Posted by SuperMario on 11 March 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

If I haven’t known beforehand that Violet Evergarden has 14 episodes, I would easily assume that this is the conclusion of Violet Evergarden. And in some ways, there is a strong sense of closure in this latest episode. This last two episodes have their full attention to the core development of Violet, that includes an extended flashback that makes it way too clear about Violet’s time with Gilbert, and Violet moping around in the present. I’ll be franxx that I’m not a fan at all with this extended flashback, in fact I consider it amongst the worst episode we’ve seen so far in Violet Evergarden. Its faults aren’t in the details. These sequences are carefully constructed, and the visual presentation is always at the better side, but these flashbacks add extremely little new things to the table that we haven’t known before. We already knew that Violet is a war tool, a killing machine many times before and the army beside Gilbert treat her like a tool, so is it necessary to have a random captain repeat that same point to Gilbert? We already knew Violet received the brooch as a present from Gilbert and it was the only object that remind her of him, so why repeating this whole festival night again? We already knew the event led to Gilbert’s death so I feel rather repetitive and dull to see the night unfold again. “Dull” because I don’t know how I should feel when the bullet gone through his eye in that Hollywood-tearjerking-inspired moments (It’s a lie. I laughed). The only new detail I learn is Violet indeed lives in Gilbert’s house, but then again it adds so little to what we already know. It pains me to say this but I consider the whole flashback a huge waste of time.

Episode 9, appropriately titled “Violet Evergarden”, fares better because we see Violet in a present day. At first, she’s in the state of denial, refusing to believe that Gilbert is gone for good (well, there is 10% probability that he still makes it alive, in which case I swear I’ll drop this show for good). And then she realizes she’s metaphorically burning. It’s important because she was merely a robot in human form before, and like robots she had no guilty conscience towards the people she kills. Becoming a full-fledge human is to feel remorse towards her sins. But like Hodgins puts it, Violet needs to learn about her dark past not because she needs to know what is wrong or right, but to embrace her scars as part of herself and keeps on living.

Apart from realizing the deeds of her dark past, her other issue has always been Gilbert himself. She’s over-reliant to her boss to the point of totally dependable to him, emotionally. Imagine what would Violet do if she learns Gilbert’s death right after she wakes up? I bet she’d lose it. She’d kill herself for good since her life before had only one purpose: to follow Gilbert’s orders. She does try to strangle herself in a state of desperation and does lock herself up for few days even after becoming a Doll. While I was rather cranky with the flashback, the sequence where she learns to get over it, for me, redeems the show greatly with many nice, warm moments that rely more on visual-storytelling than saying it out loud.

And Violet Evergarden knows how to pull an effective resolution to Violet’s conflict. Let’s take first, the letter from Erica and Iris to Violet. The first letter she has ever received. Suitable to the spirits of the show, that letter transfers those feelings that cannot express by words to Violet. In addition, Violet learns about the importance of letter – the meaning behind deliver those letters to its destinations, not unlike bringing pigeons back to their homes. And moreover, she receives a request from her friends, the people she has influenced for the better, and the people still care about her and think fond of her. Violet’s presence is there, she learns about the love for writing letters that bring people together, and the people that through her assistance, becomes more willing to embrace life. It’s now her turn to take that step.

5 Responses

  1. Avatar Amagi says:

    This episode was great, I am a big fan of the topic of overcoming of things. It’s why I hate miracles in fiction. You see characters struggling and gradually developing up to the point when they finally manage to cope with their losses and then – the lost suddently just returns, surprise.
    I hope this isn’t the case here. Not finding his corpse would make it more interesting in that case. It would be about Violet’s battle between rationality (no one survives that) and irrationality (no corpse, so he must be alive) until she learns to accept her current life, reality and become more independent.
    A sudden return of Gilbert would ruin all of this.

    And I agree about the flashback. I mostly hate flashbacks. Not only do most of them just reiterate what we already knew, the ones that actually add something are always devices that get thrown in whenever the plot needs them to explain some sudden new behavior and often feel like retcons unless they’re hinted before.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Just to throw you some more examples, I like the use of flashbacks in Ikuhara’s shows. These flashbacks more often than not shed new lights to what we already know. Here in Violet Evergarden it’s just a long version of episode 1.

      I still like the visual language of the show. The sequence where Violet overcoming her issue was great and rewarding partly because it SHOWS, not TELLS (well, sometimes the visual storytelling can go a bit too much, like the Gilbert-got-shot-in-the-eye scene, but I can still tolerate it). But whenever characters open their mouth, the effect just lost me. Case in point, how many times does the show mention that Violet is burning and bleeding? It feels like the show is afraid that we don’t get the idea so they see the need to repeat too many times.

      Maybe this show just isn’t for me.

      • Avatar Amagi says:

        Telling instead of showing is one of the big main problems anime have anyway. Everything needs to be explained, even reiterated, or simple actions like running getting commented on (“I need to run to catch it!”) – up to the point when you start wondering why the producers are treating the audience as idiots. I adore series that can show emotions through subtile facial expressions instead of verbal reactions, especially awesome if it’s not just the talking characteres who react, but the passive audience as well.

        It just takes so much away from a series. It’s the same with jokes: the more you show and explain it, the less funny it is.

  2. Avatar KTravlos says:

    The flashback did not really bother me much. Episode 9 was really good. So good we panicked thinking it was the end of the season. It was a good closure to an arch. That said I am worried about the direction that last five episodes will take. The focus in the flashback on the enemy soldier with the horizontal nasal scar, and the focus on the enemy officer who ordered his own area to be bombed in conjunction with the current events of anti-peace factions, leads me to believe that the last arch will have to o with these guys as part of an anti-peace faction activity.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      I honestly just wish for more Violet ghost-write letters because for me the show is at its best when the attention isn’t on Violet. And I hope they tone down the cheesy moments. There are too many cheeses in this series. Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, brie cheese… I can’t take it anymore.

      But I see your point so let’s see where the show goes in these last 5 episodes.

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