Violet Evergaden has often been a topic of discussion for one peculiar reason: the age gap between the main heroine and the first person who ever showed her affection and cared for her – Gilbert. The successful, bittersweet, and incredibly emotional franchise has won the hearts of many, but it also started a discussion on whether or not it was a romance anime and if Violet and Gilbert are, in fact, lovers.
Violet Evergarden is fifteen years younger than Gilbert, whom she married when she was at least eighteen. However, these exact numbers result from estimations, as Violet’s date of birth remained ambiguous. As a sole survivor of an unknown island, the orphaned Violet had no name, nor did anyone know her age. The personal information ascribed to her throughout the show is the result of estimations made by those around her.
With the anime’s focus being on interpersonal connections, and perhaps we could even say philosophical in its attempts to find the meaning behind ‘I love you,’ the matter of age only sparked interest with the fans regarding the romance between Violet and Gilbert. So how did we reach the fifteen years gap conclusion?
Violet and Gilbert’s story: how it all started
Amidst the horrors of the war that engulfed Leidenschaftlich – a prosperous country in which Violet fought in the war – a Major from a noble, highly-respected family was given a new weapon. To the Major’s surprise, the weapon was a young, nameless girl whose past was a mystery to all.
When his older brother, Dietfried, brought the girl to him, he introduced her as a weapon they picked up at the North-Eastern battlefield. His actions reflected that he did not see a child by any means. He treated her harshly as if she was truly a mere tool. With her remaining silent and obedient, it seems as if she was used to such treatment by her fellow men in the military since war is the only thing she knew.
However, Major Gilbert strongly opposed such gestures and behavior. The kind soul he was, while engulfed in destruction and surrounded by bloodshed, he seemed to have found the gentle innocence worth protecting in this nameless girl, and so he held onto all things ‘human’ that oppose such evil.
The oxymoron created here by contrasting war with a child makes us believe that it was almost as if he simply refused to allow the horror to consume even something as innocent and pure as a mere child.
In his demeanor, Violet felt what it meant to be human and what it meant to be cared for as she found a guardian in Gilbert. He, who had given her the name she kept until the end, allowed her to feel cared for and experience the life in which someone cared about her well-being and wanted her to live.
At this point in the story, the clear indication is that the two were in a non-romantic relationship, as Gilbert acted as her guardian. Moreover, in the second volume of the novel, he is said to be in his mid-twenties (twenty-nine when the war ended), while his estimation of Violet’s age upon their first encounter was that she was only around ten or eleven years of age, which would make Violet fourteen by the time the war ended (making their age difference amount to fifteen years).
Violet and Gilbert’s relationship after the war: how old was she when she married?
The estimation of her age during the war was reaffirmed in episode five of the anime, as Violet told the princess for whom she came to write letters that she is estimated to be around fourteen. Later on, in the 2019 movie, Isabella hints that she and Violet are around the same age. However, the only thing we know for certain is that Isabella attends an all-girls academy, while her age is never explicitly stated in the film.
Following the anime, perhaps the most important clue we are given is at the beginning of the movie from 2020, when it is stated that Violet stopped acting as an auto memory doll at the age of eighteen. Once she cuts ties with the postal company in Leiden, no one has ever seen her again, as stated by Daisy Magnolia – Ann Magnolia’s granddaughter – at the movie’s beginning.
It is in this film that Violet and Gilbert’s romance truly shines, as her years of waiting and hoping finally lead her to Gilbert. The two faced their past and were reunited in a warm embrace, finally repeating the words that guided Violet through her endeavors, as she couldn’t grasp their true meaning.
Since Violet still worked for the postal company when the events in this movie took place, we would dare to assume she was just about eighteen years old.
Considering the age estimations of other characters in the story and her background, it isn’t surprising that their love seems inappropriate to some viewers and enjoyers of the anime. Looking back on how it all began from the present point of view, it is not surprising that many would agree that such romance isn’t plausible, as the two shared a bond that encompasses the deep affection, care, and sense of responsibility that exists between a guardian and their child.
Moreover, the series is largely considered a slice of life rather than a romance, which is emphasized by the fact that the story’s focus is simply on life, capturing all of its bittersweet complexity. However, reflecting on the time in which the story is set and considering the fifth episode, in which age is depicted as a rather insignificant thing when it comes to marriage, having such an age gap was not as strange or socially unacceptable as it might seem today. Gilbert’s background and inner thoughts aren’t as ‘felt’ in the anime.
We witness that he displays more of a childish mentality compared to his brother, in the sense that he isn’t as affected by the heartbreaking reality while also basing his actions on the wellbeing of others. Such tendencies tear him apart when it comes to Violet, as he suffers greatly because he failed to keep her safe and grant her the life she deserves.
This story fragment is given more room in the light novel, where his words, thoughts, and actions are emphasized to a greater extent than they are in the anime, portraying him and his feelings in a more detailed way.
With everything they have gone through together, and after so many years apart, they overcame the traumas from their past and fought their way to happiness. The bond they share is perhaps as complex as it is powerful, and it remained a lingering notion that guided their actions ever since they parted ways on the battlefield.
While their marriage is never explicitly addressed in the series, the two got married in the finale of the Ever After light novel.