The Violent Evergarden series is not one I would typically view. Upon the first appearance, and without reading a lot about the show, I went in blind. Thinking about current anime dramas and the shojo genre, I thought I’d watch this series and think, “Okay.” You know, not entertained, something to watch/do, checklist? Although after viewing, I was presently surprised, shocked, touched, and moved.
In 2018 Netflix released an original anime partnering with the more artsy beautiful animation studio of Kyoto Animation. Violet Evergarden is based on the light novels by writers Kana Akatsuki and Reiko Yoshida. The series directed by Haruka Fujita and Taichi Ishidate are very accomplished directors. They have had previous work with Kyoto Animation. They gave us 14 episodes of beautiful breath-taking animation and a coming of age love story unlike any we have seen. Netflix would then follow up with the series in 2019 with two specials, both an hour long. Others would call it one special and one movie, but seasoned anime fans know better.
The show is about Violet Evergarden; a female child soldier sold to a brother of a major in an army during the war. Violet is thrust upon the young major intended to keep him alive during the war. The major is a good-hearted man, though, and while he must keep Violet, he starts to care for her, teach her, and raise her as a proper person.
Violet is an exceptional soldier and a great fighter. The war wages on the battles get more challenging and more brutal. In what seems like the war’s final battle, the Major must lead a squad for the most dangerous part of the mission. In this battle, we see Violet and the Major significantly wounded, and only Violet is found after the smoke clears.
Months have gone by, and Violet has recovered from most of her injuries. But, life is very different for her now. The war is over. Violet must handle not being in the Army or at war. She must find out what regular women do in life and finding a daily purpose. She also must get over the pain of not having the Major in her life anymore. Thus, begins this fantastic coming of age story of war and love.
Finally, in March 2021, with a partnership with Netflix and Funimation Films, North America was able to screen the culmination of the Violet Evergarden story with Violet Evergarden: The Movie in theaters. Taichi Ishidate returned to direct the film solo this time, and nothing is missing from that standpoint. Some fans thought there would never be a movie or an animated ending to the story. Then, Kyoto Animation was the victim of an arson attack. An insane man set fire to one of their buildings, killing and injuring many of the employees in July of 2019. The arson destroyed a lot of the material for shows and movies too. Then the pandemic, the Coronavirus, hit hard in Asia, and it’s still having some effect in Japan. Fans weren’t sure when the company would make a resurgence.
I can’t believe this story in its entirety was this great. It has a little of everything in it for everyone. Even the parts that I thought would put me to sleep or be boring weren’t. The series puts you in a somber mood, with its beautiful story, art, and animation. Then the action parts of the series and movies hit, and it’s engaging. Or scenes when a character becomes animated in an emotional outburst of passion, it wakes up your senses. It doesn’t matter if you like sub or dub; they do both great. I watched the series in dub and watched the film in sub. The show won Best Animation, Anime of the Year, and Best Protagonist in the 2019 Crunchyroll Anime Awards.
Violet has come into her person in the film. She even begins to help others through their pain and life. Violet comes full circle as a person, and we get to see all of it and enjoy the drama. The movie has many surprises that wrap the series up and puts a beautiful bow on the story. This year the movie won Animation of the Year from the Tokyo Anime Awards. It’s a story that you can’t miss. This is a must-see on your anime list.
We give it a 10/10.