Ok, first and foremost, I do not hate this series. No, I found it to be just as intriguing and tear-jerking as everyone else, and I was rooting for the main protagonist as much as everyone else. Nevertheless, er…I did find some flaws. And it’s usually in my nature to try and find something funny in everything, but even more so in a serious drama like this one.
So, please take this only in good fun. 😛
Similar to what I did for the Fairy Dance arc of “Sword Art Online”, this is a parody of Screen Junkies’ “Pitch Meeting” series; taking a look at what it would be like if they did this series. If you haven’t seen “Pitch Meeting” yet, check it out on YouTube. It’s quite funny and enjoyable. And you’ll get the style and humor of some of these jokes better if you watch a few installments of that first anyway. 😀
Without further ado…
[Scene opens on the outside of an Kyoto Animation meeting room, then cuts to a beaming anime executive.]
EXECUTIVE: So I hear you got an idea for a new anime or me.
[Cut to an equally beaming screenwriter]
SCREENWRITER: Yes sir, I do! It’s called “Violet Evergarden”.
EXECUTIVE: Oh, so is it a cute little kids’ story about a little nature girl running around in wildflowers and meadows full of happiness and cheer?
SCREENWRITER: (Blinking in a bit of confusion) No…no, it’s about absolutely none of those things.
EXECUTIVE: Sorry, I just thought with a name like “Violet Evergarden” it would have something to do with flowers. What’s it actually about?
SCREENWRITER: It’s about a cold, emotionless girl who has no feelings or empathy who gets a job writing emotional and cathartic letters for people.
EXECUTIVE: Ha-ha! That sounds hilarious! I can just see all of the hi-jinks and shenanigans it will cause already! It’ll be a great comedy!
SCREENWRITER: Actually, it’s a heart-rendering drama.
EXECUTIVE: (Confused) Really?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, it’s pretty much the opposite of funny from start to finish.
EXECUTIVE: You have a setup that’s someone who would be probably the worst person ever at a certain job doing that certain job and it’s being played completely straight?
SCREENWRITER: Pretty much.
EXECUTIVE: Hmm. Tell me more. Like what’s the setting?
SCREENWRITER: Well, it’s kind of an alternate universe set in the Eighteen-Nineteen-Ten-Twenty-Forty-Sixties.
EXECUTIVE: Excuse me?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, you see…it’s set kind of in the post World War I era. Very European inspired, lots of primitive technology still being used with little to no electricity, lots of deaths and disease in the aftermath of a great war… But they don’t have things like machine guns or tanks to use in warfare and people still write letters even in emergency situations instead of using telegrams, so it’s more like the 1800s. On top of that we have lots of young women dressing in styles that would be obscene by 1910s standards so we’re kind of in the future.
EXECUTIVE: Oh! So what’s happening in the Eighteen-Nineteen-Ten-Twenty-Forty-Sixties?
SCREENWRITER: Well, there’s this young major on one side of the war who has an older brother who’s a higher rank, and he decides to surprise him one day with a present.
EXECUTIVE: That’s nice of him. What is it? A watch? A picture of the two of them?
SCREENWRITER: It’s a Combat Doll.
EXECUTIVE: Oh, is the major a little kid that he like dolls?
SCREENWRITER: No, you see it’s someone his older brother picked up during a military operation from Child-Soldier-Topia or whatever country they were fighting and she’s a child who has no emotions, no memories, no attachments, no ability to care for herself or integrate in human society, and can’t read, write, or speak.
EXECUTIVE: Ah. So she’s basically a feral child?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, except for one difference. She kills people extremely well.
EXECUTIVE: Oh really?
SCREENWRITER: Oh yeah, she’s really good at it. She kills people with her bare hands. She can practically put her fist through full grown hardened adult soldiers.
EXECUTIVE: Wow. So I guess she’s in her late teens if she can do that.
SCREENWRITER: No, she’s eleven at the start of the series.
EXECUTIVE: (Pauses) So, she hit her growth spurt early then…?
SCREENWRITER: No, she’s the exact size and frailty of a normal eleven year old.
EXECUTIVE: Yet she’s able to kill adult soldiers with her bare hands.
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, that’s pretty much the only thing she’s good at. You just kind of point her at whoever you want to die and without even changing her expression she goes right up to them and breaks their necks with these advanced hand-to-hand moves, disarms them of their own bayonet or rifle, then shoots them at point blank range or stabs them repeatedly in the chest…
EXECUTIVE: Wait a second, I thought you said she has no attachments to anyone and can’t speak. How does she know how to do so many things that obviously would have had to have been taught to her and she would have had to practice before she could pull them off?
SCREENWRITER: (Shrugs) She’s a Combat Doll, though.
EXECUTIVE: What does that mean?
SCREENWRITER: It means…um…she can do all that stuff.
EXECUTIVE: Ok then!
SCREENWRITER: Anyway, everyone in the world besides the major apparently is cool with child soldiers and wants the major to use her as his personal attack animal, but the major feels sorry for her and wants to treat her like a person so that she’ll eventually be able to be a normal girl.
EXECUTIVE: Oh, that’s nice of him. So does he find a nice quiet place in the country or a good family to take her in until the war’s over?
SCREENWRITER: No, he takes her with him to the front line and uses her as his personal attack animal.
EXECUTIVE: That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what he supposedly wanted to do and what everyone else wanted him to do in the first place.
SCREENWRITER: Well, there is this one point when he tries to tell his CO that he can’t take her to the front lines, and his CO is all like: “Hey you little punk, you’re out of line! You will take a child soldier to the front lines and use her or I’ll have you thrown in prison!”
EXECUTIVE: His army is actually forcing him to take a child with him into combat.
SCREENWRITER: Actually, they force him to take a child with him into combat without even giving her a helmet or a uniform that fits.
EXECUTIVE: Oh, so the major is working for the bad guys, then?
SCREENWRITER: No, his army is the good guys, actually.
EXECUTIVE: Oh really? Well, at least the major just has her doing work like KP duty or scouting areas or cleaning up the tents, right?
SCREENWRITER: No, he intentionally takes her into every battle and always sends her out first to kill the enemy ahead of his men because she’s so good at it.
EXECUTIVE: (Losing his smile) Really?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, he tells her to stay behind the first time but when she runs out anyway he just kind of shrugs and says: “Eh, whatever, I guess I will use her.”
EXECUTIVE: The major doesn’t really sound like he wants her to be anything but a tool.
SCREENWRITER: Oh no, I got that covered.
EXECUTIVE: Oh yeah?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, you see, if anyone else was using her as a weapon they wouldn’t care. The major uses her as a weapon and he feels bad about it.
EXECUTIVE: So ultimately the audience is supposed to sympathize with the major because he feels bad about using her as a weapon, although obviously not bad enough to not continuously do it from now on?
EXECUTIVE: And somehow this eleven year old girl can charge out of a trench and kill an entire battalion by herself continuously?
SCREENWRITER: Don’t forget, I didn’t invent machine guns.
EXECUTIVE: Oh yeah, that’s right! That was clever.
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, because machine guns kind of turn you into hamburger no matter how good you are at hand-to-hand combat as soon as you leave the trenches.
EXECUTIVE: So wouldn’t, like, a hundred of these Battle Dolls be enough to win the war in a month?
EXECUTIVE: So why didn’t the other side win? Because there’s obviously more than just her if the other side knew what she was by reputation.
SCREENWRITER: (Thinks for a moment) Oh yeah! They would, wouldn’t they?
SCREENWRITER: Well, I’m kind of hoping no one thinks too hard about the backstory or else the premise kind of falls apart.
EXECUTIVE: Think that’ll work?
SCREENWRITER: It does with most anime.
EXECUTIVE: Awesome. So what happens to the major and his G.I. Jane doll?
SCREENWRITER: Well, he eventually names her Violet, and in their last operation, the major gets hit and she gets both of her arms blown off, and right before where they’re hiding out gets bombed the major tells her that he wants her to live and says: “I love you”.
EXECUTIVE: As in, “I love you as a daughter” or “I love you love you”?
SCREENWRITER: I’m going to kind of leave that up in the air.
EXECUTIVE: Isn’t she eleven?
SCREENWRITER: Oh, she’s fourteen by now.
EXECUTIVE: But he met her when she was eleven.
SCREENWRITER: Oh, don’t worry about that. One of the episodes is going to do this whole thing that shows in this society it’s perfectly acceptable for men in their early twenties to start getting engaged to ten-year-old girls.
EXECUTIVE: So something is ethical in your mind so long as society accepts it?
EXECUTIVE: Well, I’m suddenly very glad we don’t live in Nazi Germany.
SCREENWRITER: Anyway, she gets recovered and sent to a military hospital where she gets a pair of magic arms because apparently those are a thing in this world.
EXECUTIVE: ‘Magic arms’?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, she gets a couple of prosthetic arms to replace her real arms, but the thing is since she lost her arms above the elbow and all the muscles that move your fingers are in your forearm she shouldn’t be able to move her hands at all. However, she’s able to do that just fine which is something we can’t even do with prosthetic arms today so…yeah, they’re magic. Once she recovers, she gets taken in by one of the major’s buddies who used to be a lt. colonel but now is starting his own business, because he’s the only other guy in the military that saw Violet as a person.
EXECUTIVE: Oh, because he saw her in a fragile and emotional state at some point?
SCREENWRITER: No, he’d only seen her twice. Once when she was crouched with a soulless look on her face after tearing up a bunch of soldiers in training, and the second time she tried to instinctively kill him and the major had to tell her more than once to stand down.
EXECUTIVE: Oh. But she’s fine now?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, getting her arms blown off was kind of like taking a xanax. Anyway, he ends up taking her to work for him at the company he started to try and make a new life for herself.
EXECUTIVE: Well that’s nice of him. What kind of company does he run?
SCREENWRITER: A private postal service that’s run almost entirely by attractive, alluring young girls, with a special service where if you can’t write a good letter they’ll assign someone who’s hot to come and write a really nice one for you. They even have their own alluring outfits they call their “uniforms” to wear while they do it.
EXECUTIVE: Wow, so this guy is a total perverted creep then?
SCREENWRITER: No, he’s kind-hearted and empathetic for wanting to help Violet.
EXECUTIVE: By exploiting the fact she’s an attractive young lady to sell his business?
SCREENWRITER: Well, he does start her off in the mail room but she ends up wanting to write letters instead. So he decides to work with it and her emotionless state by dressing her up as a giant doll for clients. And the clients really love it, including the ladies.
EXECUTIVE: That’s morbid and very creepy if you stop to think about it too long.
SCREENWRITER: Anyway, so although this is basically a specialized typist, the job position is called “Auto Memory Doll”.
SCREENWRITER: And, like I said, she dresses like a doll going to work.
EXECUTIVE: Ok, I got that the first time.
SCREENWRITER: And everywhere she goes, people point out she looks like a doll.
EXECUTIVE: Yeah, I would think they would.
SCREENWRITER: And she has artificial hands like she’s a clockwork doll.
EXECUTIVE: I think I get the idea.
SCREENWRITER: And at one point there’s this girl with a doll that treats her like she’s a giant doll.
EXECUTIVE: Please stop saying the word “doll”.
SCREENWRITER: And she used to be a Combat Doll…
EXECUTIVE: Ok, stop now.
SCREENWRITER: (Snapping out of his train of thought) Hmm? Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just that I wanted to use ‘doll’ as symbolism for Violet because she looks pretty and petite but feels nothing and other people confine their problems in her.
EXECUTIVE: Well, I’m no writer, but I’m pretty sure there’s a difference between subtle symbolism and slapping the audience over the head with the word ‘doll’ several times an episode.
SCREENWRITER: Well, it’s my first time so bear with me.
EXECUTIVE: (Grinning) Oh, alright, you little miscreant. But I’m guessing its going to be hard for someone who has no empathy or emotions whatsoever to become good at this job.
SCREENWRITER: Actually, super-easy. Barely an inconvenience.
EXECUTIVE: Oh really?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, she’s just going to end up being extremely lucky and getting all the “easy” clients. Like the very first letter she writes, the person she’s writing it for says she just wants to tell her veteran brother thank you and she’s happy he’s alive, so Violet writes a letter that says: “Dear client’s brother, thank you and I’m happy you’re alive. Signed client.” and everyone treats it as if she’s suddenly a professional. Then she gets hired to write love letters from a princess to a prince of another country as part of their royal courtship, and she basically just tells them to write the letters themselves instead. So they end up doing the job themselves yet she takes the credit and becomes internationally famous.
EXECUTIVE: Wow, that is lucky. So what happens after that?
SCREENWRITER: Well, eventually she does start feeling for her clients, especially the ones who have lost loved ones, and then she starts hating herself because she remembers she used to kill people. On top of all that, she learns the major is dead too, so she sinks into depression and actually tries to kill herself.
EXECUTIVE: Pretty intense. Depressed about the major being gone or depressed about the fact she used to be a killbot?
SCREENWRITER: Eh, she kind of drifts between the two even though they’re somewhat unrelated. But eventually she also realizes that the letters she’s been writing have been helping people too, so in this big emotional scene she goes to the lt. colonel and upfront asks him if she deserves to live.
EXECUTIVE: And he gives her a big hug and assures her that she does?
SCREENWRITER: No, he tells her she’ll live with blood on her conscience forever and the guilt will never go away.
EXECUTIVE: Wow, that’s rather harsh.
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, but it somehow makes her feel better anyway.
EXECUTIVE: Well, ok then. That sounds like a pretty good series. Nice note to end on; her accepting herself and finding a new life and purpose that helps people.
SCREENWRITER: Actually, I only found nine episodes worth of material at that point, so after that I decided to stab the audience in the heart with rusted knives.
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, the next couple episodes are just stories where she learns about how tragic it is to lose what little time you have with loved ones and how soul-crushing and painful loss can be, and I’m basically just going to torture the audience by forcing them to sit through extremely tragic and sad things.
EXECUTIVE: Whoa. You’re kind of an emotional sadist, aren’t you?
SCREENWRITER: (Shrugging) Eh, a little. But at the end of this, Violet learns the value of life and how tragic a thing death can be, and causes both her and the audience to feel a lot more empathy for people in all walks of life no matter their situation and background, because all life is precious.
EXECUTIVE: Well that’s a very good message, and something worthwhile to learn from tragedy.
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, so anyway for the last two episodes there’s going to be a bunch of one-dimensional villains the world would be better off without.
EXECUTIVE: Excuse me?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, for the final story arc, Violet gets involved in this situation where the major’s brother is trying to protect a peace envoy from a bunch of insurgents from one side of the war who are trying to sabotage the peace process and restart the war. There’s this one bit where one of them talks about how they all felt betrayed by their own country when the war ended, but mostly they’re just cruel, heartless, sadistic jerks who no one would miss if they were all killed.
EXECUTIVE: You don’t think that kind of goes against the entire point of the entire series?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, well there’s only so many ways I know how to write an episode that’s basically: “Violet goes to write a letter for someone whose family member died.”
EXECUTIVE: Fair enough. So what happens?
SCREENWRITER: She gets on board a train with them and needs to stop them before they get to a bridge that’s about to explode, but because she’s a pacifist now she’s determined to stop them all with nonlethal methods. At one point, she even lets herself get slashed by a few of their bayonets because she’s trying to grab one she knocked out to keep him from sliding off the top of a moving train.
EXECUTIVE: That’s impressive. Sticking to your ideals and the value of other people’s lives so much that you’re willing to do so at the risk of your own life.
SCREENWRITER: Anyway, because she won’t kill them they beat the crap out of her and nearly kill her, but then the major’s brother shows up and shoots them all.
EXECUTIVE: Oh. So…the message is really it’s fine to be a pacifist so long as someone else is nearby to kill people for you?
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, pretty much. So they stop the train, Violet rips off her arms getting rid of one of the bombs, and a coworker of hers manages to get rid of the other one.
EXECUTIVE: Well, if she had to ruin metal arms in order to get rid of her bomb, this coworker must be freakishly strong to do it with flesh and bone.
SCREENWRITER: Nah, he wears these knee high boots with high heels and he kicks it off using it as a prong.
EXECUTIVE: Wait, what? Did you just say ‘he’ wears boots with high heels?
EXECUTIVE: Why does he wear boots with high heels?
SCREENWRITER: For literally no other reason in the entire series except to kick off that bomb at the end.
SCREENWRITER: Yeah, some people say Chekhov’s Gun; I say Postal Employee’s Heels.
EXECUTIVE: No one in this society is at all thrown off by the fact he does this?
SCREENWRITER: Nah, because even though everyone else in the entire world dresses according to the period, everyone who works for the lt. colonel’s postal company pretty much gets to dictate their own rules on what’s fashion.
EXECUTIVE: Well, awesome then. Kinky boots are tight.
SCREENWRITER: Well, what do you think?
EXECUTIVE: Sounds like a pretty solid, emotional, heartbreaking, bittersweet story so long as you don’t think about the fact it’s about an underage girl being manipulated by older men, even to the point of dressing her in a fetish role. I’m not sure how many folks will go for it though as it’s not what you expect from most anime.
SCREENWRITER: Fair enough.
EXECUTIVE: So why don’t we try marketing it as a Netflix Original Series? I think it should get a good amount of buzz for thirteen episodes. Probably no more than that.
SCREENWRITER: What do you mean?
EXECUTIVE: Well, the story’s pretty much over at the end of thirteen episodes. There’s really nowhere else for the protagonist to go, so that seems like a good note to close out on. I mean, this show is going to have to end up being very surprisingly and unexpectedly popular before we can try and cheat more plot out of it.
“VIOLET EVERGARDEN” TO GET SECOND SEASON AND A FEATURE FILM