Comic Review – Japanese Manga Artist Takashi Okazaki Returns to “Star Wars: Visions” with “The Ronin and the Droid”

Today saw the release of the new Star Wars: Visions – Takashi Okazaki one-shot from Marvel Comics, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment of the seemingly ongoing adventures of the Ronin.

In the fall of 2021, famed Japanese Manga artist and visual designer Takashi Okazaki gave us one of the best episodes of Lucasfilm’s animated anthology series Star Wars: Visions on Disney+. Then Okazaki’s story “The Duel” was expanded upon both by a novel (written by Emma Mieko Candon) and a 2022 one-shot Marvel comic book by the artist himself. Now, a full two and a half years after the debut of the Ronin character, Okazaki picks up the previously established threads once again with the additional prequel story “The Ronin and the Droid” for Marvel Comics. This new Visions tale is set before all the other ones in this particular timeline, so it’s probably a good place to start if you’re interested in learning about the Ronin. But the story actually kicks off with two rather familiar looking-and-sounding droids wandering through the desert with the skeleton of a Krayt dragon behind them, baking in the sun.

Now it turns out that these two are not C-3PO and R2-D2, but instead an R4-series droid with a so-called “clown droid” CZ-style protocol model as his companion. And after a couple pages of them bickering, it’s also revealed that they’re not even connected to the main story of the Ronin tracking down and battling a Sith named Okinaa. So it turns out that Okinaa-San is in fact the previous owner of the Ronin’s droid B5-56 (or R5-D56, according to some sources) and this is the tale of how possession of the droid came to change hands. There are multiple flashbacks within this origin story, depicting how Okinaa first encountered B5 and how the droid kept him company through decades of existence in what eventually became a barren, polluted wasteland of an oceanside camp. These flashbacks are intercut with the duel between the Ronin and Okinaa-San in the comic’s “present” day.

Now this story is often touching, dramatic, and funny in parts, but the real main attraction here is Takashi Okazaki’s artwork, which might be some of the most gorgeous drawings ever included in a Star Wars comic book. The level of detail is incredible, and I especially loved the variety of alien species the artist included as background characters, and how the wreckage of numerous different iconic Star Wars ships– both rebel and Imperial– dot the landscape and form dilapidated structures around the different locations. I feel like I could spend hours looking at each of the images contained within the panels of this book and still find something to marvel over– no pun intended. So this $6 comic is worth the price of admission for the illustrations alone, but as noted above the story is entertaining and interesting as well. The only thing I still haven’t quite figured out is how exactly those other two droids (one of whom turns out to be a human in a CZ-unit mask) relate to the Ronin at all. Maybe they don’t, and Okazaki is using them as fun, unconnected bookends. Either that or I need to revisit the other tales in the Ronin’s saga as soon as possible.

Star Wars: Visions – Takashi Okazaki is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.