What Star Wars: Visions has in common with Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

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This is particularly evident in Return of the Jedi, which flawlessly opposes the ultra-sterile attributes of the Empire to the harsh Ewoks. As the Empire destroys planets, the Ewoks live in trees and feed on the earth. In The clone wars, environmental destruction is associated with disaster, such as when the Separatists turn their Defoliator on enemy planets or when a Republic and Dug mixed project disrupts the Beast Zillo from its underground lair. The Mandalorian This is clearly shown in the second season episode “The Jedi”, itself heavily inspired by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa; the Empire’s presence appears to be draining the planet, leaving mud and dying trees around the city.

The Visions The episode that does the most with this theme is “The Village Bride,” which features a planet where people have a local understanding of the Force. “Magia”, or the Force, is directly connected to the planet: “You cannot change the flow of the river by throwing a stone, but live in harmony with nature, and you will change together,” says a Jedi. The visuals focus on the forest, on how it can be both beautiful and inhospitable to humans. “We are the sky, we are the forest, we are the river”, says the song of the titular bride and groom.

Much of the real destruction of the world is hidden – an explosion here, a flashback there. Unlike most of the other shorts in the series, the villains aren’t even reminiscent of the Empire. Instead, they’re bandits using reprogrammed Separatist Droids.

Perhaps the most subtle expression of this theme in the episode is the opening scene, where the vagrant Valco activates what appears to be a lightsaber and then turns out to be a sensor of some sort. If he is able to fight, he also fights in his own way with research and science.

“T0-B1” also shows that being a hero can mean looking after the planet, not necessarily swinging a lightsaber – although the hero certainly swings a lightsaber as well. Inspired by the death of his mentor, little droid T0-B1 tries to grow plants on the inhospitable desert world. (T0-B1 is a visual echo of Astro Boy, the hero of the 1952 manga, which was later adapted into one of the most successful and familiar anime franchises of all time.) Science is touted as wonderful and sweet, and learning how to make the planet green again is the triumph that leads him to earn his lightsaber and become a Jedi Knight.

Of course, the episode also introduces him to a practical villain – he must achieve a martial victory as well as a vital victory. Getting to what Yoda said – war doesn’t make a person great – still isn’t quite possible on screen in a franchise built in part on the spectacle of lightsaber battles. But “bringing life back to this planet” is T0-B1’s mission, and his resolution at the end of the episode is “helping the planets … that’s what the Jedi do.”


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