Based on a Japanese light novel series written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase, ‘Violet Evergarden’ (2018) is a coming-of-age, steampunk anime series. This love story, set in the aftermath of a war, revolves around the eponymous young woman, who played a vital role in many battles, losing her arms, which were replaced with advanced metallic prosthetics. After the war, Violet begins working as an Auto Memory Doll, a ghostwriter for those who can’t write their letters themselves.
During the war, Violet grew close to Gilbert Bougainvillea, a major in the Leidenschaftlich Army. He hid his feelings for her because they were in a war. However, Gilbert’s parting words to Violet, “I love you,” profoundly affect her and inspire her to move forward. If you have watched the series and loved it, here is a list of recommendations that might fit your taste. You can watch most of these anime similar to ‘Violet Evergarden’ on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, or Funimation.
8. Your Lie in April (2014-2015)
Very few romance drama anime reach the emotional depth of ‘Violet Evergarden,’ but ‘Your Lie in April’ (originally titled ‘Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso’) is one of them. It is about Kousei Arima, a 14-year-old piano prodigy, and Kaori Miyazono, a brilliant young violinist of the same age. Following his mother’s death, the former suffers a mental breakdown, which leaves him unable to hear the music from his own instrument, even though he can hear everything else.
Kousei spends the next two years old keeping a distance from music — stoic and detached from the rest of the world, just like Violet. His life changes when the exuberant and free-spirited Kaori walks into it.
7. Emma: A Victorian Romance (2005- )
Based on the manga series by Kaoru Mori, a self-proclaimed Anglophile, ‘Emma – A Victorian Romance’ is a criminally underrated romance anime series. It has almost the same late-18th-century aesthetic as ‘Violet Evergarden, though it is more of an exploration of Victorian and Edwardian England in vivid detail than a steampunk story.
The plot follows the eponymous character, a maid in London. After meeting William Jones, an heir to an affluent middle-class family, Emma falls in love with him, and he reciprocates her feelings. The problem is that William’s father wants him to marry a girl from a wealthy and preferably noble family.
6. Plastic Memories (2015)
Set in a futuristic cosmopolitan modeled after Singapore, ‘Plastic Memories’ is an original sci-fi anime with a romantic core. It tells the story of Isla and Tsukasa Mizugaki and how they fall in love despite the former having a few weeks left in her lifecycle. She is a Giftia, a group of androids with the most human-like features. As a marksman, Isla becomes attached to Tsukasa, her spotter. Isla and Tsukasa’s journey shares multiple themes with that of Violet and Gilbert. In both cases, the female protagonist struggles with the notion of humanity, and the male characters help their respective partners along the way.
5. Tegamibachi (2009-2010)
At the heart of both ‘Violet Evergarden’ and ‘Tegamibachi’( AKA ‘Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee’) is a lost art: letter writing. Both anime underscore its importance, and by extension, of human connection. ‘Tegamibachi’ takes place in AmberGround, the land of forever twilight, and tells the story of Lag Seeing, a 12-year-old boy who delivers letters and packages to people across various towns as an employee of Bee Hive delivery.
Also known as Letter Bee, Lag is accompanied during his journeys by Niche, his “Dingo” or bodyguard, and Steak, an endangered animal the latter claims is her emergency food supply. In their travels, Lag and his friends encounter the gravest threat from a race of giant armored insects known as the Gaichuu.
4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009–2010)
Like ‘Violet Evergarden,’ ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’ is a coming-of-age steampunk anime series that revolves around an amputee and is set in the aftermath of a war. It follows Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse, who lose their mother to an illness and travel the world to study alchemy. Upon returning home, they try to bring their mother back from death with human transmutation, a forbidden aspect of alchemy.
However, things don’t go according to the plan, and Alphonse’s entire body is destroyed, as is Edward’s left leg. Edward then sacrifices his right arm to bring his brother’s soul back to the mortal world and binds it to a suit of armor. Getting some prosthetics for himself, Edward, accompanied by his brother, travels to the capital city, where they become government-sanctioned State Alchemists.
3. To Your Eternity (2021- )
Like Violet and Isla, Fushi in ‘To Your Eternity’ embarks on a journey that makes him more and more human. He is initially a white orb sent to Earth by a divine entity known as the Beholder to observe the planet and its inhabitants. The more time Fushi spends on Earth, the more attuned to emotions he becomes. As a nigh-immortal being, he spends years learning about joy, grief, rage, and love, gradually becoming almost human.
2. 86 (2021-2022)
’86’ takes place in a world ravaged by a war between the Republic of San Magnolia and the Empire of Giad. Both sides use mecha legions to fight the war. Although the people of San Magnolia believe that these machines are automated on both sides, the reality is that the country forces its disenfranchised population, the Colorata minority or the 86ers, to be pilots.
The show revolves around the relationship between Major Vladilena Milizé, who belongs to the majority Alba population, and the unit she has been assigned to as the handler: the Spearhead squadron. ’86’ has similar aesthetics as ‘Violet Evergarden.’ Both anime are categorically anti-war, depicting violence and inhumanity with profound candidness.
1. Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (2021- )
Like ‘Violet Evergarden,’ ‘Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song’ has an episodic format, yet both anime have overarching storylines. Vivy is stoic and indifferent, like Violet and others mentioned in this list. She is also the first autonomous AI in her world. After learning about a future war where the AI will seek to exterminate humanity from the time-traveling AI Matsumoto, Vivy devotes herself to preventing the singularity points that ultimately will devolve into war.
Read More: Violet Evergarden Ending, Explained