Violet Evergarden: The Movie Limited Edition

Violet Evergarden: The Film Restricted Version

A blue (purple) violet represents “love” in the language of flowers, whereas a white daisy represents “innocence.” Even though Violet Evergarden: The Movie is a Japanese movie and doesn’t really follow Victorian lore, I can’t help but wonder if there might be something to them. The two main characters in the movie go by the names Violet and Daisy, and both of them are representations of the flowers that bear their names. While Daisy is in desperate need of purity as she laments the loss of her grandma Anne, Violet is searching for her love since she has now come to grasp what that word means.

Some of the action in this continuation of the Violet Evergarden television series is set up by the names of these two flowers and their significance. The novel mostly follows Violet as she goes about her life while grieving what most people believe to be Gilbert’s passing. It takes place both after the war and in the equivalent of the present day. (You may remember that Violet wants to think he’s still alive.) She complies with a child named Yuris’ desire to write letters for his parents and younger brother to receive after he passes away from an unknown ailment, which makes her think of the birthday messages she used to write to Anne. This is the connection to Daisy in the future, who receives Anne’s letters after she passes away and starts a quest to learn what happened to Violet, the “doll” who wrote them. The core topic of the movie is that words, specifically written words, have an impact long after their author is gone. Violet receives the most of the action, while Daisy’s adventure follows in her wake.

This could easily be seen as an ode to the value of correspondence, and in many respects, I agree. Letters help Daisy cope with her loss and unresolved emotions, and letters give Violet hope that she will see her beloved again. The idea that letters are the final voice of the dead is brought to light in the Yuris’ plot (as well as Daisy’s), reminding viewers that writing is the method that the past can communicate to the present.

If this sounds bittersweet, it is; even when there isn’t anything distressing happening on the screen, you feel like tears will start to fall any second. That’s a marvel of this movie’s production: the screenplay, sound design, and images all work together to create a compelling and moving experience. Even if this is your first exposure to the series, it’s simple to become emotionally invested in the characters and their challenges because there is enough context given for us to comprehend the Violet/Gil dilemma without having seen it personally in the TV series. However, the animation and graphics really make this movie. The landscapes and urban vistas have a somber beauty that eloquently expresses mood, whether it’s Daisy staring at a rotary phone and understanding it ended the letter-writing profession or the desolate glory of the island where Violet goes to locate Gil. The identical locations in two different eras are also extremely successful at conveying the passage of time without overtly pointing out that by Daisy’s time, everyone from Violet’s planet has either left or disappeared from Earth.

Of course, all of this can be rather daunting, and the 140-minute length does not help. This almost would have worked better as two shorter films, though it’s tough to understand what could have been trimmed out. It’s emotionally taxing to spend so much time feeling like you’re going to cry, even with a happy finale. Although occasionally frustrating, Violet and Gil’s emotional responses to the trauma they experienced during the war are well realized. However, there is a lot to take in, so viewers should be aware of this. However, anyone who is coming to it from the TV series is probably already aware that this isn’t a lighthearted story.

The packaging for the limited edition is exquisite. Both the BD and HD versions of the movie are included, along with a collection of twelve art cards that are purposefully made to resemble oversized postcards. (If you wanted to, you could probably mail them.) The discs are maybe overwrapped, with the clamshell being inside a paper sleeve inside a box inside another sleeve. The cards arrive in their own box. On the bright side, it’s like receiving a special letter delivery. That’s a lot of paper wrapping, which is a drawback. TV advertisements and trailers are the only on-disc extras available.

I watched this one in English because our earlier assessments mainly covered the original Japanese language track. Although there are times when it sounds a little stiff, overall the dub is strong.Erika Harlacher and Tony Azzolino both perform admirably as Violet and Gilbert, and in all honesty, the English voice actors’ sorrow delivery is almost on par with that of the Japanese, at least in terms of conveying the necessary melancholy bittersweetness.

The lengthy running period somewhat detracts from Violet Evergarden: The Movie’s ability to be a gloriously depressing experience. It’s a film to watch when you need a good cry or just to be reminded that the world of the past can still be reached through the words it left behind. It’s exquisitely presented and pleasantly melancholy.

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