Stories don’t have to be grand in order to be great. That’s why I want to talk about the franchise Violet Evergarden as a whole, the series, and the latest movie/side story addition to date: Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll. Before I start, special thanks to Funimation Films for inviting us to this special screening. Violet Evergarden will be in theaters from February 17-20 with selected showtimes. Without further ado, let’s get started. Be warned: it may contain spoilers but it’s generally known within the first episode.
We still follow the journey of Violet Evergarden, from a war-bred orphan child soldier to an Auto Memory Doll, a writing assistant to convey emotions and words into forms of a letter. That’s the quickest way to summarize the overall story of Violet Evergarden. However, Violet doesn’t necessarily serve to be the center of the franchise. That’s what I believe. Let me explain.
Throughout the majority of the franchise, Violet Evergarden has played the role of a supporting character despite being the main character of her own series. Is it because of her role as an Auto Memory Doll? Partially yes. The reason I believe this is Violet’s core as a person thanks to Major Gilbert Bougainvillea, the center of her life.
In her child soldier years, Violet massacred many enemy soldiers in the front lines with no question or hesitation. Gilbert begrudgingly took advantage of her abilities to the front lines. His morals conflicted between winning the war and using a child for the war. She’s Major Gilbert’s personal military asset as she swiftly carried out Gilbert’s orders and answered to no one else. Even so, Gilbert Bougainvillea adopted her, raised her as if his own, taught her to be literate and so much more. Everything he does is to prepare her for the life she’ll have after the brutal war. Blindly following his instructions at such a close attention, Gilbert granted her the name Violet, thanks to a coincidental butterfly fluttering by a single violet flower. At the time, it may seem ironic to give her such a beautiful name. Nothing about her pale fair skin, golden hair, and stunning light blue eyes matches “Violet.” Not even in the language of flowers where it symbolizes innocence, modesty and true, everlasting love. Not at the time at least.
After the decisive battle of Intense, Violet is then tasked to live the life she never knew: the peaceful post-war life. Now lost without instructions, she’s tasked with Major Gilbert’s final vague statements, “Go live freely.” And “I love you.” How can Violet have a life of freedom without her commanding officer to guide her? Well, she couldn’t begin to fathom the idea of a free life, the life with Major Gilbert. Her innocent nature of imprinting her ideals and worldview linear with Major Gilbert’s is what motivates her and what she strives for. Without him, she is lost. However, this marks the beginning of her journey of redefining her loyalty into true, everlasting love. Her new occupation as an Auto Memory Doll was worrisome as she’s trying to quickly adapt herself into a new lifestyle. Soon enough, she was proficient enough where her occupation helps her expand her range of emotions with the various clients she meets.
The episodic clients are the main centerpieces of how Violet’s role is to support, not lead the narratives she encounters. Each client does hire her for her emotionally captivating writing, however, they receive so much more than just the completed assignment. Violet learns about her clients and correctly adjusts and/or conveys their emotions as the clients are thankful and relieved of their past burdens, traumas, and regrets through her. The highlights are the clients given a greater relief in their lives with Violet’s elegant writing style, yet Violet is never lingering. That’s what’s so charming about Violet as a character. She matured from a young emotionless war murderer into a person of sympathy. She understands circumstances and is able to convey important feelings in the letters she delivers. We saw her journey, growing into a person that supports her clients in only way she can: through the words that matters the most. This also includes her clients in the side story Violet Evergarden: Eternity and Auto Memory Doll, where Violet is to reconnect long lost bonds of two lives.
What carries the most impact between our bonds is what we say to each other. That’s what Violet Evergarden excels in, especially with the new two part story, Violet Evergarden: Eternity and Auto Memory Doll. Without giving any major content of the side story, I’ll be doing a general impression that’ll tie with the franchise as a whole. First, I’m really glad this doesn’t stray away from the formula that the series built itself upon. Its episodic nature is what’s so important in this franchise. Even in this feature film, Violet meets people from all kinds of social backgrounds from illiterates to royalty. She doesn’t discriminate based on the clients’ socioeconomic backgrounds and instead, their narrative becomes the focus with her as a supporting factor to deliver hope, relief and reassurance. Her actions are able to create powerful sentimental value for her clients. It’s just another charming point about the franchise reminding the audience that it’s still Violet Evergarden’s story but it’s the story of her impacting the lives of the people she meets.