The Victorian-era trappings of Violet Evergarden are no accident. Victorian Great Britain has, retroactively, become a divergence point in fiction where, if industry had advanced along this particular timeline rather than another, things would have been different. This, along with rich aesthetic trappings that accompany any economic boom in history, make it a much-desired setting, begetting the entire steampunk genre.
A key factor to keep in mind when evaluating steampunk as a fiction genre is the boom of 19th-century novelists — and the novel as a leisure activity in and of itself — that accompanied the Industrial Revolution. Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, William Thackeray, and Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot) are all products of this time period. After them came Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and the scientific romance (later called scientific fiction, or sci-fi). Many works that are considered great or integral to understanding the development of western culture were written in or around the time of Queen Victoria. Since they are taught so often in schools, it’s easy to see how aspiring writers would want to take elements of these lush environments and somehow port them into a more modern era.
Not everyone can write in Violet Evergarden. This is an understated but important aspect of where Victorian culture and the novel frame the series’ narrative. It creates a barrier between those who can write, or even have access to someone writing for them, and those who cannot.
Something stinks about Kyoukai no Kanata, and I love it.
From the very first scene, and opening lines, Kyoukai no Kanata is everything that your delusional teenage self wrote down in your not-so-secret diary to combat your own isolation and awkwardness. It tells its story with the same gravity that you would have given it at that age, with the straightest of faces and the burning desire to impress. Akihito Kanbara is an immortal half-demon – in spite of the his claim that there is nothing special about himself – whose only companion is Mitsuki Nase, the beautiful childhood friend who is also the president of the Literary Club. Cue the incident that changes his life forever, which also involves a cute girl. Oh, and she’s special as well, because she fights demons.