As of the writing of this article, Violet Evergarden: The Movie has sold 1.2 million tickets (equivalent to 1.7 billion Japanese yen in sales) after opening in Japan on September 18. The movie, which premiered at 2nd place in the Japanese box office behind Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, is now scheduled to screen at Japan’s coveted Dolby Cinema locations starting November 13. These screenings will mark the first time a new Japanese anime film receives a Dolby Cinema opening, whereas previous anime films that opened in Dolby Cinema have only been compilation films.
Violet Evergarden: The Movie will reportedly conclude the tale of the movie’s namesake, Violet, who is a war veteran turned ghostwriter. In a story spanning an anime season, an OVA, and two anime films (including the most recent release), Violet interacts with all manners of clients and — through her experiences with them — learns to process her own emotional complexity.
This carefully-crafted developmental arc has been well-received; the anime was given Best Animation at the 2019 Crunchyroll Anime Awards and Drama Anime of the Year at the 5th Anime Trending Awards. The online anime community has plenty of praise for the anime and movies as well, with compliments about its storytelling and visual aesthetics:
Violet Evergarden started as a light novel series written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase. Published by Kyoto Animation, the series ran from December 2015 to March 2020, totaling four volumes. The first novel immediately attracted attention by winning the grand prize in the novel category of the 5th Kyoto Animation Award. In May 2016, Kyoto Animation announced that it would be picking up the series for an anime release, and so released the first and currently only season during 2018. Netflix acquired worldwide streaming rights for the series, thus bringing Violet Evergarden to a large and mainstream audience.
While the series’ last episode was released on April of 2018, an OVA followed suit on July of that year. Kyoto Animation then had the film Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll in its pipeline with a premiere slated for August 3, 2019. While the tragic arson attack at Kyoto Animation’s Studio 1 building could have delayed the film — as it had for a number of the company’s other works — Kyoto Animation chose to premiere the film as scheduled, alongside a dedication to the arson’s victims in the film’s credits.
The arson attack, which happened on July 18, 2019 and resulted in thirty-six deaths and thirty-three injuries, drew widespread consolation and support from the anime community. A number of supporters cited Violet Evergarden as the key to their love and respect for Kyoto Animation.
The collective outpouring of sympathies following the tragedy brought in over 3.3 billion Japanese yen and over 2.3 million US dollars in donations. In addition, the hashtag #PrayForKyoani trended on Twitter and became a place for fans of anime to share and reflect on what Kyoto Animation’s works meant to them.
Like its prequel, Violet Evergarden: The Movie comes during a difficult time. With tensions and fear mounting high in 2020, Kyoto Animation seeks to remind us of our humanity with this lovingly-crafted story about one young lady who develops her capacity for empathy.