Many people followed Violet Evergarden episodically over the course of the last season. I waited for the Netflix release and watched it in spurts of three to four episodes at a time. This is a good thing, because I could not imagine waiting a whole week for another twenty minute chunk of this masterpiece. If it were not for the rather complete ending offered by the first season, waiting for the second part would seem like an eternity.
Violet Evergarden excelled at many levels. The animation was spectacular–easily the best of last season. I loved how well they captured the look of Old World European cities for the backgrounds. Besides being very detailed, the backgrounds did a great job of conveying the mood: whether of a bright, sunny day in town or a dark night of death and chaos on the battlefield. The juxtaposition of war and peace in Violet Evergarden, the greatest tragedy against the great desire of mankind, makes for very powerful tale–as Leo Tolstoy also knew when he penned arguably the greatest novel of all time, War and Peace. Violet Evergarden uses the interplay of these motifs about as well as I’ve ever seen in any anime.
The other strength of Violet Evergarden is using a plot type which the Japanese appear to have perfected and of which I cannot get enough of: the scarred loner trying to reclaim their humanity and to integrate into society. No tragedy in life is as apt to produce as many scars as war, and Violet endured the uniquely tragic experience of losing the person who essentially held all the value of a parent, mentor, best friend, lover, and high priest. You might say that Violet saw the death of Gilbert Bougainvillea as the death of God.
I can’t remember the last anime I watched which was so rich in suffering: every major and minor character seems to have a cross peculiar to them–whether born out of the war or other causes. It’s hard to tear oneself away from this story where the heroine grows by helping everyone she meets with their particular crosses. By helping others to bear their crosses, she can eventually bear her own with peace.
I ought also to mention that the action scenes were superb and that the characters stood out for other reasons than besides their pain. The soundtrack and opening and ending songs were some of the best I’ve heard in a while. Though the end of season one is rather complete, it left enough room for Violet’s further growth. I’m curious to see what they do with the story in the next season. Violet Evergarden earns a solid ★★★★★ from me, and twenty-fourth place on my top fifty list between Ga-Rei Zero and Hajime no Ippo.
Before I leave off this post, just let me tell you what I’m currently watching for Spring 2018:
- Steins; Gate
- Dances with Dragons
- Golden Kamuy
- Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
- Isekai Izakaya
- Libra of Nil Admirari
- LOGH: Die Neue These
There are too many good shows this season!
By the way, the Latin in Libra of Nil Admirari strikes me as a botched. It should really read: Libra Nil Admirandi. The English subbers made every other word Latin, so you can throw out the “of.” (Libra was originally Tenbin, the Japanese word for scales.) Nil, the shortened form of nihil–nothing, is generally considered indeclinable, but the author meant for it to function in the genitive case here. Since the infinitive admirari is ultimately being used as an adjective modifying nil, one should use the gerundive–a verbal adjective–in this case. So, Libra Nil Admirandi, meaning “Scales of Nothing Worthy to be Admired,” is how the title should read. All the same, kudos to the original author for trying to incorporate Latin into his original title (Nil Admirari no Tenbin).