Since there’s no Railgun this week, I thought I’d write a few words about a Violet Evergarden extra episode I just recently found on Netflix. Enjoy.
Violet has a new client, the diva Irma Felice, who is requesting she write a love letter in someone else’s name, without a concrete address. That’s about all the initial direction she gives Violet, and the resulting first attempt is very curt and military. When Violet tries to draw from literature, it comes off too old-fashioned. When Violet tries to write something modern, it’s just not right.
Irked by a client like never before, Violet reaches out to her colleagues once she learns from the conductor Aldo tells her the love letter will be used as lyrics in the aria of a new opera Irma is producing. She gets a lot of raw, unpolished material from the group, but it’s still not enough to move her stubborn, exacting client.
Desperately needing more insight into Irma, Violet follows her one night. Irma runs, but is no match for Violet’s military conditioning. That’s how the subject of Violet’s loved one comes up, and knowing they share a similar crushing loss, warms up to her and allows her to keep following. Irma visits a shrine at the train station, where she would be if her Hugo ever returned to her.
Her love, Hugo, it turns out, was Aldo’s son who went to war and never returned. It’s a very old story, but that didn’t make it any easier for her or Aldo to move forward…so they didn’t. The letters into which she poured her feelings to Hugo were always sent back for lack of address. Eventually, her and Aldo became frozen in time, and their hearts froze as well, like those of so many who lost lovers and family in the war.
Having finally made a connection through their shared grief, Roland shows Violet a warehouse full of lost letters with neither writer nor sender. Seeing so many talismans of lost, crystallized emotions further inspires Violet, and she gets to typing. In each of her jobs both she and her client have needed to reach some kind of connection that finally gets the words flowing…and it’s almost always tear-jerking, as it it here.
Once Irma reads Violet’s latest and final attempt, she weeps, because Violet was finally able to create what she knew she could: words that warm and stir the frozen hearts of the masses, the “people of today” who couldn’t be moved by the dusty operas of yore, because they were too detached from their own modern experience.
Irma’s resulting performance would indeed be considered almost scandalously modern in the anachronistic era of Violet Evergarden—more Céline Dion than Claudia Muzio—but that is precisely why they succeed in moving each and every one of the spectators in the opera house. Art at its finest—and KyoAni has made a fair bit of that—can thaw the coldest hearts and move the most motionless.