Posted by SuperMario on 26 January 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

Well, we have another original anime-material this week and I consider this episode slightly stronger than last week, although its main shortcomings still remain. The biggest improvement in terms of narrative, is how Violet Evergarden shifts their perspective to another secondary character. I still have issues with Violet the character, so it’s a nice change (and more bearable) to see her issues through someone else’s lenses. This week, our Violet attends the Auto Memories Doll class and we have a pretty much Violet’s routine here: her salute, her precise at receiving orders and her mechanical arms. And like all of us could have predicted, she excels on typing and grammar, but totally fail on transferring emotions to the letter. Only three episodes in and I’m already tired with all those same beats. It doesn’t even make sense to me how Violet ghost-writes Luculia in such a dry report-like, given her personality she could just write exactly what the girl says. The thing is, Violet not only has difficulty of expressing her own, or other’s emotions, she has a hard time understanding the feeling others have. She hardly expresses any emotions at all except when it comes to Major whathisname. As a result, her letter in the end, and her graduation because of it, don’t feel earned to me. They feel too quick, too compressed for such a change from Violet.

Thankfully, aside from our little Violeta’s development, we also have the story of Luculia and her own struggles with her brother. In a way an indirect victim of the war (the War settings are put into good use here), her brother is tormented for the dead of their parents, whom he feels that he failed to protect. That lead to his own destruction: drinking, fighting, being useless. Luculia feels unable to communicate with him, as all the raw emotions are botched up inside that it becomes impossible to be normal again. Communication, or to be more precise, the ability to communicate, is by far and large the central theme of Violet Evergarden and Luculia story succeed of deepen that theme with some emotional affecting moment and the strong visual flair that brings out the emotions just by the way they tone down the melodramatic moments. Most of my complaints about the show so far come from its script, namely its obvious and predictable narrative beat and its boring titular character. In fact, Luculia herself sometimes feels like a vehicle to unlock Violet’s emotion, thus she doesn’t really flesh out as a true character. We never know her own reason for becoming a Doll, for example, or why she becomes invested to Violet – the driest girl on Earth. Even the Auto Memories Doll workshop itself seems too rushed for its own good.

It’s the masterful visual storytelling so far that raised the bar to this material. The settings are beautiful and gorgeous. When Violet and Luculia get into the top of the tower and see the city from up high, the city looks attractive and impressive, yet somehow bring the strong feeling to the forefront. The visual focuses more on the character’s little gestures and their eyes than any big emotional overacting, which for me fare much better in terms of emotional impact. The first “letter” that Violet is decidedly simple; but express all the feeling that Luculia want to transfer across to her brother. I suspect this is the format we will get as the show moves on from its prelude phase, Violet encounters different people with different stories, and ghost-write and learn about their emotions in the process. I’m fine with that, as long as the show doesn’t get repetitive and gives a reasonable development to Violet to get her out of this robot shell.

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