Review: The Star Wars: Visions manga shows we need more stories than just "The Duel"

Look, I love "The Duel," but this favorite child should really step aside for others stories to be told.
"The Elder." Star Wars: Visions. Courtesy of
"The Elder." Star Wars: Visions. Courtesy of /

If there is one favorite child that came out of Star Wars: Visions' first season, it's clearly the first episode, "The Duel." This single short has had multiple one-shot comics as well as a full novel to explore its characters and world on a much deeper level. As a fan of Visions, I adore seeing any of the episodes getting some love despite the Ronin not being my favorite. However, if there is one thing that the Star Wars: Visions: The Manga Anthology showed me, it's time for "The Duel" to step aside and let other characters get a chance to play.

I waited two years to get this anthology. I remember seeing the first artwork of Dan G'Vash and Tajin Crosser cross my feed with the announcement this would be serialized in Japan. "The Elder" is absolutely one of my favorite shorts to come out of this series. While others like "Screecher's Reach" have dethroned it to a lower ranking, I always held a soft place in my heart for Dan and Tajin. And now, after all this time and its in my hands, this book was absolutely worth the wait.

More than anything, the Star Wars: Visions manga anthology made me realize I want more with all of these characters. While this book adapts the episodes from the series, it's not an exact copy. Along with "The Elder," three other shorts were focused on: "Lop and Ocho," "The Ninth Jedi," and "The Twins." Unlike animation, printed works allow readers to spend more time with these characters in specific moments.

For example, in "The Twins," Karre and Am's backstory is a flash of images in a matter of seconds in their episode. However, in their manga, it's paced out more. You can see Karre as a child plagued by Force visions, seeing his sister's supposed demise. Just that one page adds so much extra weight to his story and his motivations behind leaving his Order, as this is something he's carried for years. In "Lop and Ocho," Lop is allowed a lot more subtle humor, making her very funny at rare moments amid a serious situation. Also, her final battle with Ocho has all the intensity of any fantastic manga brawl. Kara, like Lop, allowed for a much wider range of subtle emotions in "The Ninth Jedi."

However, "The Elder" is truly the special one. Granted, this could be my bias for it because I deeply scoured over every single image on the page. The mangaka was Kamome Shirahama, the character designer for the original short. He's the only one of the four mangaka who actually worked on Visions. And it's clear that he put so much extra care and love into bringing Dan and Tajin back.

Little things were added in that weren't in the episode. Like Lop and Kara, Dan is funny and has much more energy and spunk. We get Dan's internal thoughts at one point, which is missing in animation. Tajin also has added moments, crouching over and protecting a wounded Dan as the titular Elder dies. The final panel has Tajin's thoughts, waxing on how being a master isn't unlike being a parent. None of this is in the original episode. It gives so much more characterization to the two of them and their relationship as master and padawan.

These little moments add so much to Visions. Even if it's an adaptation, any addition will change the context of the original story. If I got anything out of this book, it made me want more. I want more of all of these characters. I want to see their next story. Not just these four entries but also the rest of Season 1 and 2's episodes.

"The Duel" can't just be the favorite child all the time. As someone who likes that short but in no way loves it, I'm tired of Ronin getting all the attention. With just a glance at sites like Ao3, fans have already played with these other characters in their own way, wanting more of these stories. And if there is one thing that Star Wars: Visions: The Manga Anthology has shown me, good things happen when Lucasfilm continues to play with these characters too.

Star Wars: Visions: The Manga Anthology is now available wherever you get your books.

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