Jan 31, 2018
Eanraig (All reviews)
These first few episodes have been hit or miss. While the premise of the show seems interesting, you realize soon enough that it's being bogged down by a bland, unrelatable main character and her sappy quest to know what love is. The idea of an emotionally stunned war veteran finding her place in a peacetime society, working at a job that requires interacting with clients on a personal level, learning to know herself as she learns and explores emotional experiences from others cold be really good. The issue is that it's been tackled poorly so far, and Violet is just not a very good character to follow, luckily only the first episode has fully centered on her. Every other chapter focuses on more relatable conflicts with better characters, and while not every story has stuck the landing (and even has one or two irredeemable plot-holes), they're a bit more interesting to watch, though not by much. There's also dreaded comedy bits that don't fit the mood of the show at all.

One of the biggest problems for me has to be with how predictable each episode has been, the minute the conflict is introduced I know where it will head, now this is a problem present in most anime, since 95% of them are riddled with cliches and tropes, but they usually get carried by a decent cast of characters and their interactions, this is really not the case with Violet Evergarden, mainly because those interactions always involve Violet, and the side characters don't really have much depth to them either, how could they if we only spend an episode with them then move on to the next one. It's hard for a character driven story to be compelling when every character is about as interesting as a wet croissant... My second biggest grievance is with the sloppy worldbuilding in some regards. This is definitely not a real world setting, though it has Victorian-era aesthetics and technology, but Violet's arms just don't make any sense within their technological context. There's also Chinese takeout apparently and everyone bows and uses honorifics like in Japan. It's comically frustrating and kinda takes me out of the immersion. The made up alphabet is a gimmick as well, it's basically a real world language with different letters, they weren't even clever about it. That said, there seems to be some texture to the world's own history, we'll have to wait and see.

The art and animation is some of the greatest I've seen for a TV anime, but most importantly, they serve a narrative purpose, be it by subtle symbolism that is easy to miss, or setting a visual theme, they're more than competently made. My only nitpick is that the layouts tend to be very safe, very much made-for-TV kind of deal. Oh... and the horrible gray filter that completely destroys the dynamic range of the image, though it can be somewhat 'fixed' using a luma shader on your video player of choice (12-235 to 0-255 is what I use). The OST is very reminiscent of Harry Potter for some reason, it's pretty good. That said there are scenes where it overpowers the voices.

Overall it's nothing special really, just another seasonal anime that will be forgotten next season, but with great production values . Hopefully I'm wrong and the show ends in a bang, the studio making this has made some of my favorite shows ever, though the director in charge is their weakest link.