'Violet Evergarden' Season 2 Release Date: Netflix Anime Based On Kana Akatsuki's Light Novel An Original Story

Patrick Frye

Before the Netflix anime premiered worldwide, the idea of watching Violet Evergarden Season 2 seemed like an unlikely prospect based on the light novel series' story. However, Kyoto Animation is known for stretching an anime beyond its source material and it appears this time is no different. What's more, the director of the anime series is teasing fans when questioned about the second season. The new Violet Evergarden Gaiden novel has already officially confirmed that a "new project" is in progress and the official Twitter account claimed the anime will be "completely new."

The story began in 2014 when author Kana Akatsuki won the fifth Kyoto Animation Award for her Violet Evergarden novel. Kyoto Animation restructured the story into the light novel format and published it in December of 2015. Volume 2 followed a year later and then the new Violet Evergarden Gaiden novel was published on March 23, 2018. Unfortunately, an official English translation of the Violet Evergarden novel has not yet been announced, but there are completed fan translation projects.

Reviewers believe the first book was well-written, claiming the story was structured to be a standalone novel with a memorable climax for the ending. Volume 2 expanded the story by providing perspectives from other characters, but the way the stories were presented as a novel would not work very well as a weekly anime TV show.

In a 2017 interview with Sakugabooru, director Taichi Ishidate spoke about the problems associated with adapting the Violet Evergarden anime. He seemingly agreed with fans' concerns, noting that the "novels are structured in a very episodic format, where each story independently depicts Violet writing on behalf of a client," but the problem is that "anime and novels are different mediums."

"As such, it would be troublesome to use the same presentation techniques in the animated adaptation that were used in its original written form," he explained. "And so we reconstructed the story into a TV series."

Working with scriptwriter Reiko Yoshida-san, Taichi desired to create an "entertaining serial tale" for the anime that restructured the novel into a chronological timeline. Changing the story presentation order for the anime was unavoidable since Violet Evergarden Volume 2 included flashback chapters.

Taichi says the anime starts with Violet being in a "child-like innocent stage 0" only to grow as she meets new people. Multiple episodes were produced at the same time, so the director sometimes wished he had a "stats screen of Violet's current growth stages, like Gentleness Level 5 and Empathy Level 4." The hard part was conveying this slow, steady growth to audiences since there is "no tangible element that marks [Violet's] gradual change."

"Violet is a lovely person on perhaps a primitive level, I think that's her charm," Taichi said. "I think the viewers will feel like they're watching over their own daughters as they experience Violet's growth."

Both series also consumed five books for creating a single anime season, while Violet Evergarden Season 2 only has three books as a foundation. Excluding the two afterword notes written by the author, the first volume was only six chapters and 348 pages long, while the second volume was seven chapters and 376 pages. The newly released Violet Evergarden Gaiden is 370 pages long but it's focused on side stories. Therefore, in order to move forward, the anime must transcend its source material rather than be caught up in the novel's limitations.

The anime finished Violet Evergarden Episode 13 on a happy note with an anime original ending, so Kyoto Animation seemed to have had that very goal in mind. Even the beginning was different since the first four episodes expanded on the basic premise of the emotionless wounded soldier by showing how Violet transitions into her new life. The story arc about the Auto Memories Doll training school is also an anime original story.

Chapter 1 of the first book was the primary source material up until Episode 7, although Episode 6 used stories from the middle of the book. Episodes 8 and 9 skipped ahead to the last chapter of the light novel, while the events of Episode 10 were drawn from Chapter 2. All in all, the anime adapted chapters 1 through 4, Chapter 6, and used elements from chapters 11 through 13.

In the light novel, readers are not introduced to Benedict Blue and Cattleya Baudelaire until about halfway through the story. In the anime, Cattleya's mother-like role is being emphasized and the flirting with Claudia "Claude" Hodgins shows another side of the Doll. Poor Benedict is having trouble understanding women and cries tears of joy when an older man shares his meal after being rejected by the women.

The book did not develop these characters too much, whereas the anime has been fleshing out all the side characters. The anime also introduces two new original characters, Erica Brown and Iris Cannary. Both of the new characters seamlessly fit in at the CH Postal Company while serving as a story foil for Violet's emotional growth.

In a January 2018 interview with Shin-Q magazine, Taichi admitted that he initially "thought original characters were unnecessary," but scriptwriter Reiko convinced him that having companions at Violet's workplace would allow Violet to "contrast how she felt when she met all those outsiders." The new characters "would be the best way to manifest [Violet's] incipient feelings." From a practical perspective, it also did not make sense for Cattleya to be the only Auto Memories Doll employee at the CH Postal Company.

Although the anime has new characters, the director was concerned about how the new content would affect Violet's character.

"Just as the title says, the story itself is about the main protagonist, Violet Evergarden, so I felt figuring out her portrayal was key. Claiming that this title only focuses on her would be going overboard – it's more akin to an omnibus of episodic tales, though in the end she's always at their epicenter. The way you present characters in novels and film is different of course, so I worried that placing her in a new medium would alter the feel of her character from the original. Thinking about how I would visualize my impressions when I read the novels was my first worry."

"By having Violet constantly searching for the meaning a certain phrase that Gilbert told her as the axis of the show, we felt that we could delve into Violet herself and find out more about herself as she does. We made that the core of this series," he explained.

Not everyone is happy with the changes to the novels' story since not all of the chapters of the first novel were covered. Critics who desire a faithful adaptation of the source material have dismissed the original story material as filler content that slows down the pacing. Some fans even jokingly refer to the anime as "PTSD Saber Learns To Type" based on Violet's physical similarity to the Fate/Stay Night character.

While director Taichi has not directly responded to such criticisms, he did touch on the pacing of the anime during the January interview.

"I'll say something frankly: Violet Evergarden feels like it'll be a harsh work, but it's also one that steadily becomes a worthwhile experience," he said. "Please watch until the very end, and I hope you'll be emotionally moved by sticking around with us."

Thankfully, the criticisms may be overly harsh since Kyoto Animation has a history of creating original stories for anime adaptations that fans love. Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, K-On!, and Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions were largely original content despite being based on light novels and manga. Better yet, the original content should allow wiggle room for Violet Evergarden Season 2 to be made.

The ending of the first season was Episode 13, which would make Episode 14 a Violet Evergarden OVA episode only available with the Blu-Ray disc sets. The release date in Japan is scheduled for July 4, 2018.

No other details have been released. It is currently unknown what the story will be for the OVA episode.

Historically, Netflix has made American anime fans wait until all of the episodes in a single cour have been released. For example, Fate/Apocrypha Season 2 came out six weeks after the last episode aired in Japan. However, the delay for Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler was so long that Kakegurui Season 2 was announced before Netflix even released the first season.

The Violet Evergarden anime is already a financial success that demands a sequel. The first volume of the Blu-Ray box sets topped the Oricon charts in the first week, selling 5,019 copies at 9,200 yen each (about $431,272 USD). The Volume 1 release contains the first three episodes of the anime.

In addition, director Taichi seems to believe it's possible to make a second season. During Anime Expo 2017, the creators of the anime were being questioned about the production and one amusing question was, "When will you start Season 2?" Considering that Episode 1 had only just been screened publicly for the first time, Taichi thought the question was funny, but he answered, "If everyone here supports it…"

What is known for certain is that the new Violet Evergarden Gaiden novel also contained a teaser. According to Moetron, the new book has a jacket band which announced that a "new project" was in progress. While it's possible the new project is Violet Evergarden Season 2, it could also mean an anime Violet Evergarden movie, since the official Twitter page revealed that the "new Violet Evergarden anime will be completely new."

— 「ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン」公式 (@Violet_Letter) April 4, 2018

Otherwise, Kyoto Animation is currently working on Free! Season 3. In 2018, they're also adapting Tsurune, a novel by Kotoko Ayano that tells the story of a school archery club. They're also releasing a Sound! Euphonium movie this year. Let's just hope that Violet Evergarden Season 2 will be confirmed soon. Stay tuned!

[Update April 10, 2018] Added first week sales of Blu-Ray Volume 1.

[Update April 5, 2018] Added Twitter announcement and changed the discussion of original anime content.

[Update March 23, 2018] Added details related to the new Violet Evergarden Gaiden novel and the announcement of the new project.

[Update March 15, 2018] Added exact U.S. release date for Netflix, more details about the OVA, and listed what light novel chapters have been covered by the anime so far.

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