Cute bunny girl. Do I need to say anything else? Can’t that just be the review?
These episodes though… as they get later in the series they’re really starting to go harder. Not that The Duel wasn’t a great Lightsaber duel, but between this one and the one before it, these episodes really end on a super impressive combat sequence. That’s Star Wars for you in a nutshell though I suppose.
I won’t lie. I was kind of really looking forward to this one. I’m not one to really dig too deep into animation studios and other than the obvious ones we all know, I generally can’t tell you what studio makes what nor what to get excited about when a new season of anime gets announced.
But, when these episodes all dropped a few weeks back and I started researching who had made what, this was one that caught my eye. Lop & Ochō comes from Geno Studio; a fairly new studio that only have a scarce few projects under their belt. One of those anime just so happens to be one of my favoueite anime in the modern era: Golden Kamuy.
So yeah, I was looking forward to this one. And I can say with confidence that it didn’t disapoint.
Like The Duel from way back at the beginning, this episode takes traditional Japanese style, setting and design and blends it seamlessly with the visual language and feel of the Star Wars universe. Giving us something that both very familiar to both anime and Star Wars fans while being pretty unique in their combination.
The episode takes place entirely on planet Tau; a struggling world that invites the Galactic Empire in order to progress and modernise along with the wider galaxy. We meet an escaped imperial slave girl called Lop. She’s a bunny girl in the same design style of her namesake. She is found by Yasaburo and his daughter Ochō who adopt the girl into their family.
Cut to seven years later and there is a rift in the family. Ochō is older and seems to favour the Empire and their progress for Tau, while Yasaburo resists the damage their industrialisation do doing to both the environment of their world and it’s culture. Thus he starts undermining the Empire through violent bombings and attacks.
The argument culminates in Ochō turning her back on the family to become a member of the Imperial military against her father. With Lop caught in the middle. It really feels like this episode is referencing something, but I’m not smart nor cultured enough to know what it is. I get the feeling its something that just resonates with Japanese history and culture.
Maybe it’s no accident that the setting and events of this short seem to line up pretty well with the era covered by Golden Kamuy, telling of a time in Japanese history where modernisation and western influences are flooding into the country and quashing down the traditions that many Japanese grip to so tightly.
Then again, these themes also seem inherent in Star Wars. Progression vs. Tradition, Industry vs. Nature, The individual vs. Family. Themes that were strong in the original trilogy in the Empire vs. the Rebel Alliance, and then doe again, but worse in the sequels with the First Order and the Resistance.
It really is a prefect blend of both worlds. Telling a familiar story of a splintered family and the outcast child becoming the hero against their heir sibling. It really us a story I feel like I’ve seen so many times before, but in that regard it makes it feel like some kind of retelling of some kind of legend. And at the end of the day, isn’t that exactly what Star Wars is? A story that took place a long time ago in a place far, far away.
This episode was great. It does toy with the Jedi lore a little more to make it seem more like a family heritage than the Jedi of the true lore, but otherwise seems like another short that maybe could take place within the main continuity. The art is stunning and the almost Dieselpunk aesthetic of the traditional Japanese iconography with the dirty Star Wars technology of the Imperial era jammed in there looks fantastic too.
Also, there’s a really cute bunny girl in almost every scene. You can’t really fault it to be honest.