5. Star Wars: Visions – Episode 8: “Lop and Ochō”
In terms of design, “Lop and Ochō,” is the most innovative in the whole series when it comes to the incorporation of Japanese style of dress, decor, and building structure depicted in a futuristic setting.
If “The Duel” is a nod to what came before, then “Lop and Ochō” is a look at what’s next, which is fitting considering the short film’s story is centered on a family divide between the older and younger generation.
The planet Tao is occupied by the Empire. Initially, the people saw the regime’s presence as a means of modernizing and keeping up with the rest of the galaxy. However, that waned when it became clear that the Empire’s help came with a price and some of that cost involved the ever-increasing pollution that’s destroying the planet.
The leader of the Yasaboro clan wants to bring an end to the regime’s stranglehold on Tao, but his daughter Ochō believes he is stuck in the past and can’t see the good the Empire stands to bring to their people. Caught in the middle is Lop, who’d been a laborer bound into service as a child until she was adopted by the Yasaboros after escaping her unit.
“Lop and Ochō” is such an interesting story that blends a family’s fight for their loved one’s soul and the transfer of power from one generation to the next. It also features a lightsaber passed down from generation to generation that is a fusion of what the audience knows to be a Jedi’s weapon and an engraved katana. The Yasaboro saber is the coolest piece of tech in the series.
But while the premise of this short film rises to the level of the art (though the animation has some issues in spots), the story itself does not. There’s just not enough time to incorporate Lop’s backstory, the current day Yasaboro feud, and an epic battle in a way that’s entirely satisfying.
Had Ochō’s turn to the Dark Side been fleshed out better and not gone from point A to point Z with little to no explanation of why, this episode would be higher on the list. As it stands, however, I would love to revisit this universe. It’s stunning and the story has so much potential especially as matters were left unresolved between the Yasaboros.
Hopefully, a sequel or an entire movie will one day be in our future.
Animation studio: Geno Studio (Twin Engine)
Runtime: 21 minutes
Synopsis: The Empire’s hold on the planet Tao splits the Yasaboro clan when the head of the family and his heir, Ochō, clash over whether they should rise against the regime that’s destroying their planet. Caught in the middle is Lop, a former laborer who was taken in by the Yasaboros as a child. Lop just wants her father and sister to come to an understanding but as her sister becomes more aligned with the Empire, it’s up to Lop to ensure their family stays intact.
- Anna Cathcart as Lop
- Hiromi Dames as Ochō
- Paul Nakauchi as Yasaburo
- Kyle McCarley as Imperial Officer
- Seiran Kobayashi as Lop
- Risa Shimizu as Ochō
- Tadahisa Fujimura as Yasaburo
- Taisuke Nakano as Imperial Officer