Outerhaven Anime: First Reaction – Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Violet Evergarden ever since the first episode was previewed back at Anime Expo in July of 2017. After reading the synopsis, it sounded extremely interesting. It felt like Tegami Bachi minus the heart bullets, gaichuu and other sci-fi aspects. After watching the first couple of episodes and reading some feedback, I can see that there are a lot of mixed reactions on this show, but are they truly warranted?

Let’s Go!

First Impressions

The show’s titular character has only known life as a military weapon. She obeyed every command issued to her by her commanding officer, Major Gilbert Bougainvillea. In the final days of the war, Gilbert was gravely injured and Violet herself lost both of her arms. Gilbert told her to run, to live and that he loved her. Violet obeyed the order and ended up surviving the war.

Claudia Hodgins, a Lt. Colonel and friend of Major Gilbert, arrives to pick up Violet and attempt to get her acquainted with civilian life. After realizing that just dropping her off at a home where a couple agreed to take care of her wasn’t going to work out, he decided to take it upon himself to look after her. He employers her at his company which is an Auto Memory Doll service agency. Dolls write letters for those who cannot express themselves the way that they want to. They will write anything in order to try and capture the emotions of their client’s. They also do other work such as write addresses, official documents, etc. Violet wants to become a Doll so that she can understand what the Major meant when he said “I love you.” All the while, Claudia doesn’t have the heart to tell Violet about Gilbert’s fate in the war.

I, honestly, think that this is going to be one of the best anime of the Winter season. There is only one thing that worries me about it and that is the pacing. The first two episodes are very slow to get things started, but it is doing everything right that an anime should. It is slow burning the start by introducing you to your cast of characters and even going as far as to do some world building, such as how the typewriter was invented and how it became known as the Auto Memory Doll. Every character doesn’t really have a backstory yet, but we’re given a glimpse into their personalities and how they relate to their jobs as Auto Memory Dolls. We get to see Violet struggle to fit in at her job, what the opinions of her co-workers are about her and how she takes everything literally and isn’t afraid to be direct in her responses.

This is a show that is about getting attached to its characters and, so far, it’s doing a FANTASTIC job of doing that. As I eluded to earlier, the pacing worries me because it has the pacing of a 25-episode series, but our episode count is only at 14 for this show. That worries me because if this pacing continues, at some point, there’s going to be a rush to conclude things and that usually throws things for a loop. I really hope that’s not the case, but at the same time, I’m feeling a connection to this show that makes me want to learn more about everyone and everything in it.

OP and ED Thoughts

I will say that the opening theme song for Violet Evergarden is beautiful, but it’s not my cup of tea. “TRUE” by Sincerely opens up with some piano and strings and then revs up the emotions as we get to the back end of the song. The vocals as soft and somber before transitioning into bit a more pronounced tone charged with emotion. It is a fantastic song that fits the theme and the feeling of this show… it’s just not a song I’m going to buy and listen to a hundred times over. It’s good enough to listen to when the opening comes on and that’s about it… for me, at least. Fans of this style of music probably can’t pry open their wallets fast enough. Just because it’s not suited to my tastes doesn’t make this a bad song. It truly is wonderful.

“Michishirube” by Minori Chihara is the ending theme and this one is supposed to be beautiful, but the high-pitched nasally vocals really kill this song for me. The music itself is very calm and serene which fits the show, but the vocals are just grating on the ears and really kill what could be a perfect cap off to each episode. Of the hundreds of female artists I’ve listened to out of Japan, I could name about fifty of them that would have been better suited to sing this ending theme.

Worth Watching?

YES – I am absolutely in love with this show. There are some that don’t agree with me as they feel the pacing is too slow, that it’s overrated or there’s some that like to troll and call it garbage-tier without ever stating a reason why they think so. So is the internet. It is true that slower-paced shows are not for everyone, but if you want a show that looks to give you a deep connection to its characters or give you a meaningful relation to them, I don’t think that you can go wrong here. If anything, the show’s visuals are gorgeous thanks to the magic of Kyoto Animation! Depending on how the pacing plays out, we could have our anime of the season. Anime of the year, though? I don’t know… given the list of powerhouses set to come out later in 2018, this show is going to have to do something drastic to toss its name into the hat.

 

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.

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