「「どこかの星空の下で」」 (`Doko ka no Hoshizora no Shita de’)
“‘Somewhere, Under a Starry Sky'”

An aside: every once in a while I am reminded of how impressively well-spoken seiyuu are. Of course, the anime voice-work is always high-class, but its quality bears repeating now and again. In my moments of blind hubris I sometimes take undue pride in how much Japanese I’ve picked just from listening to characters yammer in anime. But any understanding I have is certainly due more to the actors’ oratory skill than any personal language ability. In this episode, Violet pairs up with some Leon fellow (Uemura Yuuto) to transcribe a book, and her partner warns her that he dictates very fast. But then, he doesn’t go very fast at all. The fact of the matter is, people in anime speak very slowly, and very clearly. On my visits to Japan, my experience with native speakers is that they talk very fast, slur sentences together, and mesh it all with whatever local accent that best frustrates foreigners like myself. In contrast, anime seiyuu, even when doing the most emotional scenes or the weirdest voices, are always relatively… understandable. That’s something that requires training and should be commended, in addition to acting ability.

Okay, aside over. The reason I started with an aside in this post is because I’m not sure how to frame the more central ideas I have, namely a set of criticisms about Violet Evergarden. I say ‘criticism’, but this wasn’t a bad episode, per se. Rather, I have some structural issues with the anime, and those are always harder to pin down.

I’ve talked about structure a lot in regards to Violet Evergarden; check out my post on episode 02 where I discuss the light novel compared to the anime at length. As we get deeper into the series we get a better sense of the overall structure and what is being achieved with it. This week’s episode is particularly notable in that it is actually based on a chapter of the light novel, as opposed to the large amounts of original material that Violet Evergarden had been using up until now. Though, there’s still some of the adaptation twist here; this chapter shows up later in the light novel, and of course Violet’s friends are mostly an anime creation. One chapter of light novel is perhaps slightly short for an episode of anime, and so it’s understandable to want pad it out a bit with some original material. It’s the choice of padding that causes me to wonder if the anime staff entirely understands what they’re working with here.

But before we address that we need to talk about structure, in particular about plot lines. Most stories o fany significant length will have more than one going on at once, if only to make the story interesting. Having a bunch of things going on makes the setting feel expansive, allows utilisation a wide cast of characters, gives the story a sense of richness and depth, etc etc. Even smaller stories can utilise a subtext, or some metaphorical allegory. With anime, and other weekly experiences, it’s usually a simple matter of plan each episode in terms of at least two plot lines: a self-contained one for any particular episode, and an overarching one that spans across the entire series. For example, an anime about a hero journeying to slay a demon king of course has an overarching plot about slaying the demon king, but each episode may be about recruiting an ally, or acquiring a magic sword, or any number of one-off things. Even heavily episodic or slice-of-life anime, like Mushishi or ARIA, can do this with self-contained episodes that nonetheless play into an evolving world or a connecting theme. Which brings us to Violet Evergarden. Although the anime has tried to arrange its chapters into something more chronological and linear, it is still fundamentally an episodic anime. There is an overarching plot about Violet and her development. There is an episodic plot, like this episode’s one about Leon. Note the distinction here: the overarching plot may be about Violet, but the episode is about Leon, and that’s where it gets tricky. Most of the time, Violet is not the protagonist. Violet Evergarden is as much about how she and her work affect other people as it is about how they affect her. And I wonder if the anime staff fully appreciate this. In this episode, they fill in more time for Violet compared to the light novel. But again, she’s not the protagonist. Her plot line is the overarching plot line, secondary to the episode’s plot line as the former is developed over the entire series while the latter only gets this one episode (and indeed you’ll find that in the light novel many details about Violet, like her habit of eating alone, are built up over multiple chapters). More time should instead have been put to developing Leo, his story and his point of view. Focusing on Violet does her no favours; the imbalance between the two lines makes the episode feel sluggish while paradoxically making the overarching line feel rushed or even forced.

Again, not a ‘bad’ episode per se, but compared to last week’s it feels inferior, and not just because Yamada Naoko is certainly the superior episode director to Kigami Yoshiji. Perhaps it seems that all this talk of structure implies that there is a fundamental flaw in the Violet Evergarden anime and we have cause to be pessimistic. But it’s certainly one of those flaws that can be ironed out as we go on, especially if the narrative shifts towards something somewhat less episodic. We shall see. If we’re to talk of Violet Evergarden as an episodic anime, it’s best to take it episode by episode.


  1. I like Leon as a character. KyoAni pretty much makes all their handsome boy look exactly like a female, so I was thrown off when I first saw him until he spoke. *_* Weird feeling.

    … also I had to check to make sure i wasn’t watching a future episode from Neflix’s international schedule because we appear to have skipped one? There’s NO hook from Episode 5’s cliffhanger! Did Violet just tell him to “stay put and let me go on this days-long trip so we can continue this controversy later”??

  2. Violet i’m proud of you. Finally you didn’t have to tell everyone who asked you about your profession that Gilbert confessed to you. I can imagine if he ever (lets assume he is alive) comes to Violet’s work then everyone would know, so embarassing.

  3. This episode was not original AND was good, coincidence…
    Look the anime for what it is this episode was much better, our criticism only reminds me of comments that I saw before about how the LN is and what makes it good. And adaptation can be different and still be equally good, however this looks the case where what it differs is exactly what’s making this adaption not be good. KyoAni choose to dramatize Violet a bit too much, and the episodes aren’t interesting enough because we don’t see enough of the world and situations, and that’s because we spend too much time seeing Violet.

    At this point we should have already giving up that this adaptation would be good for the same reason the LN is, so no point in still comparing the two.
    Disappointing but at least we had a good episode, finally.


    Loving the VA references here. LOL.

    First SukaSuka now Kimi no Na wa.

    While the episode itself kinda detracts from the cliffhanger from last week, we still see how depressed Violet is at this moment. The sad part about hearing her appreciation of her job is how she questions if she deserves it. At this point, Violet does seem to be at the breaking point.

    Regarding Leon, he is very different from the Novel but the important traits are somewhat still there. Both versions are good. Makes me look forward for their take on the future Novel materials.


    I laughed at this whole scene though. Violet’s reaction here was priceless. I did not expect her to be so confused. When other character spills Spaghetti, Leon breaks Baguettes. 😛

  5. I know there is the matter of the anime’s structure to consider, and I did think we could have used a bit more of depth dedicated to Leo, but all the focus that Violet received this episode was a direct follow-up on her development through the series as a whole or the conflict the last episode closed on. It’s pertinent to remember that Violet Evergarden – the show – is about more than the titular character and that in many ways she is a vehicle to the ideas that it wants to explore and a myriad of other tales that can be found in this world.

    Each of the episodes after our “prologue” with Violet is another tale with a different protagonist, though she is the perspective that introduces us to them. But here’s the thing: regardless of how the novel goes, which I have no experience with so I can’t usefully compare or helpfully refer to, Violet is undoubtedly the protagonist of the *anime as a whole*.

    And this doesn’t conflict with the format, or the fact that she brings us to other stories with their own main characters as an observer, it’s just how the anime, even if it’s not perfectly, is framing her, which justifies the time put into her say, this episode. Through each of these episodic stories we see Violet’s development reflected and shown in contrast or in parallel with their main characters.

    In this episode, we see how she’s *changed*, how she *hasn’t*, how she is burdened, how she overcomes some of that, how she’s become *more*, and how that hasn’t made anything else about her disappear. And in the context of her as *a* main character, none of this strikes me as the anime being unappreciative of her place in its structure, though it may be a thin line to walk.

    This is how I think the main subject of this episode’s blog pans out for an anime-only viewing, but it’s possible that the perspective is missing something, because an adaptation can’t be judged solely on the merit of how it does in a vacuum if we want to get a comprehensive idea of where it stands. I believe that doesn’t prevent more intense structural differences between the perspective of the novels and the anime from being valid, but it’s something worth discussing.

  6. I like this show, and I don’t like it at the same time. I want to, then it does stuff to me that makes me not want to. No, I didn’t read the LN.

    I liked the prologue as a series of episodes that told a coherent, evolving story about Violet, they made sense and were going in a certain general direction.

    I was okay with that, even if some LN people weren’t.

    Then the series just throws all of that away and becomes something else. “Random protag of the week.” (cue record scratch sound.)

    I’m not so okay with that.

    The transition was jarring, and resetting my expectations was uncomfortable. REALLY uncomfortable. Scratchy tag on my underwear waistband uncomfortable.

    There have been some good moments, it’s just that … all of the plot lines from the prologue are still there, dangling around like webs spun by drunken spider.

    We don’t have to resolve everything, but we didn’t resolve **anything**. Violet couldn’t write, couldn’t empathize, couldn’t function in “normal” society, and we just kind of set that aside. She writes a couple of letters, that goes sort of well, and suddenly she is in demand by monarchy! (WTF? HOW? Did she drink a jump potion? Powerlevel? Off-screen training montage with an 80s power anthem?)

    The company was struggling, her co-workers had issues… yeah, never mind, that’s not important!

    Now she’s lugging her suitcase all over the world and doing stuff with no apparent difficulty. Come on, she’s having difficulties, right? She has to, right? Well, we have no idea, because it’s NOT ABOUT HER ANYMORE.

    She’s in the show, but she’s not in the show. She shows up, looks thoughtful, looks sad, says a few things, but it feels like she’s been pushed into the background.

    Then last week, an unwashed fragment of the “main story” came running out of it’s dung-smeared cave to scream incoherently at me in riddles and gibberish, only to run back into the woods. (Presumably to find more fresh dung.)

    So this week… nothing. No trace of it, except in her ever-so-slightly sad expression at the beginning. Which could be because of that, or because she accidentally stepped in some fresh dung. I have no idea.

    I learned more than I ever wanted to about some guy who hates bread, and I didn’t learn that much about Violet. I learned a little here and there, but nothing I didn’t already know or could intuit.

    I’m gonna go watch YuruCamp again, and maybe Sora Yori Tooi Basho Wo, because they’re both better in terms of me not being angry when I’m done watching them. -_-*

    1. Seems like you’re looking for things outside of Violet. This itself focuses on developing Violet through other characters. Also I think most of your complaints are answered by the episodes themselves. Whether it satisfies your taste is a different matter though.

      1) Like I said, it really is akin to Death Parade. Decim and Onna were developed through the circumstances of their clients. It’s not like there’s nothing happening or developing for her. It just might be easy to dismiss it because of how it chooses to tell Violet’s story as a witness rather than having the complete focus on her. Her actions shows that there is growth.

      2) She’s not dumb. Probably through reading, she learned how to write beautiful letters. She can write beautiful proses but can never begin to understand them completely herself. This itself reflects upon a lot of authors themselves. They can write a beautiful romance but never exactly experience nor fully understand it themselves. Regardless, if the readers are touched by it, it passes.

      3) It’s not like she’s not having difficulties herself. As much as it is weird that they didn’t follow through with Dietfried’s encounter, her emotional state is a mess right now to the point that she questions whether she deserves to be in this job that she truly loves. I mean the nuances are there, to depict her sadness. She gives off those depressing lines. She smiles for Leon and then instantly goes back to her depressed self.

      To be clear though, I’m not saying that his show is without any flaws as I do have some things that I am a little bit annoyed of.

  7. Note about girl ages in the last episode, they can vary in look a lot. And some are basically fully grown even as young as twelve and of course some are late and may be fully grown after 18 and of course, a small number never look fully grown. It was sort of amazing and scary when I played Bridge last year with a Grandmother and Granddaughter, the Grand Daughter an easy 38-30-40 and first-year middle school. The only way you could tell she was not 25 was her eyes and face and I’m sure makeup could hide even most of that. My sources say on average most females fully grown at 16.

    To this episode, I quite enjoyed it and think Leon has a crush. The Astronomy focus was great. I hope that the first book they translated gets preserved and a person capable of illustrations copies the original in full as it would be a shame to lose all that great art with only Violet’s version.

  8. https://randomc.net/image/Violet%20Evergarden/Violet%20Evergarden%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2020.jpg
    I find it seriously hilarious to see how KyoAni reused (the nervous)Shoya’s bread-breaking scene from Koe no Katachi in this one XD always the trend setter aye. And how Violet shifted her attention to the bread with that intense focus really got me cracking for a while. Man this episode is funny. Im happy to see theres a boy out there who has a crush on Violet despite how socially awkward she is.

    Its really nice and sweet to see Violet’s expression this time. I hope Leon and Violet would meet again someday. A nice start for both for them to grow as a person.

    onion warrior
  9. I think the reason that they gave Violet a lot more screen time compared to the previous two episodes is that she and Leon are very much alike. They are also very different. By giving more views of Violet, I think we got a better understanding of Leon at the same time.

    Can’t say how it affects the overarching plot. I still don’t feel it got rushed yet. It seems they were trying to kill two birds with one stone. Will have to see the next episode to know if it was effective or not.

    The only major gripe for me was, what the heck happened with the Major’s brother?

  10. I do hope that Violet will not have the same “strange” episode releases like “Princess Principal”

    Well, perhaps showing emotions will be important for the future episodes from now on. But, i switch to passive mode and watch how it unfolds

  11. Violet’s breakout roll, she can flex her character strengths and show the scrubs trying to hit on her what’s up.


    Like many audiences who watch Anime undubbed, we can all say in one way or another that we know a bit of Japanese but willing to eat humble pie at the country of origin because that’s Japan they are a country of hospitality and being humble.


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