Tokyo, 28 June – Darth Vader and the storm troopers at the Star Wars Visions will be packing up their set up at Roppongi Hills later today to quell cooler climes in Hokkaido. I managed to catch up with them a fortnight ago.
Making the quick trek up the spiral staircase past a queue for a rival exhibit (Naruto), I noticed that the lines were marked clearly with yellow masking tape. The Empire awaited along the middle path, before which a darkened indoor ticketing hall took in credits for entry. The steady stream of expectant fans were greeted by welcome signage overhead and a peek of the Death Star model and storm troopers taking aim at would-be trespassers.
Walking around the wall, I was greeted by who else but Vader himself in his meditation chamber. Standing silently, masked and plotting his next move as the soon-to-be-completed Death Star witnessed X-Wing duelling a smattering of the Empire’s fleet in a delay raid. New entrants were forced to bear with his theme song echoing across the hall, but the illusion of the enormity of facing an entire trooper platoon vanished at the mere sight of their posters adorning the glass panels above.
Eager ones lined up to pose with the protagonist, who stayed behind his iconic mask, while others shuffled along through the next portal to meet beings from other worlds. The visions were split into 6 sections – the original vision, the force, battles, sagas, the galaxy and droids. Inspirations for the saga led to the realization of the existence of the force, and then its two sides.
Fan art was coupled by a cast of retired weapons and bodies from the entire galaxy far, far away. Bubba Fett’s blaster, Jedi and Sith light sabres, mini models of the Jedi Council building and memorable battle scenes treated new and learned fans alike. Techie wannabes would have enjoyed the specs on the X-Wing, A-Wing and other vessels on display, while hitchikers could let their mind wonder across the worlds in a map of the entire galaxy.
Master Yoda stood quietly beside Amidala’s flowing white cloak, while the wirings of Vader’s mask lay open for all to see. Jabba the Hutt was there, the blue female alien dancer too, plus Ewoks and the bust of Chewbacca. The most impressive centerpiece was Hans Solo in cryogenic freeze. The stellar cast included the all-important droids, eventually the turning points in the saga, and a brilliantly gold C-3PO standing by to wave goodbye to a queue treated to tidbits from edited saga footage as they shuffled toward the store.
Of course, the chance to battle the man himself at the top of Roppongi Hills for just 500 yen and an image to last many lifetimes is surely the curtain-call poser. That is, before we say hello again to the galaxy come December 18 when the force awakens worldwide.
Star Wars Visions at Roppongi Tokyo City View