This episode of Violet Evergarden is based on Chapter 3 of the light novel but I actually feel that it makes a lot more sense to have this story appear this late in the narrative. In the light novel, it kind of just felt like one of Violet’s adventures. Her appearance at a war zone is surreal no matter how you look at but in the original text, it simply stated that Violet was not kidding when she’d said she’ll go wherever her customers desire. The chapter also offered some early hints at Violet’s past as a soldier. Having her wield an axe was incredibly silly but it did drive home the point that she was freakishly strong and fast and it made the reader question if she really is just a mere ghostwriter.
Compared to that, there seems to be a much heavier atmosphere in the anime adaptation of this chapter. The tone is certainly a lot more grounded. I mean, Violet skydiving and doing the Naruto run on some riflemen isn’t the most realistic sight but it is a little easier to buy into than watching her spinning a giant axe around. That change does strike to me as KyoAni’s desire to try and downplay Violet’s potential badassery. After all, this anime version of Violet doesn’t see herself as a hero. If anything, she’s ashamed of her involvement in the war and she tries to distance herself from the past whenever she can. So while the anime isn’t afraid to show off Violet’s superhuman reflexes and prowess, it is trying to look less over the top and theatrical than the light novel’s depiction.
Adding to the heavier atmosphere is the fact, that we’re seeing this episode after Violet has spent a great deal coming to terms with her past and resolved to become a woman Gilbert would be proud of. With that in mind, this scenario is the perfect follow-up: a chance for Violet to not only commit to her current aspirations but also be forced to revisit the darkest part of her life. One could even say that Violet took this job on a whim because she’s hoping to atone for her war crimes in some way. Surely, being able to save just one life in a war would at least amount to something noble for Violet.
The ending of the episode plays the same way it did in the light novel but I’d say the added context provided by past episodes gives its a lot more punch. On one hand, Violet did exactly what a Doll should do: to write letters for people so that their feelings will reach their loved ones. And as unfortunate as Aiden’s death is, his family at least got to read his final words rather than hear some military officer deliver the bad news. But at the same time, you get why Violet is so apologetic to Aiden’s family and considers her efforts a failure. She can’t help but think of how she could’ve arrived a lot sooner or be more experienced in treating wounds rather than inflicting them. In the light novel, the implication is simply that Violet doesn’t fully understand why Aiden’s family is thankful. In the anime, you’re well aware that Violet has had enough blood on her hands. Despite her best efforts to help Aiden and his family, she still thinks that another soldier died because of her.
- I like the anime-original scene where you see Hodgins opt to cancel Aiden’s request for safety reasons. In the light novel, the implication is that Dolls actually have to do something this dangerous on a regular basis. Having Violet go out of impulse feels a lot more believable.
- I’ll admit that I didn’t think Aiden (Shintarou Asanuma) was the most interesting client so far. He’s basically just a soldier who tragically dies in the war he fights in. He does serve his purpose and in his defense, it’s really hard to top Ann (again, I think Violet Evergarden peaked last episode).
- Having Violet hold Aiden’s hand during his last moments was a really nice touch. It really shows how caring Violet has become in spite of the fact that her hands are metallic and therefore, lacking the warmth of human touch.
- Something that struck out as odd was Violet “typing” Aiden’s letters in the air because go figure, she didn’t bring pen and paper. It’s funny because she had those supplies on hand in the light novel chapter. I kind of like the image of a ghostwriter ghostwriting in a somewhat literal sense though and honestly, I 100% buy her having such good memory.
Thanks for reading!
Violet Evergarden is officially available on Netflix.
For more Violet Evergarden posts, check out the show’s archive page!
Consider supporting my blog via: