|Notice: This character's design differs between the light novel and the anime. The information shown in the infobox matches the descriptions found in the light novels and is correct, even if the image of the character does not match. Changes to this character's appearance made for the anime can be found in the Trivia section.|
|“||Live... and be free. From the bottom of my heart, I love you.||”|
—Gilbert, to Violet Evergarden.
Gilbert Bougainvillea (ギルベルト・ブーゲンビリア, Giruberuto Būgenbiria?) is a character in the Violet Evergarden series. He is a major in the Leidenschaftlich army and the only one who really valued Violet, seeing her as a human being rather than a tool, contrary to his brother Dietfried, who saw Violet merely as a weapon for war.
Gilbert is a man with a tall stature, thin waist, broad shoulders with emerald-green eyes and black hair, which are common traits for men of the Bougainvillea family. He has a scar on his left cheek and one just above his left eye. He has short, slicked-back hair with several locks falling freely and framing his face. He looks very similar to his late father, as they are both considered attractive, but have a "stodgy look" to their face.
His uniform consists of a purplish-black outfit paired with burgundy linen shoulder pads and a decorative accordion-pleated cloth glistening around his hips and buttoned up to his neck.
After surviving the war, Gilbert receives a maneuverable prosthetic arm made of metal. He also begins wearing a black eye patch over his right eye due to losing vision in it.
Gilbert is a reserved, stoic and stern man who is stated to be incapable of loving anyone or being 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 thought that his heart would be relieved 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 evergarden.
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.
Gilbert was born into an upper-class family worshipped as national heroes, the Bougainvillea family. From a young age, Gilbert and his older brother Dietfried were trained by their father to become soldiers once when they grew up, as it was customary for men of the Bougainvillea family to enlist in the army. At some point, Gilbert became the family head of the 26th generation of the Bougainvillea family.
Gilbert joined the Leidenschaftlich Army and ever since enlisting, he had been integrated into the army attacking unit. He was sent to the battlefield at the age of seventeen and fought for around eight years, only returning to his motherland a few times a year. Four years prior to the main events of the story, an abandoned Violet was found on the battlefront by Gilbert's older brother, Dietfried. Upon returning, Violet was "given" to Gilbert as a gift to commemorate his promotion, having been 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. Seeing how harshly his brother treated the young Violet, Gilbert immediately grabbed her and pulled her into his embrace to shield her. Gilbert then decided to enlist her into the military unit that he had been appointed to take overall command of in his promotion to major. He later 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 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 as a person, and as she grew up, 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 miraculously survived the war, but at the cost of one of his arms and his right eye. In order for Violet to not go back to the way she used to be, only following his orders and acting as his tool, Gilbert entrusted Hodgins with taking care of Violet. Gilbert also told Hodgins to tell Violet that he was dead, but Hodgins didn't have the heart to tell her at first. Gilbert then secretly continued his life in the army, and he was later promoted to colonel.
Gilbert was "gifted" with a young Violet, a meeting in which he immediately embraced her. Gilbert states that from the moment he embraced her, their destinies intertwined. Although Gilbert was ordered to treat her as a tool, Gilbert treated her with kindness and compassion instead. He was the one who taught her speech, writing, and emotions, and during the four years they spent together by bonding over different things, the two grew very close. Although Gilbert was initially scared of Violet's ability to kill, he states that he would not entrust her to anyone, he would "raise" her appropriately by himself in hopes of her becoming a girl fitting of the name he gave her. As time went on, Gilbert fell in love with Violet, which is demonstrated by how happy he would become whenever she would call "Major". He also believed that he had to protect her, and felt like his chest pounded with immutable devotion towards her. And after acknowledging that he loved her, he ceased attempting to drag her into war, but he couldn't since he was forced by his superiors to put her on the frontlines due to her combat abilities. He wished for her to become something more than a tool, for her to find a place to belong and to live on. He cares for her deeply, he doesn't want for her to be hurt, only yearning for her happiness and well-being. During the war when both of them were in a near death-state, Gilbert finally confessed that he loved Violet from the bottom of his heart, to which he also expressed his desire for Violet to escape from the military in order to become free. He confided in her how she would be fine, even if he wasn't around, and Gilbert, who had never felt like wanted to do anything with his life, later came to understand that teaching what love is to the girl who didn't know it was, was his life’s purpose. It is thanks to Gilbert and his words, "I love you" that gave Violet the motivation to live on and understand the meaning behind his words. Gilbert describes Violet as the only woman he has ever loved in his life, and that she is the most important person to him. Suffering from the guilt of having treated Violet as a tool causes Gilbert to even become suicidal during matters that concern her, such as when he asked Hodgins to kill him if she had died in the war or when he briefly considered shooting himself after being led to believe Violet found out about his survival and despised him for it.  Although Gilbert lied about his own death, it was only out of love for Violet, in hopes that she would find her own path in life rather than follow his orders forever. After their reunion, Gilbert is still very much in love with Violet, and she, as well, has come to understand the concept "love" and her feelings towards him slightly better. However, Gilbert decides to wait for Violet until she truly understands the words "I love you", and he wants her to, when that time comes, for her to accept his love.
Gilbert and Hodgins have been best friends ever since they attended an officer academy together while serving in the Leidenschaftlich army. Gilbert respects Hodgins greatly as a superior in the army, but would act chilly towards him while Hodgins would tease and face him in an energetic manner. Such was the relationship between the old friends. Like everyone who has dreams though, Gilbert felt slightly envious of Hodgins when he spoke of his dreams since he himself didn't have anything he wanted to do. However, Gilbert really does cherish Hodgins, as he claims that Hodgins is the only man in his life that he has called his "best friend”. He is also one of the few people Gilbert genuinely likes and considers precious. They would always help each other whenever anything would happen, and they might have been more familiar with one another than with their own parents. That is the proof that Gilbert trusts Hodgins so much that he entrusted him with the care of Violet once the war was over.
His older brother. Although Gilbert seemed different from Dietfried, they were alike deep down. Both viewed things empirically, determined exactly what was currently happening, and tried to deal with it in the best way. 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 human being. Although Gilbert does have mixed feelings towards his brother for treating Violet the way he did, the brothers do have a deep connection between them. Despite their different personalities and outlooks on life, Dietfried has stated numerous times how dear Gilbert is to him, and how much he loves him.
- Despite being described in the light novels as having black hair, the anime depicts Gilbert as having dark blue hair.
- Gilbert's uniform is military green in the anime.
- A scene in which Gilbert reunites with Violet is changed in the anime; Gilbert is replaced with Dietfried, thus keeping Gilbert's status unknown.
- It was revealed later in the anime movie that Gilbert lost his right eye and right arm after the war, living in an isolated island as a school teacher.
|Characters in "Violet Evergarden" Universe|
|CH Postal Company||Violet Evergarden • Benedict Blue • Cattleya Baudelaire • Claudia Hodgins • Erica Brown • Iris Cannary • Lux Sibyl|
Gilbert Bougainvillea • Aidan Field • Alberta • Amy Bartlett • Anne Magnolia • Charlotte Abelfreyja Drossel • Clara Magnolia • Damian Baldur Flugel • Dietfried Bougainvillea • Edward Jones • Leon Stephanotis • Luculia Marlborough • Olivia Webster • Oscar Webster • Rhodanthe • Spencer Marlborough • Taylor Bartlett • Tiffany Evergarden