Since 1977, there are very, very few things Star Wars hasn’t been. We can debate for hours on end about the merits of the various movies, action figures, sleeping bags, video games, 3D re-releases and things we dare not mention.  However, fans almost unamiously agreed that Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars mini-series, and its subsequent spin-off, are probably the two best things to happen to the franchise since the fall of the Empire.

Much of that is because those cartoons were influences by a subset of Japanese animation, known to most of us as anime. However, while anime is best known for presenting often very adult material, in a medium stereotyped as being for children, even the cartoon Clone Wars never really pushed the envelope.

Enter animator Paul Michael Johnson, who is currently working on an exciting Star Wars-themed anime featuring an epic space battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. A small clip of it leaked online, reminding us just how cool Star Wars can be. Check it out below.

Thanks to Topless Robot for the heads up. However, their story doesn’t tell the whole story. The original anime was done by Johnson, under his pseudonym Otaking77077. It was unfinished and not meant for the public. However, it spread like wildfire with one fan adding the music you hear below: “Born to Lose” by Sleigh Bells. His original has since been taken down because he’s still working on it but watch the clip below and marvel at what this looks and sounds like unfinished.

What I love about this video is how it humanizes the Imperial pilots. In the films, they’re just faceless masks. The anime almost makes them into the heroes by revealing their visages and emotions. Then there’s the geek in me that loves how Otaking used such a big chunk of the Imperial Fleet. TIE Fighters, yes, but also TIE Interceptors and TIE Bombers.

As for the video above in relation to what the final version will be, Johnson posted the following on the YouTube Page:

That is really rather excellent. I did grin quite creepily when I heard the first TIE sound effect… recognised the AT-AT walking sound too! I won’t ask you to take it down, though I really am trying to keep it low profile since it’s rough and unfinished (about 30 people have been helping critique it on the 4chan /m/ mecha board, so it was supposed to be only them seeing it until it was complete, but then it got posted on 109, Twitter etc and flew out of control). Maybe if you could slap a disclaimer in the title or info, saying how it is completely work in progress?

 What do you think of the video?
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