Your mission, should you choose to accept it…
— I guess this is the continent we’re on… seems kinda neat and uniform for a landmass.
— So what’s going on? Well, the military brass seems to think that the anti-peace forces have been suppressed in Ctrigall. We know from last week’s episode, however, that this is certainly not the case. Nevertheless, a special envoy from the south will be traveling by train to Gardarik to engage the north in peace talks, so the war isn’t exactly over yet. A peace treaty still needs to be formally signed by every nation. The shorthanded army now wants Dietfried to lend a hand and protect this envoy or else the continent may very well plunge back into war again. Now, see, here’s where I’m kinda lost… if all of the countries want peace, and it’s just the anti-peace assholes trying to stir shit up, why would disrupting one peace talk have any impact? What sort of sovereignty would see one failed attempt to sign a peace treaty and decide to go back to war? If there was a scene where the anti-peace factions were planning to frame one of the countries, I could see how this might work, but that’s not what we get.
— We then see Violet being ferried across the sky by her new postman buddy from last week’s episode. She’s on her way back home, but in truth, she’s really on a collision course with Dietfried…
— …and her coworkers Cattleya and Benedict. Cattleya is serving as the civilian doll who will accompany the special envoy. Needless to say, Violet won’t be returning home anytime soon.
— So Cattleya and Benedict bump into Dietfried, and the latter starts grumbling about Violet. Naturally, her friends defend her, but I just can’t buy into Dietfried’s hate. We only ever got to see one brief flashback of Violet murdering a bunch of Dietfried’s men. Not only that, she was… what? 10 years old back then? I just don’t understand how a grown man can be so myopic towards a child. She may have blood on her hands, but children don’t often know better. If she was raised to be a child soldier (or perhaps even created to be one — hey, we can’t rule this out since we still don’t know her origins), then Violet’s just another casualty of war. But oh well, what else can I say? Maybe Dietfried is that myopic.
— Now, you could argue that he blames Violet for his brother’s death. That would make more sense. He gave Violet to Gilbert hoping that the battle doll could keep his brother out of danger. Even then, however, his plan was dumb. If he wanted to protect his brother, should’ve just falsified his medical records and made it look like Gilbert had bones spurs or something.
— Cattleya defends Violet by praising the girl’s amazing letters, which only serves to remind me that this bit of character development happened offscreen. Yeah, I’ve harped on it before, but I’m still frustrated that this KyoAni once again squandered a show’s massive potential.
— This scene where the clouds cast shadows over the landscape is pretty dope, though. No matter what, these guys can animate.
— Anyways, the anti-peace faction has actually managed to infiltrate the same train that is carrying special envoy (and Cattleya). This is another thing I don’t get. Okay, let’s grant that the continent may very well plunge back into war should these peace talks fail… I’m not convinced, but for the sake of the argument, let’s just grant that. If this is true, then why aren’t security measures tighter? Why aren’t you screening every single person who steps foot onto this train? How is it possible for the enemy to simply steal some uniforms and sneak onto the train?
— On her way back home, Violet can tell that something fishy is going on. This part is fine. What bugs me is that once again the story relies heavily on luck. Violet never would’ve gotten off the postman’s plane and gotten onto the train if it didn’t happen to fly by Cattleya’s window at the exact right time. It’s silly.
— At first, Cattleya wants Violet to return home immediately. Dietfried isn’t happy to see our heroine either. Violet convinces everyone to let her stay, however, by telling them what she’s seen up north. She clues Dietfried in on the fact that the anti-peace forces haven’t been quelled at all. In fact, this train is in grave danger. So is the guy thankful for this all-important morsel of information? Of course not. Much to her chagrin, he just starts ranting on and on about how she’s a bloodthirsty doll who can’t operate without orders. For a captain on such an important mission, is now really the time to get into pointless squabbles?
— Okay, the bad guys are setting their plan in motion. Since most of the soldiers are “stationed from the fourth car and beyond,” they simply have to separate the first three cars from the rest! And voila, the special envoy is now a sitting duck. Amazing. Honestly, this is truly amazing. We must protect this guy at all cost or war will be reignited across all the lands! Buuuuuuuut we won’t actually have any soldiers in and around his car. Nope. Why would you do that?
— Of course, what the anti-peace faction didn’t factor into their calculations was Violet. She alone will disrupt their evil mission!
— Once again, when she meets up with Dietfried, the asshole picks a fight with her. I do agree with him about one thing, though: she should’ve taken the gun that he offered her. I know she’s huge on the whole not killing thing now, and as a result, she wouldn’t even hurt a fly. But c’mon, how realistic is it for her to subdue a bunch of soldiers with just her fists? Wait, this is Violet Evergarden, we’re talking about. This 14-year-old girl can do it all…
— …like snap a soldier’s knife in half with only her left hand.
— Violet’s about to choke this guy to death, but then she remembers that she doesn’t want to be a killer anymore. So instead, she just knocks him to the side. Again, even if you’re going to go down the pacifist route, you still have to make sure the guy can’t get back up. This will be important later.
— Now we have Dietfried sidling along the outside of a moving train car. Sigh.
— Violet eventually runs into a contingent of enemy soldiers on top of the train cars. They all have rifles with bayonets. She has… well, her fists.
— I understand thematically what the episode is trying to accomplish. Violet is fighting for peace; she’s trying to protect the special envoy. Not only that, she’s doing her best not to kill any of the enemy soldiers. But her past can’t escape her. One look at Violet in combat, and the enemy commander can’t help but recall the girl’s infamous nickname on the battlefield: The Battle Doll of Leidenschaftlich. You have the duality of past and present tearing the girl apart. On the one hand, she’s used to be a butcher on the battlefield. On the other hand, the pendulum has now swung so far to the other side that her desire for peace may very well cost the girl her life.
— At the same time, however, the very prospect of a 14-year-old girl going up against a bunch of trained soldiers on top of a moving train car pretty much throws my suspension of disbelief out the window. It’s bad enough that I can’t really focus on the all-important themes of the episode.
— The enemy commander prattles on and on about why his faction wants war again so badly, but he lost me completely as soon as he said this line.
— Anyways, I don’t understand why the soldiers are charging Violet with their bayonets. Can’t they shoot her with their rifles? They can. One guy does just that. But it’s just one guy. Everyone else just tried to melee her down for some bizarre reason.
— And yet, Violet still refuses to kill anyone. When her punches and kicks threaten to knock one of the soldiers off the moving train, she actually pulls him back to safety. This leaves the girl open to attacks. Otherwise, our 14-year-old battle doll probably wouldn’t have lost.
— Eventually, the girl is overpowered, and she even loses her precious brooch. She can’t fight at full strength if she refuses to kill. And if she refuses to kill, she may end up losing everything. Someone should tell her it’s almost universally permitted to kill in self-defense.
— Naturally, just as Violet’s about to lose her life, Dietfried saves her by shooting the enemy commander’s sword out of his hands. Of course, if he had the time to take aim at the weapon, I don’t know why he didn’t just shoot the guy in the head.
— Dietfried proceeds to get into yet another argument with Violet… while they’re standing on top of a moving train. Like c’mon, dude! He confesses that he blames Violet for failing to protect Gilbert. Great, I feel yah, but now’s kind of a bad time.
— Remember the guy who Violet almost choked to death? Because she simply knocked him out, he has since regained consciousness. Not only that, he’s climbed onto the top of the train, because this is where the party is at. He proceeds to take aim at both Violet and Dietfried with a gun that appears to fire explosive rounds. Dietfried shoots the guy, but the latter still manages to pull the trigger as he goes down. This is when Violet jumps in front of Dietfried and protects them both from the blast thanks to her fancy metal arms:
–Now that she’s saved Dietfried’s life, perhaps he’ll change his tune about her… but we’ll have to wait till next week’s episode to find out if this is the case.
— Anyways, I was excited to get an episode that didn’t involve writing letters or flashbacks. Unfortunately, what I got was Mission Impossible. All we’re missing is some explosive gum.