Violet Evergarden Episode 6: Breaking bread

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This week’s episode felt like one that could have gone a few different ways but didn’t. It doesn’t help that it was coming off of a pretty tense scene at the end of last week’s episode, but I didn’t expect for the scene to be completely ignored.

I guess Luculia’s back and all, but she really doesn’t contribute too much. She seemed to notice that Violet was “off” in this episode. I thought that would be some kind of hint at what happened in last week’s episode, which would likely have left Violet shaken. However, it just never comes up again.

I like these kinds of scenes. No need for a fuss. Leon holds his throat to indicate that he’s talked himself sore for underestimating Violet’s typing speed.

I give this episode credit for not going too far into the cookie cutter developments. I’m starting to get tired of seeing everyone react to Violet’s mechanical hands, but I’m glad she didn’t give her stock response to the question of why she became a Doll. It probably shows that she’s changed. She no longer looks at the job for what she can gain from it. Instead, she appreciates what she does for others.

In the end, I think the judgment on Leon depends on where Violet goes after encountering him. His story wasn’t bad. He locks himself away from the world when his parents both venture out to their deaths. Violet comes in as someone he can relate with and demonstrates that someone like him can really make it in the outside world.

Leon seems to be getting Violet closer to figuring out what Gilbert means to her, but he gets stopped in a rather frustrating way. If this conversation is built upon later, I will probably forgive it. As it stands, it seems like his conversation is somewhat wasted. I do feel bad for Leon, though. He was fighting a losing battle for Violet’s affection.

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Violet Evergarden Episode 5: Love stories

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I’m finding myself a little torn about how this series is presenting Violet. On the one hand, it’s nice to see her progression as a doll shown by her actions. On the other hand, I get the feeling that I’m missing out on her story. That being said, this week’s story was pretty interesting.

I was pretty surprised to see Violet left alone on such an important task. It actually added a bit of tension to the episode, seeing her broker a political marriage between two nations. I was really wondering whether she had the capacity to do it, but her letters can come a long way.

Violet, stop making me laugh so much. Good to see that some things never change.

I really liked how Charlotte was introduced in this episode. She was presented as the typical bratty princess who gets forced into an arranged marriage with a man she doesn’t love. She even misleadingly asks whether the marriage would work if there was no love. It implied that she wasn’t interested, but we later find out that it’s the opposite.

It was also charming to see the letters between the two. The reactions from the citizens made them much more entertaining to watch. Having the dolls see your true feelings is embarrassing enough, but entire nations could see these.

So, are we going back to Violet’s past again? I really hope this guy doesn’t force Violet to just regress after the progress she’s made.

Violet Evergarden Episode 4: Flower names

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This series is doing a good job of hinting at the signs of Violet’s progress, but this week’s episode felt somewhat incomplete. I liked a lot of what the episode did to relate Iris to Violet, but some of it seemed a little bit random. The biggest example is the scene at the end, pointing out that both characters were named after flowers.

I still find Violet’s brutal honesty entertaining. It was fun to watch her call Iris out in front of her family. The scene at the end where Violet charges Iris for writing the letters was also especially hilarious. I guess I just find it charming.

While there’s nothing particularly wrong with centering the episode around the typical story of a parent trying to push marriage on to her child, the story felt wrong. Did the Emonn guy just not matter? It almost felt like he was just there for Violet to make the “I love you” link. I was expecting him to at least have a reason for rejecting Iris. Maybe it’s not really important, but I guess I was looking for any kind of explanation.

I was going to harp on the repeated reminder that Violet can’t understand people, but I actually thought it worked in this episode. It’s not like Iris has been completely isolated from Violet up to this point. The fact that Iris doesn’t understand Violet isn’t really Violet’s fault when you think about it. Violet isn’t particularly shy about saying what she thinks, so the blame falls to Iris for making her own assumptions about Violet and refusing to ask. It’s kind of a contrast to Violet, who’s constantly asking questions.

Compared to what we saw last week, Violet’s letter was surprisingly good. I was actually wondering if Iris had dictated it to her when it was read out. It seemed nothing like the stuff she’d written in previous episodes. I guess that’s a sign of progress, which is promising.

Violet Evergarden Episode 3: Baby steps

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I found this week’s episode surprisingly charming. The episode didn’t do anything particularly special, but I think that ended up working in its favor. The episode ended with the theme of “keeping things simple”, after all. Also, I was happy that Violet ends up getting a “win”.

I found Violet really relatable in this episode. In the class, she has strong technical ability but struggles with composing the actual letters (watching her type was pretty cool, though). In the end, she eventually finds her place with a more direct and concise approach. At the very least, that’s what I aim to accomplish with my own writing.

Heck, I even found Violet’s approach to the class relatable. When I approach a new skill, I will usually go through a formal style of training like a class even if it isn’t required. Similarly, Violet perseveres in her own class despite the fact that Hodgins is willing to let her become a doll without it.

The story itself wasn’t much, but I think it worked out. I was almost expecting Violet to take responsibility herself for the death of Luculia’s parents in some way to draw more attention to the fact that she’s a soldier. I somewhat question whether the letter at the end was really worth praising, but I guess it accomplished its purpose. It’s hard to question results. Plus, incremental progress is more believable than magically fixing Violet’s social skills.

Violet Evergarden Episode 2: First jobs are always tough

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While I found Violet to be pretty charming in this episode, I couldn’t help feeling like there was something awkward about it. To put it generally, I think something about how events progressed felt unnatural.

What was I supposed to get from Benedict’s interactions with the other employees? I suppose the simple answer would be that he’s just awkward and unpopular at work, but the fact that he was asking primarily female coworkers made me wonder if he was some kind of flirty playboy.

Violet’s behavior in front of the clients didn’t feel like anything new, but I still found it funny.

Violet’s first attempt at a letter was funny too, but I felt like I couldn’t really follow the logic behind the scene. Did no one even notice that Erica just threw Violet under the bus because she felt uncomfortable writing a love letter? Even if she managed to keep quiet, it still seemed weird to me that no one would ask Violet why she was writing the letter in the first place. Of course, the client loses points too for not making Violet read the letter to her before sending it.

So, I don’t mind that Erica projected her own insecurities about her work effectiveness on to Violet, but I thought it didn’t really come across well until it was spelled out in the end. The earlier scenes did suggest that Erica didn’t have much confidence, but that aspect always felt like a side thing to everyone’s comments about Violet. I guess I didn’t expect that to be the focus of the episode based on how it was presented.

Violet Evergarden First Impressions (1): Hope for the best

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This show certainly had its share of hype surrounding it. I guess I’m only adding to it as I quite enjoyed watching this first episode. To dispense with the pleasantries, I’ll go ahead and say that it looked really good even if I know that means little coming from me. But other than that, I thought that the premise of the show was introduced pretty well.

I liked the way this paper scene played out in the opening. It seemed like it was helping to set the story. It started by flying through ruined buildings, likely ravaged by the war, before floating past a giant ship, reminiscient of the ships used to bring soldiers home from war. This scene felt appropriate for depicting the aftermath of a war.

Violet was pretty well-established as a tragic character. I didn’t get the sense that they were mentioning her somewhat “inhuman” self-image too much. I did kinda feel like the series was somewhat forcing me to just accept that she was a super soldier trained from a young age. That part just felt a bit weird. Maybe there’s more to it.

I did like how the series approached Violet’s past with Gilbert. The episode seemed to give bits and pieces that were enough for the audience to put together the full story. But the flashbacks also made me wonder just how much of it Violet realized herself.

The scene where Benedict sees Violet’s hand was pretty interesting to me. I would expect a normal character to freak out and apologize for forcing her to show her prosthetic like that, but Benedict just accepts it and moves on. I wonder if it’s just meant to further display his nature or to indicate something about how this world is.

Honestly, the fire imagery in this scene as Hoggins talks about Violet’s metaphorical “burns” seemed a little bit too overt.

Violet’s reason for joining the Auto Memoir Dolls seemed reasonable to me. The way that the client’s letter was transposed on Violet’s own memories seemed a little cheesy, but I guess it worked. I was going to question the random female voice that didn’t belong to Violet, but it made a lot more sense when the new character was introduced.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 12: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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Hey, this is probably the last one of these for fall. I made it!

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 33

I really appreciate this episode for giving Rei a chance to just be happy. As far as I’m concerned, he certainly deserves it. I definitely enjoyed the way it was portrayed too, with the subtle reaction to Chairman’s “I’m counting on you” building into the tears Rei can’t hold back in the Shogi Science Club.

Gakuto’s focus was a little weird in this episode, but I liked how he was portrayed in contrast to Shimada. The episode starts with him getting criticized for his lack of market appeal, which is heavily demonstrated in the game. We see a lot of flashy moves from Gakuto as Shimada calmly responds to them.

Having the principal and vice principal join the Shogi Club was pretty funny too. It looks like next week goes back to Hina, which probably means the fun is over.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 12

Okay, that was a lot more information than I was expecting from this final episode. It certainly didn’t answer all of my questions, but I can live with this ending. Some of the videos we saw confirmed what we already knew (that mankind basically self-destructed), but I’m guessing I’ll need to watch that part again to get the rest. That was a lot to follow…

I’m still not sure how I feel about the weird creatures. I was perfectly fine with accepting that they were some kind of experiment gone wrong or manmade “living” device. However, this episode seemed to suggest that they were some kind of system put in place to reset the life on Earth. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but I find that harder to believe.

Still, this series has been a pretty fun experience. Watching these two girls find fun in a seemingly bleak landscape has been one of my highlights for the season. Here’s hoping for some more to come.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 12

A lot of talking in this week’s episode, but it was still pretty nice. I quite liked Nevin’s conversation with Chise because it was somewhat similar to something I’ve heard a lot. It’s always nice to help others, but it’s important not to lose yourself in it to the point where you no longer help yourself.

I also really liked Nevin’s positive spin on Chise’s mother’s death, seeing it as an act of charity that she didn’t take Chise with her. It’s never really said, but I’m guessing Nevin saw it as a sacrifice to allow to Chise to continue on and help others.

I knew where the phoenix scene was going as soon as I saw it, but it was still a nice-looking scene.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 11: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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I may or may not have written this post on a bus.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 32

This week’s episode really messed with perspective well, showing different sides of the major events from last week. It’s easy to think poorly of Junkei after his game with Nikaidou, but this episode does a good job of putting his actions into context. It might still be a bit sketchy that he seemed to be acting out of jealousy towards Nikaidou, but it’s much more reasonable.

I found the situations from the mixer part of the episode to be pretty relatable. I’ve definitely been in situations where I’ve explained myself so much that I stop wanting to bother with it. Sometimes, it’s just easier to give the simple answer even if it gives people the wrong impression, especially when they don’t really care about the answer.

Hina’s perspective on Rei’s arrival was pretty interesting too. It was nice to see her finally relaxing a bit after all that’s happened.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 11

I really appreciate this series has been working towards a resolution. It’s been pretty episodic in nature up to this point, so I wasn’t really expecting it. However, last week’s episode and this week’s episode seem to have some sort of goal in mind. I’m really hoping we learn more in the submarine.

I think I was a bit too harsh on Cut last week. Seeing how it interacts with consoles in this week’s episode made me realize that it’s probably some kind of sci-fi experiment, so it fit this world more than I was willing to grant last week. Chi also seems to notice the similarity between the statues and Cut.

When did this show become a mecha show?

The way this series brings up questions about the world is pretty interesting. When Chi makes the “forest” comparison, I was curious too. What happened to the life in this world? It seems to be some kind of futuristic world, so it’s possible that they were simply replaced with machines.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 11

We got a bit more information about Elias’s past this week, though it may have opened a lot more questions. The master in last week’s episode guesses that Elias might be the result of a magic experiment gone bad, so it’s intriguing that he states that he has probably eaten humans before. That certainly goes a bit further than simple spell failure.

I like that Elias and Chise are given pretty similar characteristics. We’ve seen Chise marked as an outsider in her childhood, so it links pretty well with Lndel’s description of Elias.

This final scene looked pretty awesome.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 10: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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Insert clever opening here.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 31

I often wonder if I say stuff like this too much, but the bridge scene at the end of this week’s episode was one of the scenes that I was most looking forward to seeing in the anime adaptation. It’s an excellent display of how far Rei has come from the child who naturally avoided everyone around him. He’s able to understand Hina enough to guess where she’d be in a completely different environment.

The discussion surrounding Nikaidou’s game is also an interesting question of what really counts as “fair”. I tend to come off as competitive, but I don’t think I’m someone who could be described as willing to exploit anything to win. But I think it’s somewhat fair to say that Nikaidou’s physical condition is a weakness that is brought into the game as a factor.

I think Rei’s criticism of his opponent are probably saying that there’s a difference between a physical weakness that can’t truly be eliminated and a mental weakness (in gameplay) that can be removed with the proper mindset. I think it’s a fun discussion of where you draw the line because you could similarly argue that some minds aren’t suited towards that “correct” thinking. What are your thoughts on that?

I do like, though, that it’s ultimately Nikaidou’s words that pull Rei out of his rage.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 10

I might just be crazy, but this episode seemed to tie more into the other episodes than normal. It felt less isolated because it seemed to reference the music piece pretty heavily. Also, the “cat” that the girls find is probably related to the statues we’ve been seeing.

I do like the comparison made at the end between the sunset and the music that the girls heard. Since sound and light both have wave properties, it’s pretty interesting to use the word “rhythm” to talk about light as well.

I feel like the ending of the episode kinda loses me a bit, though. I’ll reserve judgment until I see where it’s going, but it seems to be straying a bit far into the supernatural to have the radio transmit the new creature’s thoughts.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 10

I don’t have too much to say about this episode. I think it’s nice to see more of Elias’s past to hopefully explain why most characters try to warn Chise about him. I also think it’s pretty important to show just how “fresh” Elias actually is to counter the aura he has of the wise mage.

There’s something funny about this line being delivered while the speaker is holding a saw.

I also quite like this particular insight into the magic world. The idea that curses and blessings are similar in essence kinda mirrors the idea that good and evil often depend on perspective. As such, whether something is a curse or blessing depends on how you look at it.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 9: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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I’m back to business as usual, I suppose.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 30

While this week’s episode was a bit of a shift of focus towards Nikaidou, it still acted as very welcome characterization for an otherwise questionable character. It was great to see how much he understood Rei and how far he was willing to go to help Rei. In his moment of weakness, Nikaidou is able to display his strength in that way.

I especially liked this line from Nikaidou. He recognizes that he’s generally a pitiable person, so he is especially hurt when he’s treated as such in the one area where he finds strength.

Hayashida was also great in this episode. I still find his passion as a teacher refreshing as well as his immediate willingness to step in and offer assistance.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 9

This week’s episode focuses on a bit of an old concept, but it’s done in a pretty interesting way. The question of whether “intelligent” robots could ever be alive is not a new one, but this episode does a nice job of exploring how we judge life by weighing a robot’s life against a fish’s life.

I’m curious. Am I the only one who disagreed with the final decision to destroy the giant robot? I’m sure that was the point of the episode, but it felt to me like the robot, which was capable of socializing with the other robot was more deserving of life than the fish. We’re kinda programmed to associate organic material with life, but this was an interesting alternative.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 9

This week’s episode is a bit of a cooldown from last week, but it still brought up some nice ideas. Chise’s reaction to Angelica’s warning about Elias brings an interesting element of doubt to the series. It’s pretty weird that Chise seems so attached to Elias, and it’s fair for Angelica to point it out. It makes you wonder whether there’s more to Chise’s attachment.

The second story of the episode also seemed to be tied together with Chise’s conundrum, showing off a rather unconventional form of love. I really liked what the leannan sidhe said about her affection being something separate from love because it defied the standards of her species. It fits with the unnatural relationship Chise has with Elias.

Silky, what you got there?