Spring 2018 Grab Bag Week 10: Grancrest Senki

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I thought we were in the clear when we finally got a resolution to the big war a couple of episodes back. Theo was successfully crowned Emperor of a united force, and yet we’ve been in the weirdest tangent for the past two episodes. It was almost like the series suddenly remembered that Aishela and Priscilla existed and decided to go straight into resolving their stories.

I had to check on this, but it turns out the crazy witch lady whose name I’ve already forgotten also used a broom. So, giving Siluca a broom to replace her wand isn’t totally ridiculous.

Classic example of papal hypocrisy. We can’t allow anyone to control all of the Crests, so give them all to me!

Honestly, Priscilla’s eyes looked so dead in these scenes, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she unleashed some crazy Chaos monster.

I really didn’t feel much for Priscilla’s death. Part of the reason is that I was expecting her to somehow come back to life (to fulfill the Jesus allegory). But more so, I didn’t think much of her as a character. She provided some pretty standard religious lines and resurrected Aishela twice. Am I just dead inside?

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Spring 2018 Grab Bag Week 7: Hinamatsuri, Grancrest Senki

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This post continues to be random.

Hinamatsuri Episode 7

Why is Anzu such a better protagonist than Hina? Her story in the first part of the episode was both endearing and funny, while I largely lost interest in Hina’s student council run.

I quite liked this line from Anzu’s new guardian about denying what Anzu was taught by the homeless elders despite telling her that they are still part of her. It’s an interesting take on an otherwise kind gesture. I wonder if it will go anywhere.

This whole sketch about Hina becoming student council president felt more like it was trying hard to be ridiculous. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t work as well for me.

I was surprised by the final scene in the episode, even if I’m not sure I understood what it meant. I just liked the fact that it seemed to show how much Nitta cared for Hina. He wasn’t taking the comment about getting Hina a mother lightly, so he put the effort in to console her.

Grancrest Senki Episode 19

After much delay, I’ve finally caught back up with this series after falling super far behind. It still has weird pacing issues and feels like it’s skipping a lot, but I’ve enjoyed the series in recent episodes. I think once the series got past a lot of its smaller skirmishes, it started to get a lot more interesting. Perhaps Villar was holding things back a bit too much.

With recent developments, I really liked where the series is going with creating the three major factions. Even if it was a bit manipulative, I was happy to see Theo and Siluca bring Alexis into the fight. Honestly, I think it’s a shame that the series didn’t go into Crests so much. The fact that Theo uses his Crest to inspire his army feels important, but there’s no sense from the series of its significance.

Similarly, Alexis brings kind of a fresh style to the battles with his art-focused Crest. The Crests feel like an important distinguishing factor for each lord’s fighting style, and it doesn’t always come across well.

Honestly, I would have liked to see a bit more fierceness in Alexis, but I guess his fear fits with his character. The first fight in episode 19 was fine to show that Alexis was actually capable, but the sharp contrast in the second fight felt really jarring.

Violet Evergarden Final Episode (13): Last show of the winter season

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I know spring season is happening, but I want to go ahead and finish the last remaining show from the previous season. This show has been a pretty crazy ride, but I’m pretty happy with this ending. I’ve certainly had my issues with the series, but I can’t deny that it handles the emotional stuff well.

I know that this is nitpicking, but can we really talk about this moving train scene? This guy was definitely lying on the ground when the cliffhanger happened last week, and the guy who actually shot the explosive at Violet has seemingly disappeared. I know that this fact doesn’t really change anything, but a little consistency goes a long way with me. Also, there’s the scene where Dietfried throws the brooch at Violet, but I won’t harp too much.

This is dramatic and all, but it seems a little awkward after we just saw Benedict take care of his bomb in one shot.

I can’t remember if we’ve seen this part of the conversation already, but this line from Gilbert really hits hard. As is stated later in the episode, Gilbert never sees Violet as a tool, so it was probably really painful for him to watch her continue to see herself as a tool.

Ahh, I got baited so hard by this scene. Make it stop.

I know it’s weird, but my biggest concern with this series was that it would eventually reveal a living Gilbert. It was literally the last thing I wanted to see. This series was pretty nuts about how it teased a Gilbert reveal throughout the entire season, so I’m actually not sure how I feel about this final scene. I think the ambiguity of the scene is great, and it fits the common theme of hinting that Gilbert is alive. But I guess I just really don’t want him to be alive, so maybe this acts as a decent middle ground.

Final Score: 7/10 Many of the episodes felt hit-or-miss for me, but the hits were impressive. The soundtrack really helped with that.

Violet Evergarden Episode 12: Train wars

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I guess we’re back to the action in this show. Anyone else really miss the emotional episodes? Maybe it’s just me, but I felt kind of let down in this episode. I wonder if it’s just because I don’t like Dietfried so far.

I found this scene strangely interesting. I feel like I can believe that Violet’s letters have improved significantly, but I kinda wish the show gave me more of why she has become one of the most popular Dolls. Specifically, I’m curious what about her specific style is and how her experience has shaped it. Is she just more straightforward than the other Dolls? It’s not an issue with the show…I’m just curious.

The big sticking point of the episode is Dietfried. I can honestly understand his anger at his brother’s death, but part of me wonders how realistic it really is. He seems too angry for that explanation. Is there more to it? Is he just lashing out? I really have trouble believing that he’s just upset that Violet didn’t protect Gilbert.

This is a truly unbelievable amount of banter to have on top of a moving train.

Aww, a cliffhanger? It’s not like I would ever believe that something terrible happened to Violet here, so I don’t see the point.

Violet Evergarden Episode 11: Back to the battlefield

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I honestly thought this series had nowhere left to go once Violet got through all of the Gilbert stuff. However, I really feel like the episodes after that point have been better than the ones from before that point. These episodes feel a lot less repetitive (while keeping some shared elements), which allows more time for emotional impact.

This civil war seems to be a reference back to the roadblock from two episodes ago. I’m glad that it wasn’t just a throwaway scene.

There’s a “descending angel” reference here, but I don’t have a good example to use.

I thought it was pretty funny that the enemy leader recognized Violet and decided to retreat.

Honestly, my first reaction to this scene was that Violet was faking because Aidan was dying. Even though Violet ended up just taking Aidan’s words for the letter, I didn’t mind because I also thought they were great. The whole idea of wishing to be reincarnated has his parents’ son again was really nice.

I know it’s tragic, but I liked that Aidan died in this episode. Violet’s not always going to save the day, and I think this experience plays into her survivor’s guilt. It means that there’s still room for her to develop as a character.

Violet Evergarden Episode 10: Right in the feels

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Alright, fine. I thought this week’s episode was great. I pretty much knew where the story was going, but I’m a sucker for time skip epilogues. I didn’t have any clue what this show would be like after the “finale” we got, but I might be inclined to call this episode my favorite so far.

I really liked watching Anne as she warmed up to Violet in this episode. It didn’t seem forced. She just naturally wanted to play with someone after feeling neglected by her mother.

I think the most surprising part of this episode was just how knowledgeable Anne seemed to be. I wouldn’t expect a child to understand that her mother was dying and be willing to reason out that every moment left with her mother was precious. To a certain extent, I found that a bit unbelievable, but it makes for good drama.

I have such a weakness for this scene. Watching Anne read the letters as she grew older was just really satisfying.

The scene at the end surprised me the most, though. When everything is over, Violet reveals that she was keeping her emotions back the entire time. After what we’ve seen from Violet in every other story before this one, that statement felt like it had a lot of impact because it was coming from her. That scene actually wrecked me inside.

Violet Evergarden Episode 9: Somehow not the last episode

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Well, this episode wasn’t too bad for a last episode. Wait, what do you mean this wasn’t the last episode? It had the references to every previous encounter in it. What else could it be?

But joking aside, this episode wasn’t bad. The resolution wasn’t too surprising or anything, but it tugs at the emotions nonetheless.

The beginning of the episode felt like a bit of a letdown. The flashback was resolved quickly and much of it was composed with scenes we’d already seen. The only new information was the explanation of how Violet lost her arms. I’m on board with the grenade ripping off an arm, but is it really possible for a bullet to cut through an arm? I mean, she has bone there, right?

I sure hope this scene about a rebellion in a nearby region is relevant later. Otherwise, it’s really random.

This line from Hodgins is really cryptic. Awkwardly enough, it heavily suggests that Gilbert is still alive when taken at face value. Still, I’m probably just overthinking it. The other interpretation is that Violet now has other relationships to support her even if the major is gone, which is probably more appropriate.

The episode really went back and forth on whether it was about the dead major or the body count that Violet left behind. Maybe I was missing something, but the part about the major seemed to go to the background a lot. It felt like one of those concepts was tacked on and the episode couldn’t tell which one it was.

Bringing up the characters from previous episodes really made this episode look like the wrap up you’d see in a finale. I wonder where we go from here. Also, I wanted to be upset with Hodgins for distancing himself from Violet while she was suffering. However, the final scene in the episode made it look like he was talking about himself to an extent. So, I’m willing to accept that he probably didn’t know what to do himself.

Violet Evergarden Episode 8: Back to the past

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This week’s episode finally went back to show the background events leading up to the start of the series, which is something I’ve been waiting to see. I really liked the way that Gilbert was portrayed in this episode, and it was great that his character finally became more than just a name. Still, it seems like the story is incomplete, so I’m curious to see what comes next.

This conversation is probably the one I understand the least. Hodgins takes a lot of heat, but was it really his fault that Violet learned about Gilbert? He just confirmed it. Sure, he could have lied, but Violet could have continued doing the same investigation that we saw in this episode. Actually, I’m highly convinced that she would have regardless of what he said.

The flashback was kinda interesting in that it seemed like people were largely projecting themselves on to Gilbert. We’re shown so many scenes that prove that he didn’t see Violet as a weapon in the same way that other soldiers did.

Along the same line of thinking, I liked the way that the episode portrayed Gilbert’s personal issues with using Violet. We see how he’s forced to use her in battle and the impressions other get from that. The whole rumor that Violet is called Gilbert’s weapon stems from his inability to keep her away from the fight. It’s interesting to see how he struggles with that.

Honestly, I thought the scene with Hodgins was a bit on the nose. I would understand if he’d made a promise to take care of Violet, but having him joke that he would hire Violet after the war seems too specific.

I’m definitely curious to see where this battle goes from here. From what we’ve seen so far, the victory seems assured, but we know that Violet still needs to lose her arms. I’m wondering how that happens, so I guess we’ll see next week.

Violet Evergarden Episode 7: That escalated quickly

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This week’s episode seemed promising in that it finally got back to Violet and Gilbert. It feels like we’re getting into more cohesive story rather than jumping around with Violet on different jobs. However, I can’t help but feel apprehensive about where this development is going. I’m also a little disappointed with how it was triggered.

I honestly thought this episode was going to try and go meta about storytelling, but it looks like it was just showing that Violet can grasp fiction now.

The concept of the writer with a tragic past is nothing new, but I quite liked the way that it was presented. We know that he’s mourning the loss of someone he loves, but I was expecting it to be his wife at this point. However, Violet’s comment about Olive never returning to her father is an excellent way to correct that assumption without blatantly saying that Olivia is the writer’s daughter.

I’m not gonna lie…this scene looked great.

I felt like this episode tried to pile on a bit too much at the end. This scene where Violet realizes how much suffering she’s caused as a soldier naturally progresses from the main story of the episode. I have no issue with that. However, the scene seems to lose its importance when we see what comes next.

After all of that waiting, the big reveal is just a passing comment from Violet’s new guardian? It feels so…empty. Maybe that’s just me.

I’m with Violet on this one. She barely even knows what loss is, so her reaction to the story Hodgins gives her feels justified. To be honest, I really hope that Gilbert is really dead, but I can understand why she wouldn’t accept it without a body to confirm.

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.