Violet Evergarden is an overall fantastic work. It has an odd beginning and a decently executed ending, but the best part of the series is by far its middle. I bring this up for a specific reason I will mention later. This series is about an almost emotionless girl learning how to be social and to understand the emotions of herself and others through working as an ‘Auto Memory Doll’ – someone who writes letters for those who can’t write themselves, or for those who simply wish to hire another to write for them. Through her ordeals discovering how to write a proper letter for each client, she slowly broadens her emotional tapestry, becomes more socially eloquent, works through her trauma from past events and begins to see the beauty in – and enjoy – life.
This character arc was the main hook of the show, and was executed extremely well. The major aspects of this arc take place in the aforementioned middle of the show. These standalone episodes all contribute individually to Violet’s emotional growth. To me, the episode where she reached true emotional understanding, the ability to empathize and began to be able to mange her emotions that had started to manifest was in episode ten. This was a masterful episode, actually managing to make me shed a tear, of which only one other episode of an anime has ever done. If not for the lackluster beginning, ending and suspension of disbelief required for some of the plot elements to work, this series would have been a masterwork.
Violet Evergarden, though not the masterwork it could have been in my eyes, is still a strong character study and a reflection on the poignancy and importance of emotions.