Dietfried Bougainvillea (ディートフリート・ブーゲンビリア, Dītofurīto Būgenbiria?) is a character in the Violet Evergarden series. He is a naval captain in the navy and Gilbert's older brother. He was the one who found Violet and made her into Gilbert's "weapon" on his promotion to a major in the army.
Dietfried is a man with a tall stature, thin waist and broad shoulders, which is common for Bougainvillea men. Like his brother, Dietfried has jet-black hair, emerald eyes, and lines under his eyes. Additionally, a small mole sits under his left eye. Unlike his brother, Dietfried's eyes have a lighter shade of green, and he wears his long hair in a braid tied it with a blue ribbon. He wears the standup collar of his white naval uniform wide open, displaying the gold necklace around his neck.
Dietfried is stated to have a flirtatious air about him. Although he has a self-centered and bossy personality, he is social and charismatic, having some sort of quality that draws others to him. He is confident, never claiming to be afraid of anything and always being surrounded and respected by many people, never bashful of it. Since Gilbert could not love anyone due to being too stern, his elder brother had everything he lacked, to the point of making him infinitely envious as a fellow person. Dietfried is also easy-going, preferring to be playful and talk about fun matters rather than being confrontational. But he can also be very frank, and although he tries to come off as lighthearted, his words can be rude at times. Despite that, he can be compassionate; he loves his family deeply and values his underling's lives. He is also hardworking and influential, being the first Bougainvillea to join the navy. Not only had he joined it, but also steadily carved a career path for himself in it. It was all due to his confidence in scoring achievements with his own efforts and talents, even without making use of his parents’ glory.
He appears to have good leadership skills and responsibility, in which he can handle everything quite nicely. Although he possesses a sense of right and wrong and, he can also be cruel and merciless which is demonstrated by his actions towards Violet. He was aggressive towards her and saw her nothing more than a weapon, which is the reason he took her home. He had no problem with ordering Violet to murder people like a weapon and appeared to find enjoyment within this, though this stems from his hatred towards Violet for killing his men. Towards the end of the series however, Dietfried appears much calmer and less cold towards Violet.
Dietfried knows he has been doing horrible things, much worse than Violet had done for a living. He cares very little, knowing that it will all be over when he dies, either way, showing a certain amount of nihilism. He has had his own laments and hardships, and there were also times when he thought dying would be much better. At those moments, he even considered doing so. He feels guilty for allowing his companions to die, blaming himself for not being able to protect them. He also continues to visit the families of his companions that Violet had killed to give them money, displaying his remorse. He thinks that rather than dying, it’s harder to stay alive. Despite that, he is confident that he will live on, and expects Violet to do the same despite her mistakes.
Dietfried was born into an upper-class family worshiped as national heroes, the Bougainvillea family. Since a young age, Dietfried and his younger brother Gilbert 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. After the brother's father's death, Dietfried, as the eldest son, was expected to become the head of the family. However, he felt like that role suited Gilbert better and left him to take over the inheritances on his own. Dietfried states that the Bougainvillea household was never adequate for him and that he was not cut out to be the family head.
In the history of the Bougainvillea family, Dietfried had been the first to choose the navy over the army. He made a name for himself and eventually got promoted to a naval captain. Four years prior to the story, Dietfried met Violet when he and his underlings were completely butchered by an armed fleet that was plotting to destroy one of Leidenschaftlich’s maritime trading ports. On a certain night, in the middle of the battle, they were hit by a huge storm. It was a grave catastrophe where both the allies and enemies sank into the coastal seas. The ship stranded, and Dietfried and some of his comrades arrived at a deserted island where they saw Violet. Dietfried was unsure if she had become orphaned or if she had suffered an accident in the sea just like them. Although Dietfried didn't have any intention of doing anything since he was already annoyed, his subordinates approached Violet and attempted to molest her. Before Dietfried was able to stop them, Violet killed them. Terrified by her actions, the remaining soldiers all fled, but Violet continued hunting after them. Dietfried and his remaining underlings then decided to kill her, but before they could act, she had already slaughtered everyone except for him. After that, he was pursued by Violet, but she only followed him around and didn’t attempt to murder him. Dietfried realized that Violet couldn't talk and couldn't understand words. He also concluded that she was the only inhabitant of that island and that the reason she had killed so many people was simply that she was ordered to do it. Once he understood that, Dietfried did repeated experiments; for example, if he pointed to animals or insects and said "kill," she would immediately do so. This also applied to humans. Despite her inability to speak or understand language except the order to kill, Dietfried brought her home with him.
Upon returning, Gilbert and Dietfried reunited after a long time. To celebrate Gilbert's promotion to a major, Dietfried "gave" Violet to Gilbert and was ordered to treat her as a weapon without any mercy or compassion. Since Dietfried couldn't or wanted to handle Violet by himself, he entrusted his younger brother with that task.
- Father - Dietfried did not appear to have a good relationship with his father. Although Dietfried claims that he might've been a good father for Gilbert, Dietfried feels as though he wasn't a good father to him. He didn't attend his father's funeral and jokingly said that he was glad that he died.
- Gilbert Bougainvillea - Dietfried's younger brother. He respects Gilbert and is confident that he is a much better family head than him. He is also happy whenever his younger brother achieves different goals, which is why he came in a hurry to the celebration of his promotion. Although Dietfried wants to keep a distance from his family since he claims it’s difficult to be with them, he feels like he can comfortably be around Gilbert, which he is grateful for. Dietfried cares for Gilbert dearly, as he deems things concerning Gilbert concerns himself as well. Although Dietfried thinks he has been a bad older brother to Gilbert and knows that he has cold and mixed feelings towards him for treating Violet the way he did, Dietfried has expressed numerous times how much he loves and treasures Gilbert, and how important he is to him.
- Violet Evergarden - Dietfried took Violet home after realizing her monstrous fighting capabilities, making her Gilbert's weapon to fight in the war. Dietfried had been terrified of Violet ever since they met, and when he lost his sanity during the time she murdered his underlings, he wanted her to kill him as well. He was horrified by the fact that a "killer demon" as he claims was glued to him, which is why he didn't want to handle her and entrusted Gilbert with that task. Dietfried developed an intense hatred for Violet for killing his men and began finding enjoyment in how he could order Violet to kill anyone with just one word. He wanted to enlist her in the army where he wanted and expected to her to die, since he did not see her as a human being, only seeing her as a tool who could be discarded once she was no longer useful. He was also highly aggressive and cruel towards her, claiming to have given her a certain degree of violent treatment whenever he didn’t feel her killing intent. At the same time, Dietfried blames Violet for his own behavior, claiming that when he is with her, he becomes a monster like her too. After the war, Dietfried was disgusted by the fact that she had become a normal civilian with a will of her own, and most of all, an Auto Memories Doll who writes moving letters that bring people together. During the hijacked train incident, Dietfried continued to act coldly towards Violet, claiming he was so disgusted by her that he might've hated her so much he couldn't handle it. He also continued to view her as a tool, someone who could not live without orders. He is also disappointed by the fact that Gilbert had protected someone like her, and even ordered her to kill herself. However, after witnessing how she had developed from a tool who could only kill, to a selfless human being with genuine feelings who do not need orders anymore, Dietfried's attitude towards Violet started to change after the incident, and he seems to sympathize with her to a certain degree. Although he can never forgive Violet for what she had done to his companions, he has accepted her as a Doll and "Violet Evergarden", not a tool. He also tells her to live the life Gilbert gave her to the fullest without blaming her sins on anyone until she gets killed by someone or her lifespan runs out.
- Despite being described in the light novels as having black hair, the anime depicts Dietfried as having dark blue hair.
- Gilbert claims that their father would have chopped off Dietfried's long hair if he were to ever see it.