Genre(s): Drama, Coming of Age
Age-Appropriateness: 12+ (Occasional war flashbacks containing blood)
Episodes: 13 (+1 OVA episode on Netflix as “Violet Evergarden: Special)
TheAwersome Rating: 9.8 / 10 (You HAVE to watch this)
Premise: The war is over. Violet, having known nothing but war her whole life, is having trouble integrating into society. Scarred and emotionless, she takes a job working as an Auto Memory Doll, a glorified scribe that helps people write letters and captivate their true emotions. But can she help interpret the emotions of others while trying to sort out her own trauma and find her purpose in life?
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: Get ready to lose yourself in a masterpiece on so many levels. From the beginning, Violet Evergarden takes your breath away with its absolute gorgeous art. Every single frame, cutaway, background, transition sequence, is masterfully drawn and animated. These details immerse you in the story’s fictional world, evoking a post-WWI Europe. Second you have the soundtrack: a fully orchestrated score that dramatically captures the emotions of each scene while feeling appropriate for the era.
Be. Ready. To. Cry. And be ready to be happy about it. My goodness. Were it not for the masterfully done storytelling, cinematography, symbolism, and writing, the amount of emotional content in this anime could easily be accused of trying to simply tug at your heart strings. But Violet Evergarden does it in a very sincere, direct, and poignant way that exemplifies the storytelling mantra of “Show, don’t tell.” I will occasionally get choked up at movies or shows, but Violet Evergarden had me literally sobbing to the point I had to pause it. And I loved it. I gladly watched the whole series a second time with Harbour just a few weeks after finishing it myself. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t one big series of sad things. The majority of the crying is from heartwarming, happy, and life-affirming events.
TLDR: Combine the coming-of-age emotion and musical quality of a Ghibli movie with increased gorgeous visuals and a WWI drama. Add a scoop of cathartic emotion, serve with blankets, tissues, and heartwarming hope.
A Side-Story movie “Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memories Doll” released in Japan September 2019, with a primary movie scheduled for April 2020.