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Violet Evergarden – 04 »« Violet Evergarden – 02

Violet Evergarden – 03

OP Sequence

OP: 「Sincerely」 by TRUE

「「あなたが、良き自動手記人形になりますように」」 (‘Anata ga, Yoki Jidou Shuki Ningyou ni Narimasu You ni)
“‘May You Be an Exemplary Auto-Memoir Doll’”

Violet is a robot. Sure, she’s not entirely mechanical but for our purposes there is little difference between a robot made of steel and oil one made of flesh and blood. We’re talking about intelligence here, human versus artificial, and Violet is certainly more of the latter than the former. She has, from appearances, the barest functional programming for her to masquerade in human society and little of the extra trimmings that can constitute what we might call a personality. If that’s all Violet is ever going to be, that would be boring. Dumb robots don’t make for much of a protagonist — the drink dispenser at your local train station makes for a perfectly functional robot but nobody is going to make an anime about it. We’re three episodes in and Violet still basically has one routine (receive orders from the major or his proxy => execute) so it’s high time that character development (i.e. the development of any character at all) took root and she graduated from being a dumb robot to being a thinking robot.

Thus, Prussian education, a comfortable fit for an ex-soldier like Violet. Or it would have been if this was just a class on speed-typing, but if it was then Violet wouldn’t need to be there in the first place. It goes entirely as one might predict: Violet has all the mechanics of the job mastered, but lacks any sort of social skill and that should rightfully be a failing grade. Perhaps such a telegraphed line of plot is a minus to some, but I don’t think this episode was ever intended to be shocking schoolhouse drama. Rather, it marks a transition in Violet Evergarden. As I noted last week, the series has been in something of a prologue-mode thus far, but the introduction of the OP and ED marks a turning point. The central motif of Violet Evergarden is letters and the story cannot be said to have truly begun until Violet begins to write them in earnest. Thus this rite-of-passage, bridging that gap between Violet the dumb robot and Violet the professional Auto-Memoir Doll.

This is a transition not just in theme but also in form. You may remember my discussions about the structure of the light novel, about how it was more of an episodic format with each chapter a short story. Harken back, if you will, to Shigofumi. It was a episodic anime about delivering letters, in this case for the dead, and more of a thriller than Violet Evergarden will ever attempt to be, but the parallels are obvious. In particular, it was strongest when it pulled away from the central character, telling stories around her rather than about her, and you’ll find that many other episodic anime are like that too. Here is where I ritually plug Mushishi: the tale of the titular mushi-shi is told through the world and the people he interacts with, and so shall it be, I suspect, with Violet Evergarden. Already, this episode shifts focus to a secondary character, one Lucuria (Tadokoro Azusa). With Violet still emotionally stunted, it is through Lucuria’s love and loss that she learns, much more than she does in a classroom. Here I reference Mushishi again, an anime that aimed to inspired through beauty, and Violet Evergarden attempts it to; there is a certain beauty to the unconditional love shown to the deadbeat brother no matter how far he fell. Art makes us ‘feel’ with that kind of inspiration, and that’s what moves Violet as well: a certain ephemeral beauty that gives her memories emotional texture.

Her task, though, is to distil all those feelings into words which is, pardon the pun, easier said than done. Has that not been the eternal struggle of even the most fluent poets from since language was still young? Ever more the barrier for someone like Violet, and I’m glad she managed find her own, personal solution to her problem. If she lacks tact and nuance, then her strength is in being honest and direct. People are
complicated. Emotions are turgid. So while Violet is incapable of florid prose, to be able to draw out the singular truth behind
all the tears is a powerful thing.

And that’s how I see Violet Evergarden will be going from now on, with the titular Auto-Memoir Doll performing these services for a variety of clients. Violet Evergarden has been taking things fairly slowly thus far — a deliberate choice, probably, considering that there’s not really all that much light novel to adapt — but I think we’re coming upon its true form. If you saw the thematic potential in Shigufumi, or enjoyed the by-the-episode contemplation of Mushishi, then I think Violet Evergarden is a keeper. Or maybe the taste of drama this episode hit the right notes for you. Or maybe you just want to admire the production values. At the very least, the first three episodes definitely makes a solid case for Violet Evergarden deserving a few more. It took some time to get here, but I can finally say: we’re off to a good start.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「みちしるべ」 (MIchisurube) by 茅原実里 (Chihara Minori)

January 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm
43 comments »
  • January 25, 2018 at 12:05 pmWorldwidedepp

    Ep 03:

    This time Violet got help from an “friend”.. Perhaps she even do not knew the meaning of Friend yet. But she…she made an little step into this direction

    Yeap… Also, perhaps it is me. But seems like they reduced the “fog” of the Cinema effect on the Episode. Sure there was here and there some fog, but the great wide landscape scenes where “clear as the Blue sky”

    Violet made an small step progression, with some help

    p.s. Of course this focus on ex-soldiers that come back from the War.. with all visible and hidden scares on their Heart and Body

    Thats why it remember me a little bit of “From Up on poppy hill”

    copy & pasted (and thx for putting the episode live)

    • January 25, 2018 at 12:06 pmWorldwidedepp

      Also my reddit entry:

      Violet need to read many “books” not standard School Books. No, Books that use the letters to “display” the feelings of the Persons living inside the Books, the world of Books that play inside (or life) the Readers mind. And she can only compare the “illusion” with things she know.. But since Violet not saw man things, just only War and destruction. She should focus on the “good strong” memories with her beloved Major outside of the Battlefield, with Happy time, also with sad times.. all kind of feelings

      Violet need to expand her horizon of feelings, and since Cinema is out of question, she needs help from an Author.. and i can see already the Author… So in some case i can predict the chemistry between Violet and her “Megame” Auto doll buddy or their future bonding

      Example: “Violet, please use the first words that come into your mind, when you are watching an Sunrise over the mountain”… “To give you an wide knowing of words, please read Books that try to explain this scenery with their own words… try to understand the Base and then write it with your own Words and Feelings”

      If there would be an Cinema nearby she should watch many Films.. best thing would be “Silent Movies”, because they use Letters on screen and all other feelings is inside the user mind. Now you know how important Music can me to invoke feelings

      copy & pasted

    • January 25, 2018 at 2:40 pmScruffy

      Can you please not reply to yourself all the time? It’s kinda rude and pollutes the thread. If you want to have a discussion with yourself do it BEFORE you post.

      • January 25, 2018 at 9:46 pmWorldwidedepp

        I try, but every time i fail.

      • January 26, 2018 at 10:32 pmPetit

        @WWD You can always try using the “Preview Comment” button more.

      • January 27, 2018 at 1:56 amWorldwidedepp

        Yes, i know. But my “sin” is that i have different Layers of thinking and analyzing.. So there is every time the urge to haven an “edit” button to add more

  • January 25, 2018 at 12:15 pmPyon

    Visuals are simply godlike, again (less ‘fog’ this ep?), but what I am loving even more this time is music. Opening and ending aren’t maybe the kind of songs that you want to have on your playlist and listen to everyday, but damn they just fit so well to this series. The tracks through the episode intensify the feels and emotions and I absolutely fell for the one that played during the scene where Luculia’s brother reads the letter.

    Great episode, I am gonna repeat myself but really enjoying pacing so far. We already see some small character development for Violet and Luculia turned out to be just lovely (waifu material), but I wonder if she was introduced to be just an episodic character or we’ll be having her back in future. As for first there episodes, I am all satisfied.

  • January 25, 2018 at 1:22 pmAngelus

    They definitely did reduce the DoF effect in some shots, but that made it even more annoying when they went back to using it. Sorry, but I’m with Millais and Rossetti here.

    But that’s not my biggest gripe with this episode. So suddenly Private Robogarden is able to discern someone’s true emotions and properly put them into words. Why? How? What changed? When exactly did she become less, well, autistic?

    • January 25, 2018 at 2:47 pmLin

      Violet’s problem is not so much a lack of understanding of emotions. She lived with Gilvert for years so she must have picked up a basic understanding of feelings at least. Her problem was more a lack empathy, of being interested enough in people other than Gilvert to actually want to help them express their feelings from the bottom of her heart. The episode addresses this by having Lucuria be the one to get close to Violet first and help her out. That made Violet want to do her best to help her out, and that was all she needed.

    • January 26, 2018 at 1:11 amMockman

      To add to the above… Luculia did one other important thing. With her questions, her story, and her own reactions, she tied the idea of emotions to the major and when she revealed her own, Violet was moved and made a connection.

      As an aside, it may be premature to have given her the pin/brooch, as she basically just wrote the last words that Luculia told her, but I guess that in a nutshell, this was what Luculia was unable to say. And given the circumstances, I guess the instructor fell Violet’s trajectory would get her there.

  • January 25, 2018 at 2:43 pmbassgs435

    You know, Anime Violet (I call her Anime Violet, because apparetly she has differences in characterization from the LN) reminds me of Sousuke Sagara, it’s part of why I like her and the show as an FMP fan waiting for the new season. It’s funny because FMP Fumoffu and The Second Raid were both done by Kyoani
    I also love the OST and how the show looks

  • January 25, 2018 at 3:13 pmNaweGR

    “the drink dispenser at your local train station makes for a perfectly functional robot but nobody is going to make an anime about it”

    This week, Sprite-chan and Dr Pepper-san visit their old friend Soft-Ice-Cream-kun and discuss the latest changes happening to the old train station. Tune in for this week’s CRGDCT (Cute Robot Girls Doing Cute Things) episode of “My Childhood Friend is a Drink Dispenser”.

    You know this will be coming out Spring 2020 by somebody…

    • January 25, 2018 at 4:30 pmruicarlov

      You beat me to it. After all, we had an anime about empty cans. Why not the drink dispenser?
      It’s the next logical step, Japan.

    • January 25, 2018 at 5:05 pmVelvet Scarlantina

      You know… All you have to do is to put it on Twitter and you get magic. Never underestimate the power of The Collective

    • January 25, 2018 at 5:56 pmPasserby

      I’d watch it.

    • January 26, 2018 at 4:42 amAriff

      You just made me remembered anime “Akikan!”

  • January 25, 2018 at 3:20 pmVelvet Scarlantina

    I think a few things are happening here but more so I think the focus would be on how war vetrans reintegrate back to normal society. Both Violet and Luculia’s brother represent this. Both of them are having difficulty reintegrating back to normal life and both still carry the scars of war in their own ways. Luculia also represents the part of war that is often overlooked or glossed over when it comes to war.

    http://randomc.net/image/Violet%20Evergarden/Violet%20Evergarden%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2028.jpg
    In Violet, we have the vetran that is still psychologically entrenched in the military mindset and the only way of life that they know is the military lifestyle. I remembered reading about this in a book years ago and it can be an uphill battle to make the switch for some.

    http://randomc.net/image/Violet%20Evergarden/Violet%20Evergarden%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2021.jpg
    In Luculia brother we have the broken war veteran. The PTSD looks and feels real. His PTSD and his broken physical and spiritual self seems to be a call back to war vetrans who have been physically and emotionally scarred by wars. As morbid or as tragic it maybsound, if Violet hadn’t found him, he might have opted to end his suffering from the top of the building.

    http://randomc.net/image/Violet%20Evergarden/Violet%20Evergarden%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2010.jpg
    In Luculia, we have the families broken by the war. I must say that she has great mental fortitude to have continued to support her brother though what makes her even more human is her moment with Violet at the end of the show when she laid bare her feelings.

    At the end of the day, supporting and rehabilitating war vetrans after a war is very vital to the mental and physical health of all its participants. Fortunately for they 3 of them, they got the happy end that they were searching for.

    I know that this might not be the OLNY theme in this episode though thus far, I think that you guys have teased those out better than me. Plus does anyone feel that this is an alternate post WW1 setting? Charging across No Man’s Land in Violet’s flashback seems to suggest so

    • January 25, 2018 at 5:56 pmPasserby

      It’s an alternate fantasy Europe in most senses. The geography’s been shuffled around but it uses some familiar motifs.

    • January 25, 2018 at 7:32 pmkollie

      It is a fantasy setting. They even bothered to have a world map detailing each location presented in the anime as the episodes go on, which is a nice way to allow viewers to become more invested in the world: http://violet-evergarden.jp/world/

      • January 25, 2018 at 8:27 pmVelvet Scarlantina

        Looks like Australia

      • January 28, 2018 at 7:40 pmScruffy

        @Velvet Scarlantina

        Definitely fantasy Australia. They even have Tasmania there! BUT it’s WAY too green, especially as one of those areas was fantasy Perth and the other fantasy Adelaide.

  • January 25, 2018 at 3:33 pmRenaSayers

    A robot, artificial intelligence? Who are you referring to? Violet isn’t Chii from Chobits, Violet can’t empathise or relate to other for she herself never had the same experience as .any others that will her to respond the way people would expect. Violet was used for other people’s means and closed off to the rest of the world. Violet’s detached responses are evidence she is missing critical experiences people would can during child growth. Violet isn’t artificial she’s a victim of child neglect.

    • January 25, 2018 at 5:51 pmPasserby

      My point was, as it was last week, that it doesn’t really matter how she got the way she is. For story purposes, she is a robot. That’s been her development, going from only following orders to having a will of her own, then having a personality of her own. That’s why Violet Evergarden is always drawing comparisons between her and actual ‘Dolls’, to ask whether she manages to be anything more than a robot and highlighting that she does.

    • January 25, 2018 at 5:56 pmsealouse

      Indeed. I wonder if they go into detail exactly where she came from before she was given to the Major.

      • January 26, 2018 at 6:35 pmrenasayers

        My best guess, Violet was an orphan.

  • January 25, 2018 at 5:55 pmstarss

    Wait no one is allowed to even ask the typing speed on the first day of school?? … and why do they include learning LETTERS in the curriculum? When was kindergarten invented? Is this world functioning around the same way? I feel like there’s an entire manual companion to this anime that we’re sorely missing out on, because I DO NOT know why a good portion of grown adults in this show can’t write.

    • January 25, 2018 at 6:03 pmPasserby

      Universal literacy is actually a relatively modern invention — and we still haven’t completely achieved it yet even today.

      • January 29, 2018 at 9:11 ammegalith

        Funny enough there are so many frustrations some viewers are experiencing(Not regarding Violet) that would be valid IF this show was set in modern era. Sadly it’s not.

        And some of these still are a truth that no one would ever believe. If only they were in my shoes back then were they would meet the rural folks I’ve encountered. All I can say they lived their lives to only what they needed to survive and literacy wasn’t one of them.

    • January 25, 2018 at 7:02 pmDavid

      Real-world time analog appears to be between 1885 (invention of the car) and 1920 (end of WW1). The Model T (first mass-produced car for the general public) was first produced in 1908. If yesterday’s letter about the woman who wanted to marry the car guy who wanted to put a car in every home was obliquely referencing Henry Ford, that puts the time at around 1905. The typewriter was invented in 1868, and the ones they are using appear similar to examples shown from 1911.

      Overall, I’d date the story at the equivalent of between 1900 and 1905.

      In 1900, between 33% (Eastern Europe) and 80% (Western Europe) the population were enrolled in schools. Such percentages would be about 10-15 years ahead of actual literacy rates for adults, so drop back to 1890, for 30% to 75%.

      Overall, I’d guess that only maybe half the population can read or write, and even many of those that can aren’t going to use it often enough to be truly fluent.

      Further, we’ve already been told that most people don’t know how to read or write. Enough people do that they can run a business, but I’d guess that almost none of the “blue collar” equivalents can do so. (And the lady in episode 2 was shown to be a physical laborer type, despite how she dressed up, which explained why she needed their services.)

      As for typing speed… What is that even going to mean to most people? 200 characters per minute? That’s about 33 words per minute, which is a decent beginner typing speed, but without the context of what typing speed means to most people, it’s just gibberish. So they give them something a bit more relatable — roughly the rate at which someone would speak. They can work with that just by reading what they’re transcribing in their head, and trying to keep pace with that.

      Basically, this doesn’t need a manual; just a small bit of basic knowledge about history.

    • January 26, 2018 at 3:33 pmSDFGS

      Man, I love it when people get frustrated with a show over something that’s so common knowledge. It’s astounding that some people don’t even know that being literate was a luxury, not a necessity back then. Full grown adults could have gone through their life without going to school. Being educated wasn’t exactly enforced in the past. As long as you were able to work (essentially blue collar) and support your family, that’s all that really mattered. Now this day and age where it’s basically enforced that children have the capability to be functional by teaching everyone how to read and write, the only ones with actual issues would be those with learning disabilities. So yeah, in short my snarky comment is….have you seriously not learned anything in your school about the early 1900s and before? At one point this stuff is covered.

      • January 29, 2018 at 8:59 ammegalith

        It’s definitely something we take for granted.

        Much like the other daily life commodities.

  • January 25, 2018 at 6:03 pmsealouse

    I don’t understand what it is about this show, but it draws out so much emotion. It’s almost like there’s some kind of subliminal message in the soundtrack or animation. Or it could just be that good. I hope it can maintain this quality till the end.

  • January 25, 2018 at 6:15 pmOne Pinch Man

  • January 25, 2018 at 7:28 pmkollie

    http://randomc.net/image/Violet%20Evergarden/Violet%20Evergarden%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2034.jpg

    Interestingly, this was another anime-original episode, and probably a necessary one to set the groundwork of what is to come. I hope Luculia is here to stay, however. I really liked her character and would like to learn more about her. Starting next week, we will probably see the episodic aspect that was featured in much of the LN, structured in a similar way to this episode. I’m enjoying the pace this is going at and am excited to see more. Given they have already used 3 episodes with original content dispersed with some scenes from the LNs, I wonder how much they will adapt.

    http://randomc.net/image/Violet%20Evergarden/Violet%20Evergarden%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2033.jpg

    And it was strange that after failing the Doll course, her one letter written to Luculia’s brother was enough to allow her to graduate. Given, it is not necessary to have the school’s graduating brooch to become a Doll, it kind of diminishes the value of having that course in the first place.

    The OP sequence was underwhelming despite TRUE’s efforts. It was rather mundane and slow (fitting), but nothing much came out of it. I liked the ED sequence, despite my mixed feelings towards Minori Chihara’s singing voice.

  • January 25, 2018 at 7:45 pmmegalith

    When I heard Lucilia and how sweet she sounded, then that scene brought back PTSDs.
    Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

  • January 26, 2018 at 7:14 amtheirs

    As an Auto-Memoir Doll, I think Violet is currently suited only for certain types of clients. Those like Luculia certainly fits the bill. Still not sure if she can omit things that shouldn’t be said, but at least she can get the point across. She certainly deserved that badge. Would love to see how she slowly grows throughout the series. Also those people she meets that manages to influence her.

    Hopefully this does better than Shigofumi, as I really can’t remember how it ended. Looking at this episode, the similarities are certainly there. Hopefully the chronological order will end this on a high note.

    • January 26, 2018 at 4:57 pmRedjuice Fan

      The only thing I remember from Shigofumi is a letter from a child to the mother. It’s just a hand print.

  • January 26, 2018 at 1:53 pmChris hall

  • January 26, 2018 at 10:34 pmLittle Tangerine

    Is it just me or is Violet’s char design getting prettier and more intricate with each passing episode?

  • January 27, 2018 at 12:56 aminfo600

    My take for this week in the reddit comment section:

    Wow, the loss of words when Luculia-san realized how emotionally broken Violet-chan was (and it took the entire afternoon, ouch)…

    And then Violet finally understood the emotions needed to convey (instead of a bland report). Also, she finally started to change her way of saying from “my mission” and used something else instead (“my duty” and “a letter”).

    And so goes the 3 episode litmus test for this series, with the result of a yes; with the three episodes being able to establish the story and the “main character” (air-quoted since the original LN apparently has Violet being more of a background character in the main chapters ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

    Addendum to the ‘Luculia + Violet ghost writing’ – when Luculia finally opened up on how she felt on her only family coming back to her alive, then the sound of her brother being beaten up with the clock tower as the sole visual.

    It felt more like the emotionless tower (Violet) is finally feeling the emotion being beaten in.

    …Words can’t really describe how powerful that scene was…

    Anyways…The song in the OP feels rather upbeat even when the lyrics certainly isn’t, at least the ED felt right at home with the over arching theme for this show (I personally like the song for the ED – ie. come at me bro @Passerby :P).

  • January 27, 2018 at 3:21 amonion warrior

    http://randomc.net/image/Violet%20Evergarden/Violet%20Evergarden%20-%20OP%20-%20Large%2001.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Violet%20Evergarden/Violet%20Evergarden%20-%20ED%20-%20Large%2004.jpg
    Both OP and ED were glorious. Besides KoiAme’s ED Ref:rain by Aimer, VE ED has a good emotional tune for me as well <3

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