In April, I was met with perhaps the largest and most unexpected moment of emotional release that I’d felt in a long while. I’m not sure what possessed me to do such a thing, but I decided to watch the final six episodes of Violet Evergarden all in one shot that night and well, I came closer to crying than I had ever over this last year.
Episode ten ended up being the proverbial straw that broke the back of the camel of my emotions and for very good reason. Who would’ve guessed that stories of children dealing with the mortality of their parents can really get to me? The episode was, of course, beautiful. The series as a whole dared to take the already sky-high production values of Kyoani works and push them even higher, but what I loved about Violet Evergarden was that it maintained the trademark of the company’s works – the finest attention to detail in service of wordless characterization. Every grip, twist, or release of a hand, every frown, smile, or attempt at a smile easily filled in the details of the emotion that lay underneath.
We largely see the episode from Ann’s perspective, one of a child who’s trying to grapple with the loss of their parent. But despite this, the episode makes even clearer the tribulations of her mother. With the looming shadow of death fast approaching, her fight involved balancing the need to convey what she needed to with her limited time, her desire to spend the time with Ann conflicting with the necessity of preparation for her life after her departure, and all while maintaining her composure for her family and herself. All this, without so much as even touching on the individual fear and regret that comes from a life ending far too soon.
The climactic confrontation between Ann and her mother near the end of the episode boiled over with all the feelings conveyed throughout it. Her mother’s condition was obvious from the start and so, of course, this conflict would eventually come to be. But everything before collected together into this cathartic display of frustration and sorrow at the loss of a loved one and our incapability to do anything about it.
It was incredibly sad, and if the curtains had fallen on the episode there, I would have satisfied but a little disappointed at this nihilistic final message. Luckily though, Violet Evergarden has never been that kind of show.
It’s embarrassing to admit but I never realized what the purpose of the letters that Violet helped Ann’s mother pen was, right up until they reached their intended recipient. This was, of course, also the point in which the floodgates threatened to blow open.
It’s been a long time since that fateful night and a long year for a number of reasons. Violet Evergarden has always been a series that focused on the importance of communicating the feelings most important to you to the people who are most important to you and this perspective is a big part of why I love writing and why I want to get better at it.
It’s so that I’ll finally be able to put to words my gratitude for all that I’ve been given.
Thanks for reading,
This is post number nine of twelve that I’ll be writing as part of this year’s 12 Days of Anime. Be sure to check out all other amazing writers that are participating in this year’s event here.