Anime to Watch: Violet Evergarden
This might be the prettiest anime you’ve ever seen.
There are a lot of great anime series to check out on Netflix. That being said, you better make time for Violet Evergarden.
Violet Evergarden is a series about the titular character trying to reestablish her life after her time fighting in war. During the war, she was totally dedicated to her superior and caretaker, Major Gilbert, and never knew anything but fighting and obeying commands. After the war, she is taken in by a friend who also fought with Gilbert, Hodgins, and works at his letter writing service. Her job is to write heartfelt letters for those who wouldn’t be able to put their feelings into words. The thirteen episode series is all about Violet’s mental struggles in coming to terms with this new life she’s been thrown into, as well as learning how to let herself experience emotions she hasn’t felt in her life before.
I’m not going into spoilers, so I won’t say too much more about the plot. It would totally rob you of the emotional weight of the story. This is one you need to start blind and just experience it. I’ve never watched an anime that made me cry in almost every episode. Seriously, around episode five I wept until I finished the show. I recommend having a box of tissues nearby, because there’s a 100% chance you’ll cry. I recommended this one to a friend, and after a few episodes she told me she was, and I quote, “crying in the club”. So yeah, make sure you keep the tissues by your side. You’ll be crying sad and happy tears with this one.
What makes Violet Evergarden so emotional and memorable are is the character development. The characters are in depth and complex. Even characters who are in one episode have clear backstories and motivation.
Violet herself is a touching character. The growth in her character as she makes friends, expresses her own wants, and learns about her past is an emotional roller coaster. I like how the show puts you in Violet’s shoes from episode one. Like her, you start with no idea who she is or what she’s going to do next. As she grows, you experience it with her. It made her relatable when she was confused, or when she had to handle a difficult or stressful situation. It also made those revelations about her past just as devastating since you found out at the same time she did.
The supporting characters around Violet are also great additions to the cast. They aren’t as developed as Violet, but they do have their own struggles. The show is heavily focused on Violet, so the depth each character was given seemed just right to me. I have a soft spot for Hodgins because he just has the saddest eyes and I can’t help but feel for him whenever he’s in his head about something. If there was one criticism I had for the show, it would be that I wanted to see a bit more about him, even though I was still happy with his character arc. I also like his character design, specifically his hair. You an tell a lot about how the war took its toll on him just from how he’s drawn.
That brings me to the animation. Oh. My. God. I think this is the prettiest animation I’ve ever seen, and I’m not exaggerating. It takes place in what looks like the early 20th century, given that the war feels a lot like World War 1. Couple that with the magical realism tones in the story, and you get a really distinct and pretty aesthetic that I loved looking at. I ate up every frame of this show. I caught my breath a few times. The colors are gorgeous, the motions are fluid, and the details are ridiculously on point. In particular, the way the hair and clothing move left me collapsed on the floor from a heart attack. Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but you get the point. I was totally blown away by the visuals.
Another way I like to critique shows is the soundtrack. Violet Evergarden has such a lovely soundtrack, I listen to it pretty often. The songs do a great job of carrying a lot of the emotional weight of the show. They’re quiet and melancholy, or sweet and hopeful, and the show takes a lot of silent moments to let the score shine through. Definitely pay attention to the soundtrack as you watch.
Speaking of watching, that’s what you should be doing right now. Go watch Violet Evergarden!