Whether through novels, manga, or anime, Japanese writers have found many ways to delicately express emotions and feelings in a variety of mediums, and touch the hearts of many people. From this creative legacy, one of the most impressive and emotional animated works is ‘Violet Evergarden’, produced by the Japanese animation production studio Kyoto Animation, nicknamed ‘KyoAni’ by fans. This anime is said to be among the most touching released in recent years.
It has been made into a movie twice before. A spin-off movie, ‘Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll’, premiered on 6th September 2019 in Japan. The first half of the story is an animated adaptation of the original novel ‘Gaiden’, while the second half is an original story for the movie. The second movie is completely brand new, named ‘Violet Evergarden: The Movie’, premiered on 18th September 2020 in Japan.
The World of Violet Evergarden
The story begins in a Western country that is at war. A young girl whose appearance belies her strong combat power is cultivated as a weapon of war to fight in the northeast. She was discovered by Gilbert’s brother Dietfried on the battlefield one day, and he then gave the girl to Gilbert for adoption. Because the girl did not have her own name, Gilbert named her Violet. Since then, they have often fought side by side on the battlefield together.
Violet was originally a girl who had no self-consciousness and simply followed the orders of others. She slowly began to learn more and more words due to getting closer with Gilbert. Gilbert is an irreplaceable existence for Violet, and she wants to guard Gilbert at all times. At the same time Gilbert began to realize that he was in love with Violet, but because of his military status, he suppressed his true feelings. In one of Gilbert and Violet’s later battles together during which they found themselves in a perilous situation, Gilbert used his last bits of strength to help get Violet out of danger, disappearing afterwards without a trace.
After the war, Violet lost her hands in the war and put on prosthetics. Working for Gilbert’s friend’s business, CH Post Company, she became an ‘Auto Memory Doll’, a role in which she writes letters for others. One day she received an emerald brooch that to her was as beautiful as Gilbert’s eyes. She kept the brooch and took it with her at all times. Violet gradually remembered the last words that Gilbert had said to her before disappearing – “I love you”. She didn’t understand what these words meant, so through her work and daily life, and her interactions with customers, she looked forward to Gilbert’s return while searching for the meaning of “I love you”.
Violet gradually grows up over time. Will she finally meet Gilbert again? Has she found the answer to the mysterious words he spoke? Please see the animation and the movie to solve this mystery!
Major Characters in the Violet Evergarden Story
Age: estimated 14, Birthday: 27th June
The heroine of this story is a beautiful girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, working as an ‘Auto Memory Doll’. She was once trained as a weapon of war on the battlefield, and was discovered by Gilbert’s brother in the northeast battlefield, and later adopted by Gilbert. She considers Gilbert to be a very important person to her. Since Gilbert disappeared on the battlefield, she works as an Auto Memory Doll in Gilbert’s friend’s company while still searching for any news about Gilbert. She is also seeking the meaning of the last words Gilbert told her before he disappeared – “I love you”.
Age: 30s, Birthday: –
A good friend Gilbert met while in the military, and the president of the CH Post Company. Before the battle at Fort Tens, Gilbert asked him to take care of Violet. After Violet was discharged from the hospital, Claudia hired her into his company as an ‘Auto Memory Doll’. He regards Violet as his daughter, and takes care of her in order to fulfill the promise with Gilbert.
Age: 29, Birthday: 10th January
The lead male protagonist, and a Major in the Leidenschaftlich Imperial Army. Gilbert loves Violet, but because of his military status, he has to hide his true feelings. He feels endlessly guilty for bringing Violet to the battlefield. At an emotional moment when Gilbert felt that he was dying, he told Violet “I love you”, pushed her away with all his strength, and was buried in the rubble. He disappeared after this, leaving no remains and only his name badge to be found.
Age: -, Birthday: –
Violet’s colleague, who also works as an Auto Memory Doll at the CH Post Company. She has beautiful long hair and wears fashionable clothes. Because of her sensibilities, deep emotions and strong and enthusiastic writing style, she often acts as a letter writer for issues dealing with love troubles. On the surface, she seems to like Hawkins, but the person he actually likes is Benedict. It is mentioned in the novel that she is a former boxer and possesses rare strange powers.
Age: -, Birthday: –
One of the postmen of CH Post Company, whose name was taken by Hawkins. Although his tone and attitude seem rough, he is really a good-natured young man who takes care of Violet like a sister. His real identity is a former mercenary nicknamed the ‘Hungry Freak’. He was separated from his younger sister in his past, but finds it hard to remember much about her.
Age: -, Birthday: –
An original character from the anime adaptation, Erica is an Auto Memory Doll of the CH Post Company like Violet. She took the opportunity to become a doll was because she was deeply moved by reading a novel written by Dr. Orlando’s wife, Mrs. Jasmine, but later felt that she was not suitable for this job. However, after talking with Violet, she decided to continue to try her best.
Age: 19, Birthday: –
Another anime-original character. One of the newcomers to CH Post Company’s Auto Memory Doll team, Iris aspires to become the number one secretary doll in Leiden. At first, Iris didn’t like Violet because she wasn’t used to her personality, but after a business trip and more time working together, she changed her opinion of Violet.
Age: 16, Birthday: –
An employee of the Manuscripts Department of The Shaher Astronomical Observatory in Eustitia. His long hair is a rare sea-green color. Since both of his parents disappeared, he grew up as an orphan with Shaher’s help. Although Leon has a rude way of speaking, he is actually a very caring, kind and helpful, albeit clumsy. As he pairs up with Violet to work on the manuscript, he develops a faint crush on her.
Diverse Love as Portrayed in Violet Evergarden
Violet has no emotions as she is described as “just a tool without a heart that fights when ordered and only imitates the human form.” Because she was raised on the battlefield and only knows how to fight, she is unable to understand the feelings of others and express her own emotions.
When she began working as an Auto Memory Doll, despite her high learning ability, she could not understand that words have two sides and two sides, and was not able to express people’s feelings and emotions in writing. However, through her experience of writing many people’s letters on their behalf, she gradually came to understand the human heart and realize that various kinds of “love” exist in the world.
Many kinds of “love” appear in the work, including not only romantic love, but also feelings for parents, children, friends, siblings, and those who have passed away. Violet comes to know what “love” is as she touches several hearts.
“Love” between Violet and Gilbert
Violet could not understand what “I love you” meant that Gilbert had said. It was Gilbert who entrusted Violet to Claudia, who runs a postal company. It is believed that there have been Gilbert’s desire for Violet to know the “love” that exists in the world, as evidenced by the fact that Violet has learned about various forms of love through writing letters to others.
“Love” between Violet and Isabella
Isabella is the daughter of a good York family and Violet was her tutor. In fact, she is the daughter of the mistress of the head of the York family, and had spent a depressing life in a girls’ boarding school while getting a lady educated. She gradually opens up to Violet and there is a scene in which the two run hand in hand through the woods. In the dance lesson, Violet played the “male role” opposite Isabella.
Perhaps because she was not treated as a woman during her impoverished years before the York family took her in, her first person is “Boku”, which is used by men in Japanese. In the work, there are scenes in which she seems to have a longing for Violet or to be in love with her, and many fans may see this as Isabella’s lesbian feelings.
Violet Evergarden is highly recommended for people with a busy life schedule to watch together. You can easily adapt viewings to your daily life. Distributed worldwide on Netflix, the dubbed version is available in English, Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese. ‘Violet Evergarden: The Movie’ is only available in English and Portuguese.
However, due to how dramatic this series can be, we suggest you prepare a tissue or handkerchief before watching Violet Evergarden!