Violet Evergarden’s story of loss and separation will end with a reminder that Kyoto Animation staff who lost their lives will not be forgotten.

This weekend’s opening of Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memories Doll would be a pretty big deal for anime fans under any circumstances. The side-story theatrical feature is the first new piece of animation in the franchise since the conclusion of the Violet Evergarden TV series in April of 2018, a showcase of some of the most amazing Japanese animation visuals seen in recent years on the big or small screens.

▼ Trailer for Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memories Doll

But there’s an extra significance to the Violet Evergarden movie’s opening, because it’s the first major release from anime studio Kyoto Animation since the arson attack on the company’s Fushimi studio in mid-July, which killed 35 employees who were in the building at the time. There’s a particularly heart-breaking moment in the trailer in which protagonist Violet tells new character Isabella “There is someone I miss, but we can’t see each other,” and while the line is going to have audiences thinking of those who lost their lives in the arson attack, the victims will also be acknowledged in a more direct way at the movie’s end. Kyoto Animation has said that at the conclusion of Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memories Doll, the on-screen credits will include the names of all employees who were killed or injured in the attack.

While the names of 10 of the deceased were released roughly two weeks after the incident, the remaining 25 were not officially confirmed until late August, when the Kyoto Prefectural Police, following the completion of all funeral ceremonies and citing no legal basis for continuing to keep the names classified, released a complete list, despite a number of surviving family members and Japan’s National Police Agency not agreeing with the decision.

It’s unclear whether Kyoto Animation had always intended to list the names of the victims in the Violet Evergarden movie’s credits, or whether the decision to do so was made in light of the list becoming publicly available following its release by the Kyoto police. Either way, the fallen will be saluted as part of Kyoto Animation’s ongoing “counterattack” to the tragedy that was forced upon it by the arsonist.

Source: Kyodo via Otakomu
Images: YouTube/KyoaniChannel
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