Violet Evergarden was one of the biggest anime to emerge from the later 2010’s. With direction by Taichi Ishidate, Kyoto Animation adapted the show from Kana Akatsuki’s award-winning light novel. To this day, the book remains the only work to win a grand prize at the Kyoto Animation Awards.
Violet, the show’s eponymous protagonist, is a child soldier-turned-scribe in a fictional European city set during industrialization after a major war has left her without a commander or duty. The 13-episode series aired in 2018 and includes an additional OVA episode from the Blu-Ray and DVD release. You should start here, and you could even stop there with how the story wraps up.
It’s worth noting that the OVA, Surely, Someday, You Will Understand Love, is set between episodes 4 and 5, so while it will show up as episode 14, you could move it up if you don’t mind the pacing dropping off a bit.
If you want more, Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll was released in 2019. The spinoff film is set after the season and finds Violet continuing her work as an auto memory doll⏤a sort of scribe and ghostwriter⏤by taking up residency at an aristocratic boarding school. Her unusual job is to assist the Drossel Royal Family by training the future debutante Isabella York.
The series got a proper film sequel and conclusion in Violet Evergarden: The Movie. Released in Japan in 2020, the film made its way to US theaters earlier this year and, more recently, streaming. The film remained in the Japanese box office’s top ten for ten straight weeks upon release. It would go on to win numerous awards, including Best Art Direction, Best Screenplay, and the Grand Prize for Feature Film Animation at the Tokyo Anime Awards Festival.
While Haruka Fujita directed Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll, Taichi Ishidate returned to conclude the series. Reiko Yoshida was the primary screenwriter for the show and wrote both Violet Evergarden films.