The economic aspect of anime is always a complicated subject. The production and distribution of a professional-level animated work requires a lot of talented, hard-working people who need to be suitably compensated, but since anime is often such an emotionally-charged artform, it’s nice to think that it’s being created for something other than just a desire to make money.
But if there’s one studio the anime fan community would be willing to give a pass to for doing all it can to help its bottom line right now, it’s Kyoto Animation. It’s still just a little more than a year since the arson attack that killed 36 of the companies employees, and the ruins of the studio destroyed in the fire were only cleared away last spring. Having suffered such human and economic losses, no one could fault Kyoto Animation for trying to squeeze every last yen out of its intellectual properties right now in order to ensure its survival.
So what does KyoAni do? It takes the first 10 minutes of its still-in-theaters hit "Violet Evergarden: The Movie" and puts them on YouTube, free for anyone to watch.
Debuting on Sept 18, the film comes one year after the release of "Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memories Doll," and features the wistful yet uplifting atmosphere that’s become a calling card of the franchise. As the video opens, we see series newcomer Daisy Magnolia dealing with the sudden death of her grandmother, Ann.
While organizing Ann’s personal effects, Daisy comes across a box of letters she wrote with the help of titular protagonist Violet, which give her a new perspective on her grandmother’s thoughts and feelings, along with the role that Violet played.
All of this is accompanied by Kyoto Animation’s signature visual style of subtle but telling character animation, vivid, glistening color, and dramatic use of light and shadow.
Granted, there’s an ostensible economic benefit to Kyoto Animation posting the video, as showing 10 gorgeous minutes of the movie for free is a pretty good way to convince people to buy a ticket to see the remaining 130 in its total running time. But for those who currently can’t make it to a theater in Japan, either due to heath precautions or travel restrictions, this is a beautiful reminder that while you may have to wait a while longer before you get to see the new "Violet Evergarden" movie, ultimately you’re probably going to think it was worth the wait.
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