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How Different Anime Approach Grief

How Different Anime Approach Grief

Anime is a genre known for creating allegories for real fights, often with children as vehicles. One of the most common and difficult to deal with is grief. Recently both Violet Evergarden series and a Netflix movie called Children of Kamiari month both tried to cope with this daunting task, and they both did it very differently. Violet Evergarden uses the titular character’s travels and interactions with others to unlock her buried grief and force her to face it. Children of Kamiari Month on the other hand focuses almost exclusively on the main character, Kanna, who is struggling with grief. None of the young girls cope with their grief in the same way, and the viewers can relate to both of their struggles despite the differences.

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The most important emotional push off Violet Evergarden is her struggle to accept the fact that the man she loved, the major, died in war. A lesser, but no less deep sorrow, is the guilt she encounters when she deals with the atrocities she witnessed and committed in the same war. Children of Kamiari month deals with the far more relatable, but no less tragic, grief of a child who has lost his mother. Violet encounters her grief when she is forced to deal with the grief and pain of others in her job as Auto Memories Doll. Kanna copes with her grief by trying to see her mother again through spiritual means and also deciding if she really wants to give up their joint activity of running.

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Similarities

Both Violet and Kanna have to do with the loss of a loved one. Violet a potential lover, who was also something of a role model, and Kanna a beloved parent. In this way, both young girls received major blows to their respective support networks that made them feel that they had no purpose in the world.

Both girls are also shown in vain to do their best in their lost last minute to save them despite the impossibility of the task. Both show the main characters’ journeys to acceptance of their situations and live life to the fullest again.


Differences

However, that is where the similarities stop. Violet manages to learn more about herself and unlock her own inflated emotions by helping others. Kanna learns to let go of the grief she expresses by accepting that the loss is final and life goes on. Kanna shows a little selflessness, and a lot of selfishness, throughout the film, but Violet repeatedly sacrifices everything for others and is notorious for never thinking about herself.

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The primary argument against the strength of Violet Evergarden franchise comes from the final conclusion. Where Kanna has to accept the real fact that her mother is gone and she has to find a way to live with it, Violet is reunited with the major. This sets up some interesting emotional conflicts that affect the viewers, but ultimately reduces much of her previous lessons to nothing. She had just begun to really live her own life, which she immediately throws away to live by the major’s side again.


What has a greater impact on the audience?

While this is undoubtedly a matter of opinion, it is no less important to answer. Is Kanna’s direct approach or Violet’s tangential approach more effective for anime viewers? Despite the fact that it is an opinion, it is clear that Violet does a far better job of drawing the viewer in emotionally. With each episode as a dissection of another individual’s life, the creators are able to manipulate viewers’ emotions uniquely each time. It even contains an episode with a similar trauma to Kannas as Violet writes letters that a young girl is to receive after her mother passes away.


Kanna’s story, on the other hand, is less emotionally distorting for viewers. This may be due in part to the fact that it only exists as a movie and not as a show. However, the limited story of Kanna would not lend itself well to a series, even if it could be possible. Her story, though objectively sad, is told with a light-hearted feeling for the most part that undermines the emotional weight. In addition, the main feature of the viewers’ emotions is not even revealed until later in the film when she reveals that the reason she wants to see her mother is to tell her that she does not want to run anymore. Had this been built up more throughout the show, it might have seemed more gripping.

Both of these stories are extremely emotionally powerful, and depending on the lesson that viewers are trying to learn, they can have different effects on them. In the end, Kanna is the only one who is forced to really learn, while the viewer feels so much more about Violet’s journey. Ultimately, the question of which approach is most effective lies with the viewer himself, and both anime are fantastic depictions of grief, grief and the beauty of life.

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