This has been one of the best times for anime and the sheer evolution of the industry over these 10 years is crazy to consider. Just looking back on the number of anime that came out in one season in 2010 compared to a season now shows an explosion of growth. And sure, there’s been plenty of sequels, reboots, and rehashes of old tropes. However, there also have been stand out hits that did something unique and were immediate loves of mine at first watch.
So for this list, I didn’t restrict myself to one per year, nor any limitation of trying to number one anime above another. Instead, I just wanted to share anime that had a big impact on me and, I think, also the industry. So given when this list is coming out, let’s celebrate the holidays in alphabetical order with something morbid: Death!
It’s that time once again folks; the Backloggers community content round-up! This post will make the 12th one, and it’s so hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for a full year now. We’ve gone through so much good content from you guys and we enjoy putting these small compilations together hopefully as much as you guys enjoy looking at the content from our perspective. We have no intents of stopping these anytime soon (despite how it may seem at times), and we’re striving to keep the good content rolling! We’re always putting effort into making sure y’all are getting quality content presented, so as always, any feedback is appreciated!
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.
Violet Evergarden continues to surprise me on several different levels, pulling out some of the biggest emotional gut-punches that I’ve seen from a single anime in a while. While other anime of Winter 2018 such as A Place Further Than the Universe have also had some huge emotional moments, I think Violet Evergarden has one over every show of the season, especially with some of the previous episodes and how they’ve ended. The show is still far from perfect though, and while I still love the show dearly, it’s obvious where some of its problems lie within these two episodes.
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.
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.
We bust out of the beginning of the Winter 2018 season with some ridiculously solid shows to help us start the year out right. We all pretty much melt over the sheer level of comfy coming from shows like Yuru Camp and Hakumei to Mikochi, we get into the fascinating but puzzling A-1/Trigger collaboration Darling in the Franxx, discuss our hopes and fears about Violet Evergarden, and almost pass out because we had so many dang good shows to talk about this season.
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.
[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?