It’s been a while since I’ve watched or talked about Violet Evergarden. That comes with some positives and negatives. The positives come from the fact that I can still recall a lot of aspects of the show itself. That means it’s very memorable At the same time, the negatives come from some of those aspects come from parts of the show that I enjoyed more then others. Violet Evergarden is a story of a war orphan being slowly rehabilitated over the course of the show. As a former child soldier on the front lines with PTSD, the anime was about her discovering her feelings and recovering by becoming an Auto Memory Doll. In other words, one who writes letters for those who don’t know how to put their feelings into words. Those episodes she was helping people stand out the best for me. The war story aspect is kind of flat for me. Maybe that’s what happens when one is a Gundam fan.
In that way it’s very lucky for me that this film, Violet Evergarden: Eternity and Auto Memory Doll, is like those episodic stories in anime series itself. Only this time, the episodic is feature length. The movie is cut into two parts which are about 45 minutes each ended up in a cool hour and half run time. In this sort of way, I feel like we get the best sort of experience with Violet herself. Her Auto Memory Doll job is definitively her license to dig into other people’s stories and for us to hear them. Basically, the license to be a main character. She is a great character in her own right, but I feel like she works better as the microphone for other people’s voices. This is why I dug this film as much as I did despite its side story status. Spoilers?
The first part of this film revolves around Violet Evergarden given the job of traveling to a prestigious girl’s boarding school. The reason? To assist Isabella York in her training as a Debunte. The first time we see Isabella, she’s lonely, mentally shaken, and not interested in the prestigious life that she has inherited. Something unusual regarding the nature of the school itself. There is always something underneath her behavior which is driving Isabella and we slowly see that unfurl as her time with Violet grows. it’s always fascinating to see it all unravel in one way or another. It’s something that this franchise is really good at. It’s emotional manipulation, but in a way that feels genuine and real.
That’s the story for first half. It’s the tale of Isabella’s life has become tragic despite her new position. She used to be a street urchin. Despite that fact, she wanted to help an orphan kid named Taylor live the best life she can. You know, despite the fact that Isabella doesn’t have resources besides things and places she can find on the street. Which leads to Isabella finding out she is royalty and Taylor gets taken to an orphanage that can actually take care of her. It’s heart crushing, but it’s meaningful. This isn’t downloaded to us all at once. It takes away for Isabella to give us this story to Violet because it takes a while for her to come to terms with other people then herself. Some good development for Isabella.
Ok, a few things I wanted to address before jumping in. There is just a lot of interesting nuances to this first half then one would expect. Eternity and Auto Memory Doll does a great job of playing around with the school girl sort of story as well. Without saying too much, the story takes the mean girl-ness of everything and does a surprising twist in way that isn’t originally expected. There are no actual bad people in this movie. Even the royal family did do some kind things despite the separating of the duo in question. They weren’t wrong. This movie is just the case of how things can affect people for forever and how things can look wrong in their eyes.
With that aspect and the delivery of Isabella’s letter to Taylor before the time skip by a certain delivery man Benedict, the second half focuses on Taylor three years after the letter Isabella and Violet wrote together got delivered. Taylor still a kid, but a very determined and motivated kid. A kid that thinks mail men are the best people ever. Why? Well, to them they are people who deliver dreams and feelings. So obviously, this kid needs to become one of them. That’s why she ran away for her orphanage and found her way to Violet Evergarden and friends. I feel something tugging on my eyes just from writing that. Oh no.
Taylor’s visit was pretty great. Not just for her, but for everyone else. Taylor is a very energetic child that everyone at the company feels something for. She brought out the mostly untouched kid side of Violet and Gilbert’s rough kindness when showing Taylor the ropes of what it takes to deliver mail across a city. All sorts of good and adorable moments here and there between all of them. One of them revolves around Violet teaching Taylor how to read along with delivery mail with her sometimes. Violet isn’t as mean as Gilbert’s exterior feels like after all. Gilbert has his own little arc with Taylor at the center too. Softening up in a very relatable way. It’s obvious that he likes spending time with Taylor.
Of course, that’s not where the feelings come from. That comes from finding Isabella again. Why? She’s had a very successful life after Violet left her. The reason why Violet spent some more time with Taylor happened. With Violet’s help, Taylor has written a letter to Isabella. Gilbert spent a lot of time searching for where Isabella is. Then the moment hits. Gilbert and Taylor ride down on his new motorcycle and visit her. The letter is delivered, but the feelings behind the letter just completely take over everything too. Isabella has grown into herself, but she hasn’t forgotten her sister at all. Oh no, I’m crying again.
I don’t know how to really discuss the visuals of Violet Evergarden because I can’t tell if they have been updated or not. No, really. The 2018 series was amazing to look at on almost every level and all the movie could do was continue with that visual style and quality. Maybe. It did that as far as I am concerned. I’ve always loved how Kyoto Animation animated the series. Their stand character drawing style from Kyoto Animation with an added layer of World War One realism added quite a bit to it as well. The difference here is more time is given to the city and the Girl’s Boarding school, so the world has expanded a bit. Quite a bit of fun.
Do I really need to say everything about all of this, here? I think I’ve said everything that I needed to about Violet Evergarden: Eternity and Auto Memory Doll already. I love it. Absolutely solid movie. Possibly my favorite part of Violet Evergarden so far because it’s my personal, idealized form of Violet Evergarden that I want to see more of. Violet is great, Isabella is fun, Gilbert is interesting, and Taylor is just completely adorable. I really hope that this special film can escape from Netflix and appear in disc form because I want it so much. You guys have no idea. Give it to me. I want it now!