Have some tissues on hand and get ready for a feels trip. Be prepared to cry, because I wasn’t.
I remember when the novel was first announced to have been the winner of Kyoto Animation’s award program in 2014 and received an anime adaptation three years later. The first episode was shown at Anime Expo 2017 and was expected to hit our television screens the following January. However I knew that when Netflix had licensed the series, we wouldn’t be seeing it on the site until the series had ended. April 4 finally came by, and boy it was worth the wait!
The show deviates between a war drama and a heavily emotional slice of life, and connects both sides amazingly. One of the good things about this show is that it takes place after war, and not in the damn middle (or even before). As such, war recovery themes are present and it attributed to Violet’s lost arms heavily in the story. If there is one thing I could say about this anime, then it’s the emotional presentation of the show and how effectively it tugs our heartstrings. Emotions are what makes humans, humans, and that’s the entire point of this entire show, to see Violet grow from a emotionless doll to a genuine human being. Dietfried Bougainvillea once criticized Violet saying she wrote letters that brought people’s feelings together with hands that murdered the lives of innocent people. In the very beginning she was literally the epitome of a emotionless robot, but at the very end she began to learn all these emotions at the same time and became one who resonated with and connected so many hearts. For Violet Evergarden herself, character development was indeed a one of many of the strong factors in the series.
Throughout Violet’s journey of learning all of the emotions that humans have, she decides to partake a job as an Auto Memory Doll. In one of the episodes, a Auto Memory Doll is described as a beautiful woman who (when requested) will write a letter on your behalf and send it to someone of your choice (with a fee depending on which company you hire one from). There is a school that exists to train young females aspiring to one day be a Auto Memory Doll, although graduating from that school isn’t a requirement but it is a plus because it instantly recognizes a female’s guaranteed exceptional skill in the job. In the job, Dolls use the classic typewriter, which were commonly used in the 19th century. Once given a request, the doll will be asked to travel to the client’s location of choice, and will often spend days, or even weeks to work on one or a series of letters. The job itself is quite reminiscent of letter practices no longer used today due to the advancements of our technology. Back then, internet didn’t exist and people relied on paper to carry their words and feelings. Letters were very important back then since it was only way of long-distance communication between two parties, and I feel that Auto Memories Dolls are an excellent solution to close the gap in slow delivery speeds.
On a more review-analytical standpoint, it also brought us some great examples of human love and contributed well into Violet’s journey to learning what human love was. It ranges from Violet’s co-workers to just a simple client who needed closure to their hearts. She learned how to read hidden feelings from a person despite them saying something else totally different. She learned how to emotionally attach herself to a client in order to accurately write out their feelings rather than by word. She learned about grief and sadness from a widowed playwright who managed to overcome that grief during his interactions with her. She manages to learn how to express those feelings in the end with a young girl and her ill mother, and a dying soldier who only wished to return home to his girlfriend. Through these interactions with her clients, Violet comes closer to learning more and more about “love” and human typical human emotions.
The other side characters are not exactly pushovers either. Gilbert is one of the characters that was instrumental in shaping Violet into the person she is today, a woman who acts on her own free will, and not on orders. Violet keeps a green gemstone alongside her as a memento of Gilbert’s memory due to its high resemblance to his eyes. Claudia is there to pick up the pieces of what is left of Violet, while Cattleya serves as a sort of a mentor role to Violet during her job as a Auto Memory Doll.
Violet Evergarden gave me a feeling that I have not felt for in a very long time, and that was what captivated me the most about this show. It portrayed raw emotion in the form of post-war drama while implementing a real-world problem in it to help carry those emotions from screen to audience, all in the form of tears. Kyoto Animation has really outdone themselves in this one of a kind masterpiece, and my fingers are crossed in hopes that the new anime project is going to be a 2nd season.