Violet Evergarden: Season 1 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

100% (1)

Violet Evergarden is one of the few animes which match beautiful visuals with a story that will, in time, rock your heart and inspire tears.


Network
Netflix
Creator Akatsuki Kana
Noted Cast
Violet Ishikawa Yui
Major Gilbert Namikawa Daisuke
Claudia Koyasu Takehito
Luculia Tadokoro Azusa
Charlotte Megumi Nakajima
Ann Morohoshi Sumire
Oscar Satoshi Taki
Cattleya Endou Aya
Erica Chihara Minori
Benedict Uchiyama Kouki
Diethard Kiuchi Hidenobu
Iris Tomatsu Haruka

Summary

14-year-old Violet has been through quite a bit. Orphaned so young she couldn’t even describe her parents, not until she was perhaps 11 or 12 did she get a proper name. Of which came after she was given to a man named Gilbert to be a murdering tool. Yes, this young girl lived the majority of her life known as an object, a possible child soldier. Yet, Major Gilbert put in place the foundation so Violet could be more than that. He gave her a name, set up a life for her post-war, and introduced her to the idea of belonging – feeling loved.

Yet, with his death, that numbness returned and she experienced arrested development for some time. Perhaps intentionally to protect herself or maybe because she truly was naïve about her father, or older brother figure’s, ultimate fate. Either way, Gilbert’s friend Claudia provides Violet the kind of job [note]Being an auto memory doll, aka writer[/note] which coerces her to use empathy, tap into her emotions, and with that, she grows. Not without some growing pains, since it seems no one really pushed her to talk about her feelings before. However, once she opens up and experiences the pain and heartache of life, once those feelings past she ends up with the beauty of it all as well.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What was Diethard doing with Violet before he gave her to Gilbert? Heck, what was she doing before Diethard took or bought her?

Highlights

It’s Visually Beautiful

Charlotte bowing and pressing her forehead to Alberta's hand.

Noting how something is visually stunning isn’t said often on this site because usually style, like violence and sex, is used to compensate for substance. However, with Violet Evergarden, that isn’t the case. The beauty of the pastures and clothing we see on episodic characters, it is like the paintings you see in shops. Visually stunning, though between the price and not being your style, you don’t buy them.

But it is the way emotions are shown which will really get you. Never mind the beauty of a landscape but how, without that bastard CGI, you are given a full breadth of humanity in art. Thus leading you to go beyond awe but find yourself in tears.

The Episodic Characters

Oscar crying.

For many shows, after a certain point, episodic characters used to be signposts for a character’s growth get old. Which I won’t pretend may not happen as you watch Violet Evergarden. However, the only reason it may get old for you is because they come one after another and sort of begin to compete with each other. However, on their own, Luculia, Charlotte, Ann, and Oscar’s stories are so wonderfully done it is almost hard to imagine they belong to the same show. They seem like OVAs of some famed writer known for emotionally touching short stories.

Oscar’s in particular, where the .gif comes from, had me in tears and I’m talking getting choked up kind of tears. As did Ann and I believe the rest mentioned. And mind you, for those not noted, it isn’t like those are the ones which give you a break or suffer from the stakes being raised. More so, you see that not every episode is meant to be seen or made into a tear jerker. Some are just about characters figuring out what they want to do and validating that decision.

Violet’s Painful Growth As A Character

Violet holding the brooch Major Gilbert gave her

From a child soldier to a young woman, living on her own, going through puberty, and dealing with emotions she never really got the tools to handle. It is quite a bit for a young woman to deal with, mostly on her own. Especially since her teachers don’t get to fully show her the whole way. Gilbert begins the journey but adds to her trauma. Charlotte introduces love, Luculia introduces friendship, Oscar helps push the idea of loss and mourning, and Ann, in a way she makes Violet feel less alone in the idea that she was the only one who went through some of the stuff she did.

And all of this, it makes you realize that as much as Violet sometimes just seems like a medium for their various stories, when you cry for them you ultimately are crying for her. If only because they had, or have, some sort of backup or memory to survive with. Meanwhile, Violet has but one thing, which is always around her neck, to remind her of the last time she perhaps was truly happy and felt like she had purpose.

Low Points

We Didn’t Really Learn Much About Cattleya, Erica, and Benedict

Erica, Cattleya, and Iris.

In a way it felt kind of weird how we got so engrossed in characters lives we saw for one or two episodes but those who were around since the beginning, they don’t really get highlighted. This especially becomes weird when one of Violet’s co-workers, Iris, she gets featured yet we learn only bits and pieces about the rest. Erica, in particular, is one you may feel deserved to be fleshed out the most since she started off so interesting in side eyeing Violet and seeming like she had some form of longing. Yet, before you know it, like Benedict, you barely take note of their existence or have questions.

As for Cattleya, you get little bits of information here. However, the problem with her is, unless you really give a damn about her, or check out recaps or take notes, you’ll forget most of her story. You may remember she was one of the first auto memory dolls, but as for what her relationship is with Claudia and her life before working with him? If you rewatch you’ll get some tidbits but despite how she becomes a maternal or older sister figure to Violet, she remains quite bare.

On The Fence

The Gardarik Rebels

Merkulov noting his reasons for leading the rebel group.

The war with Gardarik is a consistent presence in the series, especially since it just recently ended. Which makes the presence of the Gardarik rebels welcomed because they represent how the transition to peace isn’t smooth and it correlates well to how the transition to normalcy isn’t smooth for Violet. However, when the two come together, their plight, the Gardarik Rebels, becomes an episodic tale and it sort of demotes their story into something… I don’t want to say diminutive, but it definitely softens their impact.

Especially considering some stories, like Charlotte’s, rest on the idea that the peace is uneasy and seriously threatened. So with how the rebels fight ends, while it is part of the closure package, it seems like it shouldn’t have been handled so easily.

Overall: Positive (Watch This)

Cattleya thanking someone for using the Auto Memory Doll Service.

Heartbreaking yet nourishing, Violet Evergarden is a treat for the senses. Seeing beautiful sceneries and a wealth of emotion causes you to react in such a way we aren’t treated to every anime season. We get many a sob story in shows with characters losing their parents, friends, lovers, dealing with insecurities and more, but a lot of times such issues are used as a cheap hook. Something to quickly get you emotionally invested as their underdog story begins.

Violet Evergarden doesn’t do that. Similar to The Ancient Magus’ Bride, our lead characters trauma isn’t a hook or gimmick, it is an obstacle they are forced to deal with in order to evolve. And more often than not, through the people they meet who had their own journeys, dealt with their own trauma, they figure out ways to deal with their own. If not end up coming face to face with it and coming to terms it exists.

Hence the positive label for most shows just don’t feel like they put in consistent effort to be both visually appealing and to emotionally resonate. It’s usually one or the other and while Violet Evergarden isn’t without flaws, and you may get used to certain elements which could feel like a ploy for tears, the experience will mostly be positive. Pushing you to hope the gap between a show like this and what you find next that can create such a reaction within you isn’t too long.

Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: No, though it seems series director Taichi Ishidate might have plans for a season 2 – per Inquisitr.


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Episode List

Episode 1
While beautifully animated, some may find struggle to find meaningful substance behind Violet Evergarden’s awe-inspiring visuals.
Episode 2
With the influx of some new characters, Violet Evergarden has definitely become the type of show worth your loyalty (and wait for whenever it comes out in the US)
Episode 3
After struggling to express herself, a young woman named Luculia seemingly breaks through and helps Violet become in touch with her feelings.
Episode 4
As Violet Evergarden continues to win you over with visuals, it also makes another effort of having heart through introducing Iris’ backstory.
Episode 5
It seems, officially, Violet has mastered being a doll. Leading to the next arc: Her being a cold-blooded killer.
Episode 6
Violet once again travels off to a distant place for work and while she sees one old friend, her focus is getting to know and revealing herself to a new one.
Episode 7
After Violet helps a man heal from a very traumatic moment, she is forced to come to terms with truth she has been avoiding about herself and Major Gilbert.
Episode 8
After dancing around it for awhile, we finally get a full episode of Violet’s past. At least from meeting Major Gilbert to the height of his military career.
Episode 9
As Violet succumbs to PTSD and depression, so comes the question of not only does she have the right to live but her purpose.
Episode 10
Sensitive souls beware, Violet’s latest assignment deals with a young girl and her sickly mother.
Episode 11
The Gardarik rebels slowly come into focus as Violet has to go into a battleground to deliver what may be one soldier’s final message to his loved ones. Leading you to wonder, will they inspire old Violet to come out?
Episode 12
The long-simmering rebel groups of Gardarik make their move and push Violet to disobey Major Gilbert’s final order.
Episode 13
Violet Evergarden ends with closure for fans and the character, and once again you need to plan to shed tears.

How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive

About Amari Sali 3330 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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