The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Violet Evergarden Review and Whole-Series Recommendation

“I will travel anywhere to provide service for a client; I am the Auto-Memories Doll, Violet Evergarden.” —Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden is a super soldier who lost both of her arms in a devastating war, and when she recovers, she learns that the war she fought in has ended. She subsequently desires to reunite with her commanding officier, Gilbert Bougainvillea, who has been marked missing in action, and longs to understand his final words to her. Colonel Claudia Hodgins arrives to pick up Violet, informing her that she is to be adopted by the Evergarden family, but when Violet is unable to adjust to civilian life, Hodgins arranges for her to work at CH, his postal company. She eventually joins the letter writing service, earns her Auto Memory Doll certification and become a letter writer. While she initially writes with a stiff, direct approach, her interactions with CH’s other writers, a princess, a young scholar, a playwright, a young girl living with her unwell mother and a soldier, Violet gradually begins to understand what love is. She is able to convey incredible emotions through her letters, and slowly, rediscovers just how much suffering that she’s also gone through, opening up and accepting the emotions she’s now experiencing. When peace talks are underway, Violet finds herself entangled in a plot to disrupt the talks and restart the war. She meets Gilbert’s older brother, Dietfried, and despite his hatred for Violet, comes to realise that Gilbert had imparted profound changes on her. He suggests that Violet meet their mother, during which Violet learns that their mother does not hold her accountable for Gilbert’s death; moreover, Gilbert will continue living on in their hearts as long as they remember him. Violet accepts Gilbert’s death and continues her work as a letter writer with the goal of understanding love more fully and meeting Gilbert again to express this for him.

Handling more similarly to a movie than a televised series, Violet Evergarden is a phenomenal, moving depiction of the notion that while the past cannot be undone, moving forwards is the singular way of atoning and honouring what was lost. Violet Evergarden follows Violet’s journey as an Auto Memory Doll; as she hones her craft at CH Postal. Things start roughly for her; while a highly competent typist, Violet’s background as a soldier leaves her unable to comprehend how people ordinarily live. After all, Violet had been trained purely for combat, knowing little more than following orders and quickly accomplishing her objectives, resorting to bloodshed when need be. As she gains her certification, travels with the other Auto Memory Dolls to help them write letters and eventually, begins accepting her own assignments, Violet sees with her own eyes what it means to be human. She watches as characters cry tears of joy, tears of sorrow, embrace and smile; these emotions are captured within the very words that she transcribes onto the paper, and though her journey, she realises the extent of emotions in the world around her. This helps her understand the actions she’d undertaken in the past; she accepts that the things she’s seen and done have hurt her, and through witnessing acts of kindness and love, Violet also begins to understand that, while the weights of her past are indelible, she has the power to now make a future for herself, one that is far removed from the violence that once defined her existence. Granted, Violet may have killed countless enemy soldiers previously, men that will never return home to their families, but with the knowledge that the present is what matters, Violet moves into the future, using the very same hands that once were an instrument of separation, and turns them into an instrument that brings people together.

The phrase “I love you” (more specifically, 愛してる, or aishiteru) is of a great significance in Violet Evergarden: the series continually reinforces the notion that this is of utmost importance to Violet’s journey, acting as her motivation to better herself as an Auto Memory Doll. In English, “love” is a very broad concept: it is difficult to encapsulate and characterise because it can take so many forms. However, in Japanese, aishiteru is a very specific phrase that is rarely used, and when used, is reserved for the most sincere confessions of romantic love. Violet lacks understanding of what love is, and so, this becomes a great enigma for her; Violet Evergarden places Violet into a variety of scenarios that show her what love may manifest as. Violet’s journeys occasionally see her dealing with romantic love, such as her assignment with Princes Charlotte and Prince Damien, but for the most part, Violet’s assignments give her insight on familial love. Even as early as her Auto Memory Doll training, where she meets Luculia Marlborough, she observes how love in a family is very powerful. By writing letters for Iris, Oscar Webster and Ann Magnolia, Violet witness first-hand the most fundamental of love, the bonds that parents and siblings share. This is a very logical progression: experiencing familial love in conjunction with work with others allows Violet to understand common human interactions to a much greater extent, and by the end of Violet Evergarden, Violet has indubitably surmised that aishiteru is the sort of attraction, desire to be with someone that arises from communication, as well as a desire to learn and protect. All of these are a part of the path that that eventually leads to the sort of love that she’s seen in a family. Violet thus resolves to live her life out in full, continuing to bring people together through words, and when the time is right, reunite with Gilbert so that she may convey this to him.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This Violet Evergarden post is a longer one, with forty screenshots over the usual thirty. While a relatively large post, I encountered a bit of difficulty in making the post smaller, since there are so many moments to cover. Here, Violet meets Claudia for the first time, shortly after the events that saw Gilbert’s death. In the beginning, Violet Evergarden is a bit uncertain of its aims, and this was why I did not write about things after three episodes.

  • Kyoto Animation demonstrates their mastery of animation at all ranges: from close-ups of Violet’s brooch, mechanical fingers and food, to mid-range shots of the characters, and panoramic vistas, every scene in Violet Evergarden is done to a very high standard. I entered the series with no knowledge of what the premise was, only knowing that Violet looked (somewhat) like Your Lie in April‘s Kaori Miyazono. However, as Violet Evergarden progressed, the similarities evaporated very quickly. Violet’s military background means that she’s quite out of her element, and the first few episodes have her struggling to think freely.

  • While Violet is remarkably efficient with her tasks, her main shortcoming is that she does not know how to properly express herself, landing her in hot water with clients and co-workers alike. Iris and Erica initially do not get along with her to any extent, baffled by her direct, literal letters that create confusion and anger amongst clients. Despite being a drama, Violet Evergarden‘s initial episodes have their moments of comedy, primarily in Violet not being accustomed to doing things outside of the military. However, as Violet begins learning the fundaments to her new occupation, the anime firmly shifts back into the realm of drama.

  • Of all the Auto Memory Dolls at CH Postal, Cattleya Baudelaire is the most experienced and as such, sees the most assignments. She’s very accepting of Violet even when Erica and Iris are not, acting as a mentor of sorts for Violet until it is decided that Violet should be sent off to gain her credentials as an Auto Memory Doll. In Violet Evergarden, Auto Memory Dolls are essentially ghostwriters who write letters on behalf of others. In order to be successful in their duties, Auto Memory Dolls must be able to understand the emotions and feelings of those requesting the latter, and transcribe these into a letter, carefully picking their works to maximise the impact each letter has.

  • Initially, I figured that Violet was a sentient humanoid robot, and imagined that Violet Evergarden would be similar to Chobits. While I was excited to watch the anime, I had not been keeping up with news on what Violet Evergarden actually entailed, so I was a bit surprised to learn that it would be set in a world where technology is roughly at inter-war levels, save for Violet’s advanced prosthetics, which give her enough precision to type faster than her peers.

  • While taking a programme for her Auto Memory Doll certification, Violet encounters Luculia, a cheerful woman who takes her to a vantage point that offers a spectacular view of the town. The landscapes and scenery of Violet Evergarden are incrementally better than those of Hibike! Euphonium and similar to the visual fidelity of A Silent Voice: both of these are also Kyoto Animation’s works. I’ve long felt that this studio excels in creating highly immersive worlds with their visuals, and careful use of imagery has allowed many of the works to have a timeless feel to them – CLANNAD, for instance, has not aged a day.

  • Luculia’s brother was a former soldier, and since the war ended, fell into alcoholism after losing their parents. While Violet and Luculia share a conversation, the frame cuts to him being thrown out of a bar after a fist fight. Luculia is dismayed he’s in this state, but also loves him dearly; consequently, she looks after him as best as she can, knowing that he’s the only family she has left. Seeing the effects of the war on civilians and in particular, hearing Luculia talk about it with her and later, an encounter with her brother, leads Violet to write her first heartfelt letter from his behalf.

  • While Violet’s instructor initially believed that Violet’s seeming lack of emotions would prevent her from being an effective Auto Memory Doll in spite of her technical skill, Violet’s actions allow Luculia’s brother to properly thank Luculia, and having learned more about empathy, Violet begins to understand the complexities of human emotions. Seeing the potential in Violet, and as she’s passed her test, Violet’s instructor bestows upon her the title of a qualified Auto Memory Doll. From here on out, Violet will travel far and wide, learning about the many different kinds of love that exist in the world.

  • Violet Evergarden logically chooses to explore Iris’ story: a coworker of Violet’s, she aspires to be a top-tiered Auto Memory Doll at CH Postal, but when an assignment takes her back home, she learns that her parents are trying to find a partner for her and vehemently insists that one Emonn Snow not be invited. Violet hears of the story and realises that love confessions take an uncommon amount of courage, also understanding Iris in the process. She helps Iris make amends, and Iris leaves home on amicable terms with her parents, who share with Violet that Iris was named after blooming flowers in the area, similarly to how Gilbert named her after the Viola genus of flowers.

  • I can attest to how difficult love confessions are: my peers have remarked that asking someone out is more nerve-wracking than the toughest of exams, and while I’ve stared down my share of exams in my time as a student (from simple year-end finals and oral exams to thesis defenses and the MCAT), I do not believe anything was quite as terrifying and exhilarating as my failed attempt to ask someone out. At present, I’ve not made an active effort to meet someone and get to a point where I might attempt that again because my focus is getting my career to stablise first.

  • On her next assignment, Violet is sent to the nation of Drossel to write letters for Princess Charlotte: a wedding between her and the prince of Flugel, another nation, would facilitate the peace process. It turns out that Charlotte had met the prince previously and fell in love with him for regarding her as a peer but feared he does not see her in that way. After a few exchanges between the two, with Violet writing on Charlotte’s behalf, the prince meets with Charlotte, and the scope of their feelings come into the open. The two wed, marking the first successful major assignment we’ve seen Violet complete.

  • As it turns out, Cattleya was writing for the prince. Voiced by Aya Endō (Miyuki Takara of Lucky Star, Filicia Heideman in Sora no Woto and Gundam 00‘s Kinue Crossroad), Cattleya is presented as a capable fighter in her own right within the novel, but in the anime, I know her better for being a mentor figure for Violet, as well as being the most experienced Auto Memory Doll of CH Postal who’s occasionally seen sparring verbally with Benedict, one of her coworkers at CH Postal.

  • Gilbert’s older brother, Dietfried, is a captain of the navy (equivalent to a colonel in the army), and is very open about his contempt towards Violet for having murdered his subordinates. Unlike Gilbert, who is compassionate and understanding, Dietfried is much colder and distant, regarding Violet as a tool rather than a human being. He wonders how she can hope to write letters for people when her previous occupation was primarily to tear them apart. Had Violet Evergarden chosen to focus on the war section of things, the series would be more appropriately referred to as Violent Evergarden – this aspect of Violet Evergarden is primarily told in flashback.

  • Violet is later assigned to help transcribe texts at Shaher Observatory and is paired with Leon Stephanotis. While Leon initially is distant towards Violet, their time together changes Leon’s views on love, and she also learns a little more about the lengths that people in love might go to express it. I’ve referred to Violet Evergarden as being movie-like in this discussion; this comes from a conversation with one of my friends, during which I expressed a degree of frustration that the series was eluding my ability to discuss it. After all, the first few episodes had felt quite disjointed, and I could not really see where things were headed.

  • The use of scale and setting in Violet Evergarden, such as that of Shaher Observatory, brings to mind the architecture seen in Sora no Woto. Continuing from the point previously, it was actually on my friend’s remarks that led me to shelve Violet Evergarden after episode three. When all of the episodes had finished airing, I watched them all at once: it was this that led me to really understand where Violet Evergarden wanted to go with its narrative, and what was the anime equivalent of a tech demo transformed into a spectacular work that was well worth the time I spent watching it.

  • Violet and Leon share a moment together under the brilliant night sky, accompanied by both a one-in-two-centuries comet and aurora. Leon’s opened up to Violet by this point, and while perhaps not openly in love with her, regards her much more cordially than he did before. As Violet Evergarden continues, Violet becomes more human as a result of her experiences, suggesting that kindness and compassion is stronger than the evils and malice our species is capable of. Considering the ills in our world, and the fact that we nonetheless find ways of remaining strong together and supporting one another, I find this an encouraging thought.

  • Precisely because I viewed Violet Evergarden as a movie, I was able to walk away from the series with a much broader perspective on the anime. Having taken a look around at other discussions on Violet Evergarden, particularly those of episodic reviews and reactions to individual episodes, I find them somewhat limited. In general, while I yield that quality of the components are important, it is how the components are assembled that are pertinent to whether or not I enjoyed an anime. It matters little, for instance, if one has an excellent engine, transmission system and all of the parts for a car if one does not know what the parts are to be used for.

  • The magic of Violet Evergarden is at its strongest when Violet is learning about different kinds of love: her work takes her to the company of renowned playwright Oscar Webster, and after managing to convince him to continue his work, she finds a great joy in reading his plays. When Violet finds a parasol belonging to Oscar’s late daughter, she learns that his play’s central character was inspired by his daughter, and that he’s deep in grief with her death. Violet’s time with Oscar allows her to understand empathy better – the ability to understand how others are feeling, empathy is one of the aspects of falling in love, but its importance is in allowing different individuals to appreciate how their partner is feeling and then respond appropriately to help them out.

  • Realising the dream that Oscar had of his daughter yearning to fly with her parasol, Violet decides to bring this moment to life for Oscar’s sake. A moment of bliss follows, and while Violet is soaked in the process, Oscar gains the inspiration needed to finish his play and accepts his daughter’s death. The scene also provides a moment for Kyoto Animation to show off their water effects in Violet Evergarden: except for maybe A Silent Voice and Your Name, no other anime has water as realistic-looking.

  • In spite of how far Violet’s come since joining CH Postal, memories of Gilbert continue to haunt her, and when she learns that he is dead, refuses to believe it. Consumed by anguish and grief, she confronts and learns from Dietfried that Gilbert was killed in action, leaving Violet in a state of catatonia. In the episodes following, Violet recounts her time with Gilbert, from when she was first transferred to his command to the fateful mission where he saved her from death at the cost of his own life.

  • An orphan, Violet had never known kindness until she met Gilbert; as the war drew to a close, Gilbert took Violet into a night market and explained to her that girls of her age were interested in clothing or accessories, after Violet expressed an interest in what others of her age might want. She eventually spots a brooch precisely the colour of Gilbert’s eyes, and after he buys it for Violet, the brooch comes to symbolise her connection with him. Despite being a brutally efficient soldier who might stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Master Chief John-117 and the Doom Slayer, Gilbert’s compassion and kindness allowed Violet to develop a sense of humanity that makes her more than a mere tool.

  • In the darkest hour, Violet loses it and attempts to commit suicide, but is unable to see it through: Benedict’s simple act of inviting her to help him deliver letters, and Violet’s subsequent realisation that her newfound purpose, in writing letters, can bring people happiness, is what brings her back from the brink. By this point in time, Violet’s coworkers have long accepted and embraced her as a member of their team, so when Violet begins withdrawing from the others, they express their concern for her by means of a letter. I’ve stated this countless times, but it’s worth reiterating that difficult times are overcome together, rather than alone, and Violet Evergarden reinforces this notion – Violet suffers alone, but when her coworkers enter the picture, she is able to recover.

  • Hodgins reminds Violet that her actions as an Auto Memory Doll are what’s important, even if she’s written letters by the same hands that carry the blood of countless soldiers on them. Violet later learns that Luculia’s brother was moved by Violet’s letters, and managed to turn things around completely. While we’ve become a world where communication is largely electronic, the emotions and meaning behind every word we write nonetheless continue to be quite powerful: being encouraged by the people we hold dear in writing is very moving, second only to hearing it from loved ones.

  • If I had to pick one of Violet’s assignments as my favourite, it would be when she takes on assignment for Clara Magnolia. Clara’s daughter, Ann, finds Violet to be very much like a doll, and while the two are off to a rough start, Ann spends a considerable amount of time with her outside of the stipulated work hours. Ann is frustrated that her mother is spending so little time with her, even though she takes a liking to Violet, who participates in a variety of activities with her.

  • Dolls figure predominantly as symbols in Violet Evergarden – Violet is often described as being doll like. Dolls are models of people, often counted as toys or tools, befitting of how the world views Violet and perhaps intentionally, how becoming an Auto Memory Doll allows her to become more human. It’s a very strange name, contributing to why I initially assumed Violet was an inorganic being, but in Violet Evergarden, it would appear that they are the result of author Kana Akatsuki picking an interesting name for the profession of ghost writing. Akatsuki’s names for her characters have a strong Western European influence, and while some of the names can sound a bit unusual, they generally are plausible.

  • The episode does not explicitly make it clear who Clara’s letters are for until the episode’s end. Ann supposes they’re for her father, who’s been noticeably absent from the proceedings. However, the letters are in fact, for her: Clara knows that her time is dying and pours her heart into each letter for her daughter, solidly illustrating the strength of the love between mother and daughter. As Ann matures and begins a family of her own, her mother’s letters accompany her, expressing pride and hope for Ann.

  • The most rewarding aspect about Violet Evergarden is watching Violet learn and mature as an individual: even though she’s spent most of her existence shredding armed soldiers, Violet’s exposure to compassion and kindness from both Gilbert and her coworkers at CH Postal play a significant role in changing her perspectives on what her existence is defined as. Being able to understand Ann’s feelings and reassure her accordingly demonstrates the extent of change that Violet’s undergone since the anime began.

  • As the story I enjoyed the most, Ann’s story was my magic moment in Violet Evergarden. The anime had held my interest up until now, but I felt it to be a bit disjointed. With Ann’s story and Violet’s learnings, I realised that I was staring down an anime where the individual snapshots were meant to illustrate milestones that have a profound impact on who Violet is. This is where the discussions stop: elsewhere, little or no consideration has been given towards why Violet’s growth is important. To overlook this is to overlook what the point of a story is, and the reason why fiction exists, beyond entertaining readers, is to deliver a message that the author desires the audience to pick up on and consider.

  • People will naturally draw different conclusions as to what this “why” is based on their own experiences, and mine is simple – Violet Evergarden boils down to the idea that love is a stronger force than hate. Even after all of the things Violet has done in the war, the love Gilbert had for her is strong enough to prompt her to understand this feeling more, and in this journey, Violet comes to truly experience and witness different forms of love, allowing her to move forwards. I find that in the absence of a conclusion such as this, discussions on what makes Violet Evergarden enjoyable feel incomplete.

  • I only have two criticisms about Violet Evergarden: with its intricate characters and complex world, Violet Evergarden would have benefitted from more episodes, and second, it would have been nice to see Violet see more forms of love than those that result in her crying. Our world is defined by so much more than just tears: love can result in emotions on both end of the spectrum, from happiness beyond measure to feelings of grief, anguish or even anger. The complexity of human emotions, some argue, is why even the most sophisticated of computer algorithms and artificial intelligence constructs cannot have them. For a machine, “emotions” are a finite set of states that impact its decision-making, but in humans, they’re the sum of interactions between billions of neurons, various hormones and external stimuli whose emergent properties remain beyond our comprehension for the present.

  • As Violet Evergarden draws closer to its conclusion, Violet accepts an assignment to write for a soldier in an unstable region. She is air-dropped into the area and finds her client, Aiden Field, under fire from hostile elements, manages to rescue him and realises that he is injured. Doing her best to look after him, Violet also learns that Aiden was looking to return home to his family and longtime friend, Maria, whom he is in love with. She manages to write the letters for Aiden’s parents and Maria before he succumbs to his injuries.

  • I’ve chosen not to show very many combat or landscape moments in Violet Evergarden because the anime is about people. With this in mind, during the combat scenes, a variety of weapons from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century can be seen. Gilbert and Dietfried carry the Luger P08, while Brigadier General Merkulov uses a Colt M1911. During the Battle of Intense, Gilbert uses the Webley & Scott No. 1 Mk. III* Signal Pistol (Battlefield 1‘s spotting flare gun) to signal the fortress’ capture. Violet herself carries the Gewehr 98 into battle, and also uses an SMLE Mk. III during the Battle of Intense. The Carcano Carbine is also seen in the twelfth episode.

  • The CH Postal staff react to the revelation that Violet is safe. One element about Violet Evergarden I’ve not mentioned until now is the soundtrack – composed by Evan Call, an American-born composer who currently lives in Japan, the music of Violet Evergarden is beautiful and moving beyond words. It is perfectly suited for the world of Violet Evergarden, having a classical style that is reminiscent of the early twentieth century and fully captures the emotions in each scene. The only other soundtrack I know of that is comparable is the music to Battlefield 1: the World War One-like setting means that Battlefield 1 has all of the gear I need to create the Violet Evergarden loadout.

  • Maria and Aiden’s parents dissolve in tears after learning that Aiden has died, and Violet herself begins crying: she is able to feel the same pain that Maria and Aiden’s parents feel, wishing that she was able to protect him and bring him back. Aiden’s story in Violet Evergarden is meant to show that behind every gunsight is a human being – the men in war are people with family and loved ones back home. That Violet is able to connect with people fuels her sadness at having killed so many before. While en route back to CH Postal, Violet observes that the rail track below is being sabotaged, and she finds herself entangled in a plot to reignite the war.

  • Violet thus joins the efforts to stop rogue forces from destabilising the peace process and finds herself face-to-face with Dietfried, fending off the attackers before he saves her from certain death. Although he rebuffs her, Violet insists that she will live on and manages to draw fire off Dietfried, sustaining damage to her prosthetics in the process. While her efforts to remove the bombs from a critical bridge cost her her remaining arm, Violet is able to help stop the plot to start a new war, saving an untold number of lives.

  • I do not believe I’ve seen anywhere else the comparisons between Violet Evergarden and Battlefield 1: some folks felt that the entire setup on the train was implausible, but those with a more substantial history background will find that the decisions and choices in Violet Evergarden are not entirely inconsistent military doctrine of the early twentieth century. During this time period, trains remained the more common choice of transport for long distances over air travel, so it is not unrealistic for enemy factions to target rail lines.

  • Cattleya is instrumental in the peace process, working on the written proceedings of the official end of the war here. Returning the train of thought to Battlefield 1, I remark that the Violet Evergarden loadout, with its Gewehr 98, P08, spotting flare gun and stick grenade, is both very similar to LevelCap’s all-German rifleman loadout. I’ve run with the infantry Gewehr 98 previously, and kills with the ironsights are highly satisfying, but in general, the weapon is impractical at close range. With a muzzle velocity of 880 m/s, the Battlefield 1 incarnation is best used with optics for long-range engagements. It was a bit tricky to use the gun with its iron sights, and I can’t say I’m a fan of the P08, either, because of its low damage model. As a scout, I tend to roll with the SMLE Mk. III or Ross Mk. III in conjunction with the M1911. In short, the Violet Evergarden loadout isn’t too effective when compared against the top-tier scout setups in Battlefield 1.

  • Dietfried invites Violet to visit his and Gilbert’s mother; in a moving conversation, she reassures Violet that she does not hold Violet accountable for Gilbert’s death, and that some memories will endure within. Dietfried seems to have also shifted his views on Violet; after realising the extent of Gilbert’s influence on Violet, he concludes that Violet has become more than a mere weapon of war, as she’s now able to make her own choices and pursue her own desires.

  • I’ve heard that Violet Evergarden‘s anime incarnation differs dramatically from the original light novels, which amongst other things, feature a supernatural weapon. I’m not too sure what to make of it, but given how strongly the anime’s turned out, I’m not at all salty that the creative differences were made. From what little I know of the light novels, they are a bit confusing and diverge from how characters were presented in the anime adaptation; if true, then I would likely have enjoyed the novels to a lesser extent than I did the anime. We’re reaching the end of this post, which means it’s time to wrap up my thoughts, which have been all over the place, and then getting some shut-eye so in a few hours’ time, I can try a poutine for Poutine Week that’s so over the top, I’m not sure what to expect.

  • Violet Evergarden is a rather polarising series: it seems that if there is any one thing viewers can agree on, it’s that for every bit of praise directed towards its works, Kyoto Animation tends to draw a flack in equal measure. As such, when I say that Violet Evergarden is an A (9 of 10, which is highly enjoyable, but not enough to be “best anime of the season” or capable of changing my worldview), I will naturally have some people tell me I’m being too stringent with my grading and that Violet Evergarden should’ve done better, and others yet will say I was excessively generous. With this being said, it appears that my thoughts on Violet Evergarden are consistent with what other learned folks make of the series, and if you don’t like this, by all means, let me know. Having a flame war or two here would liven up my day the way only getting my entire squad wiped in The Division‘s legendary missions could.

Long considered one of the winter’s most anticipated anime, and having delivered a very powerful narrative, Violet Evergarden also exhibits superior animation, artwork, voice acting and incidental music pieces. Given the masterful use of lighting, shots, music and sound, Violet Evergarden‘s exceptional technical quality succeeds in immersing viewers into the world that Violet inhabits. In fact, the techniques Kyoto Animation has utilised to produce Violet Evergarden is of a standard that the anime seems at least five years ahead of anything else available: only Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name and Kyoto Animation’s very own works, Hibike! Euphonium and A Silent Voice, can compare from a technical standpoint. The top-tier technical components serve to really bring Violet Evergarden to life so that, when taken into consideration with the moving story that Violet goes through, results in an anime that does live up to expectations as being a work worth watching. While Violet Evergarden is immensely enjoyable, however, it is not flawless: its short runtime precludes fleshing out Violet’s experiences more thoroughly, as well as delving into world-building to a greater extent, and there was also a greater emphasis on tears. While initially devoid of emotion, Violet’s experiences allow her to be more expressive, and the anime primarily shows her crying her eyes out. Moving this may be, human emotions are rather more than just sorrow and tears, so I would’ve liked to see Violet in situations of happiness, as well: she’s portrayed as having a nice smile, and it would’ve been fantastic to see this more often. Beyond this, I greatly enjoyed Violet Evergarden, and have no trouble giving the series a strong recommendation for all audiences. As per one of my friends’ remarks, I would further recommend watching Violet Evergarden all at once: its execution is rather similar to that of a movie, and the emotional impact of this series is the strongest when episodes are watched one after another. Violet Evergarden can come across as being a bit disjointed, and so, watching episodes one after another allows the series’ momentum to be maintained. With this series proper over, and given that the light novels have concluded, it’s reasonable to say that Violet Evergarden ends on a high note: there is an OVA that is releasing in July, but beyond this, a continuation is not likely.

6 responses to “Violet Evergarden Review and Whole-Series Recommendation

  1. crazyidiot78 May 7, 2018 at 19:27

    A bit longer than what I normally write but I think your analysis of Violet Evergarden is spot on.

    Like

    • infinitezenith May 11, 2018 at 17:45

      A random tidbit about myself: I’m not particularly good with concise writing and feel that it sometimes holds me back from fully expressing what I’d like to say, hence the length. I’m glad you found this Violet Evergarden discussion a reasonable one; in general, series like these will strike different chords with different people, and everyone will find a different experience.

      Like

  2. Vas Tsamid May 30, 2018 at 11:06

    Thank you for a beautiful review. I thoroughly enjoyed the series and watched it in two days.

    More episodes with different types of love and feelings would have been better.

    However, the punch in the stomach, devastating love associated with loss depicts a difficult full of sorrow post war era that renders realism.

    Perhaps for Violet needed such immense emotional experiences to start having emotions and empathy.

    I loved the series, adored the music and artwork. I hope you are wrong and we get to see more of Violet in the future. Even if it more episodic occurrences.

    Like

    • infinitezenith June 3, 2018 at 13:50

      That’s an impressive achievement, as it normally takes me at least two weeks to finish a series of this length. With this being said, watching things all at once, like a movie, is probably the best way to really appreciate what Violet Evergarden aims to convey in its story. It’s true that moments of great sorrow have a profound impact in Violet, and as I’ve noted above, more time would’ve been fantastic in helping this series convey its story more thoroughly.

      I don’t mind being wrong about something to any extent; if we do get more Violet Evergarden it would be quite interesting to see where things go. There’s an OVA coming out in July for now, so that’s definitely something to keep an eye on 🙂

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  3. csws June 1, 2018 at 10:30

    Violet Evergarden is a quaint one. I can analyse it from top to bottom and all the technical aspects of the story (well, especially animation, art, music and directing) were absolutely top-notch. There never was any doubt about its quality there. From a purely analytical point of view, apart from some parts of its writing, it was virtually flawless. That said, I couldn’t really enjoy it completely. This can be due to comparisons with the original novel (I picked most of it up right before Violet aired). This could have been by chance – sometimes I miss gems because I couldn’t focus on the get-go, or I was a bit fatigued when I watched a particular episode. It could have been a bit of both. The single thing I could pinpoint that was worth changing is the length of each episode. I enjoy most episodic series as they have so much to offer each week, unless if they rushed it, which I think Violet did sometimes.

    I think sticking to the 24-or-so-minute per episode rule made a number of their stories end up rushed, or, after comparing with the content of the stories coming from the novel, incomplete. To make up for the lack of time each episode, you could say it was inevitable that some details (of which may have been crucial to the story in my point of view); but, I do not think it was necessary to go by all the rules. This was a production that was hugely funded by Netflix, and it was complete even before the airing (TV) began. I think it may have been these crucial details that made the story feel a bit empty, and my feels left intact. It might have just been me, but on expressing such delicate topics (i.e. war and love, both at the same time), I thought the 24-minute mark was insufficient.

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    • infinitezenith June 3, 2018 at 14:00

      I similarly felt that Violet Evergarden‘s main constraint was in its structuring: in giving each of Violet’s assignments one episode (save for the series’ final moments), the pacing became uneven. I stand by my preference to see a longer series, where variable episode counts can be used for each assignment. Having said this, Violet Evergarden is able to leave a powerful emotional impact on audiences, tell a coherent story, with a meaningful message despite its constraints, and this is no small accomplishment.

      I also remark that the light novel sounds a bit more fantastical than the more down-to-earth anime adaptation: apparently, she has an equivalent of the MCU’s Stormbreaker. I may check out the light novel as time allows, but going from word-of-mouth alone, I am satisfied with how the anime turned out.

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