Gilbert Bougainvillea (ギルベルト・ブーゲンビリア) is a character in the Violet
Evergarden series. He is a major in the Leidenschaftlich army who values Violet more than anything, by seeing her as a human being rather than a tool.
Gilbert was born into an upper-class family worshipped as national heroes, the Bougainvillea family. Since a young age, Gilbert and his older brother Dietfried were trained by their father since they would become soldiers once when they grew up. This is due to the fact that it was customary for the Bougainvillea men to enlist in the army. At some point, Gilbert became the family head of the 26th generation of the Bougainvillea family.
At some point, Gilbert joined the Leidenschaftlich Army and ever since enlisting, he had been integrated into the army’s attacking unit. He was sent to the battlefield at the age of seventeen and fought in it for around eight years, returning to his motherland a few times a year. Four years prior to the story, an abandoned Violet was found on a battlefront by Gilbert's older brother, Dietfried. Upon returning, Violet was "given" to Gilbert as a gift to commemorate his promotion, having to being promoted to a major in light of his wartime achievements and expectations from his bloodline. Dietfried, not wanting to take care of Violet, pushed this task to his younger brother. Gilbert then decided to enlist her on a militant unit that he had been appointed to take overall command of in his promotion to major. He later on received permission to conduct private experiments at the training grounds as to whether Violet could be officially classified as a "weapon".
Even though Gilbert was ordered to treat Violet as a tool with no mercy and compassion, Gilbert was strongly against his brother's cruel behavior towards Violet and instead treated her with kindness. He was also the one who taught her speech, words, and gave her the name "Violet" in hopes that she would grow into a woman as beautiful as the flower. Even though Gilbert wanted to grant her parents to raise her appropriately, he couldn't, since he was scared of her killing someone without his knowledge. He just wanted her to grow up as a person, and as she grew up, she would be able to become something more than a "tool". Gilbert and Violet fought in the war together; Violet, the "weapon", and Gilbert, her "user".
During the war, Gilbert's unit is assigned to stage an attack on the enemy's headquarters, the success of which could mean the end of the war. They were able to seize headquarters and signal the main force to attack, but under this time, the whole unit suffered heavy casualties. Gilbert, who was in a near-death state, told Violet to leave him behind and escape to give her a chance of surviving, which Violet stubbornly refused despite having lost her arms. But after Gilbert's pleading for her to stop, she gave in. He then told Violet that he wanted her to be free and live happily, not as a tool but as a regular human being, and to find a real home. Before succumbing to his injuries, he confessed that he loved Violet from the bottom of his heart.
Gilbert is a reserved, stoic and stern man who is stated to be unable to love anyone or be loved by someone else. Being a soldier, Gilbert was required to suppress his sentiments and pleasures, so he feels like he isn't allowed to show his genuine emotions. He feels like he cannot say what he wants to; he didn't have the right to nor does he think that he deserves to. Because of that, he thinks that his heart would be relieved his if he earnestly put his thoughts into words. When he doesn't, however, feelings of guilt, regret, bitterness, frustration, anger, and sorrow would mix in his head. Gilbert is a stressed individual, and the frustration of things not going as he wanted would seethe within his head and burst out. He also has a bad habit of ignoring the pain of his conscience and pushing it to the back of his mind. However, when he says something he genuinely wants to say, it gives him a peculiar feeling likely caused by finally being able to muster out his most honest sentiments. He somehow feels that everything has been forgiven by confessing his feelings towards Violet.
Gilbert had an aptitude for the military, and he never felt any anxiety or fear when receiving promotions in the army. He thinks that God had bestowed him with a destiny that matched him perfectly. Gilbert has always felt like there was nothing he wanted to do nor a place he thought he could go to. He had come as far as he had by acting as expected of a child born into the noble Bougainvillea military family, hence he is rather envious of his friends who energetically speak about their dreams. Gilbert has very few things that he likes, and there’s a much bigger number of things that he detests. He simply doesn't say it, but he is not fond of his lifestyle. He states that although he does protect his country, he dislikes the world. He claims that the things he likes are his best friend Hodgins, his inevitably twisted family, and Violet.
According to Hodgins, despite being a "pampered rich kid," he has a calm and warm personality with a real character to him. Sometimes, he does have a chilly and blunt personality though, especially when people question the obvious. Gilbert is also acquiescent, but that does not apply to everyone. However, he is also wise and has a strong sense of right and wrong and possesses real empathy. He is not merciless like his brother and is a compassionate and caring man who cherishes the ones he cares for, as he puts their safety above his own. Gilbert is deeply kind and carries strong morals with him, as he believes that his brother's actions in turning Violet into a weapon were sickening. This is why he offered Violet warmth and kindness, something that she had never experienced before.
He has dark blue hair and emerald eyes.
- Dietfried Bougainvillea (Older Brother)
- Despite being described in the light novels as having black hair, the anime series depicts Gilbert as having dark blue hair.
- Gilbert's uniform is military green in the anime.
- Gilbert's status is not given in the anime series; as he is still presumed dead. A scene in which Gilbert reunites with Violet is changed in the anime; Gilbert is replaced with Dietfried, thus keeping Gilbert's status unknown.
- His name in Japanese means ???.
According to the Light Novel:
- His birthday is ???, and his blood type is ???.
- Japanese : Daisuke Namikawa
- English : Tony Azzolino