3D Kanojo got off to a fascinating start in the first two episodes, giving us some perspective and a view into our awkward, complicated romantic leads Tsutsui and Igarashi. It was a pretty solid foundation, in my opinion, to base the rest of the show off of, and episodes 3 and 4 have both proved to have not dropped the bar of quality that has been set for the show thus far. While the first two episodes acted as a primer of sorts, episodes three and four focus quite heavily on the ways in which insecurities can develop on all sides of a new, burgeoning romance, how they can complicate issues between partners, and ultimately how people can respond to those issues in healthy, trusting ways.
3D Kanojo, on the surface, isn’t exactly a show we haven’t seen before. At first glance, it appears to follow the archetypical show/book/etc. formula of “nerdy boy finds love through beautiful girl”, a trope which, obviously, is fairly problematic. But there is far more to this show going on below the surface. From these first two episodes, we find that, in fact, it has so far come to us as a show about harmful misconceptions, and how looking beyond them can lead to genuine, satisfying relationships. While there’s a lot that we could focus on for a discussion of this show, I want us to look specifically at our main characters, Hikari Tsutsui and Iroha Igarashi, and the fascinating, complex spaces that they inhabit.
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.
The Winter 2018 season was, in many ways, a genuine surprise, primarily so because of the sheer volume of genuinely solid shows that were offered in this first bit of the year. What has surprised me beyond this, however, is that not only did we have a number of shows that I am already seeing as possible contenders for anime of the year, but a number of shows, to my surprise, made some concerted pushes in terms of working to buck some norms (or at least attempting to do so) that are fairly present within the general sphere of seasonal anime. For this season in particular, one theme that stood out to me has been that of self-love/self-acceptance, and this came to me most notably while watching Yuru Camp and Sanrio Boys.
Episode nine was what this whole series up to this point has been building to and honestly, had they wanted to make a shorter series, they could have cut it right here and have had in my opinion one of the best endings of the season, possibly of the past few years. For all of those who may have dropped the show because of the pacing, I ask to please reconsider as episodes 7-9 were exactly what you were waiting for, but they wouldn’t have worked nearly as well without the rest of it. The slow burn up to this point and the character and world-building are what enabled this midseason segment to work so well. To those that were on the fence or those that had written this show off earlier I personally will vouch that this is the proof that it all does pay off and does so beautifully. Because of this, I’ll be interested in seeing what they do in order to continue this onward and what they plan to do for the actual ending, given how final and amazing episode nine was.
It is fairly easy to say that, up until this point, Violet Evergarden has been fairly single-minded in its approach to the conveyance of its narrative, plot direction, and character development. Though episodes three through six have very much contained their own interesting, well-detailed vignettes that feel quite distinct from one another, they have invariably followed, to some degree, a formula of sorts for each episode. Through the course of each story, we follow a side character who initially misunderstands Violet, learns more about her, and feels they understand her a bit better by the end of the episode, and during this period of time, Violet comes to understand an emotion that had previously been inaccessible or unknown to her. Beyond that, while there have been a small number of deviations from the standard course of the show thus far, Violet Evergarden has stayed the course in keeping with its low-key, slow-burn delivery of its tale to us. Episodes seven and eight change that.
Episodes one and two were a great introduction to this series and definitely laid the groundwork for what is to come. However, this show very early explained to the audience that it was going to be a slow build and we see that build executed well in episodes three and four as we take a bit of a detour from the posts’ offices and crew to build on our individual characters.
As we left off, Violet is learning to be a better auto memory doll and as such, she is enrolled in a doll training course with several others students. Very early on, we see her excel in her technical skills but as we’ve seen in the previous episodes, when it comes to the basis of the job, understanding and effectively conveying the clients’ emotions, Violet crashes and burns. It’s not until a fellow classmate, Luculia, reaches out and works with her, that we see her progress and beautifully, as they work together, we see both this Luculia and Violet understand each other as well as their own emotions better, eventually leading to Violet successfully writing a short but emotionally effective letter from Luculia to her brother.
This episode and the soon to be talked about episode four seem to share the theme of developing empathy and understanding, from characters within the show, but more importantly, the show seems to also be asking the same from us the audience to the issues certain characters face. This brings up a main point I wanted to talk about, here that I think is important in understanding our main character and the issues she struggles with. That it appears Violet may be autistic.
This wasn’t my idea originally as I watched through episodes one and two. To be completely honest, I’m not exactly well qualified to talk about this as I’m horribly ignorant on this particular mental condition. However, what I’ve learned through others that have more authority on this, I find the fact that Violet Evergarden seems to be tackling this mental condition, or at the very least a similar situation, fascinating. While I originally thought this was an interesting theory when viewing episode three, episode four seems to solidify that this is exactly what the show is doing and, personally, that seems wonderful to me.