Continuing Laughing Place’s reviews of each individual episode of Lucasfilm’s animated event series Star Wars: Visions, the fourth installment is entitled “The Village Bride” and was crafted by Kinema Citrus (creators of Barakamon).

When I heard that “The Village Bride” was the short film chosen to represent Star Wars: Visions theatrically after upcoming movie screenings at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre (theoretically to qualify for Academy Awards consideration), I was admittedly a bit confused. The episode didn’t really stand out to me on my first time watching through the series, and even now on my second viewing I was left pretty underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong– this installment is quite cinematic in its presentation and very, very pretty to look at– I can’t think of any of the Visions shorts that aren’t. But the part that bothers me about “The Village Bride” is that it probably feels the least Star Wars-y of all of them.

I also had trouble just figuring out what was supposed to be going on in this one, as the storyline felt a little too muddled– a young girl is being presented to a Separatist warlord in exchange for his protection, and a Jedi who had previously been hiding in the background of this village steps in to save her. It almost comes across like this story existed already and upon being given this assignment, its animators simply dropped in some battle droids and Force powers to make it match the criteria. The voice cast here is talented as usual (Asami Seto, Megumi Han, and Yuma Uchida provide the characterizations for the Japanese audio track, while Karen Fukuhara, Nichole Sakura, and Christopher Sean perform the English dub), but the story just doesn’t grab me, and the Jedi-vs.-warlord narrative feels overly reminiscent of the far-superior entry “The Duel.”

I think “The Village Bride” is a wonderful showcase for the sheer beauty that anime can bring to the filmmaking art form, but I don’t know if it works as an episode of Star Wars: Visions. I hope that when moviegoers are exposed to this short after their feature presentation at El Capitan, they aren’t turned off from checking out the rest of the series.

My ranking so far:

1 – The Duel
2 – Tatooine Rhapsody
3 – The Twins
4 – The Village Bride

Star Wars: Visions is available to stream in its entirety exclusively on Disney+.