Mini-review: Violet Evergarden

I tried to watch Violet Evergarden a few years ago, thinking it was going to be this cool steampunk version of Ghost In The Shell. And I was certainly attracted by the stunning visuals from the trailers and screen caps. I stopped after two episodes when I realized I was dead wrong. I still liked the setting that’s obviously inspired by post World War I Europe. But with no hint of science fiction outside those prosthetics (whose creation the show never explains), this was going to be the type of anime I’d never be caught dead watching when I was a kid. Too much drama and next to no action.

I changed my mind a few weeks ago and resumed watching. Last night, I wrapped it up with the movie, which may as well be a fitting end to an amazing coming of age story.

Stories of love, loss and hope are nothing new in post-war stories. So, in that regard, there is nothing profound in Violet Evergarden. But their delivery emotionally hits you like a sledgehammer each damn episode. It’s not about the stories themselves, but how people deal with and come to terms with them. Holding back your own tears is a constant struggle with this show.

Personally, what I appreciated most is how the show highlights the power of a good letter — the ones you write by hand on paper in an analog world. It’s a skill, an artform that I feel we’re slowly losing, or at least, slowly losing appreciation for. And it’s a shame. As the show depicts, not everyone had the tools to learn the skill and develop the talent. On the other hand, if you are reading this, then you do, along with a billion others. I wish all of us took advantage of that privilege more.

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