Film in 500: Violet Evergarden: The Movie Review

Certificate: 12A
Director: Taichi Ishidate
Writer: Kana Akatsuki, Reiko Yoshida
Production: ABC Animation, Animation DO, Bandai Namco Arts, Kyoto Animation, Pony Canyon, Rakuonsha
Distributor: Netflix, Anime Limited
Platform: Viewed on Blu-ray, with Japanese Audio and English Subtitles
Release Date: Out Now!

Yes, I cried (obviously). Whilst the Violet Evergarden anime delivered on the promise of its stunning aesthetic and heartfelt story, I always felt it lacked that final, tear-jerking crescendo to tie everything together. Until now – because Violet Evergarden: The Movie was the ending I was waiting for.

The first movie, Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll, was set parallel to the anime – but Violet Evergarden: The Movie is set afterwards, and acts as a feature-length finale. For the uninitiated, Violet Evergarden is set in the fictional country of Leidenschaftlich after a war in which Violet (Yui Ishikawa) was trained as an unfeeling weapon. Nevertheless, she forged a strong bond with Major Gilbert (Daisuke Namikawa) that ended in tragedy when Gilbert was shot and Violet lost both arms. During this, Gilbert confessed his love for Violet, but such was Violet’s programmed upbringing that she struggled to comprehend it.

In an effort to understand, Violet gains prosthetic arms and signs up as an Auto Memory Doll. This profession has clients pay for a “Doll” to help them write letters expressing themselves. Throughout the anime, this leads Violet to meet people from many walks of life. Smartly, the film frames itself around these stories, acting as welcome callbacks and reminding us of Violet’s journey.

There was always faint hope that Major Gilbert was alive, but it’s only now that Violet and her friends find a lead to where he might be. Running alongside this, Violet is working for her latest client, a terminally ill boy named Ulysse (Kaori Mizuhashi). When his family visits, he struggles to communicate, but Violet endearingly gets him to open up through the letters.

Cleverly, this thematically connects to Violet’s personal journey to find Gilbert. Despite his love, Gilbert has stayed away from Violet and his brother Dietfried (Hidenobu Kiuchi), just like Ulysse raised a barrier to his family. It’s heartbreaking, because we’ve seen Violet develop and come to truly understand the meaning behind Gilbert’s “I love you”. In their time apart, the dynamic between the pair has changed, and I adored how this film uses its extended runtime to explore this.

Furthermore, this film again dazzles with its immaculate presentation. I’ve always loved the rich, soft tones of the colour palette, combined with the pristine animation that vividly brings the world to life. Once again, it’s accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack, including new songs such as “Will” by TRUE.

Final Thoughts

Violet Evergarden: The Movie pays off the meticulous character development of the anime in heart-wrenching fashion, showing us how far Violet’s come and delivering the inevitable confrontation with Gilbert. It’s not a straightforward happy-ever-after, and is all the more effective for exploring the different ways love expresses itself. Additionally, I appreciated the moments showing where each of the side characters are going next, ensuring that this was a fully satisfying conclusion. Violet Evergarden: The Movie does everything I hoped for; I smiled, I laughed, I definitely cried, and I can’t think of a finer way to end Violet’s story.


Rating: 10 out of 10.

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