Violet Evergarden

July 22, 2018

Wait a minute. Saber with mechanical hands? And she goes by the moniker of Violet Evergarden now? Of course I know it’s not. But another funny thing because in the same season that Fate/Extra: Last Encore ran its course, there were 2 other anime series in that season in which the main character looked like Saber. One of them being in Grancrest Senki (yes, Siluca looks very much like Saber in my books but in skimpier outfit) and the other one being this series. So I heard the setting is that the war has ended and hence this Saber-like titular main character who was once part of the military, finds a new job and rebuild her life while trying to find the meaning of love. ‘Mysterious words’ left behind by her late beloved killed in the war. I also read that some tissues are needed if you want to sit through this. Oh…

Episode 1
After the war, Violet Evergarden finds herself in a hospital. She writes to Major Gilbert Bougainvillea the need to return to active duty but if she is having a hard time grasping a pencil, I’m not so sure. Claudia Hodgins who is Gilbert’s colleague, comes to retrieve her but Violet keeps insisting about Gilbert. Each time, he tries to change the subject or ‘assure’ her he is alright. I think at this point we already know his fate. As she is discharged, she checks through her belongings and finds the emerald brooch from Gilbert is missing. She becomes frantic and wants to search for the gift Gilbert gave her but Hodgins assure he will find it for her. Arriving at the port city of Leiden, the capital of Leidenschaftlich, he leaves her in the care of the Evergarden family. Since she is still clumsy with her hands, taking off her bandages reveal a mechanical one. She is not used to it but assures in time she will. She is given a pair of gloves. As Hodgins leave, Violet is not satisfied and demands an answer why Gilbert put her here. She insists she can still fight after some retraining. He says the war is over. In that case, she wants to be disposed of if she is no longer needed. She considers herself as Gilbert’s tool. Hodgins changes his mind and has her follow him. He explains he is no longer with the army and has set up his own business. A postal and ghostwriting service. He will give her commands in Gilbert’s stead. He puts her in the postal division and has Benedict Blue show her around. Being the kind who executes her orders perfectly, she literally takes his words and even does night time deliveries! Hey, need to deliver all the letters, right? Hodgins has to stop her and talk to her about things. Asking her last orders from Gilbert, she says it is to run away and live free. And there is also that I love you she is eking out to say. Violet is still confused over his words so Hodgins says taking her in is his way to make amends for Gilbert. One day she’ll understand what he is saying. Violet hears a client using the Auto Memoir Doll (ghostwriting) service. This brings back memories of her with Gilbert during the war. Because she wants to know what I love you means, she wants to work in this division. Flashback shows Violet frantically trying to save Gilbert’s life. But he knew his time was up and ordered her to stop. He uttered those final words before breathing his last breath.

Episode 2
Short flashback shows Gilbert was introduced to Violet by his older brother. She was found on the north eastern front. Violet is introduced to Cattleya Baudelaire who is the best Doll in the company. Other Dolls include Iris Cannary and Erica Brown. Violet is tested for her aptitude using the typewriter. She is hitting it so hard that she is forced to stop. Painful to watch. But Violet isn’t the only Doll facing personal issues. Iris and Brown feel bored since joining the company. They have done nothing but type addresses as Cattleya takes all the best customers. They want to write exciting stuffs. Cattleya tries to flirt with Hodgins to purposely piss off Benedict. Violet sits next to Erica during her ghostwriting job. Since Violet is honest and straight, she actually comments on the direct implication of the client’s words instead of rewording it nicely. Especially when a client becomes angry that the letter is written in a way that makes it sound it is his fault. When he gets violent, Violet reciprocates. With customers complaining, Hodgins has to talk to them. One afternoon when Cattleya is out, a fancy lady is looking to use their service. Erica lights up upon knowing she wants to write a secret love letter to a man she loves. However her recent experience has her hesitating if she should take the job. Too bad Violet usurps her and will take on the job. But soon that lady comes back fuming because the letter she wrote made her sound obnoxious and arrogant instead of being subtle and hinting she wants him to pursue her! No wonder the man was pissed. Cattleya talks to Violet who has realized she has failed to understand. Cattleya says about the 2 sides of words and what is spoken isn’t necessarily all there is to it. It is human’s weakness to test others to reaffirm our worth. Violet and Erica do some soul searching why they want to be a Doll. As for Violet, she wants to know what I love you means. Thus Erica goes to plead to Hodgins not to fire her as her typing skills are exceptional. Despite earlier on she didn’t think Violet would be a good ghostwriter, she views herself as the one who isn’t suitable, that’s why she spoke on her behalf. Erica narrates the history of the typewriter, invented when his wife became blind. Now it becomes a symbol of ghostwriting. As this story touched her heart, she hopes one day she could write letters that touch the hearts of others. Violet is surprised when Hodgins has found the emerald brooch. He claims somebody stole it and was lucky to find it on the black market. In actual fact, he used up the company’s funds to buy it. Cattleya has her suspicions of it and has Hodgins spill the beans.

Episode 3
Violet attends the school that trains Dolls. She is like a robot when the teacher asks to type and hence she needs to be specified how fast and how many words per minute. She awes everyone with her mechanic hands and her insanely precise typing skills. Violet befriends fellow Doll trainee, Luculia Marlborough. It is no surprise Violet always tops in her grades. A little detour as we see Cattleya and Benedict being loggerheads with each other. Violet and Luculia become partners in a ghostwriting practice. While Violet’s letter sounds more like a military report, Luculia decides to address hers to her parents. However Violet makes it sound like a soulless report and hence the teacher admonishes her for not writing a letter. Luculia takes Violet to a rooftop to show her the beautiful scene of Leiden. This reminds Violet that Gilbert told her he hoped she would see the beautiful city of Leiden. Luculia finds her drunk and injured brother, Spencer getting into a bar fight. She brings him home. He doesn’t care. Luculia can only cry in silence. The teacher gives pins for those who graduate as a fine Doll. Luculia is one of them. Violet is not. This has her question why she went to that school for. It makes her realize she can’t understand her client’s expression and hence is not fit to be a Doll. Luculia decides to help Violet in ghostwriting again. She wants her to address it to Gilbert whom she is always talking about. Learning she wants to know the meaning of I love you, Luculia reveals the truth about her parents. They’re dead. Spencer is the only family she has got. During the war, he was posted at a front where it rarely sees action. As the war nears its end, that front got penetrated. Their parents were visiting there then. He was filled with regret he was unable to save them. Despite he became a handicap, she was always happy he at least came back alive. All she wants is to thank him for coming home, which never got to tell him. This might have hit Violet’s heart as she begins to write. Spencer got himself into another fight. His military instincts has him almost beat up Violet but she is here to deliver Luculia’s letter. I guess we know Violet has levelled up if he is crying. When Benedict and Cattleya seems to be on good terms, Violet thought they were fighting. Yeah, they end up fighting. Damn. She just instigated a fight? Next day, Luculia brings Violet to the teacher. She has shown her the letter she wrote. The teacher views her as fit and gives her the pin. Wait. Just 1 letter like that? What if it was a fluke? Luculia is very grateful for Violet’s help. Hodgins is impressed of her progress.

Episode 4
Iris is ecstatic as she gets her first ghostwriting request from her hometown of Kazaly but from an unknown woman, Sara Florent. In her happiness, she trips down the stairs. Although she injures her arm, her fall is broken by Violet. Now she has to accompany her to ghostwrite. When she meets her family, it is obvious Iris tries to exaggerate that she is a successful ghostwriter while trying to hush Violet for correcting. It seems Sara is the name of Iris’ great grandma and the request was actually made by her mom. She wants to write invitations for Iris’ birthday party. Iris is not pleased learning most of the invitations are guys. You know what kind of party this is when mom starts hinting she is already of that age. Iris demands Violet do not send an invitation to one of the guys on the list, Emonn Snow. But during her party, Emonn shows up. Violet checked with her mom and she said to send it. Party ruined with Iris showing that angry face and locking herself in her room. Violet learns from Iris that Emonn was the guy who rejected her. Yeah Violet, care to elaborate out loud what it all means? Now she’s crying. When mom tries to talk to her, more screaming and blaming. After Violet apologizes for not reading her feelings thoroughly, I guess Iris cools down and tells the whole story. She always loved Emonn and confessed to him on the day they graduated from school. But he rejected her as he could only see her as a childhood friend. It broke her heart so much that she couldn’t stay around here and left for Leiden. This has Violet noting that confessing requires a lot of courage. Violet suggests writing apology letters to all the guests. This includes Iris’ parents and you can tell it is a heartfelt apology and sincere gratitude in a way. So Violet’s ghostwriting isn’t a fluke. You can tell when her parents are moved to tears. Too bad Violet will charge Iris for that and won’t give a discount. As they leave, Iris receives flowers from her parents. I guess now we know why she is named so. She was born when those flowers were in full bloom. This has Violet remember how Gilbert named her. He spotted a lovely plant and decided to name her so in hopes she would grow up to be a lovely person worthy of that name instead of a tool.

Episode 5
Hodgins sees his former commander and is told another war might break out as some countries in the north do not accept the peace proposal. Drossel and Flugel are 2 enemy countries and they will be entering a marriage of convenience. Hodgins sends Violet to be the ghoswriter for Princess Charlotte Abelfreyja Drossel as she will exchange public love letters with Prince Damian Baldur Flugel. Violet is introduced to Charlotte by the court maid, Alberta but Charlotte is not happy with all of this one bit. She questions Violet about her age because it seems there is a 10 year gap with Damian. As Violet is unsure with the concept of love, this only upsets Charlotte. She even demands her to show some emotions! Hope she doesn’t regret it… Violet ghostwrites her first letter. Wow. It’s really beautiful. Damian also equally replies. Charlotte is not happy things didn’t go her way and kicks up a fuss. Alberta has to remind her of her position and how she won’t be around once she is married. Charlotte insists she should be since she has been by her side ever since birth. Their public love letter exchange captivates the people and this goes on for a while until Charlotte is fed up of it all as she believes Damian has a Doll writing those letters. She explains to Violet how royalties have their marriage arrangement as soon as they turn 10. So her birthday party looked like a big meeting for a prospective husband. Nobody cared about her feelings. She was crying outside till Damian showed up and consoled her. As he spoke from his heart, he captivated her. Soon the war broke out and talks of marriage was put on hold. She studied on the benefits of the marriage between their countries and is happy to receive his official proposal. But her problem is that she doesn’t know his feelings. She is worried they might not get along. Violet suggests writing the letters herself and she has gone out of her way to talk to Damian’s ghostwriter and they agree to this. Charlotte and Damian write from their heart. The letters sound less flowery but remain true to their hearts. Their weaknesses, fears and all while assuring they still love each other. It captivates the people too and it feels like as though they are watching a real live drama! In the end, Damian proposes they meet and he officially proposes to her. She accepts. Hooray! Charlotte has matured and looks stunning in her wedding dress. Her only regret is that Violet isn’t around to see her wedding. Violet meets up Cattleya on her way home. She was the ghostwriter for Damian. She owes her for convincing Damian. When Violet steps back on Leiden, she is confronted with Dietfried (Gilbert’s brother) and he is not happy she has become a Doll. He is not amused that someone who has taken many lives is now writing letters to bring lives together.

Episode 6
Many Dolls from all over the continent gather at Shaher Astronomy HQ. This means Violet meets up with her old classmates like Luculia. As the men’s usual job in the manuscript department is to preserve old, rare and poorly maintained books, last month they received a huge number of those. Hence the Dolls’ services are required. A man is paired with a Doll for the job. He will read and she will type. Leon Stephanotis is paired with Violet. What are the chances of a guy who doesn’t like Dolls… Yeah, you’ll slowly see him being taken in by Violet’s beauty as well as her skill. Violet is so efficient that they’ve completed 3 days’ worth of work in a day! Man, that guy is sure going to have a sore throat. One day, Leon hears his colleagues trying to tell Violet that he is wasted on her due to his circumstances. Thanks to her honest nature, it doesn’t get through her. Seeing his ‘natural face’ after hearing that, it’s funny how Violet replies she too has this kind of ‘natural face’. Leon summons the courage to ask her to go stargazing with him since Alley’s Comet (Haley’s Comet?) only comes around once in 200 years. What a major coincidence. Too bad the bread was squished to parts unknown for this invitation. While waiting for the comet, Leon explains what his colleagues said was true. His mom was a travelling performer and married a local. He had a happy life and dad’s job was travelling around the world to collect rare books. One day he vanished and the search was called off after 2 years. Mom decided to go look for him and was never seen again, much to Leon’s dismay. That’s why mom is very important to him. It’s Violet’s turn to tell him she has no blood relations but a certain man who cared for her for a long time. Hearing her talk about him, he asks if she would rush to his aid if she finds out he is in danger despite putting herself at risk. Her hesitant to answer is not because of how to answer him but how to apologize to him. That man means the world to her and she would rather die than lose him. I take it he is rejected. Before he could say the obvious she loves that guy, here comes the coincidental comet. The Dolls leave after the enormous work is complete. Leon sees off Violet. He admits he always wanted to follow his dad’s path but thought by being in this manuscript department, he could wait as long as needed for his mom to return. Thanks to her, he has changed his mind and wants to travel the world no matter how dangerous. He hopes they could meet as travellers one day. When that happens, he hopes she would still go stargazing with him. The odds of that might be even more astronomical than Alley’s Comet but he is glad he won’t hesitate anymore for she gave him the courage to take the first step out from the room he locked himself in.

Episode 7
Violet’s ghostwriting skills now take her to the nation of Genetrix where she will ghostwrite for Oscar Webster, a considerably famous playwright. However arriving at his home, his place is unkempt and he is not in good health. He prefers drinking than starting on his work. Plus, he treats her like a maid to do errands! Violet does so much but eventually puts her foot down and gets their work started. She types as he speaks the story but there are still many plot holes. When Violet finds a beautiful parasol, he suddenly wants to be left alone. Then when he sees her use it, she reminded him of someone dear. He snaps and hits it off her hand. He tells her to leave but she apologizes as she lacks the ability to understand whatever he is hiding in his heart. Oscar says he is trying to complete a story told by Olivia, his daughter. After his wife died of an illness, they moved here. However her days were numbered too and they lived as much as they could until she died. He lost all hope. Oh dear, Violet is so sad that she cried! She understands how it feels to lose someone and never getting to see them again. Once they both regain their composure, they continue finishing the story. It seems one of Olivia’s wish was to show she could walk on water across the lake to dad. Oscar didn’t think Violet would actually try and do it! OMG! Is she really walking on water???!!! This scene sparks lots of emotions inside him. Trying so hard to hold back the tears… :’(. Oh, Violet manages to skip 3 times before sinking. Damn I thought 1 was even impossible. Once her service is over, Oscar gives her the parasol. On her way back, she starts thinking words said from Dietfried, Gilbert and Hodgins and it makes her feel conflicted. Landing on Leiden, her former Evergarden family greets her. At this point this is where Violet finds out Gilbert has died as the mistress mentioned about his soul resting in peace. Violet storms back to confront Hodgins about his lie. He didn’t have the heart to tell her. He explains she was found alone alive outside the church. Perhaps moment before the bomb took Gilbert out. Although his body was not found, his dog tag was there. Violet takes this as a sign that Gilbert is still alive and refuses to believe otherwise. She runs away in tears.

Episode 8
Violet forces her way into the military to see Dietfried. Is Gilbert dead? He says yes. She says no! So what do you want to hear? But Dietfried feels mad. How can a heartless tool feel sorrow he thinks. As Violet makes her way home, we have more flashbacks. When Violet was found, Gilbert treated her kindly unlike Dietfried. Hence he took custody of her. Bringing her home, Violet was sceptical at first but gets used to his kindness. Gilbert was ordered to bring Violet to the frontlines to fight. He cannot disobey and in worse case, just abandon that tool. Well, well. They should just send in Violet as a one (wo)man army as she swiftly and efficiently kills the enemies in the most lethal way. Violet has reached Gilbert’s home. Is Gilbert around? Uhm, well, here’s his grave. Oh, it must be a coincidence the tombstone has the same name as Gilbert. The flashback continues. After Gilbert names her Violet, she showed some reaction and understanding. He trained and thought her how to read and write. To show his gratitude, we wanted to get her an accessory. She pointed out that emerald brooch because it has the same eye colour at his and looking at it moved her heart. Honestly she thought his eyes were beautiful when she first saw them. Moments before the final battle, Hodgins was posted to their same unit. He felt uneasy with his promotion because his family was the main funder for the war. Knowing this could be the last battle, Hodgins planned on quitting the army and open a store. He hopes Gilbert to come work for him but he wouldn’t want to. He teased he should hire Violet instead. Violet mistook this as Gilbert may not want her anymore and put her under Hodgins custody. They never got to finish this talk as the final battle soon begun. Gilbert’s troops were at the frontlines storming the enemy’s fort. Lots of casualty and even one whereby they were surrounded and ambush. Even if Violet was superhuman, there was no way she and Gilbert would have gotten unscathed and return to kill of all them. Anyway after a hard fought battle, Gilbert signals the victory to the reinforcements to storm the fort. But shortly after that, the enemy shoots his face.

Episode 9
Violet will not abandon him and carries him away despite under enemy fire. Heck, even if she lost both hands she still insists! And then that final heart wrenching scene we all knew. He tells her to live and be free and the confession of I love you. Confused Violet wants to know what is love (Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me-… Oops, sorry) but the place soon collapses. Now Violet is at the remnants of the site looking for Gilbert’s body. Hodgins is here too as he reveals the enemy tried to bomb the place in their final attempt. Gilbert must have pushed her out of the explosion. Everyone in hospital lied to her Gilbert was alright because she seemed more concerned about him than herself. Before that final battle, Gilbert strangely asked him to take care of Violet should anything happen to him. He didn’t see her as a tool but was worried over her future as an ordinary girl. Violet follows him back although they have to take a detour as there is a little unrest from the anti-peace faction in the town ahead. Violet is back but she holes up herself in her room. So sad that she is seeing visions of Gilbert interacting with her. Of course it all comes crashing down. Frustration sets in. She breaks stuffs. Tries to strangle herself. Can’t. Interrupted by the old postman guy. He has a letter for her. Because Benedict injured his feet, Violet is asked to cover his delivery. Violet does so and notices the people receiving the letters very happy to receive them. Once done, she returns to read her letter. It is from Iris and Erica. They wrote as they are worried over her wellbeing. Spencer requests Violet to be his ghostwriter to write to Luculia that he is doing fine and found a job. Thanks to her, he got back on her feet. Violet also notes the letter she received was her first one. It made her happy. Violet sees Hodgins and asks if it is alright for her to be a Doll and live on. Why is Hodgins crying? Oh wait, me too. He says all the horrendous things she did cannot be undone. This goes the same when she is a Doll.

Episode 10
Anne Magnolia sees a beautiful large doll (Violet) walking into the house. She is amazed she can talk, drink, etc. Seems her dying mom hired her to type letters for a week. Anne spends some time with Violet during the break and one night as she is tuning her mechanical hands, Anne tries to ask who the letters are addressed to since it couldn’t be her dad as he died in the war. However Violet is unable to disclose that information. Client confidentiality. Does a little girl know what that means? Over the next few spaces, we see Anne bugging Violet for things. She reveals to her that she actually wanted her mom to do those things but Violet keeps spending time writing those letters with her. Thus she wants Violet to stop taking away the time mom spends with her. Of course she can’t do that and this only frustrates Anne. One day, mom shows signs of weakening that she almost collapsed. Distraught Anne wants her to stop writing those letters in which mom insists they are very important to her. Anne is unable to understand and snaps that she knows she is dying and will be left all alone once she is gone. She is upset she is willing to spend her limited time writing letters than with her. Anne runs away as Violet catches up and talks to her. More heartbreak to see Anne cry and blame herself for being a bad girl, the reason why her mom isn’t getting any better. On the last day as Violet leaves, Anne realizes Violet is human and has soft skin (aside her hands). She is warm, gentle and kind. The seasons come and go as Anne spends more time with her mom. As expected, she passed away. Unsurprisingly for me, it is revealed the letters mom wrote are addressed to Anne. Each one delivered on her birthday. Anne reads them as it brings much tears to her and us. Fast forward we see Anne grown up into a lovely woman, married to a lovely husband and has a child of her own. The main point is that no matter how far apart or long it has been, mom will always be watching over her. I don’t want to sound like a jerk but it is revealed that mom wrote 50 years’ worth of letters. But man, she must really be confident her daughter will live that long. I mean, in this age and era… Hopefully she would. When Violet returns to HQ, she starts crying to think how lonely Anne would be when her mom is gone. She was holding back her tears all the while. Yeah, that poker face of hers worked for once. Oops, sorry. Bring me some tissues too, please :’(. Cattleya comforts her that it will be the letters she wrote that Anne will read.

Episode 11
Violet overheard Hodgins and Cattleya talk about a request for a Doll at Ctrigall’s Menace base. It seems that country has just plunged into a civil war as some wants the war to continue. Of course Hodgins will not send his Doll to the battlefield but what do you know? Violet secretly takes up that offer and heads over there. There, the people aren’t willing to send her right into the battlefield. Furthermore, Menace base is completely surrounded. Violet notes a steep hill that is less protected and the only way is to fly a plane and parachute down. The idea is so crazy that the pilot decides to do that just for her. The enemy is preparing to ambush but they got ambushed instead. All were killed except Aiden Field. He desperately flees but is shot by a sniper. Though, he still lives. Not too sure if allies or the enemy finds him and is about to kill him but here comes Violet dropping in. She dodges bullets to bring them down! One of the soldiers recognizes Violet as a killing machine so he tells his men to leave. Must be really fate and coincidence for Violet to meet Aiden. In the cabin, Aiden insists she writes the letters instead of treating his wounds. Okay. So, uhm… Air typewriter? She can memorize them in her hands. First, he has the letters addressed to his parents and hopes he would be reborn as their child again. Close to death, he now has another letter addressed to his childhood friend and crush, Maria. He really loves her and wants to return home to her. He doesn’t want to die but he is weakening by the second. Violet plays as his beloved Maria before he dies. Next morning after she buries him, she makes a detour to deliver the letters. The parents and Maria break down. When they thank Violet for bringing him back, this dismantles all the tears Violet was holding back. Now she is crying along with them :’(. She apologizes she failed to protect him :’(.

Episode 12
Remnants of the anti-peace faction are planning to disrupt a peace treaty signing ceremony. Hence the army assigns Dietfried to ensure this ceremony proceeds. Dietfried sarcastically replies he is now sent to clean up the mess after the original troubleshooter who was his brother is dead. Cattleya and Benedict are to accompany the ambassador for the ceremony. Dietfried is also there and although he is relieved Violet is not on this mission, he still doesn’t miss a chance to badmouth her. Benedict stands up for her and believes her letters she wrote has given a lot of hope to many. Violet is taking a plane back when she spots several explosions along the rail. Up ahead is a train station where the ambassador is on. Violet must have a damn good eyesight to spot Cattleya and wants to drop down here right now! She tells Cattleya what she saw and with Dietfried hearing this, he wants to know the details. He realizes the rebels plan to disrupt several spots along the line before finally attacking the train directly. They will pass a point where they will pass a long tunnel which took a long time to construct. There will be no repairs along this stretch and if the tunnel is bombed, it will take an awful long time to be repaired again. When Violet wants orders, Dietfried is not happy she still wants to be ordered like a tool. I guess there is no other way or transport so the train still continues its run.

I know some rebels infiltrated the train but how did the other rebels climb on board later? Without the other guards knowing? Furthermore, they even detached the train and all the guards are in the last carriage. That’s why mom said never to put all the eggs in one basket… Dietfried will go stop this train and wants her to protect the passengers. She insists she will not kill. I know it’s cool to see Violet fight the baddies on the train top but it’s unbelievable she takes her not killing motto to the extreme that she saves knocked out rebels from falling off the train! Don’t mind getting a few injuries from that. Yeah, some talk about the war and how the rebels felt betrayed and it never ended for them, blah, blah, blah. Then her brooch falls off during the fight. Right into the hands of the rebel leader. It’s her Kryptonite because now all the rebels gang up and beat her up. Why don’t they just throw her off instead of wanting to cut her head? Because of that, Dietfried is able to show up and shoot and throw them all off! Now he is pissed, chastising her that she even failed to protect herself. Is this the woman Gilbert died to protect? He tells her to die but she wants to follow Gilbert’s orders to live. He calls her a deadweight and the reason Gilbert died. She killed him. Violet responds that she too wanted to protect Gilbert. Amazingly rebel leader is still clinging on the edge. Anther rebel fires a mini bazooka. Violet protects him. For once her metal hands come in handy to deflect it.

Episode 13
Wow. A few more shots and her whole arm comes off! Must be worn from all that use. Rebel leader tries to jump off but Violet kicks him back! She almost loses her brooch but Dietfried catches it for her and returns it. Rebel leader thinks he has the last laugh because the train will be passing through a bridge in which a couple of bombs are placed. Dietfried tries to stop the train. Normal brakes don’t work. Violet operates the emergency brakes. With one hand. Then she jumps down to try and pry the bomb out. Oddly, Benedict handles the other bomb as he jumps down and flying kicks it off into the river!!! OMFG! Is he a super soldier too?! Meanwhile Violet can’t even pry it and her arm is tearing apart! Must be one strong glue. Eventually it comes off with her arm. Don’t worry, Benedict saves her from falling. Damn this guy must really be a super soldier. With the ceremony a success, true peace reigns. With Violet back with new arms and ghostwriting, she is advised by Cattleya to write a letter to herself. She doesn’t know what to write so we have this flashback of her with Gilbert before the final battle. She thought he wanted to transfer her away and had no use for her. Because she insisted his orders are everything, he scolds her that if he had seen her as a tool, he wouldn’t have taken her in. He tried to explain the sad and frightened emotions she has right now but she doesn’t understand. He blames himself turning her like this. As Violet is still unsure what to write, Hodgins just tell her perhaps a sentence would do.

Violet is surprised when Dietfried wants to see her (sorry it’s not Gilbert). He takes her to his home to meet his senile mom who thinks Gilbert is still alive. Violet assures he is still alive and shows the brooch. Mother tells Violet it isn’t her fault and is not her burden to bear. Dietfried had many times told to give up on him but as his mother how could she? He is definitely alive. In her heart. Even if it is painful to remember him, she will think about him the rest of her life so as not to forget him. Okay Violet. Try not to hold back your tears so I can cry too :’(. As she leaves, Dietfried gives his final orders for her to live and then die. Best Violet reply ever: She doesn’t need orders anymore. The Air Show Day must be popular since people write letters and a plane randomly drops them all over town and you pick up whatever you read. Interesting ones to note are Erica hinting she has someone she likes, Benedict wanting to take over Hodgins’ position and Cattleya reading aloud Hodgins’ embarrassing letter that he consider his staffs as his children and himself as their papa. Of course we hear Violet’s letter addressed to Gilbert. It might sound she is still in deny that she believes he is still alive somewhere out there. That is because she will continue to live and if she so happens to chance upon him one day (hopefully not in heaven), she will let him know she now understands a little what I love you means. Damn Violet, you crying some more makes me wanna cry some more!!! Oh what the heck, a little more tears wouldn’t hurt.

Episode 14 (OVA)
Taking place when Violet is a ghostwriting noob, Violet attends an opera concert. The conductor, Ardu Morini notices her in the crowd. That kind of beauty definitely stands out. At the backstage, Ardu introduces Violet to Irma Fellicha, the opera singer who hired her ghostwriting skills. However Irma wants to use the alias Marieta to write a letter addressed to a man named Modest. Here’s another catch: She wants Violet to type it out herself. Of course Irma had to reject her many times as it sounds like a military report, outdated and repetitive. Each time Violet tries to do more research but ends up getting rejected. So much so Violet stands at a corner unsure what to do! Like a dunce? She tells Iris and Erica about it but they themselves can’t help out with this complicated task. When Violet meets Ardu, she is told Irma isn’t writing a letter but the lyrics of a song that she wants to sing at the climax of the next opera. Violet tells this to her colleagues and indeed it looks more like a screenplay. Benedict suggests all of them pitch in to write a large letter for the song. I know many hands make light work but too many cooks spoil the broth… Keep trying. Meanwhile Ardu sees Irma and tells her he has already given up but she insists she hasn’t. When Violet shows the ‘masterpiece’ to Ardu, he believes this might be what Irma is looking for. He brings her to watch Irma rehearsing. Violet finds it strange that the opera’s setting is in current times instead of traditional. It is supposed to signal to the people that they live in an era that war is over but the people’s hearts are frozen and cannot move on. The climax is for the protagonist to read the letter but Ardu couldn’t write something of that calibre to convince her. It was when Ardu’s friend, a teacher of a school who trains Dolls recommended Violet. Yes, she is that teacher who coached Violet.

In order to know more about Irma, Violet follows her? Stalker? When Irma learns that Violet has someone dear from the military, she starts to reveal her own. There was a man she was in love with, Fugo. He is Ardu’s son. He promised that he will come back but you know, war doesn’t discriminate against its victims. He is currently listed as missing and Irma hopes he would return despite knowing the overwhelming odds he would not. She just can’t give up. Oh, they’re at the train station as they watch relieved couples reunite. Cue to pull heartstrings. As Violet ponders about all this, the old postman guy, Roland talks to her. He mentions about letters are meant to be delivered otherwise they are returned to the sender. This doesn’t mean it is because they work in a postal company. Roland shows her a warehouse filled with lots of returned letters. Violet is shocked to read some of them. All of them containing “I love you”. Letters that will never reach its intended reader. Now that Violet has an idea, she starts typing. She shows it to Irma and this is what she wants, so much so she cries. Nobody would have thought of the day Violet could actually write this. Not even Violet herself. We hear Irma singing this lovely song on stage, incorporating the words of the letter. Violet and her colleagues attend the opera that ends with a standing ovation.

Evergreen Feelings Via Letters
Sob, sob. Sniff, sniff… Maybe I’m getting old. How long has it been since I have watched an anime that has very long periods of sadness or one that continues to force the tears out of my eyes right till the end. A real tearjerker right till the end. That mixed feelings of sadness as well as happiness when we finally reach the end of the series. It isn’t even a very tragic or sad show to begin with but it really touches your heart. When a journey ends, a new one begins. This is very much true for the titular character herself. But I guess for us, that is as far as we can accompany her on this journey. Any more we might need another load of tissues. I don’t think my heart and eyes can take it any more of the crying.

The overall story might sound ordinary. A fighting machine trying to find the meaning of love and trying to live as a normal human being while coming to terms with reality. Thanks to its pacing as well as how the story is being told, I was never bored and more intrigued to know more about it. Okay, not to say that I was 100% glued to the screen and watching with baited breath anxious and eager to know what is going to happen next. But it was done well and interestingly enough for me to stay put and hoping to find the answers along with Violet. Not the answer to whether Gilbert is dead (that question is still up in the air considering the excuse of his body was never found), but to whether Violet could actually overcome this obstacle that is hindering her progress in life and move forward. Thankfully she did. It would have been a real tragedy had she not and I believe it would not have sit well with viewers. We watched Violet from the start and hoped to see her grow as a character and to see her forever dwell in her past and self-destruct would be an insult.

Therefore some of the episodes might feel like standalone or fillers. Especially when Violet is sent to somewhere to ghostwrite. It may look disconnected at first but if you watch closely and connect the less than obvious dots together, you can see it all forms one big story for Violet. Thus every ghostwriting job is not just to fill in the extra screen time but it helps advances the plot and the direction in life for Violet. I might be getting old because the later episodes where Violet is despatched to ghostwrite like Oscar and Anne’s episode, it gets even more emotional for me to watch and it really hit close to home and pulled the heartstrings.

I’m sure the series is subtly hinting about the use of letters to convey feelings. With electronic technology so advanced in our world, old fashion letters are dying out. Who sends love letters these days? Let alone postcards or greeting cards. Do we even send them? So the theme of letters and typing them using the typewriter (I bet a lot of youngsters of the new generation don’t even know what this is. They’ll probably think it is some fashionable and bulky keyboard) makes this series stands out on its own. That is why I am thinking that the producers of this series whom I read went as far as to create their own alphabet system (actually, just change the Roman letters into some other pattern), if we were to live in this world, we would definitely be illiterate and need a ghostwriter! Quite impressive. Also, having such alphabets mean we can’t clearly proofread what is on the letter and criticise any inconsistencies in its contents. Damn…

As you know, Violet as the main character who is even the name of this anime is given a lot of the limelight. She is the main focus and is given a lot of development and screen time to flesh out her character. Before I get to her, what I want to say is that many of the other characters in that sense feels a bit neglected. Of course we have Iris and Erica being given an episode to focus on their own issues but that is only if it involves Violet somehow. Hence the other minor supporting characters feel like they are not significant especially those at Hodgins’ company. I was wondering about the feud between Cattleya and Benedict and if there was any chemistry between them or even Cattleya with Hodgins but those might look more like distraction than anything. After all, if we get too deep into those characters, Violet will not be fleshed out properly so I’m going with the reason that these characters don’t get too much focus for the benefit of Violet. Yeah, you can’t have everything.

Violet as the main character is an intriguing watch. We see her transform from an emotionless killing tool into one that could think for herself. It is both interesting and heart wrenching to see her go through life and the circumstances stacked against her. She might not be in the most unfortunate of circumstances but we could ‘blame’ Gilbert being the main obstacle in her life. Her life basically revolves around him. Gilbert knows how dangerous that would be and tried to set her free. It is sad to see her not being able to get over the death of Gilbert at first but as you know, she can’t keep crying over his dead body. Oh wait. They never found it. Only with the acceptance of Gilbert’s death could Violet move on as the thought of any chance of him returning to her is the biggest reason why she is being held back. Thank goodness for all those ghostwriting experiences, right?

Talking about Violet’s ghostwriting skills, at first it was amusing to see Violet as a very blunt and straight in your face character. Making it even more amusing is how she can say it with that poker face. Violet looks so much more beautiful if she smiled often and just eking that out feels like hitting the jackpot. Because it is most of the time that poker face or her crying face. It was unbelievable at first that she could pass her ghostwriting school with that fluke letter. It remains to me as the only unbelievable part of the series (there are many more like that skydiving down to the train to warn her colleagues but this is by far the most farfetched one) only because to advance the plot. Imagine if we have to wait a few years for Violet to turn pro, we aren’t that patient, are we? Sure, she learns fast but just like how there are things that can only be conveyed in letters (and vice versa), there are some things you can’t master overnight.

Therefore Violet becoming a ghostwriter is no surprise a blessing in disguise to the lives that she touched. She might still have her problems but she helps bring the emotions of loved ones together and bring them hope. Sometimes it feels like before she could solve her own problem, she has to help others and learn from it. Only then she has earned enough experience to move on. And hence we see Violet being freed from the chains known as Gilbert and living her life not because he told her to but rather because she wants to. I figure that Dietfried being the ‘antagonist’ and the only one who hates Violet (even enemies who fought her don’t want to mess with her) doesn’t really hates her. He might seem like putting the blame on her for killing his brother but I feel that it is more along the lines of him blaming himself for being unable to prevent his death. Violet was the convenient tool to channel that sadness and anger. Every time she says Gilbert’s name and to the point of seeing her face, the pain of remembering his dead brother is too much to bear. Because Gilbert and Violet became somewhat inseparable until his death.

One last thing about Violet, although she did made some improvements, her past is ultimately shrouded in mystery. Conveniently she is given that amnesiac treatment so that we are not tied down to that cliché when a main character starts remembering her past and then she goes berserk or something changes. Hence her past does not bog her down in this sense as fat as this series is concerned. While in a way that is good, this also gives a problem for those who really want to know how Violet came about. How did she became a killing machine that is so adept in fighting and killing, she could have been the one (wo)man army to take down nations whoever her superior is. So, who trained Violet to be that indispensable fighting machine? If it is the military, wouldn’t they want to claim her? Remember, it is claimed that she is found. So did some alien drop her on this continent and left? I think it would be an insult if they ever make a back story of her with something like that. A princess from an alien world being exiled. Yeah, that would really be unsettling.

Oh, a question I pondered for a while: How come the medical technology here is just advanced enough to give Violet her mechanical hands and move it like as though it is her own. I don’t know the medical state and technology now in the series but it still looks ancient enough because there are still people dying of some disease that could have been prevented or at least treated with our real world technology. I’m not a medical expert but this is what I feel. Because of that, sometimes I think that Violet having mechanical hands is just a minor novelty. Just to get people who see her for the first time to be in awe and fascination. Because imagine if she has normal flesh and blood hands, the story and plot will still proceed as normal without any fuss but it would be less stellar because no robotic hands. It’s not like her mechanical hands hide some machine gun or buzzsaw, right? Besides, before she had mechanical hands, she was already moving faster and punching and kicking harder than any ordinary soldier and only got the pair after the war ended. Besides, I don’t see other amputee soldiers. Did Violet only get special medical technology because she’s beautiful? Because if there were other soldiers fitted with mechanical arms, you’d be seeing them around and the military would try to reuse them again as long as you’re not dead.

On a trivial note, flowers seem to be the theme of this series as many of the characters are named after flowers or have relations to them. Obviously as we see how Violet was named so, but do you know in the language of flowers, violet means innocence and the thought of love? Yeah, that seems to fit Violet’s image very well. As for Cattleya’s surname, French author Charles Baudelaire wrote a book called Les Fleurs Du Mal (The Flowers Of Evil). Speaking of names, I find it odd that Hodgins’ first name is of a female. Cattleya teased him once about it but I was really curious to know the history behind his name. Maybe his mom wanted a girl but a boy came out instead. Some mysteries we will never know…

Aside the story, the other biggest draw of the series is the art and animation. Everything is really gorgeous and breath-taking. The sceneries, backgrounds, the lighting effects, the weather and even the characters too look quite good. It is a nice eye candy if you like your setting to be post-war European style. Of course with this anime being produced by Kyoto Animation, there seems to be many character designs that seemed taken from their other works. Most notably, Hibike! Euphonium. So aside the very Saber-like design of the titular character, for most of the other characters I can’t help think how all of them looked like from that said anime. As though the brass band has been disbanded and now they find themselves with jobs in this world. For example, the young Anne looks like Hazuki and Charlotte has that uncanny resemblance to Yuuko. Doesn’t Cattleya look like Asuka without the glasses while Benedict and Shuuichi might be long lost relatives separated by a different anime? This might be a long shot but I do see Kumiko in Maria. But aside all this, the artwork is quite beautiful and to behold.

Voice acting helps in bringing out the drama and emotional side of the series. They’ve done quite a good job in portraying their characters. Like Yui Ishikawa who does a fine job as Violet, you might wonder why her poker face and voice is familiar. That’s because she was also the voice behind Shingeki No Kyojin’s Mikasa. Damn, I can see the resemblance between both characters. Casts that I recognize are Takehito Koyasu as Hodgins, Minori Chihara as Erica, Kenjiro Tsuda as Damian and Youko Hikasa as Irma but I couldn’t for Haruka Tomatsu’s Iris. On a side note, Ayako Kawasumi who was the voice of Saber, made a cameo as Anne’s mom.

The rest of the casts are Aya Endou as Cattleya (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Hidenobu Kiuchi as Dietfried (Ryouhei in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Daisuke Namikawa as Gilbert (Rock in Black Lagoon), Kouki Uchiyama as Benedict (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Azusa Tadokoro as Luculia (Kotori in Gokukoku No Brynhildr), Sumire Morohoshi as Anne (Seira in GJ-Bu), Megumi Nakajima as Charlotte (Ruri in Sacred Seven), Mami Koyama as Alberta (Balalaika in Black Lagoon), Subaru Kimura as Spencer (Gian in Doraemon), Shintarou Asanuma as Aiden (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Yuuto Uemura as Leon (Juugo in Nanbaka), Satoshi Taki as Oscar and Takuya Inagaki as Emonn.

The opening theme is Sincerely by True. Rather and okay song. Fits the pace of the series well. But the one that takes the case is the ending song, Michishirube by Minori Chihara. This is very slow and lovely ballad and if you’re not ‘strong’ enough, you might end up crying listening to this. Thankfully, I didn’t. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, but since this is Minori Chihara we’re talking about singing this song, personally I have always found her voice to be one kind when she is singing. It’s not as bad like, say, Nano Ripe but it is something more on that lines. Also another beautiful song is the special ending theme in episode 9, Believe in by Aira Yuki. Even more powerful and emotional as it is played befittingly as the turning point for Violet. Violet Snow by Aira Yuki as the final episode’s ending theme stirs up even more emotions with its emotional ballad. Damn, everything so perfect to make the tears flow so easily!

Overall, this is a very beautiful and emotional story. Great story that would move your heart and almost to tears as well as instilling hope even in times where we could see there is nothing but losses and hopelessness. Despite I’m calling this series beautiful, it still isn’t perfect nor it is a masterpiece since it looks and sounds so beautiful that it fits more like a fairytale. So beautiful that it seems so fake? But inspiring nevertheless. Violet may not have truly grasped the meaning or love but she has naturally given to many others the warmth and love she sought to understand. In that sense, she is already loved. The love she was looking for has always been around her. You don’t see love. You feel it. Some things you just can’t really explain it in words or letters.

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