Wednesday, June 20, 2018

'Violet Evergarden' Is a Beautiful Anime Tear-Jerker

Violet Evergarden is such a beautiful anime – emphasis put on “beautiful” because it is truly so in both writing and animation.  There’s an exquisite attention to detail in the craftsmanship involved that it visually and narratively flows with gracefully captivating quality.  As a result, it arouses a potently emotional watching experience.

The 13-episode anime series is set in an alternate world that looks similar to the European-inspired world of Fullmetal Alchemist.  Generally, the ethos, infrastructure, technology, and fashion of this world are a blend of those found from the Industrial Revolution to early 20th century in real life.  However, highly-functional, mechanical prosthetic limbs, comparable to FMA’s automail, also exist here.
On top of this, the society that has developed in this world is one that holds letters at a premium, for they seemingly serve as the ultimate symbol and show of affection.  Hence, they have this incredibly profound impact on the recipients.  In addition, though a good amount of the population can read, writing letters is strangely an elite skill.  Thus, a career can be made out of it.  Enter Auto Memories Dolls – ghostwriters who are commissioned by clients to articulate their emotions and thoughts into words, and write letters on their behalf.

The center of the story is the eponymous character, Violet Evergarden, a former child soldier having a difficult time finding her place in a world at peace.  For all her life, functioning as a “tool” for war has been the only thing she knows.  Hence, she hasn’t developed any basic social skills, giving her a straightforward, detached, and expressionless personality, and making her clueless to the nuances of human nature, especially when it comes to recognizing and comprehending emotions.  Ironically, the vocation that she decides to pick up as her post-war career is being an Auto Memories Doll, in which it is imperative to have an aptitude for discerning client sentiments accurately in order to encapsulate them perfectly in writing.
Now, Violet isn’t necessarily an anti-social psychopath.  She does have feelings, but her tragic background impaired her ability to apprehend and express them.  That’s why she begins working as an Auto Memories Doll – to grasp what’s the deal with human emotions.  Specifically, she wants to understand what “I love you” – the final words spoken to her by her kind commanding officer, whom she is much devoted to – really mean.

Basically, her arc is all about her rise as a Auto Memories Doll, and how her various assignments – which range from the sweet to the touching to the straight-up heartbreaking – help her gradually learn empathy.  This would lead her to realize for the first time the horrors of her past, but also, what her purpose is moving forward.

In essence, the plot is kind of a run-of-the-mill character study, but it’s surprisingly thought-provoking and poignant.  Tears will flow.
In summation, Violet Evergarden considerably entices for being an absolute eye candy, a treat of pensive storytelling, and a rush of feels.  It’s certainly one of the best anime of 2018.

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