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Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures: Season 1: Story 35: The Great Leaf Glide

What is it ? : The students of the Jedi Temple on Tenoo are visiting the world of Kondoraan with Master Zanna. There they are instructed on the use of Sky Skimming Boards, these are Repulsorlift boards which can hover but not provide artificial movement, instead using leaves from the massive trees on Kondoraan as sails which catch the wind. The instructor teaches them the basics of the board operation, and tells them to go with the wind rather than fighting it.
The Young Jedi take to the skies from the platform where they were instructed, on their boards and spot some flying creatures, Chiffons, which move in a similar fashion to the boards. They realise they've travelled a long way from the tree platform and are lost, but remember they were told that the Chiffons visit it once a year, so they follow the creatures.
However the winds change when they are in sight of the tree so they try to fight against the wind and shred their sails, landing next to a crater separating them from the tree.
They remember that they were told that people sometimes ride the Chiffons, so leap aboard them, but once again the wind starts to take them from the tree, so they fight against it, causing the creatures to rebel and deposit them into the crater.
There they remember that they were told to go with the wind, so use the force to bring their boards to them, repair the sails using their cloaks, and go with the wind this time, which eventually returns them to the tree.
They explain to Master Zanna what happened and apologise to their instructor, who tells them that they seem to have learned the lesson now, and tells them it's time to eat, which excites Nubs. . .

High Points : Again a fun little story, but this time it doesn't feel so formulaic as a number of the recent episodes, there's no bad guy doing something for comical reasons, and the kids aren't in massive danger, as it's explained at the end that if they hadn't returned a search party would have been sent out. This feels like something kids might actually do as part of a school outing.

Low Points : I'm not convinced the message of not fighting the wind and just going with it is the best, as it also mentioned that the Chiffons only visited once a year, and they'd already passed the tree, so it was entirely possible that the Young Jedi wouldn't have found their way home for a full year.
When they first use their boards, it shows they are strapped to them by cords. So if they fell, they'd just dangle there and could climb back aboard. I've seen similar with surfboards to ensure surfers don't lose their boards or get too far away from them. When the Young Jedi also repair their sails using their cloaks, they use these cords to stitch the cloaks into place, but somehow still have the cords afterwards. It's possible they're a bit shorter, but the episode makes sure to show us they're still safely connected to their boards.
The instructor that teaches them how to use their boards is a Nautolan, which was nice to see. However he's also a surfer dude, speaking almost exactly like the Turtle from Finding Nemo, which I really found annoying, not only being derivative, but also derivative from something even kids are likely to recognise.

So what do you really think ? : For it having some problems, I really enjoyed this one. Tt's fun and avoids the clichΓ©s the series is suffering from in most episodes, putting some risk in the episode with it just being a learning situation for the kids. I'll positively love it if their newly learned sky board skills are brought back in a future episode.

Final Words : The message of this episode seems to be plainly, "pay attention to instructions". While I was tempted to say the message was aboard going with the tide (wind), that's the instructions they're given, rather than the message of the episode.

Score : 8/10

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