Violet Evergarden Episode 4
Violet Evergarden episode 4 is the first episode in the series that dares to expand itself within this world that Violet resides in. The first three episodes were the base, and now we are beginning to witness the narrative developing. Violet is important to the wider story in episode 4 but she is not necessarily the main character.
Violet Evergarden Episode 4
Each episode of Violet Evergarden is an average 25 minutes long. The amount of detail and messages that they manage to press into such a small space, without suffocating the narrative, is impressive. So far, the Netflix Original Anime series has not made a wrong move.
If one of the trailers didn't show characters from later chapters of the Violet Evergarden novel, I'd wonder if this adaptation was going to be entirely original. This fourth episode was yet another anime-original story, and at this point, I think I've resigned myself to the idea that the anime is taking its sweet time to develop Violet as a character.
Once again, the main issue is not that it's an anime-original story, the issue is the sheer repetitiveness of the script. Violet has been making clear progress when it comes to communicating what she is thinking, but this is the fourth episode in a row where Violet explains her reason for becoming an Auto Memories Doll in the climax. This is also the fourth episode in a row where everyone reacts with amazement when Violet takes off her gloves to reveal her mechanical hand. This anime is increasingly giving off the impression of following a formula instead of putting Violet (and the audience) outside of their comfort zone.
It probably doesn't help that Iris's story feels more trivial compared to Luculia's from last week. Although Iris recounts some of her own family's connection to the war at the start of the episode, the war never affected her directly. Instead, her problems are purely personal. I have to admit that Iris comes across as immature more than anything when she throws a fit halfway through her birthday party upon seeing her old crush there. For someone so keen on proving her maturity and independence to her family, she took very little responsibility for her own actions. She never even clears the air with her old crush by the end, despite him being a major factor in her motivations.
Instead of fleshing out Iris's story, the anime puts a weird amount of emphasis on unrelated scenes. For example, the scene where Violet bows is beautifully animated and shot, but it also drags on too long and feels out of tempo with the rest of the episode. Evan Call's soundtrack is majestic, but when a stirring trumpet fanfare plays as Violet talks about the tragedy in her past, the result is more than a little distracting in context. This feels like a case where the script and directing style are out of step with each other. The script tries to establish low-key slice-of-life details while the visual and sound direction tries to elevate minor events into grandiose statements.
Violet Evergarden, at least for the first half of the series, has settled into the structure of following one character other than Violet per episode. As we see get to know that character, we see Violet through her eyes, and as Violet has experiences with them, she comes closer and closer to understanding the meaning of love. The character of focus in episode four is Iris, the immature and quick-tempered doll, as she receives a special request to be a ghostwriter for an individual in her hometown.
Zeria of Floating into Bliss did a video (you can read the script here) on defending Violet Evergarden. She mentions episode 5 in particular on why the anime is worth watching. I agree with this assessment.
The timely appearance of a small violet flower (Violet herself) framed against a cannon wheel (the ongoing war) is a bit on-the-nose, but Violet Evergarden is the type of series that enjoys grand, romantic gestures even as it plays with more subtle messages than words, like flower language.
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