Photo from Deviant Art.
When it was announced that Kyoto Animation would handle the production of Violet Evergarden, and Netflix would distribute it, fans anticipated a breathtaking piece of art. Better known for their work on the movie Tamako Love Story, and more recently A Silent Voice, fans knew that they were in for a treat.
Written by Kana Akatsuki, we follow Violet, a young girl who struggles to adapt to the outside world. Serving as a soldier when she was a little girl, she left the war losing both her arms in a attempt to save Gilbert, her commanding officer. After the war, she became a Auto Memories Doll, a person who writes for those who can’t, in order to understand Gilbert’s final words, “I Love You”.
Through the eyes of an Auto Memories Doll, Violet travels the world, writing letters for those who can’t. She is sent to the kingdom of Drossel where she begins to write public love letters for the princess of Drossel to the prince of the neighboring kingdom of Flugel in preparation of their political marriage. Through the role of a Auto Memories Doll, Violet begins to spur the princess’s emotions until she begins to write the letters herself, spurring a passion filled engagement between the two until they wed.
Later Violet visits Oscar Webster, a playwright who has become a drunken recluse after the death of his daughter. She comes to assist in the writing of a play, something that Oscar is composing in order to cope with the loss of his daughter. Through the completion of the play, Oscar comes to terms with the death of his daughter, as Violet is confronted by the lives she took while she served as a soldier. The episode ends with Violet finding out that she had failed to save Gilbert, and flees in denial.
The series ends with Violet finally coming to terms with Gilbert's death. She understands what Gilbert meant when he said “I Love You”, a little bit better.
The series highlights the stark difference between Violet, and the rest of the world. At heart, it is story about a soldier struggling to learn how to become a civilian in a post-war world. Each person Violet writes for slowly teaches her empathy. Each new character introduced highlights and develops a characteristic about Violet. Each new episode shows Violet come to terms with her new world.
The series is based on a Japanese light novel series by the same name, Violet Evergarden. Written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase, the series won the grand prize in the novel category of the fifth Kyoto Animation Awards in 2014. It was the first entry to have won the grand prize in any of the three categories. This meant that the series was set for a book release, and then a anime adaptation done by Kyoto Animation.
With the animation done by Kyoto Animation, the quality of animation is on the same level as a Theatrical Movie. The art and animation is just breathtaking. The warm colors take on a surreal and dream like feel as if you were transported there. The art helps tug at the viewer heart strings, conveying each scene with so much emotion that it will bring you to tears.
The cast for Violet Evergarden is phenomenal. With Violet Evergarden voiced by Erika Harlacher, who also voiced Elizabeth Liones in The Seven Deadly Sins and Jeanne d’Arc in Fate/Apocrypha, and Oscar Webster being voiced by Joe Ochman, who also voiced High Tower in Transformers: Robots in Disguise and Pocca in Naruto, the voice acting is done incredibly well. There are even some recognizable faces like Johnny Yong Bosch, who played Adam Park, the second Black Power Ranger, the Green Zeo Ranger, and the First Green Turbo Ranger, in the Power Ranger Series.
Produced by Kyoto Animation and released by Netflix, the series Violet Evergarden is an absolute joy to watch. Through the stunning animation and beautiful story telling, I will recommend this series to anyone looking for a anime to watch.