Violet Evergarden is a 2018 television anime series based on Kana Akatsuki’s light novel of the same name. It was adapted into an anime by studio Kyoto Animation with director Taichi Ishidate, writer Reiko Yoshida and publisher ABC Animation. The series first broadcast in Japan on January 2018 as part of the Winter 2018 anime season.
“After four long years of conflict, The Great War has finally come to an end. Caught up in the bloodshed was Violet Evergarden, a young girl raised to be a deadly weapon on the battlefield. Hospitalized and maimed in a bloody skirmish during the War’s final leg, she was left with only words from the person she held dearest, but no understanding of their meaning.
Recovering from her wounds, Violet starts a new life working at CH Postal Services. There, she witnesses by pure chance the work of an “Auto Memory Doll”, amanuenses that transcribe people’s thoughts and feelings into words on paper. Moved by the notion, Violet begins work as an Auto Memory Doll, a trade that will take her on an adventure, one that will reshape the lives of her clients and hopefully lead to self-discovery.”Plot Synopsis via Anime Limited, April 2021.
Kyoto Animation has worked on a number of projects that have received a pretty big fanbase, titles like Haruhi Suzumiya and Free! with a few cult followings like Hyouka and Nichijou: My Ordinary Life. I’ve watched many of the studio’s works and they are more-or-less part of the slice of life genre and often have a light-hearted comedic feel. Then they adapted Violet Evergarden which has upped the quality to a different level in terms of both animation and storytelling. It’s a very interesting series and while the hype was rather overkill when it first aired, it’s worth checking out regardless.
Violet Evergarden also happened to be available through every anime fan’s worst nightmare – Netflix. Netflix honestly is not that bad of a platform, but the main issue is that it focuses more on binge-watching than simulcasts for anime (they definitely have done simulcasts for other titles). That being said, Violet Evergarden was a unique case because it actually managed to get a simulcast on the platform for the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and a couple other territories. The United States and Australia was not able to get access until all of the episodes finished airing which was bizarre.
So, with Netflix streaming the series, how was the home video side of licensing? Well fun fact, Anime Limited acquired the United Kingdom, Ireland and French rights months before the show started broadcasting in Japan. Surprising indeed, and Funimation picked it up years later for their release. Madman did get it quite early on and were the first to release it on Blu-ray.
Collector’s Edition Contents:
Anime Limited loves providing collector’s edition releases for their catalogue. Considering how popular the studio is and how a lot of people loved Violet Evergarden, we have a rather nice collector’s package to go with it.
This release is presented with a rigid box containing two Amaray cases to house the Blu-ray discs. The box also comes with a 156-page artbook containing a ton of character artwork and more, as well as 5 art cards held inside a pretend letter (which looks great and is sturdy) and a sticker sheet which also looks neat in the way its packaged. This box is also very large, probably the largest set that isn’t an outer box or an ultimate release for collector’s (just narrowly beating Tamako Market & Love Story).
Now the big inclusion with this release is the addition of the Japan Tour Films, which are compilations of the television series split across four films. These films are presented with 5.1 audio across the two Blu-ray discs. Currently, this release is the only way to get access to this particular version.
The artwork is free of any information or BBFC content and the info sheet covers the information and specification like previous Anime Limited releases. The collector’s edition Blu-ray has 1000 units printed for an SRP of £69.99 (higher than the regular range due to the Japan Tour Films inclusion). This is also a Blu-ray only release and is expected to receive a standard edition over time.
It has not yet been decided if the Japan Tour Films will be available with the main series in the standard edition release, so it is highly likely for cost reasons that it will be exclusive to this package – saying that however, the bonus features for the main series are on the second Japan Tour disc, so I’m curious to see how that will be handled.
I pre-ordered the series during Anime Limited’s early bird in October 2020 which offered the set at £39.99, but thanks to the Screen Anime membership it was 10% less at £36. The show had a bit of a lengthy delay which I’ll explain later in this post.
- Rigid Box with Amaray packaging and clean artwork
- Info sheet for specification and BBFC description
- Additional Blu-ray disc with Japan Tour Films – 4 compilation films of the TV series with 5.1 audio.
- 156-page Artbook
- 5 Art Cards
- 2 Stamp Sheets (I received one, but some folks got two lol)
Going over how the UK release stands out against the US & Australian release (& why it got delayed):
Now here’s the part where I may as well explain why this release is unique compared to Madman and Funimation’s take.
When Madman first released Violet Evergarden on Blu-ray, they basically re-used the broadcast masters and Netflix’s subtitle translation which was noteworthy for being inaccurate to the Japanese language for specific parts of the show – which had also affected the English dub. When Funimation released the series, they re-used Madman’s discs so for those who live in United States and Australia, pretty much received an inferior release in general.
Anime Limited was made aware of this very early on, so it was going to be a new authored release from scratch. They were also notified that the Japanese home video master had tweaks which included extended scenes for the 13th & final episode (a few other episodes had also received extended lengths but it was confirmed those extra scenes were literally just the opening and closing sequences added on, so there was nothing new) and therefore, they took note of that along the way.
Because Netflix dubs are not cheap (to the point where Sentai had to redub specific shows as a result), the English dub is basically only going to sync with the broadcast version, so the extended scenes in the 13th & final episode had to be presented in Japanese audio with English subtitles. From there on, you would think the best case scenario was going to happen… well it didn’t.
The French community received the release first, which was the same discs planned for the UK, and they were mortified to discover that the video presentation was below sub-par and was practically on the same levels as Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- and Your Name when those two first came out on Blu-ray in the west. If you are familiar with Madman’s first author for Your Name, then you should know how bad it was – well imagine that, but for this series. Eventually word of mouth was spread from the French community into the UK community and Anime Limited announced plans to delay their release for a new author.
The first author for Violet Evergarden was done by an uncredited individual, who is probably the same person who also authored previous Anime Limited titles like Amanchu!, Birthday Wonderland, Code Geass I: Initiation, Silver Spoon, and Welcome to the Ballroom. Each of them had very similar problems, but because they were niche it didn’t attract a big enough attention that Violet Evergarden had.
Therefore, it was revealed that the second author was handled by the folks over at MediaOCD. For those unfamiliar with this name, it’s a company helmed by Justin Sevakis and his authoring/encoding crew, who have done spectacular work for the Discotek Media releases over the years. Their work with Anime Limited includes PERSONA5 The Animation, Planetes, The Vision of Escaflowne and also the 4K Ultra HD releases for Millennium Actress and Your Name. I believe they’re also rumoured to work on Neon Genesis Evangelion but don’t quote me on that. Their release improved the discs with better video presentation, tweaks to the timings of the subtitles and few other amendments which has received very well by the French community (as once again they got the discs first).
So yeah, a happy ending for what could have been the biggest trainwreck for Anime Limited since Gurren Lagann‘s Ultimate Edition release back in 2014. I think many of us should be grateful that Anime Limited was willing to pull a ‘Durarara!!‘ and offer a much better release despite the amount of money they very likely have lost in the process. Once again, a big shout-out to the MediaOCD crew who were willing to take a break from their huge Discotek Media backlog just to fix this mess, but hopefully they were able to grab a copy of this release before it sells out.
Distributor: Anime Limited
Released: 26th April 2021
Violet Evergarden contains episodes 1 to 13 plus an extended version of the show’s 13th episode and an OVA special across two Blu-ray discs. Plus, the Japan Tour Films are evenly split between an additional two Blu-ray discs (2 films per disc essentially).
The first disc covers episodes 1-8, while the second disc focuses on episodes 9-13, the OVA special as well as the extended edition for Episode 13. The rest of the bonus features are included in the fourth disc.
The audio options available for the series include Japanese with English and French subtitles and the SDI Media English dub commissioned by Netflix, while the Japan Tour Films are presented in Japanese audio with English and French subtitles.
The runtime for the Japan Tour films are:
- Film 1: 1 hour 14 minutes
- Film 2: 1 hour 33 minutes
- Film 3: 1 hour 14 minutes
- Film 4: 1 hour 13 minutes
While French anime fans will be able to watch the series and the films with subtitles, unfortunately the dub was not included due to Netflix’s high costs on their dubbing.
The white subtitles for both languages can be turned off during Blu-ray playback, and the regions are locked to B for Blu-ray.
Violet Evergarden Japan Tour Films
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Violet Evergarden Japan Tour Films
Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
|Video||1080p High Definition Native format|
16:9 aspect ratio
Violet Evergarden Japan Tour Films
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- Episode 13 Extended Edition (Japanese audio with English & French subtitles only) [runtime: 26 minutes 50 seconds]
- Episode 14 OVA Special: “Surely, Someday You Will Understand “Love””
- Violet Evergarden in 5 Minutes
- Clean Opening and Closing Credits “Sincerely” & “Michishirube”
- Japanese Previews
Violet Evergarden is available to own on Blu-ray from United Kingdom distributor Anime Limited. The collector’s edition Blu-ray is available to order from multiple retailers including Amazon UK, however it is expected to be a big seller so order sooner than later if you want to secure a copy.
(Disclaimer: Amazon links are also included when available. They are affiliated so if you decide to order them, I’ll earn a small percentage if they ship which will help me with any hauls or small bills. Due to current global situations, shipping restrictions may apply.)