This episode felt like an odd choice to end the series on to me. While the previous two episodes I talked about felt like they had very Star Warsy messages and themes at their core, Akakiri is more of a mystical episode in a great many ways that approaches its story with a tone that feels neither especially Star Wars Inspired nor Japanese inspired as far as I can tell.
The second episode from Science Saru, Akakiri is pretty stylised episode showing the story of the Jedi Tsubaki returning to the home of Misa, a former princess he once met and grew to have feelings for. Tsubaki is a shell of his former self, plagued by visions of a death in the future, to the point that he has began to look like some drunken drifter.
Misa’s planet has played host to a coup by her Sith Aunt Masago, and Misa herself has become a fighter to try and reclaim her world. After a long and perilous journey to the palace, Tsubaki has is confrontation with Masago, only to be easily defeated by her.
His sorry state, coupled with the debilitating visions of the future render him useless in combat. Leading to his final stand in which he finds he unknowingly cuts down a captured Misa who has been dressed to look like a palace guard.
So they do the whole tragedy of Anakin Skywalker thing; where his drive to prevent and understand the visions of the future that plague him end up being the very thing that brings them into happening at all. It’s something I touched upon in a Star Wars Rebels review a few weeks back; visions of the future are the curse of the Jedi in my oppinion.
They are never clear and obsessing over them only ever makes things worse. It’s like this extra, horrible level of temptation that the Jedi constantly need to battle with.
In the end, Tsubaki is fully broken. And he pledges himself a Sith apprentice to Masago, on the condition that she save Misa’s life. Which she somehow does to her credit. Palpatine never had any intention of doing that shit for Anakin. The episode and the series ends on a pretty dark note, where Misa watches her friend walk away from her, bathed in a red light, given himself up to the dark side.
This was a strange one in many regards. Until the temptation to the dark side at the end, it didn’t feel like a Star Wars short at all. All of the characters were dressed and acted like olds timey Japanese peasants. Even this music was wholly not Star Wars, exclusively featuring these beating, African style drums throughout.
The title itself also leans into this more mystical, tribal theme going on. The word is never uttered throughout the episode as far as I can tell. After doing some research, it seems like it’s a word that comes together through a bunch of different meanings. Akakiri itself means “custody” in the context of connections between individuals.
Additionally, the components of the word can mean “red”, “fog” and “to cut”. All apt descriptions of what we see throughout the episode in reguards to Tsubaki and the journey he goes on throughout. It’s more of a thinker than any of the other episodes throughout the series.
Overall though, watching all these episodes and talking about them was a lot of fun. I have to wonder if we’ll get any more of them in the future, or if any of these shorts might get commissioned into a longer form series. I know which one I’d want if given the choice. I’ll get you guess which I’m talking about though.
This really felt like an odd tone to leave the series on. I didn’t dislike it or anything, but the two that preceded it seemed like they would have been pretty strong points to end this Visions series/experiment on.
I might come back and rank the episodes when they’ve had time to settle in my brain, so that’ll make guessing which one I liked best even easier. Post your ranking in the comments if you actually managed to get this far in the post. I’d really appreciate it.