I went into Violet Evergarden thinking I’d be making comparisons between it and its source material but so far, it’s actually been analyzing a lot of new material. Case in point, this is another anime-original episode filling a chronological gap in the light novel’s timeline and further elaborating on Violet’s journey. Like I said last episode, I’m fine with the liberties being taken here. I was curious what it was like for Violet to become an Auto Memory Doll and while I wouldn’t call this episode a perfect one, I still really enjoyed it.
To KyoAni’s credit, this episode does play out like a chapter in the light novel would’ve. There’s a lot of chapters that are from the perspective of the people Violet meet and it’s from their observations that the reader learns more about the lead character. This episode replicates that structure faithfully as while you watching Violet train to be an Auto Memory Doll, the point of view character is actually her classmate, Luculia (Auzsa Tadokoro).
One thing I dislike about Violet Evergarden‘s guest characters is the low chance of seeing them again and that’s certainly true with Luculia. Frankly, I kind of wish she was a mainstay in the cast because I honestly find her more readily interesting than Iris or Erica. Her struggling with a drunk and guilt-ridden brother is nothing unique but it’s an effective parallel to Violet’s own conflict. Similar to how the meaning of love eludes Violet, Luculia wants to express gratitude to her brother for surviving the war but struggles to find the right way to say it. Furthermore, it’s just neat seeing a character befriend and help Violet from the get go. The writers could’ve easily made Luculia a rival for Violet but I’m glad that they took the opposite direction. I really like watching Luculia cheer Violet up when the latter is failing the class and even offer to ghostwrite a letter to Gilbert. The latter scene sadly doesn’t make much progress but the conversation the two characters share together does help put Violet on the right path.
Touched by Luculia’s own struggle, Violet ghostwrites a letter to the former’s brother. Not only does it help Luculia reconnect with her brother, it also impresses the class instructor who in turn, lets Violet graduate from her training. I’ll admit that it is a little silly how short and straight to the point the letter is but I think that was intentional on the writers’ part. It certainly rings true that sometimes, you really do just need to say “thank you” to express appreciation to someone you love and that can be easier said than done. It’s certainly not a masterpiece by any means and it can be argued that Violet still has a long way to go before she can pick up subtext. However, it does mark the first time Violet was able to convey someone else’s emotions without destroying its intent and that is certainly a moment of growth for her.
The real big takeaway from that ending however is that Violet now presents a peculiar dichotomy surrounding her personality. She is starting to get better and writing other people’s feelings onto paper and yet her grasp on her own emotions is still seemingly limited. It’ll be interesting to see how this aspect of her character comes into play and with her training complete, Violet has plenty of opportunities ahead of her.
Bonus Random Thought: The more I think about Violet’s character design, the more I really like it. From how lavish her clothes are to how her face stays static the whole time, the character really does strike to you as a doll. Her prosthetic hands seems intentional too. That Violet’s sense of touch is diminished reflects her own emotional limitations — her inability to feel something.
OP: “Sincerely” by True
A fairly simple OP though there are some striking imagery here. The two money shots for me was seeing Violet alone in a field and her younger self lost in a burning forest. The latter particularly reminds me of a previous line of dialogue where Hodgins worries that Violet is “burning” inside because of the things she did during the war.
ED: “Michishirube” by Minori Chihara
Curiously, the song is sung by Erica’s seiyuu, Minori Chihara. It’s probably a coincidence but it’d be neat if it was intended for one of the first POV characters to sum up Violet’s journey in this ending sequence. Visually, the swirling starlight reminds me of Hyouka‘s first ED while the shot where Violet walks in place is reminiscent to a shot from Kyoukai no Kanata‘s ED. The latter is especially gorgeous with how Violet’s silhouette changes color throughout the changing seasons. It also evokes one of the best images in the light novel: a mysterious, doll-like woman traveling the world to those who request her help.
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