Friends, I finished this series in a week. I can’t begin to explain to you how obsessed I am, but if it’s any indication, I’m listening to the soundtrack on Spotify as we speak and my Amazon search history will show you I’ve been trying to find the novel in English. You can read it here, by the way. The author made it available to read for free on her website, and someone has taken the time to translate it.
By the way, this post may contain minor spoilers. Just so you know.
Now, I’m a samurai/mecha/action-adventure type of anime watcher, but something about Violet Evergarden grabbed my attention right from the moment the trailer showed on Netflix. The art is beautiful, but paired with the incredible scene-enhancing music, every episode left me with emotions all over the place.
The story is about Violet, a fourteen-ish orphan, who was trained to be a weapon in the war. She struggles to understand and name emotions, but is then given (literally–she’s viewed as a tool, not a person) to a kind major, Gilbert Bougainvillea, who changes her life. The major takes her under his wing and tries to convince her she’s a person, not a weapon. Still, they’re soldiers at war. They suffer a defeat at the battle of Intense, and Violet loses both her arms in the destruction.
This is where the anime starts. Violet is recovering from her injuries and learning to use her new mechanical arms, but the major isn’t with her. He asked his best friend, Hodgins, to take her in if anything happened to him at Intense, and Violet ends up working for Hodgins at his postal company.
She has one mission–the major told her he loved her at Intense, and she must find a way to understand what ‘I love you’ means. With this mission in mind, she starts working for the Auto-Memory Dolls, a group of typists who specialise in capturing someone’s emotions and expressing them in letters.
Throughout each episode, we follow Violet as she meets various customers and finds a way to capture and understand their emotions. Initially, she has a difficult time of this, but she learns to write letters that say the things the customer was unable to express in conversation. These customers all learn something from Violet in return–she touches their lives without even realising it.
We soon learn that the major is missing in action and presumed dead, but Violet only finds out as the story progresses. She refuses to accept his death and continues to follow the last order he gave her–to live full life.
In the end, Violet finally understands what ‘I love you’ means, and the season ends with that. This just about ripped out my heart, I tell you. I still can’t believe it ended there, hence the frantic novel reading that will follow as soon as this post is published.
The storytelling is heartfelt and wonderful. Every episode brought me to tears at some point, and I identified with so many of the characters. You can’t help but fall in love with each of these people, especially Violet.
I can’t recommend this series enough. Seriously, if you’re a lover of anime or not, try one episode. You’ll be hooked.