Fair warning – Huge spoilers for this episode of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song below.
There was a point during episode 12 of Vivy where my brain kind of clicked that somehow we were going to have to have yet another do-over. The first time they tried to change the future didn’t work because the Archive simply kept correcting their course but now they know who the actual enemy is and more than that, they’ve told Vivy how to beat them.
As the human extras were rapidly cut down and failure after failure plagued the mission, it became clear we were either in for an ending of mass-extermination that cautioned us against AI or this story was about to use a known plot device, time travel to give Vivy one final chance. And it was pretty clear from the pro-human-AI cooperation messaging in these final episodes which way it was going to lean.
So episode 12 has Vivy back inside the Archive and finding out why all the crazed robots are singing the song she composed. This is where Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song pulled one of those scenes that is an absolute pet-peeve of mine. Mid-conversation they just cut the sound and we see the character mouth something. Later on we’ll find out what but it is a lousy technique for building tension and it is way overused in anime.
Outside of that mood-killing moment though the rest of this episode hits pretty much all the right notes. Doctor Matsumoto doesn’t participate in the raid, probably just as well, but the rest of the TOAK guys, Vivy and Elizabeth charge over to the tower and begin their attempt at shutting things down. Of course there’s a really big clock counting down just to make it seem like they are fighting against time.
There’s a lot of action strewn through this sequence as they fight against basic security robots and make their way up the tower. In true Vivy fashion the animation is a little messy and chaotic but it all adds to the overall feel of the scene and the movement remains very fluid.
As we lose more of the human members of the team and Elizabeth and Vivy take to the central column, the visuals get even messier and the screen is at time a riot of colour and light but it all fits with the visual aesthetic we’ve seen before in this show so you either appreciate it or find it an eye-sore.
I love that the struggle for these characters was real. They were desperately trying to achieve their goal and the sense of failure that landed on Vivy as the counter finished and the first of the satellites fell really had emotional weight, even if by that point it was kind of clear this isn’t where things would stand.
Vivy works really well here as a proxy for the audience. We’ve watched 100 years of time pass by now and seeing the satellites falling and realising that the project has utterly failed, and failed because of Vivy (a single person or AI having a single hesitation) the sense of despair is very real.
Then again, one has to wonder if the Archive is also having second thoughts given they’ve given Vivy a way to stop their version of the future coming to fruition.
Finally though there’s nothing left to do. Matsumoto and Vivy simply acknowledge their failures. Which is when Doctor Matsumoto contacts them. He’s back at the computer where Vivy saved his life and where the whole story started and he’s got one last chance to send her data back to where the rebellion began. It isn’t much and it still might not be enough but it does get Vivy back on her feet.
It isn’t a foregone conclusion that we’ll get a happy ending and even if Vivy stops the satellites, she’s only going back to the point the rebellion started so thousands if not hundreds of thousands of humans will still die. But, I think in some ways that is even better.
Vivy’s never been perfect. As a singing robot she struggled to understand her mission of singing from the heart. She’s constantly failed to execute her missions as instructed and ultimately lost her ability to sing altogether. None of this has ever made her give up and she’s saved people along the way even if not everyone.
Perhaps that’s how it was always meant to be, but I guess we’ll find out in episode 13.
Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.
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