This episode ties everything together nicely – it almost feels like the end of the series already! We’re taken through the rest of Violet’s past as a fire of war, and see her transition into what is, in my opinion, another type of fire. She becomes one who brings warmth and ignites the passion in others.
- The episode starts with a continuation of last week’s flashback. Gore, tears, tragedy. The effect on me wasn’t as strong as I would expect, perhaps because I knew what’s going to happen from where last episode left off anyways.
- I wonder if this is when Violet first started biting stuff. It certainly makes it quite painful to watch when Violet bites random objects in the present in order to feel them (because she can’t feel with her hands).
- Claudia is supportive while Violet grieves. The feeling of guilt is quite significant in the two’s relationship. Claudia feels guilty for not taking enough responsibility for Violet’s well-being when she was in the military, but is there in the present day to remind Violet of her own feelings of guilt for killing people. I wasn’t sure that was Claudia’s intention when he first spoke to her of burn marks, but he certainly doesn’t try to pull Violet out of her feelings of guilt. Perhaps to Claudia, recognizing your wrongs is the first step to reconciliation. How much of it was really Violet’s fault though?
- Violet huddles in the corner. I don’t think we’ve seen her so vulnerable before, and it’s hard not feeling horrible for her. Although the emotional impact of her past isn’t as strong as it could have been for me, this episode does have some effective moments with the depiction of Violet’s grief.
- Violet sees Gilbert in a dream. This bit really highlights her growth over all this time – Violet identifies as an Auto Memoir Doll and thinks of her job as one that would make Gilbert proud.
- And Gilbert responds by saying something that is very not-Gilbert. Gilbert turns into his brother Dietfried while blood gushes out of his eye. While it’s not an unpredictable development, this scene is still visually stirring and meaningful.
- Violet wakes up and starts throwing things around and trying to choke herself. I didn’t expect so much violence from her, but remembering her past on the battlefield, it certainly makes sense that she has such tendencies. Besides, it’s only natural to go out of control given what she’s experiencing. The choking scene is a memorable one. I feel like suicidal acts are rarely depicted in anime from the perspective of the character involved. Perhaps Violet isn’t trying to kill herself, but consciously or unconsciously, she’s certainly punishing herself for all the lives she has taken.
- Here comes the heart-warming part of the episode. Erica dictates a letter (which Iris writes) to Violet, telling her that it’s okay if she takes her time to heal and that they are there to support her whenever she needs it. For somebody deep in grief, there’s nothing nicer than the offering of support that’s consistent but not overwhelming.
- Luculia’s brother asks Violet to ghostwrite a letter to his sister! Took him long enough. Violet’s work as a Auto Memoir Doll is getting validated.
- Does anyone else think this brother’s head looks off this entire episode? I don’t know what it is…maybe how it connects to the shoulders with very little neck?
- For the rest of the episode, Violet receives subtle reminders of all the joy she has brought to the world through her job as an Auto Memoir Doll, epilogue-styled. I love epilogue-style storytelling that involves a collection of images that give you updates on everything. I don’t have strong feelings for any of the episodic characters who were helped, but this was a joy to see nevertheless.
- Violet asks the question again, but this time, the emotional weight is fully present. Claudia cries. The position of an Auto Memoir Doll officially becomes Violet’s redemption. She was a fire of destruction (and self-destruction) before, but now she is a fire that spreads warmth.
- And so, “Violet Evergarden” is now a fully-fledged human girl. I like the way this episode brings everything together.
- Another thing to wonder about though: why Evergarden?? Doesn’t she ditch the poor old lady since episode one and forget about her until they run into each other coincidentally, that one time? What does Violet even have to do with the Evergardens? But oh well, it is a pretty name. Suitably related to flowers.
I wonder where the series is going to go from here. The episode allows for a fresh start to something. Nothing hit me too deeply in the feels, but the portrayal of grief felt realistic, and the ending was therapeutic and hopeful. Hoping for the best for what’s to come.