I started this episode with the mindset “who the hell cares about Iris?”, but am fairly content with the episode now that I’ve finished it. Although I still don’t feel much for Iris as a character overall, at least her presence is no longer annoying. It wasn’t an outstanding episode to me per se, but it was certainly quite pleasant.
- A character has to ponder about Violet’s character in every episode – this time it’s Iris. It feels like the formula is getting a bit old, with everyone wondering the same thing – why Violet doesn’t understand emotions and behaves like an automaton. Granted, each of these characters feel differently about Violet. Claudia displays fatherly love, Erica feels ambiguous about Violet’s capability, Luculia offers admiration and support, and now Iris. Violet never changes enough over the course of these episodes though, so the degree of contrast each episode is able to achieve is low. I thought Claudia was the most interesting character out of these (in part due to his connection with Violet’s past), while the others didn’t leave too much of an impression on me. It’s certainly an inoffensive approach though.
- A change in scenery! I appreciate it. The architecture in the city is cool and all that, but this is quite refreshing. Compared to the rigidness of the city, the countryside is also much more welcoming to Violet.
- Iris in a dress! Kind of goes against her personality – even the androgynous Iris can’t escape feminization? I do have to say that I’m very fascinated by all the clothing designs in the anime though. The outfits are an odd array of steampunk, boho, military uniforms, and who knows what else, often all combined in one.
- Here it is again! Someone just has to drop this line every episode. Violet’s reaction is more or less the same: “I failed…but I just want to understand (what I love you means).” This is always the turning point where Violet has the chance to mention the major, which causes someone’s misconceptions about her to change. It’s a very crucial moment, but again, I kind of wish they would change up the phrase or the circumstances of its delivery.
- This moment was the highlight of the episode to me. I totally expected it, but Violet’s distressed expression still hit me in the feels a little. Basically, every flashback to that scene with the major is effectively going to make me go “aww” a little. It’s strange – I usually can’t stand that stuff. It must be because of how little we know of the major, and how everything about him that we know is through Violet’s idolizing lens. Not to mention how tragic and traumatizing the circumstances were – it’s a very emotionally charged scene.
- Iris receives a bouquet of irises from her parents for her birthday. I’m not really into flower language, but with the explicit parallels drawn between irises and violets in this episode, I thought it necessary to look things up. According to HGTV, irises symbolize wisdom and compliments. More specifically, a bouquet of blue irises signifies hope and faith. In Japan, irises are apparently used for purification. The bouquet one was interesting to me. I guess Iris also establishes greater faith in herself by the end of the episode, after declaring that she would become the city’s number one Auto Memoir Doll.
- I don’t really get Gilbert, and don’t know if I ever will, if the narrative is told through Violet’s eyes. If he wants to shelter her so much, why have her fight? A question so big is surely going to get explained, at least.
- According to Canadian Flower Delivery, violets symbolize modesty, and sometimes love. Another site says that it carries meanings of faith, mystic awareness, the subconsciousness, and sovereignty. In ancient Rome, it was often associated with funeral rites. Out of these, I think “modesty,” “faith,” and “sovereignty” apply to Violet in the most interesting ways. She is currently modest in that she takes orders without much of her own feelings put into it, and faithful in her pursuit of the meaning behind Gilbert’s words of love. Though frail and overshadowed, the violet flower from which Gilbert got the inspiration for naming her fits well with the idea of “sovereignty” for how it stands out singularly. Gilbert’s last wish is for Violet to become free, and becoming sovereign over herself is the key to that.
Overall, this was a pretty interesting episode. I don’t usually talk about symbolism that much, but it was actually kind of fun. I should get used to it more – being able to bs at length about symbolism is quite useful sometimes.