Violet Evergarden is a Japanese light novel series written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase. It won the grand prize in the fifth Kyoto Animation Award’s novel category in 2014, the first ever work to win a grand prize in any of the three categories (novel, scenario, and manga). Kyoto Animation published the first light novel on December 25, 2015, under their KA Esuma Bunko imprint.
A 13-episode anime television series adaptation by Kyoto Animation aired between January and April 2018 with several advance screenings taking place in 2017. The series was awarded Best Animation at the 2019 Crunchyroll Anime Awards. An original video animation episode was released in July 2018, and a spin-off film premiered in Japan in September 2019. A second anime film, Violet Evergarden the Movie, was released on September 18, 2020.
- Violet Evergarden
- Violet is a newcomer to the CH Postal Company, and works as an Auto Memory Doll—a ghostwriter for people who cannot write or are looking for help expressing their emotions in letters.
- As an abandoned and nameless child, Violet was found by navy officer Dietfried Bougainvillea on an island where he and several members of his crew were forced to land after a naval engagement. Her combat prowess was discovered when she killed several soldiers who attempted to rape her before he could stop them. Violet then stalked and killed all the other crew members. For reasons he did not understand, Violet spared Dietfried and obeyed his orders. Later, Dietfried brought Violet home and “gave” her to his brother Gilbert in the military as a gift for his promotion to major, intending for Gilbert to use her as a “tool” for war while not wanting to handle Violet himself. Gilbert instead treated her as a human, taught her how to speak, read, and write, and named her Violet, wishing she could grow up to be as beautiful as the flower. During the war, she repeatedly played a vital role in battles. Trying to save Gilbert in the war’s decisive battle, she lost both her arms. With the war over, her arms were replaced with advanced metallic prosthetics, and she decided to become an Auto Memory Doll in order to learn the meaning of the words “I love you”—Gilbert’s last words to her before they became unconscious in the battlefield.
- The light novel series (Vol. 1) explains elements of Violet’s origin that have only been hinted at in the first season of the anime series. Violet’s origins are entirely unknown. She is found on the island by Dietfried, but there is no indication of where she is from or how she got there and she has no memory of her life before meeting Dietfried. Dietfried shows Gilbert why Violet should only be a “weapon” by arranging for her to fight and kill five thieves and murderers he caught on his ship. Later, Gilbert shows the military Violet’s skills by having her battle and kill ten death-row convicts in a military “training ground”. The anime shows flashbacks to this latter incident without explaining it. Gilbert’s special forces unit is used as cover and support for Violet’s military activities. The novel also strongly hints that Violet may possess superhuman strength, but it is her remarkable skills at killing that are most notable.
- Claudia Hodgins
- A former army commander, Claudia is the president of the CH Postal Company. He was a good friend of Gilbert during their time in the military and Claudia attempts to help Violet take the first steps of her new life in order to absolve himself of his own guilt, stemming from Violet’s treatment back in the military.
- Gilbert Bougainvillea
- A major in the Leidenschaftlich Army, Gilbert came from an aristocratic family. Although he treasures Violet much more than anything else, he never expressed his feelings to her because of their identity as soldiers. It is his final words to her—”I love you”—that drive her to move forward on her new path as an Auto Memory Doll. The only memento of Gilbert that Violet has is an emerald brooch that reminds her of Gilbert’s eyes. As he wanted Violet to live a life like a normal girl, instead of a tool, he told Claudia to announce that he is missing from the war and declared dead. However, he recovered from his injuries and lived in a rural place before meeting Violet several years later.