“Pleased to make your acquaintance. I rush anywhere to provide any service a client might wish for. I am from the automated doll service, Violet Evergarden.”
When I read that catchphrase that the girl always says when she meets a client, I felt emotional. There are lots of emotions poured into that statement, containing her feelings to whom she adressed as “Major.” The statement describes well her thirst for orders from “Major,” and also what she really wishes for: to be of use to him. Kana Akatsuki, the writer of this novel, describes that it very well.
Violet Evergarden is a novel written by Kana Akatsuki, illustrated by Akiko Takase and published by KA Esuma Bunko, the light novel label of Kyoto Animation. It won the grand prize in the fifth Kyoto Animation Award’s novel category in 2014, and was published on 25 December 2016. As of this writing, there has been two volumes published, and the animated adaptation by Kyoto Animation (of course) has been scheduled to air in January 2018.
The story, as the title indicates, centered around Violet Evergarden, an Auto Memories Doll who “rush anywhere to provide any service a client might wish for.” She had the job of amanuensis, or an assistant who writes down dictations or copies manuscripts. In the novel, her main job is to type or write anything that the client wanted. It could be a letter, a play, or a transcription.
But of course, what she actually does are not limited to that kind of things. In chapters one to five, she met various clients with their own requests: a person who wished to write a play, a mother who wanted to send a letter, a soldier who wanted to convey her last message, etc. Those people had their own backgrounds and different characteristics, but Violet remains in her style: calm, elegant, and firm. She never hesitates to tell what’s wrong or right in front of others. She always addressed people with honorifics, even when people saying bad things to her. She remains just like that, whomever the person she meets.
As the story continues to roll through ups and downs, there are some parts when Violet remembered her past as a soldier, as a beautiful killer. And that eventually gets told in the last chapter; her meeting with “Major.” The chronological order might seem reversed, but it fits properly, since the last chapter is the most emotinal part in this novel, it will become a waste to put it in the first part. Also, putting the story of how Violet become an amanuensis will answer readers’ curiousity on who actually Violet Evergarden is.
Violet has such a charmingly prominent presence that it extends beyond the novel. Admittedly, my first encounter to this story is actually from the anime announcement, with Violet in the promotional poster, depicted in lavish details in elegant Prussian blue jacket, silk pleated skirt that swayed neatly as she walked, an emerald brooch that shined brightly just like her blue iris, and the brown case that she brought. The elegance is accentuated by the calm demeanor, keeping mum unless needed, always honest with her words, and maintain a polite humility.
In the novel, that beauty and elegant quality comes through through vivid descriptions that describe everything in fine details. In the beginning of every chapter, Violet is always described with her usual outfits, ornaments and tools, but I never feel bored to read that same part again, because even though the author describes the same things, the way they are described may vary for different stories. In other words, the way a client responds to Violet’s coming may affect how she is described in the story.
It is a bit different for the last chapter where the Violet had not appear as an amanuensis yet. But reading the way Violet changed from a “weapon” who only knew how to kill people to the Violet who passionately works to takes dictation from other people is amazing in some ways. After reading the preceding chapters, it made me understand well where her elegant yet firm personality comes from, which is answered in the last chapter. Once again, the really detailed description is also what makes this chapter also good.
Still, even though the story ends with a nice scene, this last chapter doesn’t answer completely how Violet started to work in C.H. Postal Company, and why her job is to type or write words from another people. The answer to this might lie in the second volume. Or perhaps the upcoming anime will cover that part as well.
Although I enjoy reading it, there is still something that bugs me after all; the content is all about Violet. While it could be good in some ways to have her always in the focus in the stories, but from another perspective, it makes her feel too special.
I understand a lot of Violet’s story through reading this novel. But I guess I won’t get bored when I see the anime that will air soon. My interest in the anime has actually grown more after reading the story with the captivating descriptions.
The Indonesian Anime Times | by M Razif Dwi Kurniawan