A Spin-off of Violet Evergarden
Genre(s): Drama, Slice of Life
Age-Appropriateness: 12+ (Relatability, nuance)
Episodes: One 90 min. movie
TheAwersome Rating: 8.5 / 10 (KyoAni stays solid)
Premise: Isabella, the daughter of the noble York family, is enrolled in an all-girls academy to be groomed into a dame worthy of nobility. However, she has given up on her future, seeing the prestigious school as nothing more than a prison from the outside world. Her family notices her struggling in her lessons and decides to hire Violet Evergarden to personally tutor her under the guise of a handmaiden. While initially cold towards Violet, Isabella opens up about her troubled past and how she’s lost contact with her beloved younger sister. Having experienced the power of words through her past clientele, Violet asks if Isabella wishes to write a letter to Taylor. Will Violet be able to help Isabella convey her feelings to her long-lost sister?
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: Goodness this was a beautiful film. Take all the beauty of the series and amplify it even more: more detailed environments, more fluid animation, more gorgeous cinematography, framing, etc. Being a movie, there’s more time to enjoy these scenes without feeling like it’s dragging. This really feels like two extended episodes, which, being a side story (not an official continuation, think of it as an OVA) is to be expected. As such, there aren’t critical plot and character developments around Violet herself, but she’s more of the vehicle by which the story happens.
There isn’t as much of the post-war tension and drama in this one, it’s a lot more like a Period Drama (think Jane Austen meets Charles Dickens). I didn’t latch on to this one as hard as I did to the main series, but that’s not to discount the movie. I watched the main series while I was still coming off the tail ends of depression/cancer dealings, and really needed that “feel human again” healing and “what you do matters for good” message which is a central theme of the series. It was also when I was just getting back into Anime so it was a lot easier to immerse myself. Since the story of the movie revolves around the relationship between sisters, it wasn’t as close-to-home for me as I am nobody’s sister, and never really had a close relationship with my own, so my percentage of time spent crying while watching the movie was far lower than with the series.
TLDR: Less of a Post-War Drama and much more of a Period Drama centered on strong sisterly bonds, with calmer pacing than the series and even more gorgeous art and animation.
This aired in theaters back in February, but Funimation (in charge of theater distribution) only had it in a very small offering of locations. If it wouldn’t have required us to take three days off of work, we would have driven to Arizona to see it, but it was only airing on a Tuesday and Wednesday night, and I didn’t feel it would have warranted plane tickets. It could be due to Netflix being the end license holder and the general hostile rivalry that theaters and streaming services have, but most anime movies generally are available in about four different local theaters (even if it’s only for one night). I must say I’m increasingly worried that with the poor handling of COVID-19 in the U.S., many movies might not even come stateside for the rest of the year.