After facing several trials and tribulations, Violet Evergarden The Movie is finally here in all of its glory for us to watch and admire. Was the wait worth it, and how did the story of Violet Evergarden end? Let’s find out in this review!
Violet Evergarden The Movie Overview
The newest Violet Evergarden: The Movie has been a long time coming, getting delayed twice from January 2020 to finally releasing in certain markets in September 2020. Kyoto Animation, the studio behind the original Violet Evergarden and other classics such as Clannad and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, faced the deadly KyoAni arson attack in 2018, which resulted in the death of multiple employees and loved creators. That, in conjunction with the Covid-19 pandemic, resulted in Violet Evergarden The Movie getting pushed back for a while.
The movie is directed by Taichi Ishidate, the mind behind the original Violet Evergarden anime, alongside various other Kyoto Animation projects. Violet Evergarden is one of the most acclaimed works by the production studio and in the entire medium of anime. It is available to watch on Netflix, which I recommend as the movie continues the story told in the anime.
– Violet Evergarden The Movie Review does not contain spoilers –
Violet Evergarden The Movie Review- The Plot
Most people, myself included, thoroughly enjoyed the original anime when it first aired and were generally satisfied with how it ended. The OVA and the spin-off movies were great side stories, but the original still felt like a definitive end to the series even if we didn’t receive a proper sendoff. Thus, when the new Violet Evergarden movie was announced, I couldn’t help but wonder if the movie would disrupt the beautiful melancholy the series has originally ended with.
I was always unconvinced with the romance between Violet and Major Gilbert, especially because the series explicitly told us that Gilbert had groomed Violet since she was young. It didn’t sit right with me that Violet Evergarden was a show about a girl falling in love with someone who was a) much older than her and b) taught her everything she knew. The situation was always too predatory to be romantic or wholesome.
Thus, the ending of Season 1 was almost perfect for me, save for when Violet proclaims that she was always going to believe the Major was alive. That brings us here, where Violet makes good on several of her promises. The movie starts on a fantastic note, with the granddaughter of Anna (The girl from that episode with the mother, you know the one) serving as the architect of the story and leading those who might not have seen the original anime onto a journey to find out what happened to Violet Evergarden.
Violet Evergarden The Movie treads upon familiar grounds as it somewhat recreates the story of its best episode, the one where Violet wrote 50 years worth of letters from a mom to her daughter, as another child requests her to write and deliver a letter to his loved ones once he’s gone. This particular storyline was perhaps the second-best storyline in the entire series, second only to the episode it was emulating.
If the entire movie were just this storyline, the movie would probably have been a masterpiece in its own right. However, Violet gets a hint that her lover Major Gilbert might be alive, and she sets off to find out more about it. That particular storyline did have its moments, but it was nowhere near as strong as the other one. Violet Evergarden The Movie still manages to land the right way, but I didn’t love the path it took to get there.
With the risk of spoiling an important plot point, I wouldn’t go further in this review. I will say, however, that the motivations of a major character seemed quite suspect to me, but apart from that, there wasn’t much to complain about in Violet Evergarden The Movie. The plot was tight, and the movie was the perfect length to finish a tale as elaborate and lovely as Violet Evergarden. I also loved how the series ended, which is the highest compliment one could give any show these days, given how horribly most shows stick their landings.
Violet Evergarden The Movie Review- The Characters
All the prominent characters from the original anime returned in Violet Evergarden The Movie, and most even had a lot to do in the story. There were few new characters, but one of them managed to leave an impact on the series the size of the Grand Canyon. Yuris, the boy who called upon Violet to write his final letters to his family, had me bawling like a baby when the writings on his letters were revealed.
Iris and Benedict had a surprisingly important role in the story, while Hodgins was just as much of the main character as Violet was. He was also responsible for the greatest co-incidence this side of ” Dany kind of forgot about the Iron Fleet”, but I gave the movie a pass because of the level of consistency it usually operates with. The heart and soul of the entire movie was, predictably, Violet Evergarden.
Violet is a wonderfully complex character who deserves several video essays to analyse what’s going on under that skull of hers. Her motivations are a mystery despite her being an open book throughout the series, and that is showcased splendidly in Violet Evergarden The Movie. We feel alongside her, just as curious about her feelings as she is about ours, and it also helps that Violet has visibly aged throughout the course of the show. She isn’t a dumb kid anymore, and I love that for her. Overall, the movie has some fantastic character writing on display.
Violet Evergarden The Movie Review- Art and Music
There are shows with better music than Violet Evergarden, such as Made in Abyss, and there might be better-animated shows, such as anything by Makoto Shinkai. Still, there might not exist a combination as potent as Violet Evergarden’s animation and music. The show and the movie come as close as possible to being called a visual and musical masterpiece, and Kyoto Animation has to be given a lot of credit for that.
Violet Evergarden The Movie has some moments where one gets so engrossed in the elements that the show stops looking like an anime and starts looking as realistic as a live-action movie. The only catch in that statement is that no live-action show has ever looked as beautiful as Violet Evergarden. One might have given KyoAni a break after the tragedy they suffered, but the geniuses over there don’t need our condescension. All they require is being appreciated for all the lovely work that they do and have constantly done. Never change, KyoAni.
Violet Evergarden The Movie is a phenomenal movie that comes as close to replicating the original show’s greatness as it possibly could have. The movie emanates the scent of love and hard work and should be appreciated as such.
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