Violet Evergarden Movie Review – is Gilbert dead? Watching anime movies during a pandemic is kind of nice actually

And no it’s not Fate/Evergarden although the posters were right beside each other lol.

I went to see Violet Evergarden Movie in theaters today and I was the only person in the whole theater. No, in the whole cinema, even. Nobody else bought tickets in the same time slot even for other movies. I saw no one. Not even the ticket staff. Not even the door people. I could take off my face mask and cry and nobody gave a damn because there was no one else but me, sitting in the exact middle of the theater amid empty chairs. The only person I saw was the staff selling popcorn.

Okay, enough about that. Let’s move on to the review.

TLDR for those of you who came for movie spoilers: No, your favorite shousa is alive.

You know the feeling when you watched a really good show or read a really good book, and then when you finish, you have no idea what to do with your life anymore? That’s the feeling I got when I walked out of Violet Evergarden. After finishing everything of this series there is on Netflix, this is really a beautiful conclusion to Violet and Gilbert’s story.

To be honest, while watching the episodes, a part of me wanted Gilbert dead. I know it would have crushed Violet, but on the other hand, I felt like it’d be good to see her grow out of her past self and finding her new purpose in life writing letters, and then she can look back at her memories of Gilbert with fondness. On the other hand, I wanted Gilbert alive because he could see how much she had grown and that she had learned to live freely, the future he wanted for her.

Violet Evergarden Movie intertwines 3 stories: one about Ann’s granddaughter Daisy, one about Juris, and the last about Violet and Gilbert. Juris’s story really showed how much Violet changed over the course of the series. And Daisy’s narrative wrapped everything up nicely. (There’s a post-credit scene, by the way. It was only about 20 seconds long though.)

Art and music were flawless. Animation quality was top-notch. The lights, the water effects, everything was so beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. The familiar tracks from the anime series are still there adding to the mood of the story. Another masterpiece by KyoAni.

There’s lots of crying. Lots and lots of crying. On screen and off screen. KyoAni has a way of animating crying faces that made me want to cry too. Bravo.

One thing I really felt in this story was the passage of time. The movie opened with Daisy’s narrative, and Ann (the girl that receives her mom’s letter every birthday) by that time had already passed away. Daisy read the letters typed by Violet and went on a search for her. By that time, the world had changed so much. Auto Memory Dolls became a dead profession. The Eiffel—I mean, the radio tower was completed. Electricity and phones were everywhere. But Violet left something behind – a legacy in the form of an exclusive stamp.

Overall, it was a really beautiful and touching movie. The animation, the direction, the voice, the music, everything is masterfully done. I’m glad I got to see it in theaters. I’m glad I’m alive. Violet touched the lives of many in her story, and us in real life as well. Thank you Violet.

(The remaining portion of this review is full of spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.)

There are a few things I would like to comment on, though. The rest of the cast except maybe Claudia got left out. If this is really the end, I just want to see a sliver of a hint on what the heck happened to other people. Did Claudia get married? Did Benedict ever get to be president? Did Iris succeed in becoming No.1? What about Taylor? Cattleya? The movie didn’t really explore any of that and just gave us old photos in the museum.

The other thing is that I don’t like that Violet got stuck on an island for the rest of her life. See, I like Leon’s chapter quite a bit, the part where he told Violet they were both going to be travelers and might run into each other one day. Yeah, she became the legend of the island, but I felt sad that she quitted being a doll. Imagine all the stories she could have told, the people she would have met, the places she could have gone to… Even if she became a Doll to understand what ‘love’ means and now that she knows it, her purpose is fulfilled, but heck I’m sad to see her quit.

People are trashing this movie because of this ending, but personally I think it’s alright. It’s a happy ending for Violet. She’s reunited with Gilbert after having learned and changed so much, and clearly she’s been loving him since episode 1 so it’s a happy thing that she gets to be with the person for the rest of her life. People said Gilbert changed his mind overnight, but to me, I think his resolution isn’t solid. In the scene with grandpa, he stomps his foot a little bit while saying that he’ll stay here but it looks awfully like he’s convincing himself. Grandpa also said that he didn’t have to shoulder the deaths alone, combined with Violet proving that she grew into her name and Dietfried giving him a piece of it, I think it managed to sway Gilbert. I think he wanted to be with Violet from the beginning but it’s his guilt that’s stopping him.

Gilbert’s decision to remain on the island made sense to me at least. He set Violet free, then Dietfried set him free. I heard that the novel had him go back into the army, but I think for the anime’s timeline and what the anime had set up so far, him living his life to repent of some sorts made more sense. What I kind of find off-putting is that the scene where Gilbert appears on screen for the very first time is really… I don’t know, underwhelming? I was expecting us to be on the same boat as Violet, not knowing whether it’s really Gilbert when Claudia went up to the house to ask for Gilbel. The anime made it ambiguous for so long and I want some sort of suspense, not just like ‘bam here’s this shot of this man, we’re not gonna show you his face, but you can bet your salary that he’s obviously Gilbert!’ Ah well, it wasn’t anything major anyway, no pun intended.

Speaking of Dietfried, this movie is like his redemption arc. He softened up to Violet and even grew a little bit as a person. (He was more reasonable than Gilbert at times, to be honest). The conversation he had with Gilbert at the end was really good (admit it, all of us were Dietfried at that point).

The ending scenes were so beautifully animated, it’s hard not to feel anything. I really loved that one part where Violet said something along the line of “The ‘I love you’ that you gave me is my guiding light (Michishirube)” while the song Michishirube itself played only a few minutes prior. I don’t think I’ve ever liked Gilbert as much as I did in that scene, that one line where he said “Don’t cry. Seeing you cry makes me want to cry too.” and then both of them cried anyway. (I did too, a little.) It was a beautiful scene. I want to use the word ‘utsukushii’, the same word Violet used to describe her brooch. In terms of reunion scenes, I think this movie has the best one I’ve seen so far.

Now that I’ve finished everything in Violet Evergarden (not including the novels; those aren’t published in my country yet) I can finally watch this video I’ve been putting off for the longest time.

Overall, it’s a movie I’ll remember and keep in my heart for a long time.

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