Reviews

Apr 16, 2018
ayew (All reviews)
Violet Evergarden: A Flawed Masterpiece.

After watching Violet Evergarden, I really struggled to rate it. An excellent anime no doubt, and I absolutely enjoyed it. This issue was, as much as I loved it, it definitely had some flaws (that didn't really impact my enjoyment much, but they were there nonetheless). I’ve settled on a 9/10.
Violet Evergarden is a beautiful, melancholic experience which revolves around Violet Evergarden a former child solder who is emotionally stunted. Violet is exceptionally well written and feels exceptionally true to life and to human emotion (as a war veteran on /r/anime noted), if a little overblown to some viewers. A thrilling exploration of human emotion and how it ties into the human experience that ultimately really hit me hard. The world is a copy of 1920s Europe with some changes, but the world felt...cozy to me, as if I knew it inside and out already, like a well-worn, comfy armchair next to a fire. The interactions Violet has with clients as an auto-memoir doll are exceptionally written and some of the best on shot stories I’ve ever experienced. Its amazing how in 20minutes of screen time I was able to fully empathize with characters introduced at the start of the episode.
Ultimately, when Violet Evergarden succeeded, it fucking succeeded, but it tended to be somewhat hit and miss, and I'm sure this would be exacerbated by someone who was not as taken by Violet's character story from the get go as I was. I think Violet’s character carried me through the first 4 or 5 episodes without me realizing, until after the fact that they were somewhat flat. Having read the LN, I can see a lot issues stemmed from the changes the anime made. However, I don't fault Kyoto Animation for these changes-- they were absolutely necessary when the adaptation made Violet the main PoV character (as opposed to the LN which was from the perspective of Violet's clients, coworkers and Bougainvilleas). My issue was that their execution ranged from passable to merely good, as opposed to the exceptional content directly adapted content (the reworked ending worked well. I was happy that the Chapter 13 ending of the LN wasn't present here (okay yes, we have a Code Geass final scene, but I’m choosing to interpret it was not Gilbert as there is no evidence other that Violet being surprised, that it is). It worked well in the context of the LN, but in the context of how Violet character progresses in the anime (a lot more), it would not work).
Character: 7
Violet was an exceptional character, that I was taken by immediately. Her backstory was intriguing, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so enthralled by a character’s personal arc before. The characters adapted from the LN were great. The original anime characters were quite hit and miss. Erica and Iris were pretty mediocre and whilst I liked the attempt to flesh at least one out with the backstory episode, unfortunately we got a passable to mediocre episode on the less interesting of the pair (and probably the worst character of the anime). Luculia and Spencer were the best of the original characters and were fleshed out really well. Had active roles in the story that deserved to be there. On par with the other clients, and probably had the most important role in driving Violet’s early character progression (and in this anime Violet’s character progression can basically be seen to be the whole plot, another major point of difference from the LN).
Story: 8
Meagre at the beginning. The arc of Violet becoming an auto memories doll, is given one chapter in the LN (and not until Chapter 6 at that) which admittedly was probably not enough, and certainly not enough given the focus shift. But, the early story could use a lot of trimming. Erica and Iris could probably be dropped from the anime without any repercussions, improving the focus on Cattelya/Violet (which is a relationship which I was unhappy to see was not fleshed out more) and cutting about 2eps of content out to either adapt more client one shots or flesh out the ending more. The LN direct adaptations of Violet’s experiences working take up the middle and are as fantastic as the written version. The ending is probably controversial for many LN fans. I prefer the direction the anime takes with deepening Violet’s character progression, and in the process deviating from the LN ending. The train episode was poorly executed in places but had all the right pieces to be the perfect penultimate episode for the, for the exceptional final episode which I consider to be the superior ending the LN.
Art:10
Do I really need to spell this out? Outstanding and consistent art and animation on the level of a movie throughout. The quality and direction are marvelous.
Sound:9
A consistently great but not exceptional nor interesting OST. OP/ED songs are good but not exceptional once again. Music works well in the context of the anime consistently. Sounds like you would expect it to if you watched the anime without audio and then heard the OST afterwards. Honestly one of the most boring ways to say something was 9/10, but there you go.
Character: 7
Violet was an exceptional character, that I was taken by immediately. Her backstory was intriguing, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so enthralled by a character’s personal arc before. The characters adapted from the LN were great. The original anime characters were quite hit and miss. Erica and Iris were pretty mediocre and whilst I liked the attempt to flesh at least one out with the backstory episode, unfortunately we got a passable to mediocre episode on the less interesting of the pair (and probably the worst character of the anime). Luculia and Spencer were the best of the original characters and were fleshed out really well. Had active roles in the story that deserved to be there. On par with the other clients, and probably had the most important role in driving Violet’s early character progression (and in this anime Violet’s character progression can basically be seen to be the whole plot, another major point of difference from the LN).
Enjoyment: 10
Binged this in one night. So obviously it was extremely watchable.