This weekend at Anime Expo, I was invited to the premiere viewing of a new anime series, “Violet Evergarden”. For those of you that went, but were unable to get in here’s a short synopsis of the first episode. It opens with a young blonde girl, the main character Violet, walking down a city street following a young man and stopping to compare an emerald jewel to his eyes before sud
denly cutting to her recovering in a hospital ward. Through a letter she’s writing to her commanding officer, we learn that she’s been there recovering from some as yet unknown injury involving her hands as she painfully writes a letter. Soon she is picked up by Lieutenant Colonel Higgins from the army and informs her, and the audience by proxy, that a war has ended. The rest of the episode focuses on Violet and how she coops with the end of the war and her forced exodus from the army. At the same time she wonders what happened to the man before, Major Gilbert. Through flashbacks we see him in a critical condition with Violet standing over him but all we learn is that Higgins is now to take care of her. The episode ends, after a few awkward incidents, with Violet wishing to become a Memory Recall Doll, a creation that assists those who are unable to write.
I have to say that when I went into this, I was unaware of what to expect. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. While the series originally comes off as being a slice of life in an early 20th century world, there is a darkness to it that lies under the surface. Waiting for someone to start scratching at the thin veneer to let it out. Such as when Higgins points out that Violet has trouble in everyday society because she’s been in the military since she was a child. Further compounded when she meets a woman originally picked to be her guardian, she salutes rather than bowing when given a gift.
The key point of interest that hooked me however, was in the end. Violet observes a man having a letter transcribed to a childhood love that is getting married. As he empties his heart into the letter, he gets stuck on a final sentence. Only when the Doll assigned to him fills in the missing sentence, “I love you”, does his expression change to joy at finally having his feelings confessed. This confuses Violet and leads her to think that she needs to become a Doll in order to learn about emotion. What that exactly entails, we don’t know yet as the episode ends there. Can Violet come to terms with the emotions she has so much trouble with or will they crush her along the way? I can’t wait to find out as soon as this series is released. Keep an eye out for this great drama sometime in 2018.
Sadly, there was a full electronic ban in the main events hall when this was showing, but I did manage to track down this preview that they used during the premiere as well. Enjoy!