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Violet Evergarden, produced by Kyoto Animation, will be broadcast in Japan and then distributed worldwide starting from January 2018. In commemoration of the anime’s upcoming release, there was a world premiere of its first episode at Anime Expo 2017. This event was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on 2 July, starting from 14:00 local time.
There were many fans waiting in a long line way before the opening, and the theater was filled with 3,500 fans. After being called up by the host, three guests came up on the stage: Taichi Ishidate, the anime’s director; Yui Ishikawa, who will play the voice of Violet Evergarden; and TRUE, the opening theme singer. The fans all welcomed the guests with a warm round of applause.
Director Ishidate was the first to greet the audience, ‘Hi everyone. I’m Ishidate, the anime’s director, and I came from Kyoto, Japan!’ This was followed by Ishikawa’s greeting in English, ‘Hello, Anime Expo! Thank you. My name is Yui Ishikawa. I am the leading voice actress of Violet Evergarden. I was so excited to come here today and to finally see your reactions toward the anime! I hope you enjoy until the very end!’ Then, TRUE mentioned in English, ‘Hello AX! My name is TRUE. I sing opening theme song of anime Violet Evergarden. After this I will sing the opening theme song “Sincerely”.’
The screening of Episode 1 started, and the fans all roared with joy. During the screening, the audience was completely silent and they were all absorbed in the anime. There were some scenes for which the fans cheered with excitement.
The audience cheered and gave a loud round of applause the moment the episode ended, and the three guests came up on stage once again. When director Ishidate asked the audience, ‘Did everyone enjoy it?’, the fans responded by roaring and clapping.
In the following Q&A segment, the host first asked Ishidate, ‘What kind of thoughts and feelings did you have in creating this anime?’ Ishidate answered, ‘I believe that Violet is like a newborn baby. Therefore, I hope this anime becomes something in which the viewers can warmly watch the baby grow up.’ The following question was toward Ishikawa, ‘What kind of image do you have toward Violet?’ and she answered, ‘I see her as a very innocent girl.’ When Ishidate was asked, ‘What are your impressions toward Los Angeles?’, he answered, ‘Compared to the hot and humid Kyoto, Los Angeles is comfortably dry and warm, so I really want to stay here for a while… but I’m going back tomorrow,’ making the fans laugh. Ishikawa answered, ‘I was really surprised at how big each meal is. They are all filling, and we can even bring home the leftovers, which we normally can’t do in Japan. I think it is a very nice place.’ TRUE commented, ‘Yesterday, I had a day off, so I went shopping at Melrose Avenue and played at Santa Monica Beach. It was really fun.’
In the next segment, the audience had the chance to ask their own questions. One fan asked, ‘Thank you for coming to LA. What kind of impressions did you plan to give to the viewers in Episode 1?’ Ishidate responded, ‘Violet is a character who understands words, but does not have any emotions. We wanted the viewers to see the beauty of her innocent personality, so we tried to show her “emptiness” in this first episode.’
In the concert segment, TRUE sang her song ‘Sincerely’, the opening theme for the anime. The fans all waved their glow sticks and listened to her beautiful singing.
At the very end, the three guests each gave a comment as their farewell greeting. TRUE commented, ‘When I was making this song, I deeply thought about the importance of “words.” We humans all start out as a baby who does not understand words. As we grow older, our vocabulary grows bigger too. Therefore, when we are an adult, it becomes too normal for us to say “I love you” and “Thank you”. However, I realized that these words are really important. It’s also really important for me to directly say “thank you” to everyone who came today. I am looking forward to send this message via this anime and music.’ Ishikawa commented, ‘I am so happy that the first viewers of Violet Evergarden warmly welcomed us today. As a voice actor, I hope to contribute to this anime’s success, as will the beautiful images, music, and songs. I also hope that the viewers warmly watch Violet grow up and feel like her parent. I am looking forward to coming to Anime Expo again in the future, so I hope for all of your support!’ Finally, director Ishidate commented, ‘I am really happy that we were able to show this anime for the first time to all of you at this AX. We hope to put all our efforts in making the following episodes so that you can continue to enjoy this anime. Thank you for all of your support!’
Violet Evergarden will start its world distribution in January 2018.