love letter to the Jedi Order and work to build out the galaxy. Every episode was animated by a different animation studio and has a distinct tone and style. Here are all nine Visions episodes ranked from “ok” to “amazing.”

SPOILERS: Warning there are spoilers ahead.

9. Tatooine Rhapsody- Studio Colorido

At the bottom of this list is Episode 2: Tatooine Rhapsody. Immediately following the strong and stylized “The Duel,” Tatooine Rhapsody almost completely turned me off to continuing Star Wars Visions.

It follows the relative of Jabba the Hutt, Geezer, who rather than continuing on in his family’s crime syndicate, wants to be a rock star. He assembles a band, the lead singer being a lost padawan, Jay. Or so we are led to believe. He’s dressed like a padawan when we first meet him, and he has a lightsaber he can’t turn on, but he never has a Jedi moment. He never uses his lightsaber as a lightsaber, although he does use it as a microphone. The band is hunted by Boba Fett throughout the galaxy and captured. Because of his refusal to work for Jabba, Geezer is going to be publicly executed. Jay and the band convince Jabba to let the band play one last song before Geezer’s death. They go viral and win over the heart of Jabba, who lets them live.

The tone of Tatooine Rhapsody was completely off from not only the rest of Visions, but Star Wars in general. The animation and tone felt like a child’s cartoon, not an anime. In terms of actual Star Wars canon, Jabba would probably not be swayed by a rock song about the power of friendship. The episode was cheesy and childish; and not in an endearing way. It felt completely out of place among the rest of the series and would have been better suited for Disney Junior.

8. Akakiri- Science SARU

Akakiri is the last Visions episode, and it follows a Jedi Knight and a princess. Tsubaki is a Jedi who once assisted the royal family of this planet five years ago. During that time, he fell in love with the Princess Misa. Now, Misa’s aunt Masago has revealed herself to be a Sith Lord and has staged a coup. Tsubaki returns to help Misa take back control of her planet, while being plagued by nightmares of an upcoming disaster. But when Misa and Tsubaki face off against Masago, they fail. When Tsbuaki tries to escape, he strikes down several masked guards, including Misa in disguise. Masago tells Tsubaki that they can resurrect her using the Dark Side of the Force, if Tsubaki becomes her Sith padawan. Tsubaki saves Misa, but falls to the Dark Side.

The episode had a very stylized animation style and was pretty to look at. But this episode was dull. It was mostly just travelling to the palace, and the big showdown between Masago and Tsubaki was underwhelming. Plus it had a slow pace and a somewhat confusing plot. It was a forgettable episode.

7. T0-B1- Science SARU

T0-B1 follows a child-like droid of the same name who has dreams of becoming a Jedi Knight. He lives with an old man and an assortment of other droids, who are trying to terraform an uninhabitable planet. When the Empire murders the old man for being a Jedi, T0-B1 continues his work, eventually becoming a Jedi himself.

T0-B1 is a cute and loveable story and succeeds where Tatooine Rhapsody failed. It has a childish tone with its animation and main character, and yet isn’t cheesy or superficial. Animated by the same studio as Akakiri, the animation is very stylized. It doesn’t even look like Akakiri, and instead looks like a Saturday morning cartoon with a few more bells and whistles. It also raises the question; can droids be Jedis? The place of droids in the Star Wars ecosystem is interesting in and out itself. How much of their own entity are they? Can they be force sensitive? While T0-B1 doesn’t really get too deep into all that, it is a cute story about a little droid with a lot of heart.

6. The Elder – Studio Trigger

The Elder centres on one of the most quintessential relationships in Star Wars; the master and padawan. When one of these duos encounter an elder sith master, the master must save the padawan.

The plot of the Elder is simple with a traditional anime style. But there isn’t much to write home about with this particular episode. The relationship between the master and the padawan feels genuine and sweet. With the padawan being a little too eager to rush into battle (like another padawan we once knew).

5. The Twins – Studio Trigger

The Twins deal with one of the most interesting Star Wars concepts; Sith Twins. Am and Karre are twins who were born out of the power of the Sith, and were created to further the agenda of the Empire and the Dark Side. They are about to use the twin Star Destroyer the Gemini to destroy an entire planet with a kyber crystal. But Karre has a vision that using the crystal will kill his sister. In an attempt to save her, he turns traitor to the Empire, trying to keep the crystal away from Am. The result is a battle between the twins of epic proportions. Am does get a hold of the crystal and uses it to power her suit. And it does almost kill her. Karre is able to save her, but she is lost. He resolves to find his sister, no matter the cost.

What’s most interesting about this episode is that Karre is not motivated by either side of the force. He’s not a Jedi, but he’s not quite a Sith. He is simply trying to save his sister, who is willing to give up even her own life for the Dark Side. Twins are a common motif in the greater Star Wars lore, and it’s surprising it’s not used more. The idea of children growing up under the influence of the Dark Side is definitely something I would like to see more of in Star Wars.

This episode feels the most like a traditional anime. In its battle style, animation, voice acting, and so on. It was fun to watch and was one of the more interesting concepts.

4. The Duel- Kamikaze Douga

The Duel is the first episode in Visions, and it is a very strong opening. It has a very simple plot. Ronin, a wanderer, is having tea with an old man in a small village. Bandits, remnants of the fallen Empire, attack the village. They are led by a Sith master. Ronin challenges the Sith, who relishes the idea of killing another Jedi. But when Ronin lights his lightsaber, it’s revealed to be red. The Sith, confused as to why another Sith is fighting her, is enraged. They have an epic duel, and Ronin saves the village.

What’s amazing about this episode is not the plot, but the animation. All of it is in black and white, except coloured light. For example, the light of their lightsabers or gunfire from the blasters. The animation itself looks like it was drawn in a sketchbook. The result is visually stunning. It makes the red of their lightsabers stand out against the background and highlights the duel in a visually arresting way. It was one of the most, if not the most, experimental episodes in Visions.

3. Lop and Ocho -Genu Studio

Lop and Ocho have one of the strongest hearts out of any Visions episode. It follows Ocho, who escaped the oppression of the Empire. She is adopted by Boss Yasaburo of the Yasaburo clan and his daughter, Ocho. Lop and Ocho grow up as sisters. The Yasaburo clan has resisted Imperial occupation, but a now-adult Ocho thinks that they should embrace the Empire.

She believes that they are a necessary evil to allow their planet to industrialize. She joins the Empire, much to the dismay of Lop and their father. In the absence of Ocho, their father gives Lop a family heirloom; a lightsaber. A relic from a lost time. He leaves to fight the Empire, and Lop follows. Ocho blinds her father, and Lop engages in a duel with Ocho. Lop wins, causing Ocho to fall off their dock. But Ocho is saved by the Empire, glaring at Lop while standing on top of an Imperial starship. Lop watches her leave and swears to save her from the Empire.

Lop and Ocho was a great episode with beautiful animation. The story was immediately compelling and easy to follow. You’re instantly interested in this little broken family. My biggest complaint with this episode was that it didn’t feel finished. It feels like there’s a lot more story to tell here. The note that it leaves audiences on is dissatisfying.

2. The Village Bride- Kinema Citrus

The Village Bride follows a young Jedi, F, who is on the run from the Empire. It takes place on a planet whose people have a deep respect for nature. Two people, Asu and Haru, are going through marriage traditions while F watches. Later, F’s friend and another visitor to this planet, Valco, are at their marriage feast. It is there that Valco tells her that Raiders, using reprogrammed Separatists droids, have terrorized this village. They are going to hold Haru hostage as collateral for the village’s cooperation. She has offered herself up to this willingly, which is why she is getting married to her love this night. When the Raiders come to collect, F defends the village.

This episode was one of the most beautiful episodes in Visions. It had gorgeous landscape imagery and character design. Then it also had such a heart and reverence for relationships and nature. It truly showed the real purpose of the Jedi. To protect those who cannot protect themselves. To defend against greed and evil. It was emotionally and visually arresting, and one of the best episodes.

1. The Ninth Jedi- Production I.G.

And the best Visions episode, (in my opinion), is The Ninth Jedi. In an age where the Jedi are all but lost, new Jedi are forced to train themselves in the ways of the Force. But Margrave Juro, with the assistance of Saber Smith Lah Zhima, has begun forging Lightsabers for these self-taught Jedi. They sent out a message to all Jedi, offering them a saber. But when these Jedi arrive at the Margrave’s orbital temple, he is nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Lah Zhima and his daughter, Lah Kara, are preparing the sabers for the new Jedi’s. But when they are attacked by Jedi Hunters, Lah Zhima gives the sabers to his daughter and expresses how important it is that she gets them to the Margrave. He is taken captive by the Jedi Hunters, and Kara is chased throughout the planet by the hunters. Showing some dexterity with a lightsaber (which does not yet have a colour, because her connection to the Force is not strong enough), she eludes them. She’s able to deliver them to the temple, but the Jedi turn on her, proving to be Sith who intercepted the message. They wanted the sabers for themselves. The Margrave reveals himself to be hiding inside a droid, and he, a true Jedi named Ethan, and Kara battle the Sith. During the battle, Kara’s lightsaber turns green.

The Jedi prevail, and The Margrave deems Kara the Ninth Jedi. Together, they resolve to save her father.

Complicated

The Ninth Jedi probably has the most complicated plot in Visions, but it’s also the most arresting plot. Kara is a true hero, and her arc is condensed into a little over twenty minutes. The animation style was traditional but wasn’t boring. Every character was interesting and easy to root for. The plot twist was not predictable and had me yelling at my TV. It was a real tribute to the Jedi, and how goodness always prevails. A display of the perseverance of our heroes that’s seen over and over in Star Wars.

Visions was a fun collection of Star Wars short stories. Some of them fell flat, some of them were incredible, but all of them were a tribute to the stories that have captured generations. Let us know how you would rank Star Wars Visions.


Thank you for reading our ranking of Star Wars Visions. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out vintage Star Wars pieces available on Disney Plus HERE.

Read IMDB information about Star Wars Visions HERE.

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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