「「人を結ぶ手紙を書くのか？」」 (‘Hito o Musubu Tegami o Kaku no ka?’)
“You Write Letters That Brings People Together?”
To think: Violet is capable of the florid prose and vapid verse required of a love letter. How far she has come. Sure, she still can’t help but be a creepy Doll most of the time (are we plugging Darker than BLACK? We’re plugging Darker than BLACK), but she has enough professional experience to cover for that, at least. What do they say? Fake it until you make it? Sounds about right. The time-skip definitely did Violet a lot of good, and I’d say it did the show a lot of good as well. To be completely honest, of all the things to trust to carry a story, characters pack the least punch. Characters are the part of the story that both take the longest to develop and have the most subjective appeal. I keep beating this dead horse every week, but we don’t really want to focus on Violet that much. If we look at Mushishi, one of the giants of episodic anime, the titular mushi-shi starts from episode 01 as a fully developed character. Little time is spent on explaining his circumstances, and his strong presence is used to enable other stories that are not really about him. So too should it be with Violet Evergarden; with this time-skip she’s finally mostly grown into her job as an Auto-Memoir Doll, and so the anime can pull back from her a bit to show other interesting things, like the setting or some minor characters. I often refer to Violet as a robot as far as her narrative role goes, and the Isaac Asimov tradition of narrative robots is that they are mirrors held up to humanity, simplified versions of us that reveal something about how we are. That’s what Violet is good at; she is strongest when she has someone else to reflect. More the moon than the sun, so to speak.
So while this anime will always be about Violet (it’s got her name on it, after all), this episode gets to dabble around with a royal wedding. You may have heard that they’re going to have another one of those over in the UK soon, and those are always a gala of pageantry and excess. As they should be; if the royal family is good for one thing, it’s tourism dollars, and the more extravagant an arbitrary event is the better. But they always sell a very romanticised, Disney fairytale version of the royal engagement, perhaps brushing over the its more pragmatic historical purpose (and even today there are rules about who the royals are allowed to marry). Anyone who has played enough grand strategy games can tell you that princesses have one use: purely cynical political arrangements. Just ask Queen Victoria. And for a moment, I thought that would be the story of Charlotte as well, of a princess fed up with her lot in life, pining to run away and join the circus. But the twist, if you can it that: she pushed for the marriage, or at least the particular suitor, herself! It’s a rather pragmatic kind of empowerment, neither fully rejecting her social position nor fully bowing to it, and I like it. But no matter its practicality, it’s marketed as a fairytale romance, and the crux of the episode, I think, is about words as fiction. Violet, as Charlotte’s ghostwriter, composes all sorts of pretty love letters to create the fairytale even though the couple has met each other all but once. It’s a beautiful story, but entirely fictional, and the implication is that this isn’t quite right. But doesn’t Violet Evergarden spin a fairytale of its own? That being open and honest so naturally leads to love and respect? Perhaps that’s the point. There is worth in this fiction. Fiction may not be real, but there can be a visceral truth in it all the same. There is worth in how the world should be no matter how it actually is.
It all works out rather well, Violet did a great job, everything seems sunshine and lollipops and rainbows. Unfortunately, since Violet Evergarden wants an overarching narrative, though, we can’t leave that there, which means this is a good time for a crisis point! The first volume of the light novel actually had one like this (but rather milder) in one of its later chapters, right before it dove deep into Violet’s sordid past. I wonder if that’s what the anime is about to do? I hope Gilbert’s brother isn’t showing up just to tear Violet down after how far she’s come. Taking one step forward then two steps back is awfully frustrating.
This show is really reminding me of Death Parade. Kind of how Decim and Onna were developed through episodic plots revolving side character.
I digress. Now we get to a point where Violet is capable of writing good letters. Even though it’s a romantic prose, it still can feel empty to certain people. At this point, it was a really nice of Violet to bring them together and write their own feelings themselves.
This ep had great things going for it. Really liked the last part between Charlotte and Alberta.
Last but not the least, Megumi Nakajima’s first role in a KyoAni show! I hope she works with them again in the future.
This episode was the best one for me yet.
I don’t know why it exactly was such a good episode for me but I think that it has
to with that Violet Evergarden shapes up to be a good period drama.
And I am a sucker for those, I found the relationship betweet Charlotte and Damian nicely done.
But the one between Alberta and Charlotte even better, you could tell that Alberta also loved her dearly.
Violet did the right thing here and she went beyond her ‘mission’ which was good progress.
The quistion for me is, is Violet even a robot? She say’s she is an orphan… maybe she is partly designend…
How human is she? Not only in emotions but in a physical way? I am looking forward to finding out!
My prediction is that Violet is actualy human but brainwashed from a young age and later got her prosthetic arms.
It is not that she has no emotions it is that they are burried deep underground in her subcouncenche.
I could be wrong but still something to think about.
Also her major is probaly dead but maybe just maybe he is in a coma…
Just wishfull thinking on my part ;).
Because wouldn’t it be sad if Violet finally realizes her feelings and he is no longer there…
Oh you gotta love these moments, when everything goes all too good, we learn about emotions, we write love letters, look at flowers and rainbows and just everyone is happy. And when you think it’s gonna be another cheerful episode, there must be that guy who appears out of nowhere and just ruins the mood saying things like ‘you killed my men’ or ‘you have bloodstained hands that have taken countless lives’.
Why for once we can’t have nice things, just write some letters, make people happy and go home?
(Well sure, the two last ones were like that, but a couple of more wouldn’t hurt)
Jokes aside, I actually enjoyed this time skip (which rarely happens with time skips in my case), it surprisingly didn’t feel rushed, and there is no need to say that Violet made a huge progress since she started her career as Doll, although still acting a bit ‘creepy’ as you mention. Really, just great episode, not much to complain about.
And can we stop for a moment to discuss how Violet turns out to be just 14 years old? It can’t be her real age, judging by her looks at least, right? Right?
Have you watched Gurren Lagann? This is 14 in anime. Yeah.
Ah, Yoko. Yeah. Good memories.
Retconned to 18 in the movie, without any change to the character design.
True. It’s an apocalyptic world. Yoko came from an underground clan who didn’t have the standard calendar that we use. She was clearly labeled as an age younger than she actually is.
…How old do you think she was?
I’m just so happy i finally got to see Violet showing emotion, that smile made a big smile for me when i saw it near at the end x3
I don’t “enjoy” Violet Evergarden, and not I understand why: it’s just not for me.
It’s not interesting, for me.
The world, the characters, are not interesting, for me.
Even not that the premise is cristal clear, in the sense that the story IS about IT, still isn’t interesting.
Violet Evergarden is about love, and Violet understanding what love is and what love means for her. It is just about this and nothing more.
Every episode was a little self contained story that showed Violet a different manifestation of love, filling her with information and experiences to judge for herself and comprehend better what love is.
But I still can’t enjoy this any, unfortunately, because the art and direction if fantastic.
Maybe the biggest responsible is the music, always in stark contrast with the subdued style of the direction. More range would fix almost all my annoyances.
It’s a rare case where the quality of production seems to be “too much”.
Now I just want to way and see what this anime achieves at the end with this story about love.
Have to agree with you on this. There are some parts of the show thus far that makes me question why I come back to it weekly.
Though it’s turning out better than a certain Redjuice anime which is feeling rather disappointing.
Seriously, Violet is 14?! I thought she is early 20s.
I’m just glad he didn’t turn out to be a stereotypical jerkass prince.
Well she said she was TOLD she was 14, so there’s some room for interpretation.
This isn’t an empowerment film like Frozen after all, where they confessed they had the prince they had initially written, simply be evil just to provide an antagonist to the story in place of Elsa herself. So thankful there are less blatant and much more sophisticated foil characters in most popular anime series.
I liked the episode but I didn’t understand the part about Alberta.
Are we supposed to think that the rulers of two countries don’t even have the power to hire somebody in their castle/mansion?
And what is Alberta thinking of doing after Charlotte leave since the castle will be empty?
That’s the only part I didn’t like, they both seemed to care for the other a lot, so it didn’t make sense that they couldn’t continue to stay together.
It’s one of those things where the staff basically comes with the castle. Alberta’s likely sworn to the main royal family, not Charlotte herself, and since Charlotte is joining Damian’s family the oath only goes so far. Plus, Alberta was essentially Charlotte’s nanny – she’d be expected out outgrow such things, regardless.
My bad, I thought their parents both died and she was basically the only one left.
I just remembered the brief scene where she try to convince her father, so he must still be alive.
It makes sense then that Alberta may have to stay.
… okay. Ya did it, KyoAni. Ya finally made a Violet Evergarden episode that made me cry. Especially when I know this is the kind of show that tries to force melodrama on you way too strongly. It was the ending where Charlette was saying good-bye to her maid and probably the one person in the world who knew her the best and the longest (she delivered her from the womb!), and her following defrosting where she broke down crying too. And that SMILE from Violet. <3 This time, I think it's also because Violet not only wrote an intelligent and articulate letter but she understood the emotion of where the words were coming from! True, the idea of an arranged marriage to an underage girl is uncomfortable, and people are upset that she just decided this guy she barely knows WILL be a great husband, but I chalk that up to the customs of this alternate historical setting.
This definitely my best moment this week. Dang man, i got goosebumps and teary all over when Charlotte kneel down and display her moment of affection, humility, sincerity and gratitude to Alberta for taking care of her to who she is til now. She was indeed childish, a bit selfish and naive at the beginning, but now shes leaving her nest to become someone’s bride and future queen, i can imagine the weight in Alberta’s heart to finally see Charlotte all grown up, walking her own path with Alberta no longer by her side. A beautiful “mother-daughter” relationship.
I was a bit worried to see how VE handles their episodes after what happen last week. I was like, what happen to this anime? Ep. 3 was great, i definitely loved Luculia’s story, but not so much with Iris’, a bit forced tbh. But im glad theyre back with bittersweet stories like this one. Best episode this week. <3
The reveal of Violet’s age is giving me flashbacks of realizing how Robin from Witch Hunter Robin is 15….
So both Violet and Charlotte are 14… Animes…
Apart from that : best episode of the show so far but still lacking something, can’t tell what. We’ll see what comes next I guess.
For me is a mix of expectations not reached yet, the slow start and I’m not so sure is pretentiousness on kyoani’s part, specially in visuals and the fact this is the only story they ever considered as a winner of their price. I have the impression they are showing off before getting serious and for now it seems for me a little shallow. Hibike Euphonium was already in full motion at this rate for example.
That is…absolutely not it. It seems that the way the second novel made them unable to take advantage of the mystery from the first, which was the book that actually won the award and also didn’t give enough info to explain how exactly it went from one point to Violet from the initial novel.
Everything displayed is essentially a prologue, but LN content will come
I loved the ACCA13 vibe the prince gave off because of having the same voice as a certain other charmer.
The prince and the princess’ caretaker really reminded me of Tales of Zesteria’s Zaveid and Maltran respectively due to their voices too.
Speaking of royal weddings, let’s give one to Violet. I enjoyed this episode over any episode so far because Violet is in action, making decisions on behalf of the company er no, more like on behalf of all women, by thinking out side of the box correctly. Is Violet still strait forward and blunt? Yes, but she has a purpose doing so and it adds to her volidity. What this episode proves is that Violet like anyone else deserve to be loved just like everyone else and like anyone else has a preference of who she wants to court her.
With this said I can’t wait to see Violet go on an actual date, no Doll work included.
So written romantic correspondence between a prince and a princess is this time period’s* equivalent of tuning in to a modern-day soap opera? OK, I can dig that. Not to mention people are still fascinated by that kind of romance even today.
(*Note: This could also be an alternate reality for all I know, but considering how technology has marched on IRL compared to Violet Evergarden‘s reality, yes, it looks set in an older time period.)
The reveal that Cattleya was the letter-writer for the prince gave me a little chuckle. (No wonder Violet recognized the “writing style” of the prince.) Basically, the two became shippers on deck (trope) for Prince Damian and Princess Charlotte.
I loved this story of Princess Charlotte. She knows her purpose (to be “sold off” for a political marriage) and tries to get the best out of the situation. Actually doing research and putting effort when the opportunity arrives. But what surprises me was that she succeeded in part because of Violet’s guidance. Looks like our doll has a good understanding of emotions even though she hardly feels/expresses any. Makes her strangely like some sort of advanced AI.
Something I find funny is:
Looks like the populace assumes the prince is chasing after the princess. While the reality is the other way round. Didn’t seem like marriage was something he thought much of. Though it looks like both wanted to know how the other truly felt. Becoming closer in the process too it seems. Ironically it didn’t involve ghost writing.
Everyone should do something like this at least once in their lifetime. Doesn’t have to be exactly like that and it could towards anyone. The more people you can think of, the luckier you are.
I finally watched this Episode, and i was surprised. The Anime is call “Violet Evergarden” right?
Where do she play the main role in this Episode? It was nearly an entire thing of the Princess. Of course i could see, what Violet has achieved. She studied many Books and Novels to have an “written wisdom” of how Love work, but do not really know how it feels. But i dunno, slowly i can understand the ones that find the contend of Violet Evergarden inside the anime “Violet Evergarden” to small
As if Naruto had so little Screen time in his own Anime, at that time they where focused on Sasuke that they could rename the anime in his one…
But okay, this episode was for an greater good, to show the “world” that the War really has ended
Is this Anime more focused on the persons that she meet on her Way to “learn” about the meaning of Love?… But oh well, at the last seconds we saw an real emotion on her face
Quality of the Anime is very good. But the Story focus is losing its own roots
This is by far the best scene of the entire episode.
Humility. Respect. Piety.
and what add the Spice..
Left one is no royal, on the right is an Princess
But there is no one to watch them. So this is their private moment and their secret. But i think the “old butler” is also some kind of father for her
We had the warm and calm emotions so far, and now “suddenly” Drama!!.. Well lets see what will happen. it is now her time to work on her previous past before she meet the Major? Seems like she is still the orphan all alone.. Was she fight to defend herself? of slavery? of red light district stuff?.. We will perhaps never know it.
My(redditized) take on the episode:
OTOH, You can’t really tell how old was Princess Charlotte until she said her age, especially when she’s in her wedding dress.
Though we all know the age Violet was roughly around even before she said anything, we didn’t know how long the war had went until now. (And making that latest flashback to prior Violet’s meeting with Major Gilbert to be roughly 5 years before now, along with attaching the term child soldier to Violet a whole lot more appropriate and scary.)