Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies is the first time Studio Ghibli has ever collaborated with Lucasfilm for any Star Wars media. The result is a very short, but adorably sweet Star Wars anime short. Hopefully, it will keep us entertained until they get around to making the next volume of Star Wars: Visions.

Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies: Details

"Zen - Grogu And Dust Bunnies" key art.
Short but sweet: just like Grogu himself.

Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies is a 3-minute long (yes, you read that right) science fantasy anime short film set in the Star Wars universe. Specifically, it’s a spinoff short film to The Mandalorian (2019). The world famous Studio Ghibli (Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away) collaborated with Lucasfilm to produce this anime short film. Katsuya Kondō (Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo) is the director of this anime short film. Unfortunately, that’s all we know about the production cast at this time.

Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies premiered on November 12, 2022. You can watch this anime short film only on Disney+.

Warning: spoilers for Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies below. If you want to watch Studio Ghibli’s first collaboration with Lucasfilm for yourself, then stop there, and come back once you’ve enjoyed your 3 minutes of zen-y goodness.

Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies: Plot Summary

The original mystery teaser trailer that started it all.

Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies starts us off with Grogu (AKA: Baby Yoda) sitting cross-legged in the air, and meditating above a shallow pool. Presumably by making himself float with Force telekinesis. For once, he seems to be content just quietly floating there in a relatively deep trance.

All that changes when a bunch of dust bunnies (AKA: susuwatari, makkuro kurosuke, black soots, soot sprites, or soot gremlins) of Studio Ghibli fame interrupt Grogu’s meditation. At first, they’re just curious about what Grogu is doing. Unfortunately, the dust bunnies then inevitable start getting mischievous. They start bugging him, and doing acrobatics around him.

Grogu doesn’t try to eat them surprisingly enough, given his previous gluttonous behavior. In fact, he’s remarkably polite to the dust bunnies. When they annoy him too much, all he does is get up and leave, walking on the water with all the grace of a miffed pond skater. The dust bunnies follow closely behind him though, hopping and tumbling over each other like, well, dust bunnies.

Eventually, Grogu gets so annoyed that he turns around to confront the dust bunnies. Upon being confronted though, the dust bunnies pull a behavioral U-turn, and produce a flower. They present it to the baffled but pleasantly surprised Grogu, who accepts the peace offering. Soon, both Grogu and the dust bunnies are happily frolicking around in joyous playtime. All without Grogu ever attempting to eat any of the dust bunnies. Thus ends Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies.

Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies: The Good

The best part of Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies is the story, despite there being barely any of it. Mostly because of how cute it is. It’s really amazing that Studio Ghibli managed to cram such an adorable story into a 3-minute long anime short film. As befitting the animation studio that brought up those classic Hayao Miyazaki anime films though, they somehow managed to do it.

The animation style of this Studio Ghibli anime short is also a treat. The artwork makes the whole thing look like Grogu drew this anime short himself on some cardboard. Grogu himself also looks adorably squishy. He has this round look to him that’s reminiscent of Pikachu in this anime short film. The dust bunnies themselves seal the deal, with their minimalistic design right out of My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.

Last but not least, the music of Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies completes this anime short film. As fitting for the title, the music has a relaxing zen-like quality to it at first, then builds into the action as it goes along. It’s the kind of slice of life music you can chill to in between dramas, and frankly, it’s perfect for this anime short film.

Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies: The Bad

Unfortunately, despite how much story Studio Ghibli managed to pack into this anime short film, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s only 3 minutes long. With such a time limit, there’s just no way to fit a better story into it. Frankly, I wish the short could’ve been a bit longer. Even just 5 minutes as opposed to 3 minutes might’ve given us a better story. As it is though, it’s the best Studio Ghibli can do with it.

Also, this may vary depending on your mileage, but I feel like Grogu is slightly out of character in Zen – Grogu And Dust Bunnies. I was honestly disappointed that he didn’t even try to eat one of the dust bunnies. To be fair though, they probably look and smell like dust, which doesn’t exactly smell like fine cuisine. Still, he could’ve tried at least once. This is the same glutton who gobbled down sapient frog eggs. He seems like the sort who would try anything at least once.

Source: Disney+