“Violet Evergarden” stole the hearts of its viewers in 2018 when the eponymous light novel series’s anime adaption aired on Netflix. Since then, fans have eagerly anticipated the ending, which was finally released on Netflix this October.
The anime originated from the Japanese novel written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase, the first of which came out in December 2015. The novel has four volumes, the last one published in March 2020, and has yet to be translated into English. However, the anime adaption is dubbed.
Through a series of flashbacks both after and during the war, the anime tells the story of a young orphaned girl by the name of Violet Evergarden, who tries to gain an understanding of her own and others’ emotions. While finding her way through the past and present, Violet also searches for Major Gilbert, the man who took her in and taught her how to read, write and talk. Although Violet wakes up in the hospital and finds herself completely alone, she continues to hold hope that the Major, as she calls him, will return for her. Violet decides that she wants to understand the emotions of others because of the words “I love you” Major Gilbert spoke to her the last time she saw him.
A big part of the anime may be about Violet comprehending the emotions that lay in life, but another crucial aspect of the series is Violet’s search for Major Gilbert. At the beginning of the anime, Violet doesn’t know that the Major wasn’t found when she was, and those who know don’t have the heart to tell her. As time goes on, Violet continues to question the Major’s whereabouts until she is finally told he was reported missing in action and therefore presumed dead.
As the episodes move through the tear-jerking rollercoaster that is “Violet Evergarden,” the viewers (along with Violet) continue to search and hope for the Major’s survival so Violet can finally explore her newfound understanding of the words “I love you.” As the anime comes to a close in its 13th and final episode, however, the viewers are left with a cliffhanger and Violet’s story is left open for fans to wonder if she is reunited with the person she longs for.
@NovaliAngel13 tweeted, “We don’t talk enough about #violetevergarden, the movies and tv show are so beautiful. You’ll cry to the start to the end.”
As viewers continued to long and hope for an ending, they can be satisfied with knowing that a “Violet Evergarden” movie was scheduled to be released in a few years’ time. Before the movie was released on Netflix, however, fans were teased with a “Violet Evergarden” special and a previous movie. The special aired in 2018 and featured a story outside of the series that still circled around Violet’s unresolved feelings for the Major. “Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll” aired in 2019 and had the same focus on an outside storyline that the special had.
Originally “Violet Evergarden: The Movie” was set to air in March 2021 in the United States, but was unfortunately postponed. Finally, in October the movie was available to watch on Netflix. Yet, due to its once again ambiguous ending, the viewers were once again only left to hope and imagine what they wish had officially happened.
The movie starts with a girl who receives letters that Violet wrote for her grandmother addressed to the girl. The girl then begins to do research on Violet, traveling to the places Violet had previously worked — a plot progression that led fans into the story of how Violet comes to find the Major. Viewers also find out how the Major has been and why he’s decided to stay hidden from Violet. The story is then thrown into a gut-wrenching and dramatic fight between the Major and Hodgins and then Violet and the Major as Violet begs to see the Major. It isn’t until the Major’s older brother speaks to him and lets him know how Violet still lives her life thinking of the Major that he decides it’s time to fight for her too.
The ending, however, is anticlimactic; the Major chases after Violet and tells her that he still loves her and hopes that Violet will stay with him. The movie closes with the original girl narrating the end of Violet’s story of her staying on the island. There’s no mention of Violet and the Major’s story afterward. This is only an ending scene of the two making a promise, presumably that they would stay together, although this is just assumed along with their marriage and children. The movie didn’t need to specifically have this info, but the way the Major chased after Violet and Violet swimming across the ocean only to cry while the Major tells her he loves her felt like it left a lot of emotions untouched.
The light novel tells the story of Violet Evergarden in a completely different manner. While the anime starts more from the beginning of Violet’s story and how she became a world-famous Auto-Memory Doll, the novel starts with Violet in the midst of her fame and tells her story through the flashbacks of others. In a way, the anime made Violet’s story more personal and fostered a connection between her and the viewers. The ending of the light novel is the same type of open ending that the movie has in the sense that, while Gilbert wants Violet to be happy without him because of his guilt, he still wants her to stay with him. As a result, it is assumed that they end up together.
The story provides a beautiful rendition of emotions through 13 episodes, two movies and a special. While the ending is largely left for fans to interpret, in a sense it is better than being told outright how these beloved characters’ stories end.