The question, “what would Star Wars look like in the style of ’80s anime like Macross” has finally been answered. For fans of both–as well as the TIE Fighter and X-Wing game series and cool-looking shit in general–one-man animation team Paul “OtaKing” Johnson drops a real treat in the form of this “Star Wars: TIE Fighter” animated short. Complete with appropriately radical electric guitar solos and impressive attention to detail, “TIE Fighter” casts the forces of the Galactic Empire not in the role of disposable cannon fodder seen in the Star Wars films, but as near-suicidally reckless angels of death.

Johnson animated this 7-minute short over the course of “four years’ worth of weekends,” and his love and attention-to-detail shows. (There’s even a sweet official poster, which you can see below.) It’s only a shame there isn’t more. The CG animation of The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels is fine, but his short posits a strong argument that there should be a space for a traditionally animated adult-oriented Star Wars cartoon. It’ll likely never happen, but Johnson’s “TIE Fighter” is a great could’ve been.

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