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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