Not only is Violet Evergarden the best anime on Netflix right now, it’s also one of the best series this year so far. Boasting some incredibly emotional moments and a maturely written character-driven plot, Violet Evergarden backs up its impressive storytelling with stunning visuals. The hand drawn animations are so intricately detailed, so perfectly drawn with real thought and intelligence to the colour choice in every scene. Violet’s journey as a character is masterfully crafted too and the way this anime intelligently handles emotions makes it such an impressive show and fully deserves to be recognised as the benchmark for what anime should strive toward.
Violet Evergarden begins in a futuristic world where robots and humans live and work together harmoniously. Serving as a devoted soldier in the Army under Major Gilbert Bougainvillea, Violet Evergarden (Yui Ishikawa) finds her career in the army cut short after losing her arms and requiring robotic limbs to replace them. Bearing witness to her Major dying in her arms with his final words “I Love You” ringing in her ears, Violet sets out on a journey of discovery to find out just what these words mean. During her time, she winds up in a school to become an Auto Memoir Doll – robots that write letters on behalf of humans in an effort to learn more about human emotion.
Nestled between the first and last few episodes that forward the overarching narrative around the war and rippling effects of this on both sides of the conflict, the bulk content of Violet Evergarden plays out in an episodic format. Most episodes revolve around an individual having difficulty writing or expressing emotion so its up to Violet to help them write a letter and in return, learn a valuable lesson about human emotion. It’s here that Violet Evergarden bursts into life with a flurry of incredibly emotional and well written episodes. Whether it be a famous writer struggling to come to grips with past events in his life or a medically ill mother who’s daughter struggles to comprehend what Violet is or what’s happening to her Mum, there’s an incredibly diverse range of episodes handling emotionally complex characters without ever feeling contrived.
Those looking for action or a quick paced anime will be left disappointed here. Violet Evergarden revels in its methodically slow pace and uses every scene wisely with a distinct lack of filler content. The way Violet slowly comprehends her own emotions whilst learning to empathise with the various characters she encounters sets her on a believable and well written journey that sees her unrecognisable from the unintentionally cold and emotionless soldier we meet in the first episode as the series draws to a close. Although some of the praise toward Violet is a little overpowering, especially with almost everyone she meets lavishing praise on her abilities, toward the end of the series this is toned down a lot as new characters from Violet’s past enter the fray and help to explore a different side of her emotions, namely that of guilt and regret.
When the series ends it’s difficult to put into words what an emotional roller coaster this anime is. At 13 episodes, Violet Evergarden is a decent length too and every scene is used wisely. There’s a wonderful use of music here and whether it be the minimalist guitar strums or beautiful piano tracks accompanying every episode, Violet Evergarden has some wonderful music to accompany its breathtaking visuals. It’s rare to find an anime so confidently and maturely handle such a myriad of emotions without feeling contrived but Violet Evergarden manages this effortlessly achieve this with some of the best artwork seen in an anime for quite some time. While other animes may be more action focused or have a more memorable array of characters, Violet Evergarden is by far the most polished and its maturely written, confident scrip and beautiful artwork make it a very strong contender for one of the best shows released in 2018.