Violet Evergarden has had a pretty strong opening that has both been impressive and has left me worried as to whether the rest of the show will live up to what has already come. The show is simply beautiful and I like the idea of Violet going on a journey to figure out what “love” is.
The first episode was absolutely amazing. The way things played out, showcasing the warzone and then immediately shifting to a time of peace emphasised how much times have changed and the new life Violet is going to have to get used to. It also helps emphasise the disorder within Violet because, even though there is order on the outside, Gilbert left her with disorder in a word, an emotion that she doesn’t understand. By showcasing Gilbert saying “I love you” in his final moments, at the end of the episode after establishing the world Violet has come out of and is stepping into, and exactly what type of character she is, the show cemented the theme of the show brilliantly. This is Violet’s journey to understand what Gilbert meant. The reason why this was so emphatic is because the audience knows Gilbert died but Violet doesn’t. This in turn means when Violet does find out what love means, and when she realises Gilbert is no more, she will, at the same time experience grief. I can’t help but wonder how that will turn out. Because, if finding what love is, is an emotional high, then learning grief is an emotional low. Violet will, no doubt, face both and I think having this knowledge before the proclamation of love is revealed, made the scene all the more emphatic.
Coming off this brilliant episode was episode two. Much calmer and in a way, not as emphatic as the first. This episode showcases Violet’s struggles in her new role as an Auto Memories Doll. It was established in episode one and emphasised in the second that Violet has a hard time comprehending human emotions. She knows of them, but as it stands, she can’t completely understand them hence she struggles with her new job even though she is dedicated to it. As Cattleya afterwards tells her, words don’t necessarily always mean what the person wants conveyed. There are many meanings hidden in a simple phrase and it’s not always easy to understand all the subtleties that words contain. Hence, more often than not, the words we express are a contradiction to what we truly mean. This is best encapsulated by Erica. No matter how she views Violet, these views are actually directed at herself. She feels incompetent for her role but sees the same in Violet. However, even though she admitted Violet may be incompetent for the role, she still stands up for her because she wants to support her.
Though this was a key moment in the episode, for me, the highlight was when Hodgins gives Violet the brooch. It’s the same one Gilbert gave to her and, there is an unexplainable emotion in Violet’s eyes. Something like this occurred in episode one as well when she first heard the ones “I love you” from a customer which set her on the path. It’s not that Violet is incapable of understanding this emotion because she is currently feeling something but she can’t name it yet. I mean, she was able to cry seeing Gilbert near death which suggests she is very much capable of feeling emotions but has a hard time naming or understanding them. And that’s really sad.
These two episodes have done a pretty good job setting up what the story will be about. Violet has quickly become a character whose journey I really want to watch. It’s not often that a first episode is that strong. The animation is beautiful and even if the rest of the episodes don’t live up to the first episode, the animation alone makes this an amazing watch.