Violet Evergarden’s final episode is an episode largely of catharsis, and it is one that I, and many others, have wrestled with. In many ways, it brings us to the logical conclusion of the show, or rather to the stopping point for this portion of Violet’s story that we receive. In truth, I have watched this episode numerous times over, mulling its events over in my head, and it has been a process of numerous revisions to how I have come to finally view this last piece of Violet’s story (for now, anyway). Through this, I have found that my thoughts have changed significantly in more recent viewings. This final episode, depending on your reading of events, can be quite clear-cut on the surface, or somewhat more muddied as you dive deeper into it. It does give Violet a great sense of closure, a lifting of burdens, a renewed sense of self and purpose, and a renewed vigor to live her life. But that vigor for a life that she has fought tooth and nail for over the course of this season, again, depending on your reading, can manifest as either a genuine sense of moving on, or it can be somewhat tainted, if it is read as a vigor to live her life for Gilbert; no longer in pursuit of him, but to live life waiting for him, should he be alive. I want to talk about the two as we go forward here, because through my viewings of this final act, I have come to see both.
(After publishing edit: After reading, be sure to check out the comments below as there are some corrections about characters’ ages that should be considered.)
Well, with an intro as damn good as that last episode was, I dove into this episode head first, ready to devour any and all that it could give me. I just couldn’t stop drooling over that teaser for the end of the series that had my jaw drop back in episode one. The show is definitely still keeping its tone and wonderfully paced story and as things slowly unravel about this world, I’m enjoying the characters more and more.
Picking up right were the last episode left off, our main character, Willem, ponders how these children could be weapons as he begins to acclimate to his new job. Not an easy thing to do when all the kids are scared of you as the new adult in town but luckily, as has been hinted at before, our protagonist has worked with kids before and knows a thing or two about winning them over. i. e. The fastest way to a child’s heart is through their stomach.
There’s a decent amount of time spent in this first half showcasing Willem working with the kids and watching over them, very quickly adopting the role as their guardian. Meanwhile, the teenagers are together making fun of Ctholly because she seems to be crushing hard on Willem. All light-hearted antics and fun so far, though hints have continuously been dropped that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to these girls. While no single kid really sticks out besides the three teenagers, the group as a whole feels very much like an adopted family, all very cute and happy. So it’s all the more dramatic when this suddenly and twistedly changes in a single moment.
A brief note – I have gone into this show completely blind. I have not even read a summary of the show’s main plot. Everything I relate in this post should be taken as such.
This Spring anime season, there’s a surprising number of shows that at least look pretty promising – though as we all probably know by this point, there are a lot of series that look and seem fantastic from their PVs, which show off cool animation sequences, try to entice you with their (hopefully) endearing characters, attempt to seem like they could bring something new to the table, or some combination of the above. There’s a lot to wade through, so let me pitch a show to you for this season. It’s a LN adaptation set in a fantasy world with- hey wait, stop, I’m not done yet! Let me finish!
For those who may not know and need a strongly-paraphrased summation of the show’s premise, Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?, or as the anime community at large has mercifully deemed it, SukaSuka, is a fantasy/sci-fi Light Novel adaptation taking place in a world of sky islands, where humanity was wiped from existence. In this story, we follow young Willem Kmetsch, who has taken on the job of being a military caretaker for a warehouse of advanced weaponry. What he doesn’t know, however, is that the weapons are, in fact, young girls. While the show might sound on the surface to be a groan-fest of typical fantasy isekai trappings and other tropes that tend to make shows less-than-enjoyable experiences, SukaSuka actually delivers in its first episode a surprising amount of good reasons to give it a chance – and by god, do I have high hopes for this one.
And now we reach that wonderful halfway point in the series. In my experience, it’s when things start to make sense or it’s usually when I drop an anime. Luckily for our adorable little salary man, this show has grown and developed significantly since that first episode, with episode five definitely ending on a high point. Tanya has risen through military ranks and has combated hardships brought on by a controlling deity to now be in charge of her own battalion. With their first taste of action in their last battle (although you could call it a slaughter), Tanya and company are off to where the real fighting is, ready to show the world who the hell they think they are.
If previous episodes have been any indication, Tanya has had a bit of a rough time trying to balance out world events in her favor. Being X is definitely not doing her any favors, and Strategy and Operations Vice Director Hans von Zettour has been making sure that Tanya is advancing through the ranks in the way that is most beneficial to the Fatherland, not necessarily in the way that she would like. With her being placed as the head of the Rapid-Response Mage Battalion, which some might consider being tantamount to suicide, Tanya’s plan to spite Being X by surviving in a safe administrative position seems to be flying further out of her grasp with each passing episode. With this simultaneous advancement of position and wresting of power from Tanya seeming to be the show’s running theme for the last four episodes, I entirely expected episode 5 to give us much the same, and in some ways, it does. However, it also shows us a view of Tanya at the most powerful that she has been for this entire span so far, with no intervention from military or metaphysical forces.
Before I began writing these episodic articles, I never realized how much a show could change over just the course of a few episodes. From episode 1 to episode 4, Youjo Senki has gone through an unbelievable transformation from a show with a disorganized lack of information to a more thrilling show about politics, religion, and morality. Some of the original complaints I had in episode 1 were only those of that episode, and others weren’t really relevant to the upcoming story, if only because I had no idea what kind of story this was. While I think the show’s themes are still a bit mixed, episode 4 has started really delving into Tanya’s personality beyond the fact that she’s an evil militaristic girl that just wants to follow the rules.
How about we play a game? I transport you to an alternate dimension with amazing powers and then do you promise to learn your lesson?
I’d have to say that the second episode of Youjo Senki was a very interesting twist from the first. The idea of God (or Being X as Tanya calls him) giving our salaryman protagonist a second chance through trial by almost literal fire was a nice way to take what I initially thought was a simple but interesting idea and layering more and more interesting levels onto it. However, while we did get some much-needed explanation and characterization, as GeneralTofu pointed out, we also had more questions. What is The Empire and how does it function? What changed Tanya to invoke God’s name even through she adamantly has been against him, even denying the existence of a God. Well luckily, we’re starting to get the answers. Episode three explains to us primarily two things: That The Empire is a meritocracy and that Tanya has been forced into her newfound religious slogans.