Violet Evergarden 9+10 – Loss and Learning to Heal

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.

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Violet Evergarden 7+8 – In the Grasp of Loss

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.

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Violet Evergarden 5+6 — In the Eye of the Beholder

Violet Evergarden is one of these shows that I feel at odds with when trying to discuss, as I feel while there’s so many good things to say about the series and how much I enjoy it and what it does, there’s an equal amount of criticisms I have for the show, yet it never detracts from my enjoyment of the show as I’m watching. It’s a complicated feeling for me, as I do deeply enjoy the show, but at the same time, cannot bring myself to call the show anything more than “good” as I’m watching it. I feel there’s plenty more the series could do with itself than the story is showing me at this moment. “Why is that?” is always what I ask myself in these scenarios, and I think episodes 5 and 6 are perfect to discuss why I both love this series and also feel like it could improve upon itself.

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Violet Evergarden 3+4 – Learning Empathy

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.

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Violet Evergarden 1+2 – Great Promise, Great Worry

[Disclaimer from the team: While this anime is not out in the United States, currently, a large amount of our followers and fellow Anibloggers are not from the United States and we felt it would be good to share our own thoughts on the series along with them. This is also a bit of a statement for the US branch of Netflix. While we are happy that Netflix is helping to fund and support the anime industry and we fully support legal means for watching anime, their practices in timed region-locking content are not something we agree with, particularly in the case of this show which is available in every country except our own with no explanation as to why. Therefore, given the show in nature is the most anticipated of the past year and we have no available legal means of joining the international discussion, we felt we should write about it regardless.]

Violet Evergarden is finally here. To say that it has been one of the most-hyped anime series to come by in the last few years would be a pretty massive understatement. Whether it’s been through talks about Netflix’s choice of streaming with regards to other countries, discussion from those who have read the source material, or just sheer hype over the potential of the show shown through interviews and PVs, it seems like Violet Evergarden has seeped into conversations for a very, very long time. Does it stand up to the raging hype machine that’s been set up alongside it?

Well, yes…but I’m also a tad concerned.

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My feelings on the Netflix situation.

Whoo boy, this one is gonna be opinionated.  These are just my own personal feelings on this, this isn’t representative of the whole Backloggers.  I just felt like sharing and one hundred forty characters didn’t feel like enough.

Look, first and foremost, I am not stating people should pirate anime.  Please, support the creators in any way you can and in every way available legally.  A quick look at the Animator Housing project or the median salary of people in the industry should be enough of a wake up call that the people who make anime are in deep shit and they need every ounce of help they can get.  

However, for those that are taking the high ground on this debacle with Netflix, let’s be completely realistic here:  Netflix has metaphorically taken the starter pistol on their first major foray into this and shot themselves in the leg.  The anime community in the western world has a several decades long history of piracy because it was simply the only option for a vast amount of shows.  It’s only recently that we’ve even blessedly had Crunchyroll among others popping up to give us an alternative to waiting for years for Funimation and Aniplex (or Heaven forbid 4Kids) to license something, if they ever choose to.

This is what Netflix should be fighting. This is what we are fighting who want legal alternatives that support the very industry that gives us this entertainment.  But the only way to fight piracy isn’t to say “Hey, we’re legal.  That’s what you care about, right?”  That doesn’t matter to people who just want to watch a show and it definitely doesn’t matter for the multiple people I work with that are casually watching Naruto and Attack on Titan and have me crying every day when I look over and they’re on KissAnime, watching the shittiest of quality streaming with “who knows who translated this” subs.  I mean, in the entirety of me watching Game of Thrones, I had a multitude of friends and family talking to me about the show and the only one among them I knew had an account was my dad.  I understand this is anecdotal but it’s pretty obvious that if people want content, regardless of if they’re “hardcore” or “casual”, they’ll find a way to watch it and the reaction from across Twitter, even from people who work for licensors and distributors echoes this same mentality.

What Netflix needs to be is competitive against this.  The only way to stop piracy is to make things easy, affordable, and more competitive than the alternative.  However, when you hold shows for over a year, it isn’t easy on the consumer, it isn’t affordable if we have nothing to pay for, and it’s the complete opposite of competitive when the pirates already have it up and ready to go day one.  Going back to the runner analogy above, it’s like Netflix finally got into the sprint at the Olympics and then intentionally broke their leg on the starting line.  Why did they even show up?  They stole that spot from some other runner (CR, Amazon, etc.) who would actually try to race.  Instead, we got them.

And that’s another issue here.  We finally have competitive answers against piracy that are doing great work out there.  CR is doing a great job of grabbing licenses and Amazon is definitely fumbling their way through this, but their actual content is amazing and readily available if you have the bank for it.  If Netflix never grabbed these shows in the first place, you can bet your ass CR, Amazon, or any of the newcomers would have snatched these and we’d be watching weekly.  Instead, Netflix sniped the shows and expects people to wait.

Yes, piracy is wrong and yes, with 100% certainty we need to support the industry because they’re barely supporting their own creators.  But the bottom line is that regardless of morality, people will absolutely be pirating these shows because Netflix refuses to work with the community and is putting their own policies over their consumer’s needs.  That is unacceptable.

It just sucks.  It sucks because the pirates are given validation, it sucks because CR and all the others are screwed out of a great licensing deal, it sucks for us because we now have to wait for possibly over a year to even watch shows like Kakegurui, and to top it all off, it sucks for the anime creators because all their hard work is put on the back-burner internationally.  They potentially won’t see a cent from us until a year after their show originally aired unless we decide to buy up merch for a show we’ve never seen.

So thanks, Netflix.