Yet another anime-original episode? Okay, now this is getting a little ridiculous, KyoAni.
To be fair, I do like that this anime has been expanding on the world that its source material created and I did quite enjoy this episode. I suppose I’m just feeling impatient because there are some chapters from the light novel that I’d really want to see animated. That time will probably come soon considering that this episode is the first time in the anime where you see Violet travel across the land and meet a client of hers. Maybe this episode is transitioning to that more episodic side of the story. One can hope that is the case.
Iris got her time to shine here which is probably good for her because I still can’t imagine how KyoAni could possibly integrate her into the original story. For what it’s worth, this episode fleshed her character a lot more and I did end up warming up to her. In this episode, Violet accompanies Iris to fulfill a request from the latter’s home village. Once the two arrive however, they find out that the request was a trick from Iris’s parents to get their daughter back home in time for her birthday. You also find out that Iris is dealing with the disapproval of her parents for pursuing a career as an Auto Memory Doll.
While I wouldn’t call this scenario original or anything, it is pretty interesting territory for Violet Evergarden. The idea that it’s a tough job market being a Doll is one that the light novel didn’t consider so I found this new scenario an interesting angle take on the established mythos. It certainly sheds light on why Iris has that temper of hers too. I think anyone who feels pressured by the job market can relate with what she’s going through. Writing letters for those in need is what Iris wants to do in life but being a new face, she’s struggling with securing popularity and her parents finds that problematic.
On top of that, it was interesting seeing Violet trek through the minefield that is child-parent relationships. Frankly, I can’t believe the light novel didn’t present a scenario like this so I’m pretty glad that KyoAni decided to explore it. One thing that’s become very apparent is that Violet’s ability to recognize other people’s feelings relies a lot on how upfront and honest they are. I’m not surprised that she initially sided with Iris’s parents because to her, their efforts with finding their daughter a suitor is just them being parents. I personally don’t approve of the plan but it does mean well and it is transparent. Conversely, Violet sees that Iris is pissed but because the latter keeps a lot of her turmoil to herself, Violet couldn’t easily consider the consequences. I think if Iris fully explained why she didn’t want Violet to send an invitation to her old crush, Violet would’ve understood and respected that wish.
I think that’s also why Violet succeeds in writing the apology letters on Iris’s behalf. Iris completely opens up about her old drama and genuinely wants to apologize for throwing a fit at her birthday party. There’s no smoke and mirrors or any shred of subtext, Iris just wants to make up for her actions and that openness allows Violet to replicate it onto paper. It is worrisome that Violet needs that kind of transparency to do her job but then again, maybe the fact that she compels people to become that honest says a lot about her as a Doll.
There is one bit of light novel material in this episode and it comes at the very end where you see Gilbert give Violet her name. Honestly, I think the anime executed this scene a lot better than the light novel. In both versions of the scene, Gilbert chose the name “Violet” because he hopes Violet would one day become a woman deserving of that name. In the light novel however, it kind of just happens out of nowhere. Gilbert gives a speech to the girl about living or something and just says he’s decided to name her “Violet”. That’s it. Having Gilbert actually look at the violet flower itself is a simple change the anime did but if you ask me, it does make the scene carry so much more weight. I think the anime also did a great job leading up to the scene too. It didn’t occur to me that Iris is also the name of a flower but it’s neat that Iris bringing it up is what causes Violet to remember.
The timing seems a bit on the nose to me. If this episode really is transitioning to Violet’s episodic travels like I suggested earlier than this scene certainly raises a question for us to keep in mind for the rest of the anime. Will Violet become a woman worthy of her name? I suppose only time will tell.
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