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DGFischer

  • Wisconsin
  • Joined Jun 14, 2019
  • 68 / M

As time passes, the Violet Evergarden team at Kyoto Animation has done much to flesh out the background of the remarkable Auto Memory Doll/retired killing machine in days of war.  The series did little to offer the origins of Violet other than she was an orphan and gifted in all things martial.  But her dying commander ordered Violet to run and find a life in the world of peaceful business.  The Violet Evergarden Special that came out in the same year (2018) did little more than offer a cautionary tale of expressing of emotions and the dangers of stifling same as Violet comes to the aid of an opera diva.  After that, we knew nothing more of Violet or her co-workers.  Personalities were not being built at Kyoto Animation.

Such would not be the case in the 2019 production of Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll.  First, it is the first Violet Evergarden project that broke the one hour mark (1 hr. 31 min., to be precise).    And the 2020 production of Violet Evergarden Movie would tack on nearly one more hour for the last (and hopefully, not THE LAST) cinematic effort.  Time to explore the quiet, introspective life of the silent, stoic former warrior par excellence and the people who have gathered about her in the serene world of professional letter-writing and the postal system which services a society slowly learning what peace is all about.

Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll divides nicely into two portions, since Violet works to impact two lives that had been shattered by the impoverished time of war.  The first, Amy Bartlett, has by a stroke of fortune become the heiress Isabella York.  Whether this by good or ill fortune has yet to be determined.  But Isabella has been sent to an exclusive girls' academy/stalag to be refined for her debutante ball.  Violet has been summoned by the York family to train Isabella in etiquette, charm, and dance.  But the Amy in Isabella is a pauper who had struggled to shelter and support another child, Taylor.  This pair had been forced apart, Amy to the peerage, Taylor to the orphanage.  They are never to meet again, even though Taylor holds Amy to be her beloved sister.  Violet instructs Amy in the social graces and agrees to write a letter to Taylor.  Violet leaves Amy as a girl resolved to be a wonderfully refined Isabella.

The second half of the movie deals with the optimistic Taylor (her tittering laugh was memorable), who was so inspired by the letter that Benedict 'Big Brother' Blue delivered that she has come to the big city to become a mail carrier (letters bring happiness).  Granted, she's under-age, unable to read or write, and is educationally deprived.  Taylor is determined to be a postal delivery-person.  Violet sponsors her and gives the rudimentary lessons on the alphabet as Taylor learns the basics of the postal service.  And Violet agrees to help Taylor write the letter to Amy, now the wife of a count.  Benedict allows Taylor to accompany him for the delivery so she can see her sister from the shrubbery.  Taylor resolves to be committed to her studies so that she will deliver the next letter to the countess Isabella.

The music helps deliver the warmth of emotion, the longing for restored relationships, the worries over the uncertainties of the future.  But the animation sparkles with elaborate scenes and the intelligent interchanges of dismal hues of despairing moments and the bright, airy colorings of hope and love being fulfilled.  The movie ends with matters not quite set a right, but with every indication that things are improving.

Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll does much to deepen our understanding of the hopes and ideals of Violet's co-workers (and Violet herself, who doesn’t exude hopefulness easily), making them less of characterization furniture and more people whose stories are interesting ... and yet to be told.

This comes with the 2020 Violet Evergarden Movie.  This I hope will do much for the Violet Evergarden franchise which sorry to say started more ‘well ... begun’ rather than ‘well begun.’  And I hope it’s not half-done.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
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