On paper, Star Wars: Visions has some merit as a creative enterprise. We all know that Star Wars has deep roots sunk into all kinds of rich cultural soil, including Japanese samurai movies in general and the cinema of legendary director Akira Kurosawa in particular. You don’t have to be so nerdy as to know that A New Hope is more or less a remake of Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress—just look at the robes of the Jedi, or the sweeping plane of Darth Vader’s helmet and mask—the influence is unmistakeable.
So letting a selection of anime production houses loose in the Galaxy seems like an obvious and workable idea, and Star Wars: Visions is the result: nine short films untethered (for the most part) to Star Wars canon, upping the Japanese stylistic and narrative elements that are already in the franchise’s DNA, and ignoring anything that might get in the way of that. As a creative experiment, it’s admirable. As an actual unit of entertainment, the median result is middling.