You’re gonna carry that weight, Violet.
So for the record, only the beginning scene where Violet desperately tries to save Gilbert is from the book. It feels as intense and upsetting as I remember it being in the book though I’ll admit that the omission of Violet’s giant battle axe makes the violent struggle feel even more dramatic and visually disturbing.
It was really interesting to see how Violet deals with Gilbert’s death especially since that aspect of her character was largely kept vague in the light novel. Frankly, I feel a little torn as to which depiction of Violet I like more. Keeping Violet a mystery was starting to get old after a few chapters but I did really admire that the text wanted to let the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks. That kind of intrigue is admittedly lost in the anime. At the same time, I have enjoyed seeing this adaptation get inside Violet’s head more. The mental breakdown she has is heartbreaking to watch after episodes of seeing her acclimate to her new life and help people. Yui Ishikawa especially sells her performance here; delivering some of the rawest emotions this anime has shown thus far. Violet may have pulled through in the end but let’s not kid ourselves: she was very close to ending it all for herself.
Could Hodgins have handled things better here? It’s hard to say. Perhaps he shouldn’t have lied out of pity or cowardice but when considering Violet’s affinity towards the Major, it’s true that the reality is simply too harsh. If there is one thing that I think Hodgins screwed up more, it was telling Violet that she’ll be “burning up” from the crimes she committed in the war. It was a reasonable warning but it does feel a lot more inconsiderate now when you factor in how Violet was raised. It’s one thing to have Violet grieve for Gilbert; it’s another to have her question if she even deserves the freedom Gilbert wanted her to have. Thank goodness that Hodgins rectifies this when Violet asks if it’s okay for her to be an Auto Memory Doll. His response is a lot more on point now; Violet cannot erase the bad things she’s done but she also cannot erase the good things as well.
Things sure do come full circle in this episode. Seriously, it feels as if KyoAni played the series finale five episodes earlier. Violet delivers mail like she did in Episode 1, allowing her to rediscover the impact a letter can bring. She then gets back on her feet by ghostwriting for Spencer, Luculia’s brother, which I find fitting since those two were the first people Violet ever helped as a Doll. Iris and Erica (yeah, remember those two?) write a letter wishing Violet a healthy recovery. And top of that, we do get to see how the other supportive characters are doing to show that Violet has made a positive impact in the world around her. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought the show just concluded right there. However, there are five episodes left in this show and I’m curious to see how KyoAni can continue their version of this story after an episode like this. Perhaps this newfound resolve of Violet’s will be tested. I certainly can see a chapter KyoAni can use for that (well, there’s a lot of chapters without an anime version but let’s not go there just yet). Now that she must truly live in a world without Gilbert, she must really live up to the wish that she’d one day become a wonderful and free person.
Thanks for reading!
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