Anime Short: Star Wars Visions – T0-B1

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

We’ve come back to another Star Wars: Visions review for this week’s post.

Science Saru – “T0-B1”

After watching and reviewing some of their works on my blog in the past, I knew that Science Saru’s creative spirit would translate super well in telling an original Star Wars story. Of course, their unique animation style wasn’t the only factor that made me enjoy the anime short, its storyline progressed well in making me care for its adorable titular hero, T0-B1.

With a porcelain white and light blue plated body, cheeks dusted with a cheerful blue flush and sparkling black eyes, T0-B1, sure doesn’t act like the typical droid character we’d see in the background of a Star Wars film, that are programmed to follow instructions. He possesses a “human soul” in a robot body, with a huge dream to become a Jedi. He lives on a barren planet, aiming to help his master, Professor Mitaka, by making the lands fertile and flourish with plant life.

T0-B1 and Professor Mitaka’s character designs draw inspiration from an old-school anime style. They are drawn with simplistic shapes and distinctive features. T0-B1’s humanoid android body reflects his child-like innocence with a large head and a lithe body. Professor Mitaka, on the other hand, contrasts T0-B1 with a shorter, stout figure. His age is reflected with his long, wild hair and white beard. The character design reminds me of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, which makes me think that it serves to not only honour the Star Wars universe with its context, but anime history and its connection to science fiction.

The plot was separated into two blocks that transitioned from T0-B1 maturing from a child to a Jedi. The transition to the second half of the animated short was great because it showed how vastly different T0-B1’s idealistic dreams of being a Jedi on adventures were to the reality of being a Jedi.

My favourite animated portion of the anime short was T0-B1’s daydream sequence in which he imagines himself as a Jedi, challenging and combatting foes, left and right, armed with his light saber. The animation looks and feels textured, almost drawn in coloured chalk where lines begin and end with grainy dots, to mimic T0-B1’s drawings on the giant screens in Professor Mitaka’s laboratory. Camera angles help the dynamism of T0-B1’s flips and jumps across the screen, making the sequence look more like a clip from a stylized video game.

A Jedi, unfortunately, does face battles against powerful foes, but their results don’t necessarily mean that the good guy survives in the end. Without showing the showdown between his master and the Inquisitor to T0-B1 (and by extension, the audience), their battle teaches the young robot that Jedi are bound to make sacrifices.

I felt that T0-B1 was one of the stronger anime shorts to be added to Star Wars: Visions because it told a complete story of how a young Padawan grows to become a Jedi, even with its open ending.

Star Wars: Visions made its home on Disney+ on September 22nd, 2021. It is a collection of nine original anime shorts created by seven Japanese animation studios (that some anime fans will recognize) including: Kamikaze Douga, Studio Colorido, Geno Studio, Trigger, Kinema citrus, Science Saru and Production I.G.


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