Posted on 1 April 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden finally reaches its finale arc, and unsurprisingly, the Peace-opposition rebel and Gilbert’s brother Diethard come into play. In an essence, Violet is fighting two wars: the war against the bad guys who want disrupt the peace, and a war against Diethard to recognise her as something more than a war tool, as a human being. Not to say this episode totally won me over, but I can say at least I am invested enough to see how it all turns out. It’s inevitable to put Diethard as the main obstacle for our Violet here, as he has always seen Violet as a killing machine, and that conflict now is peppered with the pain that his brother died while she’s still alive. Diethard repeatedly regards her as “a tool”, and further despises her for her Doll job. He blames Violet for the loss of his brother, but we can see a lot more of emotions in him going on beneath the ground. Through the course of the mission, however, he can see that Violet has changed in a lot of ways. She’s more expressive, and now she refuses to kill anyone anymore. That is when the show lost me a little. Violet is basically going through Rurouni Kenshin’s arc now, and that makes sense. But the reason she gives, the reason why she doesn’t take orders from Diethard anymore, is because it’s an order from Gilbert entails that she had to live. WHAT? So all her development from previous episodes come down to this conclusion? That she still rely to some dead man’s words to live? Yare Yare

Putting that aside, I have a slight concerns with how Violet Evergarden portraits the Anti-Peace army. Most of them turn out just as ruthless, pathetic soldiers who can’t get on with the Peace because they stay too long at war. The bad guy from the last episode returns, and guess what, he’s even more merciless. It’s such a clear cut between good and bad that it leaves the ambiguity out the window. Nevertheless, the fights at the end really got me. For once, Violet decides not to kill any enemy, and it’s clear that it does her more harm than good. In a battlefield, basically everyone is an enemy and if she doesn’t kill them, they will all come fighting back at her. The way Diethard saves her was good because at a glimpse I almost think that it was Gilbert who saved her (thank God it’s not the case), and finally the closing shot where Violet saves him by her robotic hands really hit its powerful notes. It takes the mechanical hands to remind Diethard that Violet has grown into a fully-formed human. It takes the hands that write letters and save people in its own ways to save him. It’s certainly one of Violet Evergarden’s best moments.

Certainly not a bad way to start off the final arc, now that the anti-Peace soldiers are gone, the stakes might raise higher with the peace treaty (that might need someone’s letter here), together with Diethard and Violet’s own fights. She has done a tremendous development throughout the series, so it’s now the time for everyone to fully acknowledge it.

Posted on 24 March 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

It’s time for our doll Violet confronts the past with the present: accepting the job in the midst of the war zone. Seeing the war caught up to her while she begins to move on could serve as an interesting character study case, but in truth this episode runs much more straight-forward than that. She accepts the job (against the company’s decision) to meet the guy who happened to be named AIDAN whose whole unit, including himself, was ambushed right before Violet arrives. Violet Evergarden makes damn sure to tug your heartstring, I tell ya, and one of the easiest and most effective way is to make the characters likable and then kill them off. The only problem is, we don’t spend that much time to know this Aidan guy so it’s hard for me to feel for him on a personal level. To make a matter slightly worse, the whole time this guy was thinking about Maria, his childhood-turn-lover back home, but then when it comes to the time of writing letters, the show pulls stuff out of its ass and include his parents, whom we never have any proper introduction before. At first, the way he addresses it, I assumed that the parents are deceased but in the end, they have the same amount of screen presence as Maria, which for me is a bit weird on how Violet Evergarden decides to focus his feeling on only Maria beforehand.

At least Aidan experienced the true terror of war before he himself becomes a dead meat. Staying in busiest war zone, his team got ambushed and being killed one by one. Suddenly, Violet descends from the sky to save the day, defeating the whole enemy team without much sweat. If you have a feeling that Violet is playing a superhero type, let me inform you that the Light Novel does it in a way flashier fashion. In the book, she kills the enemies, writes the letter in the middle of the burning forest, and carries Aidan while killing the army units that surround them. This anime version tones down a lot of over-the-top set-piece, including the bits where Violet faces the enemies unarmed and manages not to kill any of them, and I’d argue it’s for the better. Having her transcript what he says in the abandoned shed at night, air-type his words work much quieter and more effective than if they go all out. The way the letters are formed, in a bit of stream of consciousness way where Aidan slowly slips away and where his memories blurs in with the present help transfer the emotional weight successfully. Aidan is also the first person to comment positively to Violet’s mechanic hands and asks for her hands in his final moments for a… ahem… human warmth. I believe the message here is that Violet has transformed from in robot in human body into a full-fledge human with emotions, and even now her mechanical hands have the warmness of human heat.

Violet Evergarden again makes a good use of it post-war backdrop. This week they delve on the anti-peace faction, which was first introduced on episode 8. I have a feeling they are going to be more prominent in later episodes, but for now I don’t like the way the show handles those characters. They’re one-dimensional as best and the only thing we learn from them is how ruthless they are. Maybe the existence of Violet the super-soldier mode was there for a reason: to kill those war-loving un-remorse bastards. But in here, we can see how far Violet has transformed. She’s not a soldier anymore (but these skills certainly help), she’s a Doll who would go ANYWHERE to meet the clients; and would do her upmost to write letter and deliver them. The last scene where she delivers the letters to Aidan’s parents and Maria, she meets with grief. She feels vulnerable because she can’t save life (she used to only taking lives), but as she learns from the thankfulness of the receivers, she has done enough. Without her, there will be no message and Aidan’s sentiments towards the ones he loves will be lost forever. Another job well done for Violet, and the show itself.

Posted on 18 March 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

It’s a neat (and cruel) trick Violet Evergarden pulled this week. I always have a soft spot for mature undertone story from a point of view of kids (that’s why I am always fond of To Kill a Mockingbird, for instance) so this story is right within my wheelhouse. Violet Evergarden’s melodrama approach can be a hit or miss but when it hits, it sweeps you away. This episode is one glaring example of melodrama that done right and it’s up there along with “the play” episode as one of my favorite chapter of the series so far. I must say though, bedridden character, KyoAni is in its comfort zone here. From Anne’s perspective, the appearance of Violet is nothing but bad news. Anne feels that our titular doll stole away her mother – all the amount of time that should have spent with her instead. What Violet Evergarden done right, however, is that this feeling never drives her narrative. She’s still a kid and she wants someone, especially her mother, to play with. Despite considering Violet “a bad news”, she grows on Violet and spends a great deal playing with Violet. I consider her one of my favorite character out of this series.

Ann’s furious comes from an understandable ground. She knows that her Mother will leave her someday and she wants to spend little time they have left to be together. Who cares about these letters anyway but it frustrates her that not only her mother sacrifices the time with her, she sacrifices her heath to do so. Violet assures her that writing those letters is for greater cause, but frankly, it sounds like an excuse since she refuses to tell the kid the content of the letters. Violet’s job, as it turns out, is to ghost-write letters for “someone faraway”, and as we learn later on, for Anne for the next 50 years on her birthdays. Those letters serve as the messages for Anne to carry on with life, but more specially, for her to know that loved one won’t never truly leave you away, that they will always by your side, spiritually. That is such a heart-warming message.

The visual motif is another winning factor of this episode. I like the repetitive nature displayed in many scenes, from Anne repeatedly calls out Violet name, to her mother says her name and to Anne stays in the middle of the field and she sits on the chair reading the letters as time passes. The match cuts of several background in different time frames also serve the same purpose to show the passage of time and it speaks very well to the unrequired love and loss and growing up. As Anne continues to grow up, meet a boy and have kid, those letters are still there, the place is still there and the feeling from her Mom is still apparent there. I am also affected by fact the that while Anne is someone special to her Mom and to Violet, she grows up to be a perfectly normal girl with a normal life. A girl that you might pass on the street or someone you always say hi to.

After her own arc for the last two episodes, I’m glad to see that the focus this week isn’t about Violet, yet we can still see how much she has grown since the beginning. Violet cries, and better yet, she shows empathy. Maybe what it takes is the smile of a young kid to crack this tough nut, but I don’t lie when I say I prefer this version of Violet than the robotic Violet or the moping Violet. At least now she feels like an actual human. I have been quite harsh about the show, but this episode marks a nice transition to it.

Posted 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.

Posted on 24 February 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

It’s a full-blown soap opera in this week’s Violet Evergarden, in more ways than one. On one side of the coin, we have a playwriting and a process of bringing a children story to life, the story that tied very well to his feeling towards his deceased daughter. On the other side of the coin, this week marks a clear improvement for Violet’s emotional growth and put a catalyst into her personal arc. It’s the goddamn time that Violet need to learn about the death of Gilbert, but then why make him only disappearing huh? Learning and accepting the death of her love and moving on will be Violet’s own personal growth from this point on. One thing we did learn from Hodgins is that it’s Gilbert who pushed her away before the bomb exploded and saved her life. Violet Evergarden often deals with loss, and more specifically, the loss relationship between parent and their child. For once I believe that theme is appropriate within the settings of Violet Evergarden, the post-war era where there is a clear gap between young and older generation; the settings where the consequences of war still somewhat linger around, like in the form of the robotic Auto Memory with mechanical hands.

This episode is an adaptation from the very first chapter of the light novel, but if you catch on KyoAni’s pattern by now, yeah, they alter a lot from the original story. The playwright, for example, is completely original and it’s one of my favorite part of this episode. Maybe it’s just me who like children’s story but I like what we heard about their story so far: a girl who fight monsters, befriend with all kind of friendly spirits and she must get home because her Dad is waiting at home. Well, what makes this story resonates lies in how well it connects to Oscar’s own story. He’s not alright to begin with, he’s now in a pitiful state, drunken and messy. The play is obviously inspired and modelled after his lost daughter, and he determines to write a story to finish her one-day wish that he’s always longing for. In one of the show’s most beautiful moment, Violets cross the lake by jumping and hopping from fallen leaves on the lake. Oscar’s story is compelling in its own right, but this climax further elevates the drama and strengthen the emotions in the best possible way.

Violet is surprisingly active and expressive throughout this untitled episode. Not only she cares for the play she transcript (She actively asks how the story will go. The old Violet wouldn’t even care to bother), she expresses empathy towards the main character of the play. Empathy plays another big role in Violet Evergarden, as the whole premise is about learning other people’s feeling through the power of writing. It also struck me how the plays from Oscar personally parallel Violet. The play at the beginning ends with “I must live with my sin now for the rest of my life”, and Violet experiences exactly that. She has grown to realize the bad seed from her time at war, killing off countless people, ending countless “one day” dreams. She comes to feel the pain of her own action, and plus to the fact that now she realizes Gilbert is as good as death, it further pushes her into some sort of despair. That isn’t bad by any means, given at least she has a strong feeling towards something. This episode is a clear step up from last week and for me easily the strongest episode to date, coupled by strong visual presentation and a neat story, even it still feels heavy-handed at times.

Posted on 17 February 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

This episode of Violet Evergarden, Violet learns the feeling of loneliness, AND I find myself largely indifferent to it. Not a bad episode by all mean but when the show makes same old beats and adds little thing to the table, it doesn’t leave much lasting impact. Let’s get to the positives first, I really enjoy this new setting Justilia Province, a mountainous place with cable cars, dome and star observatory. This episode also marks the first time that Violet doesn’t ghost-write other people’s feeling, in fact she transcripts whatever materials the guy she assigned with recites. No doubt that Violet is the perfect person to pull this job off, as writing at the speed of sound is always her speciality. This week is in fact, the story of her partner, Leon, as he able to move forward with the help of Violet. I’m not that keen of his story to be honest. While his backstory about his Mom abandoned him has its merits, the way Violet Evergarden brute-forces those details to our ears in the form of these boys in the library is just…bad storytelling. It was obvious and dull to the point of dragging his backstory down. Remember Violet Evergarden, viewers don’t like to be spoonfed because it’s just an indication that you don’t trust us enough. Jeez

As for the story, Leon has always felt awkward towards girls in general and the Dolls in particular, mostly because of his issues with his own Mother and his current status within the Manuscript Department. His way of view changes the moment he meets Violet though, since Violet is neither your regular Doll, nor your regular girl. Despite his low-esteemed, she sees him as an equal, and remarks that they are similar in many ways. Our young Leon opens his heart for once and invites her to watch the Ally Comet, which appears only one every 200 years. And from the moments they watch the comet together he decides to travel the world to learn new things and hopes to see Violet again, if ever. The development is frankly, conventional and predictable but I have to note that this is the first time someone has a bit of romantic feeling towards our Violet.

As for Violet, her range of emotion has varied gradually from when we first met her and this episode is the first time she blends in well with the rest of group. Her expression becomes more natural and she can clearly express many things that she’d have troubled addressing before, mostly when it comes to her feeling with Gilbert. She claims that she only knows loneliness on the conceptual level, but by Leon’s observation she indeed feels lonely. Despite my lukewarm feeling overt his episode, I still think Violet Evergarden goes in the right direction: episodic nature about people who affects by Violet’s letters with the steady development of Violet as its cornerstone. Step by step, Violet grows right before our eyes.

Posted on 9 February 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

That’s more like it Violet Evergarden. With this episode I have the feeling the shows find its right footing. Violet Evergrden works best when it weaves the emotion of human relationship into its larger-than-life narrative. Everything feels grandeur and it’s the right kind of grandeur. Take this episode, we have the Princess and her Prince Charming, we have the marriage to bind the two nations together, we have the “love at first sight” story that could rival Romeo and Juliet, and we have the whole nation expecting their exchanged love letters because… eh… “The King’s Speech is for all to hear”, I suppose? It’s structured exactly like a fairytale love story if we ever have one. In all honesty a royal wedding is indeed a grand event so I enjoyed throughout how the two lovebirds eventually come together.

Narrative-wise, there are two improvements from this week’s episodes including 1) the necessary time-skip and 2) Violet Evergarden goes extra details to the settings, which is a welcome sign. The time-skip allows Violet to be a full-fledged doll who write beautiful and skilful love letters (Can you believe that? I still don’t) and I’ll be honest to say she’s better this way. Violet is plain as a character and she has a predictable and not-that-good character arc so the more she stays out of the show’s focus, the better. This episode uses her just about right. Always lurking in the background supporting the love nest, but at the same time gives some crucial actions that positively advance the plot AND underline how much she has matured. Secondly, while the war itself and the post-War life have been mentioned several times before, this is the first time we see other countries, along with their politics and their own cultures. This country Drossel (or to be more exact, the royal palace-part of it), for example, is glorious with flowers and rich backgrounds and the visual is certainly the best looking one so far. This is the direction I want to see more of.

The story of this week centres around princess Charlotte of Drossel, who apparently is arranged into marriage the Prince of Flugel, whom she met only once before. Violet is there to write love letters to sway the heart of the Prince. Plain and simple. The more these letters exchange, the more we see the story goes beyond that. I like the fact that it’s Charlotte who pushes forward on picking the suitor that she loved – the one who consoles her under the moon when she got all frustrated. She’s not the character who waited to be pick up by some random Prince, thank God for that. The letters at first are written beautifully and the reception seems favourable, but there’s a lack of sincere in the letters. It’s Violet’s job to write letters that bring the heart of the sender to the receiver, but sometimes too much big words, flashy writing that make one feel taken aback. Charlotte can’t tell if those feelings written in the letters are genuine anymore and the letters that Violet write aren’t really her letters anymore. Violet’s resolve – making the Prince and Princess write their own letters – really hit it home because how clumsy but honest those exchanges feel. It certainly is feel-good fairytale romance but when its heart is on the right place I don’t have much complaint.

I start to see the patterns from the show regarding developing the main girl-of-the-week. Usually there is a main arc, the one the girl is currently dealing with (this week it’s Charlotte’ relationship with the Prince) and there is a sub-character arc that shed some more light about her character. This subplot for this week is her bond with her maid Alberta, the one who raised her since she was born and her fear of moving into the new place, leave behind her previous life. While it has some merits, this plot thread still leaves a lot to be desired. But I have little else to grumble, except for a subplot which attempt to boost Violet’s personal journey about Gilbert’s brother who accuses Violet for being a killing machine, in which you already know how much I give a damn for. It has been a rather long way, but I can finally regard Violet Evergarden as a heavyweight title of this Winter season.

Posted on 2 February 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

Slowly and gradually, Violet Evergarden keeps getting more powerful. This episode’s main success has to be the fact that it gives a proper emotional story to the characters around Violet. Iris takes the main stage this week with her first request, which “coincidently” comes from her hometown and our Violet joins in as a typer for this request. Violet is still annoying as hell but at least now she has a self-awareness of not be able to read the full context. It might not be the most subtle approach but at least now I feel like we aren’t following a robot talking and writing letter. I’m not 100% sure on this but based on the fact that Iris is an anime original character, there’s a high chance that this episode is third original anime material in a row, makes me wonder when and in what ways KyoAni approaches the light novels’ materials.

Not that I have any issue with this original-anime episode. Violet Evergarden the anime makes it quite clear that this is not necessary story about Violet but more of the stories about her clients that eventually develop our main robotic girl; and they will pretty much follow the same formula of the past 4 weeks. Meaning we still have to endure the amazement of the clients whenever Violet takes her gloves off (I am getting sick of it) or her Auto Memory Doll bow (which is breathtaking), but when the clients are much more well-grounded than this Doll, I’m happy to be on boat. Majority of us has been gushing about the show’s impressive visual and complaining about Violet’s Evergarden’s lackluster script, so I want to take this opportunity to address another strength of the show that not too many viewers noticed: the audio. I’m not the biggest fan of the score, but the sound mixing has been spectacular so far. Take Violet’s bowing for example, the sound of her moving steps, of her clothes blowing in the wind make her action feel grandiose. Or the sound of the typing last week makes up the right tone and atmosphere for this show.

While last week was an examination about the inability to communicate what they want to say from Luculia to her brother, this week it’s all about “lying”, as in people use excuse and reasons to conceal what they feel and think inside. Take Iris’s parents for example, using a pseudonym to lure Iris back for her birthday party, which is a disguise for choosing a future son-in-law. Or even Iris, who lies about being popular at her job and who gets real angry like a teen girl when her crush joins the party. It is because she had a feeling for him, then being rejected that she doesn’t want to meet the guy. Another contradiction that make human such a fragile and illogical feature. The letters written by Violet this week are a marked improvement from last week’s simple-but-to-the-point letter, and demonstrate that she has gained a better grasp of at least empathy with the feeling of her friend. And wouldn’t you know? Not only the share a history with “I love you” statement, their names also come from flowers’ name, which handily gives Violet another character development thread: finding out the true meaning of her name given by HER MAJOR, subtlety be damn.

Posted 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.

Posted on 19 January 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Violet Evergarden

I’m thankful that this second episode plays out much quieter and more subtle than the first, because I’m not a fan at all with the grandeur approach of the first episode. This makes the second week of Violet slightly better than last week, but I still find myself not totally satisfied with the whole experience. This week shows our Violet making her first step over the Auto Memories Dolls job, which despite its name it actually refers to real girls ghost-writing letters for those in need. Violet gets acquainted with the team members, learning about the jobs: how to type, how to input information, how to translate what the customers mean into the right angle… the last of which Violet totally lacks of. The most important characteristic in this job is the ability to communicate, including the ability to read between the lines. When put it in that light, Violet is totally unsuitable for the job. She’s straight-forward (which failed in terms of communication), she can’t read the subtext and she lacks emotions. After all, like the show said, contradiction is the barebone of human’s emotions. How one feels isn’t exactly the same with how one acts, and it’s those inconsistences can tell you exactly who they really are. I agree with it, in theory at least, because the actual case Violet Evergarden shows us is so banal. Is that how women tend to act? Now I feel stupid for not knowing it, just like our poor Violet here.

I guess my biggest issues of Violet Evergarden so far lie in the main character, Violet herself. It’s a common pitfall for a show to create obvious flaws for the main character in the beginning of the story in order to make their personal growth more significant, and I feel Violet steps in that line here. The problem with that is that those flaws make them feel utterly unrelatable, given no human being would act like such. It’s part of the show’s narrative, I know, since everyone regards her as a killing machine, she sees herself as someone’s royal dog, the show visualizes her as a bleeding doll, and the novel purposely frames her as a robot, anything but a human. It’s also the show’s narrative that Violet needs to learn these emotions in order to truly become a human. At that I feel the need to point out about the change in the anime’s order compare to the Light novels’. The novel starts when Violet is already an established Doll, and then it traces back to her origin as we learn more about her. The anime gives all their attention to the growth of Violet, hence here we are, following the blank-state Violet as she navigates to the new environment. Sure, it’s more conventional but the progress is also more obvious, and I’m not sure “obvious” is what we need here.

So naturally, the emotional engagement I have for Violet Evergarden point towards the other team member, Erica. She, like Violet, feels like she’s unsuitable for the job, unable to write letters that make her, or her customer satisfied, and the success of her peer, Cattleya is a cherry on top. Yet despise knowing Violet’s shortcoming, she asks the team to not giving up on her, because she believes Violet can improve. That’s a contradiction. Just like despite her own shortcoming, she still wants to continue after she realizes her original passion for writing letters that touch the heart of readers, in one rare musical score of Violet Evergarden that isn’t overbearing. The production otherwise remains impressive. The flowers café house, for example, stands out and the animation remains fluid. If I have one criticism it would be the interior scenes feel a bit too dark for its own good. All in all, we are still pretty much in the introduction phase of Violet Evergarden and I suspect until Violet herself gets more fully-formed, and more relatable, is when this show hits its stride.

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Anonymous2037529
LWA academia is probably the only trigger project i've truly cared about. I haven't watched KlK to completion or luluco for that matter(i got to get around to that) but ive seen everything else and i just don't give a damn about any of em
Amagi
But to say something positive - I liked the second episode of Kamuy way better than the first one. Budget seems to be really bad but the rest makes up for it it seems.
Amagi
I think Luluco was the only one I enjoyed after KlK which already had a bunch of problems - but overall it was far too entertaining for me to seriously care about those.
Amagi
Guess the last 1/3 might be more interesting when they start with the actual world building for once, although they could probably slam the love stuff even more in our faces but who knows. Not fond of any of the latest Trigger anime to be honest.
Amagi
Also they're really overdoing it with all that obvious message stuff and the "love superpower" trope I always hated anyway. Still watching I mean at least it has a plot and tries.
Amagi
I still can't care about anyone or anything in this series I think it's really not made for me. I might have liked Goro but he's too unimportant and the sauros revelation was kind of a letdown since it's the most common twist for these kinds of things.
AidanAK47
Alright Franxx, you are forgiven for episode 14.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Do you ever go to those surprise horror/thriller preview screenings? Where they don't tell you what film it is until it starts?
Kaiser-Eoghan
*worrying about
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its saying something, when I haven't seen eternal sunshine since it came out, but even by re-watching the trailer, the feelings, the whole film comes back. At that point I'd grown out of Jim Carey's comedy, so seeing him play against type was refreshing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Ah, I'm more forgiving then, I'm likely to give higher points for sheer imagination that I'm not as bothered by worry about the story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Any negative argument against mood indigo by him can be countered by the fact it has Audrey Tatou in it.
Anonymous2035464
jhonrhean
SuperMario
and I just watched A Quiet Place. A solid indie horror one. It builds on atmosphere and it does the family chemistry right
SuperMario
I don't like The Science of Sleep to be honest. Tons of interesting ideas and visually creativeness but the story itself is a mess
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Gondry needs to avoid making any more commercial comedies, he also needs to start working with Kaufman again, they brought out the best in each other, although on his own, he can be playful and inventive with his films, such as mood indigo and science of sleep.
SuperMario
But check out his other movie Eternal sunshine of Spotless Mind. It has an inventive mind control/ mind altering concept in there
SuperMario
Jim Carrey is kind of mind controller himself. I couldn't take my eyes off him
SuperMario
@anon2028818: it was indeed season 5. SORRY FOR MY IGNORANCE :)
Vonter
The Jim Carrey movies.
Vonter
Dorei-ku seems like a Kakegurui. You see one episode you've seen all. It'll be better if it was crazier like Mirai Nikki. Mind control IMO could be a very creepy setup if it's watched through the perspective of the victim rather than the perpetrator. Losing notion or reality and control. Could liar liar and Yes man be considered mind controlled stories?
Vonter
Ore Mahou Shoujo, baffles me, since I had to skip another long musical off key number, which makes me wonder where the budget cut starts and where the trolling begins. Also makes me sad, there aren't a lot of female to male transformations since it'll be interesting watching that perspective. Maybe a love triangle from both genders could apply since females are more accepted to be bi, in media.
Vonter
Megalobox could be something really special, but I hope like with Ashita no Joe, the anime isn't solely boxing. Joe, had social commentary, had a personal struggle do to the protagonist origin, attitude and view of life, since he started very immature and rebellious.
Amagi
Megalo Box, Tiramisu (I find this genuinely funny), S;0, GGO which is so much better than SAO, Wotaku, Hinamatsuri, Cutie Honey, LotGH, Hisone to Masotan and so on
Amagi
I really love this season as well.
Lenlo
Also personally I am enjoying this current season a alot. But I also know/like a good bit of the reboots/sequels
Lenlo
Oh man... 2015 winter was good. Forgot thats when those came out
Anonymous2028818
@SuperMario: Wasn't that Natsume season 5?, pretty sure season 4 was several years earlier.
SuperMario
Another strong anime season for me was 2015 Winter, where we had YuriKuma Arashi, Maria the Virgin Witch, Death Parade, Durarara whatever season, second cour of Shirobako, Parasyte and Your Lie in April
SuperMario
Even so, with this season I'm still willing to give some shows another chance, like Caligula or Cutie Honey Universe(!)
SuperMario
For me, the best season in recent years was Fall 2016 when we had Flip Flappers, Sound Eupho 2, Yuri on Ice, Natsume 4, Fune wo Amu, Drifters and 3-gatsu no Lion. But I know that Aidan would disagree with me on this
SuperMario
@anon2028201: it's me who said this season is a mixed bag. It's like you said, this season is too heavily on sequels/ reboots and only some new anime stand out, the rest of the pack is just meh.
Anonymous2028201
To me this seems like a pretty good seasons, but judging some of the impressions, it's a bit more of a mixed bag for most. Just curious, what were the best seasons for recent anime? This one seems good to me, but to early to tell right now
Anonymous2028201
Lovin this season so far: a lot of reboots/reimaginings and sequels, but I'm enjoying them all. MHA S3, LOGH DNT, S;G 0, Megalobox, Golden Kamuy are what I'm watching right now. I hear Full Metal Panic is good as well, but I haven't gotten around to watching the original series.
Anonymous2028258
so i just recently rewatched fullmetal panic fumoffu and i gotta say that this is easily one of Kyo ani's best works. It's such a surprise that this was their first anime; it's a damn good romance comedy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lol I love B-movie type stuff, because the rules are off.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was the only person who watched Mazinkaiser skl and shin mazinger and skullman.
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser Takeshi Koike really wanted to really sell it as a grindhouse feature and I ate that shit up; I really dug the tone he was going for.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: It was strange seeing that Goemon short, much as I enjoyed it, thats the goriest I seen lupin get.
Anonymous2026379
Megalo box is pure retro while lupin is a mix of old and new...and you're right; people just think they can't jump right into it. But that's why more people should be talking about it; to let the masses know that you don't need a starting point to get into the Lupin franchise
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a massive fan of the devilman manga and I thought devilman crybaby was better than it.
Anonymous2026379
90's-esque throwback feeling shows like lupin and megalo box have been giving me
Anonymous2026379
Luoin part 5 is definitely mixing the best of new and old. Honestly, I've been having a blast with it as well as this generally 90
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the problem is, people see lupin as this long thing they can't get into, when really its so episodic/standalone mostly you can pick up and watch.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course getting the best bits out of old and new.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*visual style
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm a fan of this hybrid old and new style, megalobox does it too, mine fujiko aswell and casshern sins.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised by how well the Fujiko mine show came together in the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll be interested in picking up more facts about thrm.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Come think of it, Akira Kurosawa did some old western (eastern?) in Russian, that had an Ainu in it.
Anonymous2026379
Asirpa is sooooo adorable.....almost feels patronizing to say that about her due to how badass she is
Anonymous2026379
What makes Fujiko work so well as this sexy icon is that she isn't just sexy: she's smart as shit and uses that sexiness to dominate and control her opponents (similar to bayonetta) rather than be chained by the objectification of her opponents (and the viewers for that matter)
Anonymous2026379
I wonder what other obscure cameos we may get this season. And yea you're right about some of Lupin's potentially sexist traits being assuaged by his level of cool and the genuine respect he shows a good deal of the women he has encountered throughout the series
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Yet still a fun film at the same time.
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser Yea, mamo was a pretty dark element introduced to the lupin franchise; and considering the tone of the gravestone of Jigen, it makes sense he would cameo there
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Help I want to kidnap Asirpa =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I'm probably as surprised as you, at finding someone to talk to about Lupin on here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: And through comparing/contrasting the jigen grave stone and Fujiko mine, with some of the sillier older ones, it shows the Lupin characters are flexible enough to work both in a darker AND sillier context.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fujiko is precisely how a fanservicey character should work and how built in/essential it is to her haracter, without becoming an irritant.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: By all means Lupin himself shouldn't be a character we like, much like Bond, but like Bond theres a coolness to the character that allows us to love him.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Another great thing about Lupin is how it uses its 60s cool to get away with what would normally probably be considered fairly sexist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I had a big smile on my face when Mamo made a cameo appearance at the end of one of the recent ones and thats because I remember the Lupin Mamo movie was one of those first anime that I watched about 20 years aago.
Anonymous2026379
not to mention that its one of the few anime this season that actually knows how to utilize dialogue to explore flesh out its characters rather than exposition or contrivance: looking at you darling in the franxx
Anonymous2026379
@Kaiser-Eoghan Nice fun facts; but yea Lupin III is a series that has always had an amazing sense of pacing and adventure, traits that are definitely on display this season
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Its a huge franchise too so I'm often never sure where to go next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: You may or may not know this, but the voice actor for solid snake voiced Lupin in one of the dubs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I watched a few episodes of the Italy set lupin show too .
Its a fun franchise due to its cast but its something I have to follow irregularly, lest it get repetitive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Fun fact, guy who directed the gold of babylon film was a famous B-movie noir director in the 60s.
Lenlo
Dont trust anything written by the original SAO author. Everything is his fault. Kirito is not in this series.
Lenlo
Even the original SAO author has little to do with it, which is why its actually good
Lenlo
So SAO Alt is basically completely removed from the rest of SAO
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lupin is one of those things I dip in and out of, whatever part of the franchise it is. I've seen birdcage kingdom, Mamo, cagliostro, nostradamus, Jigens grave stone, mine fujiko and the recent Goemon centred special.
Anonymous2026379
it's a damn shame not a lot of ppl are talkig about/watching lupin the third this season
Kaiser-Eoghan
But for all I know with that team behind it, its an improvement, but theres probably not much point in me watching as I dropped the first season after less than 10 episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
See how he attempts to seduce me into watching something related to sword art.
Lenlo
Huh... I didnt know the writer for SAO Alt was written by the Kino's Journey creator and produced by the Flip Flappers people. Explains a lot
Lenlo
I wish I knew what you meant by shaman girls, and I cant wait
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Oh I know Leskinen. May he find his Japanese Shaman girls one day. But seeing as I know the story I wanna experience it differently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its even set in hokkaido, Korean/Japanese director, Japanese cast, Ken Watanabe is in it: https://letterboxd.com/film/unforgiven-2013/
Lenlo
Also, I love the ED. Really, 2 episodes in, I love S;G all over again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: really? They remade Unforgiven in Japanese?
Lenlo
its*
Lenlo
Like... is good.
Lenlo
But your missing out on the cult of Leskinen. The engrish is actually one of my favorite parts
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Meanwhile I am happily waiting for the dub.
Lenlo
Dangit... I have to wait another week for Steins;Gate 0 now. I cant do this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Japanese remake of unforgiven had ainu people in it.
Anonymous2025797
Also I wonder if budget is distributed according to the director, some animes will spend more in the first episode. Some will spend more in the last ones. It's subjective, but if it's like all business it is looking for the better result at the minimum expense. Hence why I believe Berserk was made the way it did.
Anonymous2025797
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ideally a story should be as long as it needs. But reality seems that a number of episodes is decided before production. And so you either have to stretch or cut material. Kinda like that 300 page manga of Les Miserables, is simply unfeasible translating that book into that few pages.
KTravlos
Oberstein was a great character.
KTravlos
I actually feel Aidan can do a good job on it. Sometimes been too exposed to the material may lead to clouded eyes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I'm surprised by how I unexpectedly laughed at wotaku, I do wonder if later on it will include any slight drama elements to sustain interest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
OMO; OBERsteins; Gate =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
From watching episode 2 of golden kamuy, yeah, the source material definitely is lifting this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm going to have to wait and see on steins; gate 0, it is encouraging to here this might be darker , at the same time I remember having to sit through too much goofy humour in the first one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was actually surprised, that, while rare, there were some moments of humour, that lightened it for me.
AidanAK47
Throughout the entire series I expected Oberstein to pull some inevitable double cross. And was shocked when he never did.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree with Oberstein. I think antagonists are es important as the mains in fiction and I loved this guy, he's perfect for series like these.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Galactic heroes was an example of where when watching it, when big death scenes occured, I would make noooooo and shouting noises at the screen while clenching my fist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love characters like Oberstein, shrewd, clever, but done right to where I can believe it, not characters like, say Lelouch .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd be concerned if the new galactic heroes series skimps on the violence, that kind of thing needs to be in there, in most shows/films and shown to be explicit, consequences need to be shown.
Amagi
*about, not with
Amagi
Sadly, most original 2+ cours series I know feel dragged whereas many 1 cours originals could have needed ~3 more episodes. Talking with series that have an actual plot of course.
Amagi
I really like the 13 episodes thingy for originals but I wish there would be more 26 episodes series, especially for adaptions.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I agree. Nothing kills my interest faster than formularic episodes and repetition.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In general I think 50 episodes would be the most I'd watch for an anime, 39 seems ideal.
Amagi
Or worse and the romance drama is the main plot and it's Kiznaiver all over again, while the rest is just flavor to make the romances more forced since they're the MCs are only teens and such. Dunno but I can never bring myself to care about this kind of stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though better 110 episodes of galactic heroes than a long shounen that just repeats itself.
Amagi
Speaking of recent episodes, I unironically thing that FranXX's world (building) is pretty interesting (although I hope those klaxxosaurusses will be more than just random cannon fodder) but I doubt the series will ever get to the main plot again the next time.
Amagi
Same here. It was really the only time I did this. I am usually exhausted by just thinking about marathoning long series. It's the reason why I won't get into FMP for the new series either. LotGH was an exception since I found it easily to watch for some reason.
SuperMario
Man, just image burning through 110 episodes of it and my spirit fades away
Amagi
Watched that whole series ages ago.
Amagi
Just watched the first three Neue These episodes and I surprinsingly liked it. Thought I would hate it due to being an OVA fan, and I still prefer the old designs by far but overall it's pretty good. I think I might even prefer this version of the first battle, but I have to rewatch the old one I guess.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also while I can't remember which episode, Yang picks up a book with the author of the series' name on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Arslan feels so lightweight by contrast/comparison.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think, given your knowledge KTtravlos, that a series review of the new galactic heroes season would probably benefit from you writing it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I bring up the music in my earlier comment, because I can understand your reservations regarding the music choice in the remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And certainly one of those shows, that going back to the first episode after finishing, gives a strong perspective just on how evolving the series was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*despite me not
Kaiser-Eoghan
Despite not being monarchist , because the characters were human moreso than cartoon characters I couldn't hate on Reinhard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: I suppose by the time it got to Julian's arc, I was surprised they were still bothering to fight but the fact that they were essentially the last bastion of their beliefs made it special.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Sometimes when I just finish a show, its a case where I HAVE to jump online immediately after and excitedly ramble out an essay on it.
niello
ugh democracy
KTravlos
@Kaiser ultimately LOGH for me was a decisive point in my political life, as I think it made the best defense of democracy in any form I have seen. And it worked partly because the opponent was presented in the best possible incarnation (Rienhard). Yang's continued adherence to democracy, despite recongising its flaws, helped me avoid a personal descent into authoritarian politics.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I am happy you had a good experience. I watched the prequels a while after the main show and I was happy because it was great getting back to those characters. The prequels were also great in fleshing the setting and the characters. So yes, take your time and a break. That way the prequels will be like visiting a place you liked again after a while.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@KTtravlos: I have some other stuff to get through before watching the galactic heroes prequel though =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
YES according to discord poster I'm not a millenial!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for overposting. I have always always being an incredibly verbose person.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter; Not that I oppose captilistically made for a buck cinema, it can be entertaining yes, but I set a standard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: As open as I am to trash cinema, I consider the resident evil films, like the superhero ones, anti-art.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can understand why people don't like Villier, but he did I think work as a device to add extra tension.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel some release at finishing but at the same time sadness at saying goodbye to the show and its characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
, showing its age.
But for something of this length, it kept itself up far better than most long shows and I feel the length its somewhat justified.

On another note….as corny as the third ending theme is, I got the feels listening to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But while the first 50 odd episodes were an easy job for me aswell as all of the 4th season and some of the late 3rd season made it difficult for me to pull myself away from it, the dialogue even though often well observed did become difficult to follow at times and somewhere in the middle theres a stretch of episodes, bar some moments that feel a bit of an endurance test and the animation is at
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its attention to detail I felt was at its strongest in the documentary and the series dedication to filling the view in on its world building/fictional history.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I admired the scope, ambition of this series and the battles eventually grew on me and I was surprised by just how visceral the melee combat got which suited me perfectly. At the same time for all the strategy and action, I found myself more in it for the story, characters and intrigue/politicking. Those battles, due in part to their music choices, had an epic feel to them
Kaiser-Eoghan
In the end the characters stood out for me the best were Reinhard, Oberstein (for being essentially the amazing man with the plan), Reuntal, Kircheis and Rubinsky, I warmed up to Julian, Yang and Schenkop. When important deaths occurred, they felt highly dramatic, in four cases emotionally effecting for me .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, KTtravlos, thank you for pushing me toward watching the original legend of the galactic heroes, my opinion on the series is largely a mixed one, but by the end I felt I’d watched something rewarding and I’m happy its crossed off my list and I should have gotten round to it sooner.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm probably the oldest here, being 32. Which apparently makes me around Yang-wenli's age, which according to someone means I'm middle aged .
Kaiser-Eoghan
To the discord guy who brought it up, its difficult not for me to be political, my father was an activist and is a Marxist , I ended up becoming a contradiction a semi-agnostic, but spiritually inclined/tolerant socialist with internationalist ideology.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Ends in very cliffhanger/abrupt indy way though and the things weakness/how to kill thems too easy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I liked how it explains nothing also and the creature design and how it visual communicates to the audience.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: While I won't say anything, a character death is handled in what I considered a schmaltzy manner. There is a particularly headscratching decision the characters make that you'll either rationalize or hate, but it leads to one of the tenser set pieces later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Quiet place has a good idea at its backbone, that they use sign language in the film to communicate and occassional whispers adds to it, it and the silence allows for a mood to be effectively communicated. It does have jump scares, I wasn't annoyed by them, but I never felt the film required them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I read the discord, if you ever need to ask a question relating to film, come to me about it, I will without fail be able to answer 9 times out of 10.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was adequately amused by the first episode of wotaku, but found the male lead funnier, which I'm attributing to him be more deadpan.
Lenlo
We found a convient weekend for everyone
Kaiser-Eoghan
*watching
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would also float the idea of recommendation podcasts every now and then.
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