First Impressions: Violet Evergarden

War has ended and peace is now ascending on the land. But there are those that can’t escape war—their lives during it and the horrors that stay with them. Violet was described as a weapon, a being used simply as a machine to assist soldiers and kill. But she must now find a place in a postwar world, not simply because she wants to survive—that’s questionable—but because she wants to fulfill the order of the one for whom she truly cared.

So…here it is, the series that will save anime! And it was…quite beautiful. I’m a sucker for steampunk, and Violet Evergarden has shades of that, as well as of an early 20th-century setting (the war looks and feels much like WWI, at least in flashbacks). The aesthetics are gorgeous—the tones, the music, the character design, all just about perfect. But my skepticism outweighs my excitement at this point. The relationship at the heart of this episode felt equal parts forced and authentic, which makes me question the writing and direction moving forward. I’m also worried that the series will be plain boring—is there enough here to keep my interest for a whole season? Will this be more slice of life or is there a strong action element to it? Will I grow to like these characters? I guess I’ll find out as the season progresses.

Or maybe I won’t. The elephant in the room is that there’s not legal streaming channel for Violet Evergarden in the U.S. (there are in other countries), at least not until the spring when Netflix will post the series in its entirety. That provides a conundrum for me, because while I’m okay with sampling the first episodes of series outside of proper distribution channels, it’s been several years now since I’ve gone “fully legal,” putting my money where my mouth is and paying for all the anime I consume. And while I’m not happy with Netflix’s decision to wait on streaming (a reason why I never watched Fate/Apocrypha either, having fallen a season behind), I can’t justify watching the series extra-legally with any moral reasoning—it would feel like what I did in high school when I would bring the same soft drink cup to a pizza joint every day and fill up, reasoning that they overcharged me for drinks anyway so I’m just striking back. So if you see me blogging the series this season, you’ll know it’s with a tinge of guilt, and if I don’t, it’s because I stayed true—that, or Violet Evergarden didn’t turn out to be the series that saved anime after all.

Violet Evergarden will be available to stream on Netflix, but not until spring of 2018.

11 thoughts on “First Impressions: Violet Evergarden

  1. How do you feel about eating snack food in the grocery store before paying? Is it okay as long as you pay eventually (before leaving the store)?

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    1. Oh, I see what you did there, Anon! But actually, I don’t eat in the store before I buy haha, and that’s because what I’m trying to do is follow the law. Sometimes I may think it’s something that can be bent or something I might even disagree with, but I still intend to follow.

      Now, I don’t always do so (speed limits, cough cough) haha…we’ll see how I do in this case. -_-‘

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  2. I loved the first episode! I think the spectacle of it alone will keep it from being boring to me.

    “The relationship at the heart of this episode felt equal parts forced and authentic”

    Do you mean the relationship between Violet and Gilbert? Or between Violet and Hodgkins?

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    1. Gilbert and Violet—it felt a little forced, though I thought the final scenes were moving. I really liked the dynamics between Hodgkins and Violet though, and I’m looking forward to seeing those develop further as the series moves forward!

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  3. Man it sounds pretty cool. The art looks amazing. Too bad you can’t find it on a legal streaming. I am trying to stay away from the unlawful side of things as well. Though to be honest the true Anime fanatic may never be satisfied with the delayed distribution/access and the abridged variety of shows available to them.( abridged only compared to the amazing amount of shows probably present in Japan at any one time) I’m not saying we don’t have amazing access. People just get frustrated having to wait until the shows first and second season are already over in Japan before seeing them. However I’m rarely on the frontlines of new shows. I’m watching well known older anime that I’ve never seen before. Luckily all the “catching up” I do through Crunchyroll keeps me busy and away from temptation of the darkside.

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    1. That’s an interesting point—the wide availability of so many series helps a lot of us avoid illegal streaming. Crunchyroll has been fantastic with so many series in their catalog, old and new. Netflix can of course do whatever they wish with their business model, but they’re losing viewers, I assume, by holding out on a fan base that is as now-based as any.

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  4. After seeing the first episode I am left with mixed feelings. It’s extremely well-made and KyoAni know how to pull one’s heartstrings. What really rubs me the wrong way is the whole “girl soldier” thing. I mean, she wasn’t in some rag-tag resistance group, she was in a state military force, surely they do have certain rules and regulations . Who decided that putting a girl in a male-dominated environment, during a war, no less, was a good idea? How did she end up there? Is she some kind of super-soldier? If she is, won’t there be a dissonance between that and the show’s (mostly) realistic setting? I just couldn’t get rid of all those questions while watching.

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    1. There are indeed a lot of questions that need to be answered. The realistic setting is a good point—it’s far less steampunk than I thought it would be. I don’t think qualifies, in fact, based on the first episode, though perhaps we’ll see something different soon that helps us accept her super soldier nature. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s coming in the form of the dolls presented at the end of episode one.

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    1. Netflix put out a press release or some other notifier last year that was picked up by lots of outlets, including ANN, which mentioned that they would air the series in the spring of 2018. The assumption is that they’ll continue their usual pattern, which is to release series (ex. Fate/apocrypha) after they’ve completed their season.

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