Violet Evergarden took the world by storm when it aired last year, showing off some of the most gorgeous animation and heartfelt storytelling ever produced by legendary Japanese anime production company Kyoto Animation, or KyoAni. As soon as the television series wrapped up its 13 episode run, fans across the world clamored for more of the touching story. Thankfully, KyoAni listened and has been making efforts to create multiple new entries in the world of Violet Evergarden. While a full-length film sequel to the series is currently on the way this year, a smaller side story titled Violet Evergarden I: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll debuted a few months ago in Japan. Now, North American fans of the series will be getting a chance to see this new chapter in theaters across the country sometime in 2020, thanks to Funimation.
An announcement on the official Funimation blog confirmed that the North American anime licensing company plans to bring Violet Evergarden I: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll to North America in early 2020 for a theatrical run. While the post confirms that the film will screen with English subtitles, an English dubbed screening has yet to be confirmed or denied by Funimation. Furthermore, it isn’t yet known if this will be a limited run engagement or a full theatrical release.
Funimation goes on to describe the plot of the side-story film as follows:
Violet Evergarden comes to a private women’s academy to tutor Isabella in the ways of being a lady. Heir to the York family, Isabella feels trapped in this new and uncomfortable world. She still grieves for the only person to ever bring her happiness – now lost to her. Violet’s lessons do give her a brief respite from the melancholy but with the absence of joy, how long does it take to truly heal?
While Yui Ishikawa returns to voice the soft-spoken protagonist Violet Evergarden, new characters make their presence known in Violet Evergarden I: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll as well. Isabella York, who is voiced by Minako Kotobuki, is the scion to the well-known noble house of York, and is also a pessimistic woman with no hopes for her future. She has no love for Violet Evergarden, who is her new teacher in the film. Anime fans may recognize Minako Kotobuki as Tsumugi Kotobuki in K-ON, Asuka Tanaka in Sound! Euphonium, and Karina Lyle a.k.a. Blue Rose in Tiger & Bunny. Aoi Yuki, meanwhile, joins the cast of the film as Taylor Bartlett, a girl with no family who decides to visit Violet Evergarden one day. Aoi Yuki has voiced countless iconic anime characters, like Tsuyu Asui in My Hero Academia, Madoka Kaname in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Shuten Douji in Fate/Grand Order.
Surprisingly enough, the world premiere of Violet Evergarden I: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll didn’t happen in Japan. Instead, the anime held its world premiere at the AnimagiC convention in Mannheim, Germany on August 3rd and 4th of 2019. There were some concerns that this world premiere screening would be canceled due to the hardships KyoAni faced in the wake of a massive attack on one of their studios that Summer. According to the AnimagiC organizers, though, they had chosen to continue the world premiere screening of the side-story film “at the express request of the studio.”
After the world premiere in Germany, Violet Evergarden I: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll was only slated to screen in Japan for two weeks starting on September 6th of 2019. KyoAni went on to extend the screening for an extra week, though, and later extended it again to screen for a total of five weeks. The film went on to earn a total of 641,980,500 yen, or about $5.98 million.