A certain point in time, in the continent of Telesis. The great war which divided the continent into North and South has ended after four years, and the people are welcoming a new generation. Violet Evergarden, a young girl formerly known as “the weapon”, has left the battlefield to start a new life at CH Postal Service. There, she is deeply moved by the work of “Auto Memories Dolls”, who carry people’s thoughts and convert them into words. Violet begins her journey as an Auto Memories Doll, and comes face to face with various people’s emotions and differing shapes of love. There are words Violet heard on the battlefield, which she cannot forget. These words were given to her by someone she holds dear, more than anyone else. She does not yet know their meaning but she searches to find it.
There’s no denying it: Violet Evergarden is gorgeous. Kyoto Animation is known for putting out consistently high quality productions, but Violet Evergarden is one of their best looking shows yet. From small details like the way Violet’s hair moves as she walks to the grand sweeping view of the city, the animation is immaculate from start to finish. It’s small details like the character acting that really add to Violet Evergarden’s appeal. The basic story is straightforward-emotionally stunted girl learns to be human again-but the execution is where the anime really shines. Violet herself doesn’t have a lot of personality, but that’s kind of the point. She was never allowed to be anything but a weapon, so she sees everything in simple militaristic terms. She clearly wants to learn more, however, and her reaction whenever Major Gilbert comes up shows that she obviously cares for him. We don’t yet know much about the world, but the setup is already an interesting concept. Unlike the JRPG-style fantasy world we often see in anime, Violet Evergarden’s world is more based on early 20th century Europe. The names, fashion, and technology are more consistent with that period than anything from Japanese history, and the fact that it’s set right after a long destructive war makes me wonder if it’s meant to be an analogue for Europe after World War I. Either way, the basic setup is compelling as is. From Violet’s efforts to find a place in the world after the war to Hodges’ desire to atone for being complicit in using Violet as a weapon, Violet Evergarden has a strong setup that has me eager to see more.
On a side note, Netflix’s simuldub is top quality. Most of the cast has done relatively little anime work, but you wouldn’t know it from their performances. The acting is solid across the board, and Helena Coppejans’ Violet fits perfectly. It would be easy to mess up Violet’s character by either sounding too high-pitched or too mature, but Coppejans finds just the right tone for the character. It’s an excellent dub so far, and will more than please anyone who prefers dubs.