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Anyone else checked out the anime Star Wars shorts on Disney+? They are a mixed bag in my opinion, but some of them are quite good. My thoughts:

The Duel

Probably the most samurai  inspired of them all, it felt very much like a Mando episode-- which is not surprising given that this is exactly what The Mandalorian was inspired by. It had the look of a Kurosawa film and the story was one we've seen a hundred times-- a wandering warrior helps a town beset upon by bandits. Not a lot of points for originality, but the style of the animation and the action was a lot of fun.

Tatooine Rhapsody

This one was just too kid-centric for me. I know it was in a sub-style of animation that a lot of younger audience anime uses-- but seeing a super-deformed Boba Fett wasn't fun. It also suffered from something a lot of weaker anime suffers from, in that the dialog is patterned after the speech of older anime that had rougher more direct translations. You know-- the whole main character takes center stage and poses and shouts IT IS AND MY BAND OF FOLLOWERS! WE ARE CHOSEN TO yadda yadda. Again, I know it's a very particular style of anime, but it isn't one I like.

The Twins

Similarly problem for me with this one-- it was so over the top and stylized and patterned after a bombastic style of anime that it was just to jarring and annoying for me. Also, people in space without helmets, even in a cartoon (except their droid wears a helmet? what?) was a bother to me. It also packed in a badly used SW trope of STOP THE MEGA SUPER WEAPON, which I am so over. Somewhere at its core, I liked the concept, but it was too over the top for me.

The Village Bride

This one was my favorite. There are so many styles of anime in both looks and narrative, and this one placed both in a realm I am very much into. A slow, but determined pace that builds to big climax. Stoic characters who are introspective. A visual style that was very 80s anime, which is of course where I first saw it. This one also does something a lot of award-winning Mizayaki-esque anime does in that in imbued a sense of naturalism. Nature, cultural spirituality, symbolism, etc. It has a very fairy tale vibe, which is also very Star Wars in some ways. This one was understated in some ways and direct when it needed to be. It managed to have heart without being saccharine.

The Ninth Jedi

If this had been a random anime with its own mythology I may have liked it when I was younger-- but as a Star Wars story I felt like it was being a little too loose with the lore. I mean, they all are to an extent, but this one focused on lightsabers, which are a bit of an obsession for me, and changed up the lore of them a bit too much. It did have some of the coolest action though. The speeder bike duel was really cool. I didn't hate it, but I also didn't love it. 

T0-B1

I literally lasted about 45 seconds. 

The Elder

This one was probably my second favorite of the bunch. The voice work and dialog wasn't great. It was somehow both mumbly, but also stilted. The story, characters, designs, and duel were all pretty decent. I also liked the relationship between the Padawan and Master, and it may be the first time Star Wars has shown that relationship in way where the Padawan wasn't an impetuous turd. Despite the dialog being rough, there were a lot of great character moments that were purely visual that I super appreciated.

Lop & Ocho

This one is a mixed bag for me. The animation and designs of it is the closest of all of these to the era of anime I grew up with (80s). That's about all it had going for it though. It had the dialog and "acting" problems Tatooine Rhapsody had, and I just felt like the rabbit girl was stupid. Very anime, but also very stupid. And while I get the point of all of these was to celebrate the influence of Samurai films on Star Wars, but in this one the planet it was set on was basically just Feudal Japan. All of them were to some extent, and so was the Ahsoka episode of Mando-- but there were all alien worlds inspired by Feudal Japan where as this one was pretty much literal. Cool visuals and premise, but bad character work with annoying dialog didn't save it

Akakiri

Along with Village Bride and The Elder, this one actually felt like it could be part of the actual Star Wars canon/lore. The premise and story were actually the most Star Wars of any of these-- a Jedi who once served a royal family returns many years after the planet has fallen to evil. The surviving princess is in hiding on the planet planning a coup to retake the throne, and the Jedi has come back to help. Unfortunately, the end of this is very abbreviated and a few things went unexplained and made no sense. That results in it feeling like it is either unfinished or a set-up for something else, but there's no indication that's the case.

Overall as an experiment, I think this was really cool. So much of the Jedi is based on Samurai and wild west tropes (and those latter two ripped each other off endlessly) that even the goofy ones felt like they had some place in things. Mostly though, they left me with feeling once again that where Disney went wrong was trying to make direct sequels to the OT instead of just focusing on new material. Mando proved you could do a sequel without getting in and messing things up. Rogue One, wqhile in the OT space, was still very much its own thing. These shorts all show that the galaxy and lore are so big, you don't to return to the well over and over again by tapping into the Skywalker saga. 

THAT said, I was disappointed that all of these stories were Jedi-centric. There's so much more to the galaxy than that, (again, as Mando has shown us). There could have bounty hunter stories, smuggler tales, war stories-- shockingly only one of these featured a space dog fight. If they do another season I hope they branch out beyond Jedi lore.

My only other real disappointment is that NONE of them came even close to being as cool as this fan anime from several years ago, which hits ALL my 80s anime bottons:

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You never watched O-Ren Ishii’s tale in Kill Bill vol. 1?
 

Just kidding. It was the same for me. I started watching the first one and ended up tuning out. When I realized I had done that I just turned it off and haven’t gone back. 

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Yeah, when I first heard of this my interest was zero. As I read a bit more about it I wanted to watch it because it seemed to be outside the normal timeline and not just fleshing out stuff that happens between TPM and TROS which is what I want to see. So I really wanted to give it a go but I just couldn't. 

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I haven’t watched them all yet but the ones I have seen I’ve had similar opinions as Tank.
 

What I really like about this though is it’s not ‘canon’, you can just treat story on its own. Not that they are in anyway similar, but that’s my main issue with the Marvel What If series atm. Nice to have something that doesn’t need to adhere to or try and fit into a grander scheme of things for once. 

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Yes, I’m in the same boat here. Watched the first one, but just seems a little off and have just not been interested in the others. Might well have ago at some point, but not for a good while!

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Saw them. Thought they were neat! Wish there was more episodes. Always enjoyable to shovel the Star Wars into my eyes and ears.

Had a visceral dislike for Toby the Astroboy and his stupid trashcan jetpack-backpack companion. Hated his dumb fleshy face, hated his hopes and dreams, really just could not stand his whole deal at all. I wish the Jedi hunter had killed him, sliced him right up, but seeing as he survived their battle I can but hope there's no hyperdrive on his T-16 Skyhopper so he's doomed to spend the rest of his existence drifting through the cold void of space.

Liked the little tape-cassette droid. Liked the yellow whirligig webcam-head droid. I'm undecided about the ancient tea drinking Scud The Disposable Assassin. Hated the floating lunchbox with the all-too-human looking eye, hated it almost as much as Toby, was glad to see it destroyed, hopefully that adopted furry kid can't manage to repair it.

Liked the stiletto lightsaber heel on the evil twin. Liked the family heirloom lightsaber that the adopted furry kid wielded. Really liked that ending fight move the older Jedi used where he ignited his saber only after first making contact with the body of the titular/eponymous Elder, that was choice.

[Edit : Even after a solid month I am still nerdmad about Toby. I want the Yuuzhan Vong to grab him up and tear him to pieces!!!1!]

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We've been planning to watch this, but just haven't been watching many shows lately.  I think we'll probably finish up What If? before moving on to this, but it's high up on our queue.

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  • 1 month later...

I liked the first one and the Ninth Jedi, rest were okay or just bad (the band and robot ones being the worst). I wouldn't mind seeing a continuation of the characters in Ninth Jedi.

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