Violet Evergarden is a popular manga series that was first published in 2015, and then adapted for television in 2018. Before it’s official release, the light novel was the winner of teh grand prize in the fifth annual Kyoto Animation Award’s novel category – a category that has only been added that year, making Violet Evergarden the first ever winner of this category.
The plot centers around robots named Auto Memories Dolls, which were initially invented by a scientist wanting to aid his blind wife with her novels.
Later, these dolls were rented out to other people that required their services. Whilst the original function of these dolls was just to convert voice to text, a second group of people started to rent out beautiful and talented women who could perform all the same tasks as the robots, would also be able to perform military related jobs.
The novel and show are named after the protagonist, a teenager who becomes one of the human Auto Memories Dolls after fighting in a war.
Violet Evergarden is enlisted into the Leidenschaftlich army and fights in a war at a very young age. There she is treated as nothing more than a weapon, which leads her to be basically unemotional and very stilted in terms of her expressions and mannerisms.
When she is first found by the character Dietfried, Violet is unable to read, write, speak or really understand any speech, except fo the order to kill.
At this point, Violet is 14 years old, and doesn’t have any concept of right and wrong, or of morals. All she understands is “kill or be killed” which is essentially her mantra.
There was one person who showered her a life outside of the military, and that was Gilbet Bougainvillea. A Major in the army, Gilbery is the one who teaches Violet how to speak, and how to read and write, all of these things help Violet grow into a more expressive slightly more human person.
The final battle of the war is a brutal one, causing Violet to loose both of her arms, which are swiftly replaced with mechanical prosthetic arms.
However, Violet is a fiercely determined and selfless person, who does everything she can to save Gilbert. These leads to him telling her that he loves her near the end of the battle.
Once the war is finished, Violet sets off to understand what those words mean, having no real understanding of the emotions behind the sentiment. Following her own path for the first time in her life, Violet sets off to become an Auto Memories Doll, in order to get a better grasp of what people around her are feeling and thinking by transcribing people’s thoughts and feelings into words on paper.
How Old Is Violet Evergarden?
Violet’s age is never confirmed, neither is it known to the characters on screen, due to her being found as the only survivor on a desserted island. That said, there are a few guesses that people have made, in canon and by fans.
In the light novel, Violet is estimated to be in her later teens during the main events of the plot. Her appearance is very childlike, even when she’s older, so it’s hard to say for sure.
In the anime, it is guessed that Violet is about 14 years old. This is also repeated by Gilbert, who assumes that Violet is 10 when they first meet, and then 14 by the time of the final battle. As time progresses within the show it can be assumed that she is still aging so by the time she meets Aiden, a soldier who Violet tries in vain to save, he assumes that she is the same age as him – 18.
The lack of clarity about how old Violet is makes her relationship with Gilbert somewhat concerning, as he is confirmed to be a 29 year old man. Whilst initially their relationship could be seen as a parent/child relationship, the two do eventually get married in the novels – Gilbert having miraculously survived the war.
However, in the anime, they do change this ending, leaving Gilbert’s fate unknown. This leaves viewers to hope that Gilbert’s confession of love at the end of the final battle was more of a paternal love and affection, rather than a romantic one.
Violet Evergarden is a very interesting and well-written novel and short anime series than explores the relationships between a young woman (or child, depending on how old you estimate she is) and the people that she meets in her journey to understand the meaning behind the words “I love you”.
In her travels as an Auto Memories Doll, she befriends many people, and has a positive lasting impact on their lives. All the while, Violet still remains a mass murderer who could kill on command, but is trying to become less of a weapon and more of a human, just like her father-figure (and eventual husband) wants for her.