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Anime Film Review: Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll

English Title: Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll

Japanese Title: ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン 外伝 永遠と自動手記人形

Director(s): Fujita Haruka

Screenwriter(s): Suzuki Takaaki & Urahata Tatsuhiko

Studio: Kyoto Animation

Released: 2019

Runtime: 1h 30m

Starring: Ishikawa Yui, Kotobuki Minako, Yuki Aoi


Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll

This is a side story and is set a few years after the series. Violet Evergarden is still working as a doll at Claudia Hodgins’s company. Given his connections, the Drossel royal family requested that Violet attend a girls’ boarding school for three months as an assistant to Isabella York, a young lady preparing to be a debutante.


The school is attended by aristocracy or those who are likely to be married into such families. It is apparent that Isabella is not a typical young lady of aristocracy, and her past is gradually revealed. She considers the school to be a “prison” and is distrustful of Violet who is there, of course, to dutifully do her job and has no real interest in social status.


The premise initially comes across as a little contrived because Violet still acts like a machine and therefore may not be the most appropriate person to coach someone on how to act. That admittedly could be the point, that to behave according to certain norms requires one to be machine-like; in terms of protocol and performing one’s duty, however, Violet is the perfect person for the job. In any case, it is appreciated that the story is not merely a ghostwriting job.


One may think the entire film is about Violet attending to Isabella with the latter slowly warming up to the former. Whilst that is part of the story, that is only about half the film. The second half is set a few years later and is about another character from Isabella’s past. She comes to the city to find Violet. I will not discuss to avoid spoiling.


Isabella York
Isabella York

As expected given the quality of the series, the production of this film is first-class, especially the visual aspects. Compared to the series, there aren’t that many scenes of nature that are stunning and it is a good thing that the script doesn’t concoct scenes just to have those shots. That said, the buildings, such as the school, are nicely rendered.


On balance, even if one thinks the premise is a little forced, the film is not bad. It is basically two stories in one and a half hours so it is actually tight and progresses nicely, especially for a character-driven work.

 

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