Oh my God, they actually remembered to adapt the stinking books. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
I joke since I have been enjoying the show so far but come on, after so much original content for the past five episodes, can anyone blame me for feeling a little surprised?
I’ll admit, it’s a little odd that the story just jumps forward in time and keeps Violet’s encounter with Diethard a mystery. Having the latter show up was already strange to me so I’m even more confused as to why the details are being saved for later. That said, I did really like how you can infer from Violet’s demeanor that the encounter didn’t go very well. And hey, at least KyoAni threw in a Luculia cameo as a trade-off. It was nice seeing her show up again, even if for a few seconds.
Anyway, I have to admit the chapter this episode is based on wasn’t my favorite one in the light novel. It was pretty good for the most part but I did find it exemplary of a problem in the text: a bad tendency to be clumsy in its writings. Leon (Yuuto Uemura) is pretty likable in both versions of the story though I have to admit that his characterization in the light novel is a lot more flawed. I simply couldn’t get over how much the text focused on his aversion to women and the use of the word “gypsy” to describe his mother is incredibly awkward. I doubt author Kana Akatsuki had any ill intentions when writing the chapter but I do feel like Leon comes across as lot more sexist and even racist than he actually should.
How fortunate then that those aspects are downplayed in the anime adaptation. It doesn’t really linger on Leon’s initial feelings towards women as much as the light novel and as a result, his encounters with Violet just feel awkward as opposed to anything hateful. In the anime, it’s less that he outright hates women and more that his isolated upbringing and memory of his mother makes him unsure of how to interact with women properly. One thing that did work in the light novel that the anime does keep is how Leon falls head over heels for Violet. Not only is the girl beautiful (though let’s remember that she is 14), her background is similar enough for Leon to naturally relate to. All things considered, I feel that the anime did a good job making Leon’s time with Violet a lot more charming and endearing.
I also prefer how Leon’s mother is depicted in this episode. The text does give you the impression that she chased after Leon’s missing father out of love though the fact that she’s literally called a gypsy really muddled that detail. Again, I doubt that was the intention but there was something demeaning with how Leon says that gypsies are women who chase after men and connects it to his mother’s action. Removing that detail, really added some clarity to this scene and it also made it less of a collar tug for me.
The final act of the episode does strike out to me for a couple of reasons. Like in the light novel, the scene where Violet and Leon gaze at the comet is noteworthy in regards to the former’s character. Here, Violet analyzes the extent of her own emotions and expresses her love for Gilbert in ways we have not seen before. With how KyoAni has restructured the chronology, this scene especially jumps out at you. It’s still a surprising look at her humanity in the light novel but I think the added context of her past and her growth over the course of the past five episodes makes this moment carry a lot more weight and reflection.
I am a little surprised at how differently Leon’s relationship with Violet plays out. In the light novel, he flat out confesses his feelings despite knowing he’ll get turned down. Here, he recognizes Violet’s love for Gilbert and chooses not to outright confess. I’m not really sure why that change was made. I’ll admit, I did like how brave Leon got in the light novel. Either way, Violet does seem to pick up the signs and things do end on a platonic note so I don’t think any meaning was drastically changed here.
Even more surprising to me is how the anime ends right as Violet and Leon part ways. In the light novel, you do actually see the two fulfill the promise to meet again. I can think of two reasons why this was omitted. The first is that with the story being more chronologically linear, time skipping like that for just one scene makes little sense. The second is that perhaps KyoAni prefers to end things on Violet since they are re-framing the story from an anthology of vignettes to a more personal tale of growth. Regardless, I like what the final shot conveys. Her transition from a smile to a frown effectively conveys how she likes Leon but is unable to reciprocate the feelings he is showing to her. On top of that, I think she’s realized that as wonderful as these adventures are for her, the sad truth is that it can be painful when the time comes to move onto the next one.
Thanks for reading!
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