Using Violet Evergarden to Distinguish Awkward Info-dumping

Learning how to write also means learning how to provide information to the viewers without making it awkwardly written in a way that wouldn’t make sense in reality. You have to take into account the context of the information and naturally present it.

Claudia Hodgins, President of CH postal company, is currently sitting on a tram under the night sky. He sighs. Suggesting that he’s tired. Of course he is, it’s night time. Upon talking to himself he utters the common corporate phrase: “We’ll discuss financing after reviewing your performance”. Suggesting that this was his last interaction with Violet herself given the context that he had given her a job in his company that same day. Sluggishly he looks out the window- hold on… Okay, I know i’m describing every little detail here to ensure that everyone has the picture in their head but I couldn’t help but just realize it all sounds like i’m about to make a Shia Labeouf joke. If that occurred to you too, just… Forget about it.

Anyway, President Hodgins’ eyes wander to the window behind him as he rests his head against it and witnesses a delivery taking place. He presumed this was not by his company because, and he also states this out loud, his company does not do night delivery because they couldn’t afford it. Lo and behold he sees the box containing the letters has his company logo on it and that’s the end of the scene. The scene presented 2 details of information that they felt the audience needed to hear.

  1. Violet’s performance review. I don’t think this is as necessary as it is a nuance. This was a confirmation that Violet will be getting paid for her services instead of just leaving that up in the air. 
  2. Company not working during late hours. The intent was mainly to transition from this scene to the next. However, this does provide additional information just like the last. For one, it confirms that working hours happen during the time of day. Secondly, I really appreciate how they got to delivering this information. It emphasizes how he’s kind of on auto-pilot. He’s not thinking too hard about the stressful things. He’s just wondering if he did a right action by putting Violet’s performance on review to the next thing he lays his eyes on(the delivery). 
  3. He’s allowed that luxury because he’s likely heading home to rest; not to think about the next day of work. They maintained the tired state of his character while naturally transitioning information one after another. And that information contained minute(my-NOOT) details within it that help flesh out our understanding of how the character spend their lives on a daily basis.

This would all be dandy if not for one huge issue with this entire scene: He’s talking aloud. I’ve noted the phrase “execution is everything” before… At least, I think I did. The way the information was written and presented was good but the fact that he’s not ‘thinking’ and actually saying this aloud is what brings down the execution of it all. It made things awkward.

Seeing that he’s talking makes the viewer wonder a few things:

  1. Do the other people on the tram hear him?
  2. Why is he talking to himself? 
  3. The line “we couldn’t afford that” after recognizing the night time delivery made it seem like he was talking to someone rather than thinking to himself.

I mean, the last one was just plain weird. But given the context of the scene it would’ve felt a lot more natural if he was just ‘thinking’ to himself. There are times when talking aloud may be better than thinking. Sometimes, both don’t really work. You have to get a little creative with how you wanna present said information. This is an example of awkward info-dumping and it’s a small thing to analyze in the grand scheme of things but I do hope this helps in how you analyze anime.

Sidepoint:

You may not think emphasizing Hodgins being tired is particularly valuable information but it is for his character. This’ll be a short tangent but to prove this: the next scene starts by Hodgins running over to the person doing the delivery who was Violet due to a misunderstanding earlier on in the episode. He takes Violet out to lunch and brings in his postman Benedict to explain the misunderstanding as Benedict was the one who accidentally caused it. After Benedict leaves, Hodgins offers to walk Violet home. He does all these extra things despite being visually presented in a tired state whilst sitting on the tram. And for all we know, he had to take another tram back home. The patience and kindness this man radiates is pretty nuts and small things like this can really define a character.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s