I always felt kind of bad for TIE fighter pilots. Sure, they were the bad guys, but they were essentially cannon fodder. They were like the red shirts of Star Wars, sent out in wave after wave only to be mowed down by turbolasers. But in TIE Fighter, an incredibly detailed animé fan short, the men and women flying those screaming, nightmarish-looking craft finally get their due.
Created by Paul “OtaKing” Johnson, who drew and animated the seven-minute short over “4 years’ worth of weekends,” TIE Fighter is a remarkable work of fandom that, in addition to the original Star Wars trilogy, pays tribute to vintage animé titles like Macross and Gunbuster (keep your eyes peeled for the “Itano Circus” at the 4:39 mark) as well as the acclaimed 1994 video game TIE Fighter. Oh, and it features some truly blazing guitar riffage courtesy of Zak Rahman.
There’s a serious attention to detail here, from the cockpit fly-bys to the inner-workings of the TIE fighter. And though there’s no dialog, you immediately get a sense of who the main characters are just through their actions. And if that weren’t all enough, Johnson has posted his production notes, which include in-depth bios of the characters as well as info on his design decisions.
Well done, Mr. OtaKing. Well done.