Disney’s Star Wars: Visions – Anime and the Star Wars mythology collide in a new anthology series

During a special panel at Anime Expo Lite, Lucasfilm revealed the anthology series. Star Wars: Visions will arrive on September 22 on Disney+. Lucasfilm allowed some of Japan’s best animation studios to tell stories in the Star Wars universe. The studios could use established characters or create new ones, and they don’t need to consider the official timeline. Executive producer James Waugh said “We really wanted to give these creators a wide creative berth to explore all the imaginative potential of the Star Wars galaxy through the unique lens of anime,” and “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. 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.”

An all star lineup

Many anime fans will recognize many of the seven studios tasked with creating nine shorts. Kamikaze Douga specializes in animation for commercials, videogames, and anime openings/endings. They’re most well known for the 2012 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure anime openings. Geno Studio (Twin Engine) the studio that produces Golden Kamuy, Studio Colorido (Twin Engine) the producer of Burn the Witch movie, and Pokemon: Twilight Wings, Kinema Citrus (Made in Abyss), Science SARU (Devilman Crybaby), Production I.G (FLCL Progressive), and Studio Trigger (Little Witch Academia, SSSS.Gridman, Promare). Each studio will tell a different story, with unique visual styles:

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

A love letter to Star Wars

All the studios are huge Star Wars fans and were excited. Takanobu Mizuno, the director of The Duel, a black and white samurai-inspired short, said “he just wanted this to be a love letter to Star Wars.” Each short will focus on different genres, characters, and themes. Lop and Ocho introduces a space bunny character Lop, Studio Colorido’s Tatooine Rhapsody is a rock opera with a “Chibi art style,” and Trigger’s The Twins will follow the story of twins born to the dark side and The Elder will explore the relationship between Master and Padawan. Like many anthology series, fans may like some over others. Regardless, as a fan of anime and Star Wars, I’m excited about this series.

Watch the Star Wars: Visions Special Look:

Source: StarWars.com

The Hunters Guild Red Hood Chapter 1: Birth of a werewolf hunter

Grimm asks Velou if he wants to be a hunter

Chapter 1 of The Hunters Guild: Red Hood “The Red Huntress,” introduces us to a familiar world many with knowledge of Disney or Grimm fairy tales would recognize. An old impoverished village is under siege from the ravenous werewolf. Another villager has gone missing. A little boy, Velou, steps up to hunt the beast. Armed with a musket and proof of his hunting abilities (a dead fawn), Velou isn’t taken seriously. Werewolves are mysterious in origin, but what is known is that “once a werewolf tastes human flesh it will hun humans for the rest of its life.” Despret the mayor requests aid from the Hunters Guild. An organization founded by Red Hood, the Guild is full of mercenaries that specialize in monster hunting. Expensive, the Mayor sells all his possessions to pay for them.

I’m Grimm

Grimm shows up and the villagers are not impressed. A little girl, Grimm is a self-confident young woman. When the villagers and Velou complain about her payment. The Hunters Guild: Red Hood presents its first theme, “hunters aren’t heroes.” Grimm is annoyed the villagers act as she should work for free. Would they expect florists or carpenters to work without pay? Why would hunters have to? I wonder if this series will explore the societal expectations that people come to expect from heroes. Is all the praise for the selflessness of heroism a good substitute for money? Velou seems to set up to be the typical tragic hero. His parents were both killed by a werewolf and he appears to embody the typical perspective heroes must-have. It’s common for series to create foils for characters. Grimm and Velou seem to be positioned to be opposites.

The werewolf is a villager

Velou is tasked with showing Grimm the hut. We further explore the mythology of werewolves. Werewolves can transform into humans, they can’t eat human food (it makes them sick), it’s rare that a werewolf can resist eating humans and exists in human society. When Velou makes the binary argument suggesting that werewolves are bad and humans are good, Grimm challenges him. She argues that werewolves are similar to humans. They must “eat, or they’ll starve and die.” If they can’t eat human food then humanity is asking them to commit a form of suicide. This sort of theme has been explored before. However, it remains an interesting question. Regardless, neither humans nor werewolves are going to allow themselves to die. So they must kill each other to survive.

There isn’t any justice

Grimm and Velou follow a human scream to the hut. Collecting the mayor’s ax and spotting blood along the way. Concerned and suspicious, Grimm takes out her Hunters 616 Tool: Hound’s Muzzle. A muzzle is a tool created by the Guild to “analyze the scent of blood and bones, and tell where they come from.” When they kick down the door of the hut they find a pile of human bones. Hiding in the closet is the mayor’s wife Belleau. She tells Velou the mayor is the werewolf and he escaped through a window. Unfortunately, the window is too small for the hulking Mayor and the cow webs remain intact. Exposed, Granny transformed into her werewolf form. It’s a clever play on the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. In that story, the grandmother was eaten by the wolf and that wolf replaced her.

Hiding in plan sight

In this case, the old woman is the werewolf. Grimm, the little girl, transforms as well. She becomes an adult woman. Another theme in The Hunters Guild: Red Hood is transformation and concealment. Granny and Grimm conceal their identities, in the form of an old woman and a little girl. Both are underestimated by society. Women, children, and the elderly are considered weak. It makes sense that powerful beings like werewolves and hunters would use people’s assumptions against them.

Now they have very different end goals, but it’s interesting that they employ the same behavior. The werewolf has been used many times and it’s always intriguing how creators put their own spin on the creature. The Hunters Guild: Red Hood gives the werewolf an alien form. It has four arms and two legs, along with a mouth that opens in three places. Refusing to fail, Velou uses the Mayor’s ax to cut the wolf’s stomach open. This frees Grimm who had been previously been swallowed by the wolf. She leaves behind a bomb and blows the werewolf up.

Grimm mentions that witches and vampires exist, I want to see what they’re like. The art of The Hunters Guild isn’t the best but it’s good enough. I need to see more from this series before I determine whether I like it or not. It’s not completely original but does have enough distinction to feel new. I always loved the Grimm fairy tails and I’m interested in how this series will handle them.

Dandadan Chapter 2: Your name is Okarun

Okarun releases the power of Turbo Granny against the hulking Floodwood alien in chapter 2 of Dandadan.
Okarun releases the power of Turbo Granny

Momo Ayase doesn’t take took kindly to Ken’s name reveal. She forbids him from using it, instead, she names him Okarun. Dandadan Chapter 2 introduces us to the lore of the series, particularly regarding demons, ghosts, and aliens. Momo brings the exhausted Okarun to her home. When Okarun triggers a charm placed on the torii gate he ignites. Momo uses her psychic powers to toss him into a river. On the charm is an image of the Ganzan Daishi (Ryogen). The charm ward off demons. Momo removes it allowing Okarun to enter. Okarun and Momo confirm that he no longer has his penis. Their at a loss for what they should do. Okarun and Momo discuss their potential friendship. As I mentioned in my review of Dandadan Chapter 1, Okarun is “nerdy,” and this often means lonely.

The Floodwood Alien

He tells Momo that he “always wanted friends.” She responds that he didn’t have friends because he’s “pushes people away.” She may be right but I don’t think they know each other well enough for that deep of an insight into who Okarun is. Regardless, that information is likely for the audience. I continue to enjoy the sporadic sprinkling of sexual insults Okarun hurls at Momo as he struggles to control Turbo Granny. It’s possible it will get old but it’s working for me now. Suddenly, the two hear a weird doorbell. Momo’s grandmother installed two doorbells, one for humans and the other for “evil spirits.” They head outside to find that they’re walled in and begin to bleed from their noses.

A floodwoods monster appears and demands their genitals. Okarun explains they’re generally “ten feet tall” and were first discovered in the “American town of Floodwood,” and now exists in Japan. Dandadan blurs the lines between aliens and spirits. Mechanisms intended to detect spirits (the doorbell) are also capable of detecting aliens. Okarun explains that “studies show that people who see psychic phenomena . . . also see UFO’s.” Momo and Okarun’s fighting ability (at least right now) is limited due to Momo’s need to suppress Turbo Granny with her powers. Momo attempts to free Okarun’s head while allowing Turbo Granny to take over his body. He gains a lot of power but Turbo Granny appears to sap his soul, resulting in Okarun feeling depressed.

Momo uses the charm to disintegrate the Floodwood monster

Turbo Granny takes control

Unmotivated, it seems like Okarun is going to be crushed. Turbo Granny is able to move his body without input from Okarun. The fingers of the floodwood are cut off. The speed of Turbo Granny overwhelms Okarun’s body leaving him vulnerable to attack from the Floodwood. Momo notices that the alien moves like a sumo wrestler. Okarun uses his speed to blow a hole in its knee. The Floodwoods hand begins to dissolve but it sprouts two legs, grabs Momo, and slams her into the wall. Despite this, she continues to suppress Turbo Granny. After challenging the Floodwood it begins hammering her into the wall, with a series of devastating punches. Pummeled into a hole under the torii gate, Momo psychically grabs Okarun and uses the charm to disintegrate the Floodwood monster. Exhausted, Momo passes out leaving the curse unchecked. Turbo Granny takes over and prepares to swallow Momo.

I like the lore introduce in this chapter. It’s always important to establish the limits in a series universe. So far, ghosts can’t appear during the day, doorbells can alter you to their (and aliens) presence, and barriers can set them ablaze. Making aliens and spirits exist in the same universe can be difficult. From a genre standpoint, they’re usually categorized in horror and sci-fi respectively. I wonder if we’ll get a more elaborate explanation or just have to accept the word of the author that in Dandadan, aliens and spirits overlap in some way. Yukinobu Tatsu really creates wonderful monsters. I intrigued by what held come up with next.

One Piece Chapter 1018: It’s currently 16,000 vs 9,000

Page One reading to Ulti on the Cover of One Piece Chapter 1018
Page One reading to Ulti on the Cover of One Piece Chapter 1018

In One Piece Chapter 1018, “Jinbe vs Who’s who,” the former Warlord and former member of CP9 agent go head to head. Once again CP-0 (Cipher Pol Aigis Zero) assesses the state of battle between the Alliance and the Beast Pirates. With Tama’s orders, 300 headliners have switched sides. While the other headliners give chase, Tama, Nami, and Usopp are rescued by Speed, Gazelleman, and Daifugo.

This turn of events feels like justice for the abuse the Beasts Pirates inflicted on the civilians of Wano. Also, Kaido’s obsession with power forced him to use SMILE and now it’s backfired on his forces. In the last chapter, Who’s Who revealed his past as a Cipher Pol agent, who lost the Gum-Gum Fruit. Members of CP-0 seem conflicted on whether they want him to die or not. One argues “even if it is him, any confidential information he has should be outdated.” Regardless, they not sure he’s survive facing Jinbe.

Jinbe is handling Who’s Who so far

Who’s Sun God Nika

Who’s Who uses the Rokushiki fighting style reminds me of the Enies Lobby arc. He claims that his talent is comparable to Rob Lucci and considering his devil fruit, “Neko Neko no Mi, Model: Saber Tiger,” that similarity extends to his devil fruit. His Fang Pistol is strong enough to pierce through Jinbe’s Armament Haki and the floor below. It’s exciting to see Jinbe finally let loose. I’ve been waiting to see him fight a more complete battle and he’s not disappointing. During this fight, Who’s Who asks Jinbe about the ancient figure “Sun God Nika.” According to him, Nika was a “legendary warrior” armed with a sword and spear. He assumes Jinbe’s old crew, the “Sun Pirates” are somehow connected. Jinbe is offended by this narrow-minded assumption and makes Who’s Who pay for it when he hits him with Ultimate Technique: Fishman Karate Gargoyle Tile Fist.

Oda wouldn’t mention a new character without it mattering. I suspect that Who’s Who story is inaccurate, but not completely untrue. Who’s Who is gonna need more than the abilities he’s shown so far if he’s going to have a chance against Jinbe. The world government is always terrible but there’s something about punishing the failure of Who’s Who with jail time that sees extreme even for them. Unless there’s more to the story, firing him would have been harsh enough. This is a government that until recently, actively courted and turned a blind eye to the criminal behavior of pirates like Black Beard. So why would Shank’s stealing the Gum-Gum fruit result in such a punitive punishment? Hopefully, we’ll get some clarity on that and who Sun God Nika is.

My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 14: Hawks secret Endeavors

Deku, Bakugo, and Shoto spring into action in episode 14 of My Hero Academia
Deku, Bakugo, and Shoto spring into action

My Hero Academia Season 5, Episode 14, “Off to Endeavor’s Agency,” begins with Hawks talking to Dabi. Hawks is a double agent for the Heroes but can only succeed if villains like Dabi can trust him. He believes Dabi at least thinks his useful because the villain is willing to call him, but he must prove himself. He informs the Hero Public Safety Commission of the League of Villains‘ suspicions and tells them that they’ll need to communicate via code. As the New Year begins, Izuku, Shoto, and Katsuki begin their work-study with Endeavor. He’s not happy to work with Izuku and Katsuki. He only accepted them to work with Shoto. Katsuki as usual is rude, calling the number one hero “cringey” but since Endeavor was rude himself I think he was appropriate.

Hawks arrive with a message

Regardless, both Deku and Bakugo are eager to learn from the number one hero. Endeavor isn’t interested in training them at all. He springs into action, as Starservant begins to terrorize the public. His Quirk, Glass Manipulation, allows him “to control and reshape large amounts of glass.” He turns the glass into bubbles, while, ranting about the “divine message.” Endeavor, Deku, Shoto, and Katsuki chase the madman. Starservant uses his Quirk to create a massive glass ball and prepares his Super Move: Enlightened Fallen King. It’s quickly evaporated by Endeavor’s Flashfire Fist. He flees into an alleyway, and Endeavor gives chase. At the end of that alley, criminals attempt to ambush Endeavor. However, Shoto destroys their rope. Before Izuku and Katsuki can attack, Hawks arrives and defeats them.

Endeavor asks Hawks “what he wants.” He hands him a book, the “Meta Liberation War.” He recommends the book to Endeavor, who’s confused by this encounter. In his office, he goes over the encounter looking for clues. A hero like an Endeavor doesn’t come across as intellectual at all. He was seen in a different light. He’s more than just a powerful hero that uses his power to overwhelm villains. Endeavor is capable of sophisticated thought, he deduces that the second word of Hawk’s highlighted parts make a sentence: “The enemy is the liberation army. They number over a hundred thousand. In four months, to action.” My Hero Academia never explicitly states how many heroes exist but the ranking system suggests they aren’t as large as the liberation army. Of course, there’s quantity and quality. Maybe the heroes have the latter.