Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden anime cover art featuring the titular character
Violet Evergarden Cover Art

Introduction

Violet Evergarden is the most recent “Netflix Original” anime I’ve watched, however, unlike Devilman: Crybaby, it’s not a true “original” by Netflix, they just own the U.S. broadcasting rights.

I may have mentioned this before, but Netflix didn’t understand anime for a long time. They used to, and still do, purchase the rights to stream series, but then wait until the series is complete to start airing it, by which time everyone who wanted to watch it has already done so illegally.

While I didn’t watch Violet Evergarden while it was airing in Winter 2018, apparently they actually simulcast the episodes as they aired like a real anime streaming service. Good job, Netflix, you’re beginning to get it.

There was also a time when seeing that an anime was a “Netflix Original” meant “bad anime” in my mind, but with Devilman: Crybaby in the beginning of 2018 that image began to change. Netflix actually had a good anime all to itself and it wasn’t making us wait for it.

Violet Evergarden is the next step in the evolution of Netflix anime. I thought Devilman: Crybaby was great, but it doesn’t compare to this.

Summary

Violet Evergarden is about a girl, named Violet Evergarden, who survived the Great War (basically WW1) and is now starting a new life outside the military. She was used as a human weapon (basically a super soldier) even though she’s just 14 years old.

Because the military and the war were the only life she ever knew, Violet has a distinct lack of emotion and thinks logically rather than emotionally about everything which makes interacting with others difficult.

The only person she ever cared about was the Major who she served in the military, and who is now missing after the final battle in which Violet lost both her arms to save him. She now has robotic prosthetic arms (like Ed from Fullmetal Alchemist).

The last thing the major told her was “I love you,” however, Violet didn’t understand what that meant at the time. She now starts her new life as an “Auto Memory Doll,” someone who writes letters for others who are unable to properly express their feelings, as a way to search for the meaning of the Major’s final words.

 

Violet Evergarden from the anime of the same name
Violet Evergarden

Characters

Violet Evergarden is the titular character as well as the protagonist of the series. From the start of the series, Violet has a doll-like personality, meaning she doesn’t really have a personality, unless the Major is mentioned.

However, over the course of the series she slowly begins to express more emotion as she gathers experience writing down the emotions of other people.

Visually, I’ve seen Violet compared to Saber from Fate/Zero, but I would compare her more to a combination of Saber and Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist as I mentioned earlier.

Major Bougainvillea is the military officer who Violet served. While Violet saw their relationship as essentially a master-slave one, the Major saw Violet as either a daughter, or due to the time period the series is set in, potentially a romantic partner despite her age.

While I like to think of their relationship as more of a father-daughter one, one could make the argument for it being a romantic relationship.

Claudia Hodgins was the Major’s friend in the military and was tasked with taking care of Violet after the war in case anything happened to the Major in the final battle. He owns a postal company and hires Violet to work there so she can have a normal life.

Also working at the postal company alongside Violet are three other Auto Memory Dolls: Cattleya, Iris, and Erica. There are recurring characters in the series, but I’ll leave it at that.

Reaction

With the exception of episode 12 and potentially episode 1 (I don’t remember how I felt after the first episode), every single episode of Violet Evergarden almost made me cry for one reason or another. Usually it was because I just wanted Violet to be happy, but not always.

This reaction to every episode was very surprising to me considering how the series is structured. There’s definitely a plot throughout the whole series, but even so, the series is mostly episodic.

Each episode (except for a few) involves Violet interacting with someone new from whom she learns a little bit more about emotions. Episode 12 was one that didn’t follow this formula, but that’s also why it wasn’t as emotional of an episode.

I honestly never thought a generally episodic anime could make me feel as much as this series did. For me, and it seems most other people I’ve talked to, episode 10 hit particularly hard due to both what happens in the episode, and Violet’s reaction to it.

There are only two parts of the series which I’m still not sure how I feel about. The first is the final scene of the last episode which I won’t go into. The other is the fact that there is going to be a second Violet Evergarden project of some kind.

While you may think that more of a great series is always a good thing, that’s not the case. I loved Violet Evergarden so much that I’m actually afraid they might ruin it by making a second season. It was a perfect series in the 13 episodes we were given.

Violet Evergarden crying (from the anime Violet Evergarden)
Violet Evergarden

Conclusion

This may come as a surprise but Violet Evergarden is the newest anime to break into my top 10. I actually think this series is a 10/10 which makes it the fourth anime I’ve given a perfect score.

While I don’t think I would put it above the Monogatari series, I think it’s better than Your Name. It also pains me to say that it might actually be better than Madoka Magica.

While I couldn’t find the OP version of the OP song, here‘s a full version of the song which includes the OP animation.

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