Hello everygody and welcome to our next episode of Violet Evergarden, the tale of a girl who wants to know what the words "I love you" mean. Because it's not one of those things they teach you in the military.
In our last episode, we got to meet with Violet Evergarden, who is not a robot, but does have metal arms, as she lost them in a war that her side was able to win. She was close to one Major Gilbert, who has died but nobody has told Violet yet, because the last thing her recovery needs is for her to be told that particular tale. So a former military officer, Hodgins, takes her in to help her adjust to life outside of hte military, first by handing her over to relatives of the major's, then by giving her a job at his company, which is a post office, but with a twist. They have a group of ladies called Auto Memory Dolls, who are given the job of writing letters for their clients, but it's not to take their words down, but to give real meaning and feeling behind them.
In one such session, Violet hears a client talk about how he loved his countryside friend, and she has been told those words once before, by Major Gilbert as he was dying, so Violet wants to be an AMD so she can truly understand the meaning of those words. Hopefully she'll have enough power to process all the graphics there. Will she succeed? And will she learn the truth of Major Gilbert's fate? Let's tune in and find out.
-Our episode begins four years ago at the Port of Stimmer in Leidenschaftlich. There, a destroyer docks, waiting for orders to ship out. Inside the city, a man addresses Captain Diethard Bougainvillea, as his brother has arrived to see him. The Captain sits in front of a fireplace, but without turning, addresses his brother, Gil, commenting on how depressed he looks. Gil is, of course, Major Gilbert. And he did have blue hair. I thought it was darker, but it was probably due to him being in low light areas that it was difficult to tell. Anyway, Diethard mentions how Gilbert looks like their father, which I don't know should be a compliment or not. I guess it depends on how close they are to their own parents, though given where Gilbert sent Violet, probably not well.
-Gilbert comments that his brother looks the same and goes to join him. He's certain that if father saw Diethard's hair, it wouldn't be allowed. We then get a shot of some feet out from some covers, which seemed very unusual. The brothers make small talk as we learn that their father died, but Diethard was glad of it. Gilbert looks rather shocked by such words, which Diethard apologizes for. But it appears today is a day for celebration, as Diethard brought something for Gilbert for his promotion. We get another shot of a girl under some covers, which is very much Violet. Oh, the first meeting.
-Diethard warns Gilbert to only use "it" as a weapon and not to get attached. Gilbert has quite the expression on him, which looks like "What in the flying hell are you going on about and why do I feel like I'm being involved in something shady?"
-Diethard pushes Gilbert to open it, and yes, it is Violet under the covers. She sits up and stares at Gilbert as Diethard explains where he found her, and her name is...
-In the present, Hodgins is with Violet and introducing her to the other AMDs, with Violet being made into an apprentice and the boss asking them to train her well.
-They look like they're being put on a line up. Obviously we've met the lady in the middle before, but getting a full shot of her now, I can't help but wonder "How do you not fall out of that?" She's also the only one smiling as the one of the left is neutral while the one on the right looks concerned. It's the one on the left we focus on, who notes that Violet didn't have any facial expressions, almost like she's a doll. It is part of the job title, after all. Violet turns towards her, but she turns away, probably hoping Violet can't read minds.
-We get our title card again, but no opening. How odd. I wonder if this will be one of the few anime series to forgo an opening all together? I think I would like that. Anyway, the lady in charge of the department asks Violet how much she knows about he word of an AMD? Only what the president told her, that they write letters for people. And while Violet doesn't completely understand how it works, she thinks she can perform her duties. The girl from before, the one that was on the right isn't very happy with Violet's comments.
-I honestly feel like a lot of these situations wouldn't come up if Hodgins told them about Violet's past. But maybe he doesn't feel comfortable divulging that kind of information with Violet's consent, and it's not like she's in a position to give that consent, anyway. Talk about being in a bad spot. Anyway, the one yelling? He name is Iris, and Boss tells her to get back to work. This sudden interruption, plus the arrival of the third girl, reminds Boss that she hasn't introduced the others to Violet yet. The girl that yelled before is Iris, and she's a new hire who just completed her training course. Now that is interesting.
-The girl sizing up Violet before, the one that was on the left, is Erica. She and Boss have bene working as Dolls for quite a while. But they aren't the only ones who work here, but Violet will meet them soon. Boss admits that the company itself is young, so they're actually all rookies together. Hooray for camaraderie! Though I think Erica isn't the social type as she walks past Violet and Boss, but not without giving her own comment. I suspect Erica doesn't like the newcomer. Must be the blonde hair.
-Boss asks Violet if she's ever used a typewriter before. Well, time to get to practicing and see how that goes? Iris, still in her work, can't believe Violet became a doll like this. She had to toil for months and go through training to get this position! And some newbie shows up from nowhere and gets in on the first day!? Sounds like my job. Anyway, they're going to borrow Iris' manual to help Violet out. There's a bit of an awkward moment before Boss has Violet take a seat, which she affirms with a salute, catching her by surprise. But she smiles anyway, probably thinking it was cute.
-As the two ladies take a seat, Boss suggests Violet take off her gloves, since typing should be easier that way. As she does so, Iris arrives just in time to see Violet's metal arms. Erica looks to see, as well. Boss is clearly taken aback by this and doesn't know how to respond, so she goes through the motions. First, she checks if Violet is fine with this, and after receiving an affirmative, asks her to try out the typewriter. She shows the young charge how to set the paper, how to get it into position, as well as the proper starting positions for typing. I feel like I'm back in my middle school typing class again.
-Boss has Violet try typing something so she can get a feel for the keys, and after seeing her do it, instructs her on remembering what fingers should be used for what letters. It is my middle school typing class all over again! Boss takes out a page in the manual to help Violet as she lifts up her sleeve, revealing more of the metal arm, and adjusts something in the elbow, probably to help with tension. After testing out her fingers a bit, she looks at the manual and starts typing like a machine, which she isn't. The typing, however, is loud and bothers the others, to the point where the Boss has to shout at her to stop. Well, she doesn't shout, but does raise her voice a bit. After a moment, Boss has a suggestion on how Violet should try her typing.
-When has a typewriter ever been used quietly? In reception, we see some of the receptionist greeting people, as well as giving them prices for delivery. That's when the clock strikes twelve, meaning it's lunch time! We also learn the names of the receptionist ladies, Nerine and Lilian. Benedict comes by and asks if they want to join him for lunch. He brought fried noodles. But it looks like neither lady appreciates his advances, as they decline his invitation, but as they walk by, tell him now to come into reception sweaty like that. I think this is their unsubtle way of saying they aren't interested.
-In the break room, Benedict doesn't seem to quite get it as he complains about the comments he's received from them. He goes on about how women are so calculating, how they reek of perfume, and how they're trying to snag a rich guy at reception. And you wonder why you aren't popular with the ladies, Benedict? An older gentleman is eating his lunch with Benedict. He tells the younger man not to worry about it, but Benedict decides he doesn't want to have anything to do with working girls. That's when Iris and Erica come in and he quickly changes his tune, inviting them to lunch. They refuse, but not only that...
-Iris is not interested in your crap or what you're selling, Benedict. Though as the older gentleman offers to have some noodles with Benedict, his reaction seems to suggest that he isn't actually popular in the office at all. Iris complains about writing addresses again today, as well as the reservations that they have for this afternoon asking for Cattleya. I assume she's talking about Boss. We focus on their feet for a moment as we see Iris tumble. I assume we focused on the feet to show Iris is in heels, but hasn't quite gotten used to walking around them. Perhaps she thinks if she's as stylish as Cattleya she'll get more reservations? That's only a thought for the moment, but we'll see where this goes.
-Iris and Erica take a seat as Iris continues to complain, how she came to Leiden to become a Doll, but all she does is write a bunch of addresses and inquiries about missing people from the war every day. I imagine that takes it's own toll on one's psyche. Erica is the quite one and agrees, but then the conversation leads to Violet, about how she used to be in the army. Erica is surprised by this, because Violet looks like a child. She thinks about Violet's hands, but Iris goes on about how Violet doesn't have to be a Doll, that she's cold and inconsiderate and totally doesn't fit this job. Iris, you've met her for, what, three hours? Four tops? Maybe give her a little more time and see how she is. I mean, Erica seems like the quiet type but you appear to be getting along with her.
-Erica, however, is lost in thought as Iris goes on about wanting to do more with her position. But all those exciting jobs go to Cattleya, and that isn't fair that she gets all the fun ones just because she has a knack for those sort of things! Speaking of, Hodgins is speaking with her, asking how Violet is. She did invite Violet to lunch, but she said she didn't need a recharge and has been practicing typing the entire time. He understands and apologizes for giving her trouble, but she doesn't appear to mind at all.
-Maybe it was my initial impression, but I didn't think Cattleya was the type to give an expression like that. By that, I don't mean she's cold or anything of the sort, but more straight laced and serious. Benedict soon appears but it appears neither of them see him yet as Cattleya gets right up against Hodgins, putting him in a hog and suggesting he can pay her back with dinner. Though she addresses him by his first name, Claudia, which he isn't comfortable with. Can't imagine why. Oh, and Peeping Tom Benedict here...
-Looks like I shouldn't be too hard on the guy. We also learn that, possibly, Hodgins and Cattleya have slept together, and during their night of passion, Hodgins called out another girl's name in bed. Though it's clear she's teasing him and doesn't take it too badly, he still has to decline, mainly because he's not getting a salary this month. Oh, is the company doing that badly? And Benedict heard that, as well, so you know it'll be passing through the company grapevine soon.
-Later that date we see Erica is walking town, stopping in front of a store to look at a doll in the window. She doesn't give a comment but I think it's clear who she's thinking about. Back at the company, Cattleya is packing up as Iris reports her tasks have been completed and she'll be taking them to delivery to be delivered out. When she leaves, Cattleya checks in on Violet, telling her that she's done and checks her progress. She's quite amazed at how much she's improved. Violet comments on how this weapon has been quite useful. Cattleya is a bit confused at first, but actually runs with it.
-Never underestimate the power of the working girl and her weapon. With that, Cattleya will have Violet sit next to a real Doll tomorrow and shadow her. We learn that, if somebody makes a request, they usually go to their house or workplace to write for them. So she isn't packing up for the day, she's packing up for the next reservation. Seeing the case, Violet asks if she can take the typewriter with her. When questioned why, it's for training, and perhaps for something else, but we don't hear it. We see her working with it in her room, that poor stuffed puppy still on the floor. I bet that will have a major impact when she finally picks it up.
-The next day, we see a cat with her kitten walking around town as Violet goes to visit Hodgins in his office and requests Major Gilbert's address. She wants to report her current status, about how she has a new job and how her training is going. She perfectly understands that the major is still busy and can't see her yet. Hodgins keeps the lie going and confirms it, and to keep her from learning the truth, offers to send the letter to the major for her. I don't think that's what she wanted, but it's not like he's going to give her some random address. Though I worry on what he'll do with the letter. He can't keep it for fear of being discovered, but it's not like he can destroy it, either. I'm starting to feel real bad for Hodgins.
-The meeting continues, with Hodgins asking how Violet's training is doing? Everything is fine! And the next phase of that training is with shadowing a Doll. And who is the lucky trainer?
-And to think, Iris was complaining about Violet just the previous day. As the client goes on about the letter, Iris starts repeating and typing it. As she does so, Violet notices and error and tells her as much.
-If looks could kill, right? We see Erica walking by, probably curious as to what's going on. The client continues about how he'll pay back the person a certain amount every month, but apparently this is a low amount, because Violet, who can do math in her head like nobody's business, tells him that, if he did pay that much every month, it'll take him 120 years to pay it off.
-Damn, Violet, you can be quite cold sometimes. I also don't think you're winning Iris any favors, either. Onto the next client, and hopefully things will go better. This one is going on about a student who gets very mad. Oh, it's Erica this time. And the client is perhaps a teacher? Erica translates this as "I'm sorry for hurting your previous child." The teacher goes on about how she didn't discipline her enough, but Erica translates that into "our teachings were insufficient." Wow! Violet is unintentionally cold, but Erica, you're on a whole new level. The teacher gets to sobbing, which does make Erica concerned, but Violet is a no-nonsense type of worker and tells the client to stop crying, for it is interfering in their work. Curse these human emotions and getting in the way of our work!
-Another client shows up and gets angry over Erica's letter, mainly about his "selfish" request. He doesn't like it because it sounds like he did something wrong, which probably is the case. He throws the letter at her, which misses by a wide margin, but still, not cool. He demands to know who Erica is, so Violet takes it as a serious question and answers it seriously. The angry client is taken aback by this, but because of the way the letter is, he refuses to pay for it. Violet won't let that stand, though, telling him that it's illegal to refuse to pay if he didn't like the letter, then asks to know what he didn't like about it? Like he's going to stand around for this. He puts his hand on Violet's shoulder to move her aside, but that's when her military training kicks in, grabbing the guy by the arm, locking it behind his back and pinning him against the desk. All while in a calm manner, telling him to provide them with guidance.
-Hey, what do you know! A situation where Violet's military training actually comes in handy. Erica, however, is panicking, though she isn't entirely certain who she should be panicking from. A brief fade and we see Hodgins has appeared, though with a smile, and tells Erica and Violet that they've received a few complaints from their customers. Erica looks very sullen and worried, but Violet continues to remain her passive, stern self. She asks if there was an issue, but Hodgins says there wasn't, but then asks if she's okay. She says she's in fine health, but that isn't what he meant. He means if she's fine with working as a Doll. She's training diligently, after all. Erica's reaction seems to suggest something else.
-Hodgins accepts Violet's answer, since she isn't one to lie or make up things, but it's clear he wants to say more. That's when Erica interjects, saying they don't have anymore reservations, so they're going to work together to make the membership list fo the Chamber of Commerce. And just like that, Hodgins is outside of the Doll room, looking like he just got kicked out of a private meeting. So much for being the President of the company, after all.
-So Erica gets to work in telling Violet what to do. As we see her working diligently, Erica takes off her glasses and asks the Doll in training why she wants this job? Before Violet can answer, a new client walks in. She's dressed rather fancy, but also carries an air of constant agitation. Erica welcomes her in, offering to write whatever document she needs. But apparently it's not Erica she wants.
-The Boss is just that popular, isn't she? She's away on business, which disappoints the client, because apparently Cattleya is the type where nothing can go wrong with her. Erica doesn't like hearing that at all as we learn the purpose of the letter. Apparently, someone has asked her out, more specifically, a man who started an automobile company. But she isn't a simple woman, and she doesn't want him to think she's easy. Erica seems to understand, but apparently the letter may be going in a different direction as the Client tells her that the man isn't that great of a catch. She has no real feelings for him, but if he showed her that he's serious, and if he really loves her, then maybe there's something there. So she wants them to write a romantic and elegant letter. No wonder she's looking for Cattleya. She seems very good at this sort of thing.
-Erica, thinking back to her last client reservation, isn't too keen on such a letter. Violet appears, which draws the client's attention, making her wonder if she'll write it?
-Oh, this isn't going to end well, is it? Erica wants to say something, but she's just standing there, dumbfounded, not saying anything at all. After a time passage montage, that client returns and is pissed off! Yup, that ended poorly. Cattleya is in damage control as Erica looks like she wants to hide in a hole somewhere. Well, it's time to get some answers. Violet is there, presenting her case, that she wrote it just like how she wanted it. Apparently that wasn't the case as the man got angry and sent the letter back. Did you not review the letter, or were you confident that it was going to be fine?
-Apparently not, because the client as Violet read the letter. And it's a honest letter about the client's feelings, but isn't romantic or elegant at all. And I just have to hand it to Erika Harlacher here, because she's selling this scene well for all it's comedy glory. So after Violet reads the letter, which is what the client wanted, only more blunt, she asks if there was something wrong with the letter?
-Though we do get into the heart of the matter, and the battlefield that Cattleya was talking about before. The client did honestly wanted to date the automobile owner, but didn't want to accept the request too soon because she didn't want to seem easy. After all, women want men to chase them, right? She honestly did love him. And there's another poor Yelp review there, only this one ended in actual heartbreak. Damn these human emotions!
-Looks like Cattleya is going to have to set this straight. She takes Violet to a cafe to try and figure this out. She thinks that maybe it was too soon to give her such a hard job, but Violet is having a hard time understanding why the client was upset. She incorporated her requests as much as she could, but Cattleya explains to her that words can be interpreted in different ways. She adds that the words themselves don't tell the whole story. It's a weakness of humans, as we constantly test others to confirm our own existence. She admits that it's a contradiction. She gives Violet a sad smile, knowing that she has a lot of work to do in order to help her understand human emotion better. When the luncheon ends, Violet is alone since Cattleya is going to try to do some damage control on the whole thing. Left with her thoughts, we see Violet alone, but she sees blue haired man in a military uniform walking by her. She reacts to this, chasing him, calling out for Major Gilbert, but as the man turns around, we see that it isn't him. I expected it to be Diethard, but it looks like we're not ready for his arrival yet... assuming he's alive, that is.
-We soon see Benedict getting on his bike for more deliveries when he runs into Violet. He recognizes that she's looking unwell and checks on her. He then thinks that she made a mistake at work and suggests that she come back to the delivery department. He can always use the extra help, but that isn't what she wants. Though Benedict isn't going to let this go, suggesting that she find a different job. Though he's repeating what he overheard from Hodgins, how he isn't getting paid, so it looks like they're company isn't doing too well as a result. Sounds like he plans to abandon ship before any actual sinking begins. No wonder you aren't liked.
-The skies soon open up with rain as Erica looks outside, but then sees that Violet is coming back, but she's drenched from the rain. Showing concern, she runs out to get Violet, getting wet herself, but Violet has been thinking long and hard about what's been happening today. She asks Erica if she's fit to be an AMD. Erica begins to speak of her own experiences, but Violet, well...
-...Damn, Violet. That hurts. I mean, I know you aren't used to all these things about human emotions, interactions, feelings, and such, but still, that was cold. Erica herself looks like she was just shot, so she tells her that she isn't suited, then wants to know why she wants this job to begin with? As before, Violet wants to know what "I love you" means. Erica actually has to reset, but then gives a smile, clearly not expecting that as the reason. Really, just that? Indeed. Violet knows those words express a particular emotion, but why did Major Gilbert say those words to her? She wants to know why, and even if she isn't suited for the job, she's going to keep at it. While the rain continues, the sun breaks through the sky, as if allowing Erica to see a whole new light to this situation. Isn't nice to know that first impressions are wrong?
-Inside, Erica is walking with Violet to the locker room to dry out, but along the way they hear Iris complaining to Hodgins about Violet, who shouldn't be a Doll because it's too hard for her. And while the company is still new, they get so many requests for Cattleya, but if they get a bad reputation because of this, and just when things are about to take off, in her opinion, it's better to have Violet leave now. Hodgins disagrees and wants to give her more time, but Erica decides to jump in to say something. Hodgins sees them, but sees that they're also soaked and wants to know what happened to them? But that isn't important to Erica. What is important is making sure that Violet doesn't leave the job. Violet is confused, but when it comes to these human emotions, it's all confusing to her.
-So Erica does her best to sell Violet on her good points. She's accurate and fast when she types, she can do tasks like making membership lists and writing addresses. And after she learns a little more, she will be very good at writing letters. Erica bows, begging for Violet to stay. But learning what Cattleya told her earlier, Violet says it's a contradiction, that Erica said she wasn't suited for this duty. Dammit, Violet! She's trying to help!
-As the credits roll, Erica says that it's her who isn't suited to be an AMD. This is why she got so serious about defending Violet. Day has turned to night as we see people walking on the streets, with Erica explaining that the machine that was a prototype for the typewriter was originally invented by Dr. Orland, the authority on letterpress printing. We see Erica passing by the shop she was at earlier, with that same doll, who we now see is actually at a writing stand. Erica explains that the doctor's wife, Mollie, was a novelist, but she became blind, so he created the typewriter for her. And it was called the Auto Memory Doll. It is now used for the industry for writing letters for those that cannot write anymore. That's some interesting world building. I wonder how close to the truth it actually is?
-Erica explains that meeting her, by which I assume Violet, make her remember her dream, which she had almost forgotten. She looks at a book in her hands, which is also in the shop, as she explains that her feelings were buried away. Her heart was moved by the novels written by Orland's wife. Suddenly, the lights turn off and the shopkeep asks Erica if she's going to be okay. Yup, totally! But someday, she wants to write beautiful letters that can move peoples' hearts, too.
-While the credits may be done, the episode isn't. Cattleya had done some work on Violet, putting her hair in a twin bun style (I think that's what it's called?). Looks like she's gotten a new outfit, too. Instead of her simple white shirt and green skirt, we're going a bit more fancy with a short, blue jacket and long, white skirt. Hodgins approves of this, but then gives her a gift. It's the Emerald Brooch that she lost. Hodgins claims it was on the black market, so it must have been stolen. Violet is moved, almost to tears, but Hodgins sees something else in her eyes. Cattleya, however, is good at reading people and asks Violet if she wants to attend a Doll training course? Iris attended one a while ago, but she thinks it'll be good for her. Violet doesn't answer, but instead, only stares at the brooch in her hands.
-Later, Cattleya, who is good at reading people, knows why Hodgins had no salary for this month. He purchased the brooch back for Violet. So the company is actually doing fine, it's just those things you accidentally overhear and misinterpret as something else. We see Hodgins and Cattleya at a bar, possibly on a night out, but she asks who the major Violet keeps talking about is? Not a question he was expecting, but he answers it. Apparently he and Gilbert were friends back in the Military Academy days. More importantly, Gilbert is from the Bougainvillea family, a name Cattleya recognizes, suggesting that they are quite high class.
-But Hodgins has a very high opinion of Gilbert. Despite coming from a rich family, Gilbert was a man with spirit. Cattleya catches the tense used, though, which gets Hogins emotional. We focus in on Violet, staring at the brooch in her bed, as we briefly return to Hodgins and Cattleya, who let silence reign there. As Violet stares at the brooch and starts to eat it (what is it with her and eating things), Hodgins tells Cattleya that the major isn't coming back. That still kind of leaves it open for his possible return, but let's be honest, the man be dead, and it's going to hurt Violet badly when she learns. End episode.
While the first episode sets the tone, this episode is all about introducing the side characters that will be involved in this story. Mainly, we get to meet the other AMDs, as well as learning more about Benedict, as well as Gilbert and his family situation. I suspect we'll meet Diethard again later, and that's going to be putting Violet through the emotional ringer.
Anyway, time to talk about the voice actors that were important here.
First we have Ben Pronsky, who plays Benedict here. He has also played Siegfried in Fate/Apocrypha, and is currently involved in FLCL: Alternative.
Next, Cattleya is played by Reba Buhr, who played Numi in Knights of Sidonia.
Iris is played by Cherami Leigh, who plays Kudelia in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and plays Misao in Fate/Extra: The Last Encore. So that makes two for that series.
Finally, Erica is played by Christine Marie Cabanos, who played Madoka in Madoka Magica, and plays Rani VII in Fate/Extra: The Last Encore. Now that should be an interesting role for her.
I think this series will play to their strengths, because it's looking like this show is going to be a drama through and through. Outside of flashbacks to Violet and Hodgin's military life, you won't see much in the way of action pieces. You could say the story is going to center around Violet learning about human emotions, the feelings behind words, and the meanings with give them. This played an important roll with that fancy client who wanted to date that automobile owner, but wanted to make sure she wasn't considered easy.
It's also pretty clear that Hodgins cares a great deal for Violet, but how far that goes depends on how far the show is willing to go. Will it go romantic, or more familial? Only time will tell, so come back on Sunday to see how Violet handles these human emotions better.
Until next time, remember, never let the newbie handle romantic letters. Especially if they were the military type. They'll just get right to the point and make things worse for the company.