Now here is a category that will cause nothing but controversy. I have been watching Ancient Magus Bride since it began and, until recently, I would have said that it would be the winner, hands down, in any style or art comparison. The animation is lush and the character design is great. However, I happened upon a series called Violet Evergarden that has me rethinking my decision.
Violet Evergarden is the story of a young woman who spent the early portion of her adult life as a soldier. Having lost her arms and her memory in the war, she emerges to begin work as a “Memory Doll”, essentially a ghost writer for people who are unable to write. The bulk of the story is her journey to recover herself as she moves from client to client writing the important things in their lives.
While the story is interesting in a “slice of life”/”historical” perspective, it is the animation art that really captures the attention. The character design is exquisite. The animation is perfect. The drawings are lush and detailed. It is apparent that, like Ancient Magus Bride, a great deal of time and care was taken in the production of this anime. I can highly recommend it on the value of the looks alone. The fact that the plot is compelling is a bonus.