Violet Evergarden: The Living Doll

I love a good anime drama – and Violet Evergarden brings it. I didn’t have high expectations for the anime as I hadn’t heard much about it before watching it. I liked the name, and the visuals were stunning, so when I came across it on Netflix I thought it would be a good investment of my time, and overall it was.

I watched it in Japanese with subtitles, and although it was a bit gory, it was a true tear jerker and I found myself rooting for the main character.

We don’t know the time period of the anime, but we do know that the continent of Telesis has been at war, and things are just starting to settle down. Violet was given her name by the Major, her general, as she was born to be merely a weapon of war.

War-Torn Love

Throughout the series, we learn more about her past, or what little of a past she was given.

As a tool of destruction, she served her general, protected him – no matter the costs. Which is how she loses both arms. She’s given these arms of steel – that appear to be very light. Something’s happened to the Major – we see that he isn’t around anymore, and she has occasional flashbacks of him.

Bloody flashbacks of him confessing love.

One in particular – is of him telling her that she has to live and that he loves her. In another, a happier time – we see them wondering the streets of a town, where he buys her a green brooch. Violet asks for it because it’s the color of the Major’s eyes.

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I found this to be both creepy and romantic – the Major is all she’s ever known. He is the center of her universe – much like a pet and a master.

It’s obvious that Violet loves him. One of the Major’s friends is meant to look after her following the war. He takes her to live with the Major’s family – Violet refuses. She ends up working at CH Postal Services and takes a job as an auto memory doll.

Although we’re unsure of the time period, illiteracy is rampant. People want to reach out to loved ones they haven’t seen since the war, and auto memory dolls are their means for doing so. The dolls write letters, capture emotions for the clients. Violet reflects on the fact that before dying, the Major told her he loved her. She wants to understand what love means.

The Desire To Feel

At the beginning, she’s terrible at her job. She’s a very skilled typist, but her lack of human emotion is blatant and less than comical. She ends up upsetting quite a few people because she doesn’t recognize basic social cues.

I didn’t like how flat the other characters were, including the dolls and nearly everyone else she comes across.

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I didn’t like how Violet seemed to come onto the scene and solve everyone’s problems within a 30-minute period. You see, she travels for her work and many of her clients are in distress. They include a princess who’s betrothed to the man of her dreams, a dying mother, a playwright whose daughter has recently died, and many more.

Their stories are meant to make us cry and grieve, meanwhile, Violet continues to act like a robot. It’s just an interesting contrast and I totally get it.

Would I watch this anime again? Probably not. Would I recommend it to a friend? Definitely. It has some value even though it follows that trope of the beautiful unemotional girl.

I like that Violet is strong and that she doesn’t give up easily. You feel for her when she realizes that she lost the greatest love of her life.

She learns to care for people, despite the life she was given, and she makes the most of the situation at hand. There’s something to learn there, although, I do think the anime would have fared better if they’d focused on a few main characters, and really given her a trajectory of growth.

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