As I write this article, I have come to realize that our group has come a really long way in comparison to the previous year. New members have come and are gracing us with their wonderful writings on various prompts. Although I haven’t really been a part of OWLS for a very long time, I feel very proud to be a part of this wonderful, growing group of creators.
Before you start reading the last article for this month’s tour about “Revival,” go ahead and check out all of the stuff we’ve written for the first month of this year. Lastly, I would like to warn that this article is rather spoiler heavy for those readers who have not received the opportunity to watch this new anime series, Violet Evergarden.
No photos to make the spoilers less hurtful.
Without further ado, enjoy!
This month’s prompt is about Revival.
A new year implies “new beginnings.” Yet, rather than discussing the “new,” we will be discussing the “revival.” “Revival” has multiple definitions, but the meaning we will be focusing on is the improvement, development, or refinement of something. Our posts will be about characters that undergo a positive or negative transformation and what we can learn from them.
Ever since its promotional release during the later times of last year, Violet Evergarden has always been at the center of the unending amount of anime that I hope to finish watching. The reason why this show has captivated me, even before its actual release, was what the story was entailing. Promotional video shorts were describing the main female lead as an “Automatic Memories Doll” – an entity incapable of understanding human emotion.
Although, as we follow the latest episode of this anime’s run, the description of “Automatic Memories Doll” comes into much more confusing and questioning. The story tells us that our main female lead, Violet, was a young girl picked up by a military official as a gift for his younger brother. This gift was to be used as his own personal weapon and bodyguard during the war.
The idea of having Violet, or any person for that matter, being subjected into this kind of situation seems kind of inhumane and cruel. It is because of that fact within the story that this article is setting itself around.
The main female lead character, Violet Evergarden, has spent her entire childhood under the custody of a military official. She knows no other thing than military customs and following orders from superiors – something that has been ingrained upon her ever since. But despite that harsh reality for her, we can see that her caretaker, a young officer named Gilbert, takes pity on her.
Gilbert tries to treat Violet Evergarden as human as he could. There are times whenever Violet talks to him that he feels his heart throbbing at the fact on how innocent she is despite the world being so cruel towards her. She is deemed as the “Major’s Dog,” a girl incapable of voicing out her own free will.
Despite this label being put upon her, she had only one thought in mind: to better serve her major. Although we do not have enough explanation (as of this article) why that is the case for her, I would like to believe that it’s out of deep and incomprehensible affection she has for him – whether romantic or not.
The war seemed to be their own little messy world – not the best but if it mean’t that the major was there, Violet would not complain. But as fast the war started, so did its end and with it, her time with the major.
It was initially confusing at first for Violet on where she is now – where was the major? Has she served her purpose and is now being cast aside since the war ended?
These few questions plague Violet’s innocent mind and the only desire she has was to understand the words which her major last spoke:
“Run away and live free. From the bottom of my heart, I love you.“
For the normal person, this sentence and the message it sends is pretty much obvious. It sends the message of admiration, affection and all other synonymous words to these. But in Violet’s case, her innocent and simplistic mind could not comprehend what kind of feeling is being related to the phrase, “I love you.”
Now that the war has ended, she is under the care of her major’s trusted friend, Hodgins. Violet, at this time, feels confused and clueless as to how she would live out her life without the major. The only driving force she had to try and continue doing things was under the recommendation of her former superior, Hodgins, under the guise that everything he said was the wishes of her major, Gilbert.
Hodgins leaves her under the care of the Evergardens, a trusted family by Gilbert and what he wished to be the foster family for Violet – much to her disagreement and insistence that she needed no family at all. But after being assured that it was the major’s orders, she stayed.
Later then, Hodgins hired Violet to become a postman for his new company, CH Mail Services.
In this place, she hears about the profession of Automatic Memoir Dolls and how they write down the feelings of their clients who could not write for themselves. Her interest is piqued when a Doll asked if her client mean’t to say “I love you” – the very same words her major told her.
Now, she wishes to become a Doll in hopes of understanding the phrase “I love you.” This is the first time that Violet has decided on her own without anyone making suggestions to her. A path she is trying to carve out as her own – to understand her own emotions.
I think that Violet’s struggle to change the way she views things is a wonderful example of a revival process. It is a process in which a person tries to better understand him or herself, his or her feelings – just everything about them as a person.
For Violet’s case, her struggle stems from breaking out of the system that has been ingrained deep within her ever since childhood. That system is the idea that she has to fulfill the orders of those people who she deems superior to her and that the only way to achieve satisfaction is to make no error in her missions.
She, although unconsciously, seeks to better understand herself in terms of her emotions – what do they all mean and how are they all important. It is a process of reviving that human side of hers which she has forgotten for so long ever since that time when Gilbert, her major, picked her up from the alleys of the Western Front.
This is also the same with how I have entered this year as a person. Life became dark for me as I questioned myself in terms of how I viewed things and what they all meant to me. I was scared that maybe all of the ‘smart’ things that I have done may have been ultimately stupid.
But as I slowly went through day by day, I realized that maybe it was time to re-think how I put everything into perspective. Not everything has to be perfect but the bottom-line goal here is to ensure that whatever you might try to do for the start of this year, make sure that it completes you as much as it can.
I think this is what also Violet is seeking – a revival of her human side which can make her complete.
I was initially writing this article during my darkest and confusing times. In fact, I only started to work on this a day before its intended publishing date. But now, I guess I feel much more hopeful in understanding that a better perspective was necessary in confronting the challenges for this new year.
Again, go ahead and check out the stuff we’ve written for this month using the blog tour schedule.
Thanks for accompanying me last year and I hope to engage with all of you more frequently this year.