Top 5 Anime That Enchant By Using Time Travel As a Narrative Device

Top 5 Time Travel Anime

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song definitely left an impression on me in the Spring 2021 season with a terminator style time travel element to kick the story into motion and an AI on a 100 year journey to prevent the end of the world. All very dramatic really.

That said, for some, Vivy was a mis-fire. Early in the season Crow (Crow’s World of Anime) discussed his reasons for not following the show episodically and on its conclusion Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews) explained why he didn’t much like Vivy.

So what other time travel anime are out there?

Well, plenty. So many that when listing my top 5 I actually had to leave Vivy out altogether (doesn’t change the fact that I love Vivy but is more that there’s so many titles out there and a lot of them have a lot more time travel or place more emphasis on the time travel element).

As always, the titles on this list are entirely my own opinion and I’d love to know what time travel anime you love so be sure to leave me a comment below. Also, as always, there are potential plot spoilers below so you have been warned.

Time Travel Anime Number 5: Sagrada Reset

Sagrada Reset - Time Travel Anime No. 5

I know, we’re at the start of the time travel anime list and I’m already picking titles that are a little left of field. Sagrada Reset was not a popular anime by any means and honestly I understand that given the odd characters and stilted dialogue that pervades the series.

However, there’s a lot to think about in the series and one of the central gimmicks is the reset ability of one of the two main characters. While not strictly speaking time travel, it functions similarly by returning the world to a previously saved point. Actually not overly useful to the user because they are also reset and don’t realise the world has returned or why and so can’t change anything.

Until you pair that power with the power of someone who can remember previous timelines that have now ceased to exist. It’s an intriguing premise and one that carried me through two cours of an anime that by most definitions should have bored me to watch.

Honestly, if you have some spare time, a bit of patience, and a curious personality, Sagrada Reset may be worth a watch because there’s some really intriguing ideas at play here. However if you are wanting a story that moves along or characters that are dynamic, this one won’t work for you. The reason it earns a place on my list ahead of Vivy or any of a slew of considered titles is that the reset function is so integral to the narrative working here.

Time Travel Anime Number 4: Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni

Higurashi - Time Travel Anime No. 4

You would think we’d have more horror stories that incorporated time travel in this day and age. I know that there’s a handful or so, but really the idea of being trapped in a loop gets played for comedy, suspense and a whole range of reasons, but rarely gets used for the slaughter of an entire village again and again.

Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni to the rescue then.

Or maybe not.

The original two seasons of Higurashi paint a pretty grim picture with each time look beginning with the friends playing games together innocuously until a triggering point at which stage one of the characters would start to go off the deep end before ultimately taking actions that would kill the others. Usually quite horrifically.

It isn’t until the beginning of the second season that we realise that one of the characters has been aware of the time loop all along and during each loop of the second season other characters become aware of their choices and the consequences.

Whichever way, this is an anime that uses time travel to really explore individual choices, team work and the small ripples created by our actions and provided you don’t object to the heavy violence is quite satisfying to watch in the end.



Time Travel Anime Number 3: Erased

Erased - Time Travel Anime No. 3

Do you want a time travel anime where the main character returns to his own childhood to stop a series of murders that in his present day have resulted in his mother’s death? Well Erased has you covered.

While not the strongest mystery anime with the culprit being pretty readily identifiable by process of elimination, Erased is a nice character piece and really does look at what it means to have a second chance at a situation.

Or in the case of our protagonist even a third chance because he isn’t necessarily going to get it right straight away.

While Erased doesn’t have any world ending consequences or wholesale slaughter as stakes, it still manages to draw you into the world of these characters and the murders have a lot more impact because of the more believable scope of this story.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Erased and even the live-action version of this time travel anime was pretty solid.

Time Travel Anime Number 2: Madoka Magica

Madoka Magica - No. 2 Time Travel Anime

Imagine having the power to go back in time to try to save your best friend. And doing it again and again and as a result of your actions you doom her and the world to an even worse fate?

Yep, Madoka Magica is one of those super cheery stories where love and friendship win the day but not before we put the characters through hell and just because the world will be saved doesn’t mean all these cute characters are going to escape unscathed.

While not a traditional magical girl story by any means, Madoka Magica certainly taps into the magical girl myth but then builds its own world and rules around it. The end result was quite interesting and the visuals here are worth the watch. The story ends up being a little too impressed with its own cleverness but largely works and as far as narratives where time travel is at the centre, Madoka Magica is certainly one that needs to be remembered.

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Time Travel Anime Number 1: Steings;Gate

Steins;Gate - Time Travel Anime No.1

I couldn’t go past the mad-scientist who accidentally made a time travel device with his microwave and ended up setting the world onto an alternate world-line before having to try and undo it all through a series of time leaps and text messages.

Yep, Steins;Gate had to be my number one for the simple fact that without the time travel aspect there is absolutely no story here and there are a number of elements of time travel at play.

From sending messages to the past, to sending your entire consciousness and memories back to a prior version of yourself, to a physical time machine that crashes into the top of a building… time is getting messed with in so many ways in Steins;Gate and with every change the characters are getting further away from where they need to be.

While I didn’t think much of the follow up, Steins;Gate 0, the original Steins;Gate remains one of those anime that I’m very fond of and a binge watch of it is always pretty entertaining.

Top 5 Time Travel Anime

That’s my list, but what time travel anime would you have included on yours?


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Karandi James


Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 13 Impressions: Let Us End With a Song From The Heart

Vivy Episode 13
Ashley Capes sponsored Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
https://thereviewheap.home.blog/

We’ve reached the end of Vivy’s remarkable journey through time.

Starting a new anime is always a bit of a gamble. Whether there is a source for the story and whether it is finished doesn’t really determine whether the anime will end well as sometimes anime endings are either non-existent, rushed, or just take a huge deviation from any real logic. Original anime are even more of a risk with the stories more often than not collapsing in on their own premise before we reach the end. So how was this final episode of Vivy?

Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song episode 13 demonstrated to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the team behind this anime always knew what they were doing. The resolution is so clear and everything is brought together incredibly neatly (perhaps too neatly). Nothing felt like it was rushed or crammed in just so that we could get to an end because the season was over.

What will Vivy do? 
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021.
‘Now’ is a good question given she’s been here ‘now’ before and it didn’t end well.

At the end of episode 12, Vivy had just been sent back in time to the start of the rebellion. Right from her awakening this time we see the small changes she’s making as the guy who previously got squished by the incredibly polite homicidal vehicle is now pulled to safety. That said, the question remains as to whether Vivy can do what she needs to do this time in order to actually change the outcome.

Spoilers.

What follows is what was perhaps the best choices for providing closure that could have been made.

The story splits with Elizabeth, TOAK and Matsumoto storming the tower as they did last time, though in episode 13 they are armed with Vivy’s knowledge of what happened the first time. Vivy on the other-hand makes her slow way (and why she’s not in any hurry is probably the only questionable part here) to the main stage in Nia Land. It is taking us back full circle to her roots where she sang on the small stage, dreaming of being on the main stage.

Vivy is singing her memories.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eyes Song 2021.
Prepare for the flashback.

Not content with just just giving us a location and a reminder of her initial goal, Vivy also finally answers the question of what it means to put her heart into something. While viewers may not agree with the answer she has found it is more important that after nearly 100 years of searching, she has found her answer.

She steps out onto the main stage with absolute resolve and then Vivy sings her original song crafted from the memories she has made over her extraordinary life.

Vivy singing her heart out.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021.
Sing it, Vivy.

What follows is more a montage accompanied by the song. We see the attack on the tower interspersed with Vivy’s memories. Every key scene or character from the prior 12 episodes will make an appearance and while normally I’d count this as a distraction from a final conflict or a last ditch attempt to make me care about a character, here it felt perfectly fitting.

Vivy’s song is made of her memories and her answer that was found through all these experiences. She sings in order to fulfil her initial purpose of making people happy and it is one of the most fulfilling finales I have watched in a long time.

Of course there’s a few moments where you feel the writers really just wanted to have their cake and eat it too. The satellites are already falling and shutting down the system won’t stop that but somehow Matsumoto now manages to essentially collide with one of them and blow it up mid-air in order to save Nia Land from getting vaporised. It’s a little bit much.

Meanwhile, Vivy, having fulfilled her purpose also shuts down as she is connected to the archive and in a logical story that would be her curtain closing. However, in a story about heart and emotions, we get one final scene of her before the end and honestly despite it making no sense at all it made me smile.

Seriously, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song nailed its ending. I can’t wait to write my full review.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 12 Impressions: Fears For The Collapse of Humanity?

Vivy Episode 12
Ashley Capes sponsored Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
https://thereviewheap.home.blog/

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.

This is not the first time I've had Lylat Wars comparisons in my head while watching Vivy.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021.
Seems like too much effort.

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.

Big clocks are always scary.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song.
Oh no, only 3 seconds left. What now?

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.

Don't just steal the gun. Steal the whole arm and then shoot him with his own gun.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021.
Still, this fight sequence was pretty intense.

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.

The explosions begin.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song.
Goodbye city.

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.

The future is in your hands.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021.
No pressure.

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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Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 11 Impressions of The Devastating AI War

Vivy Episode 11
Ashley Capes sponsored Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
https://thereviewheap.home.blog/

Vivy’s long journey to prevent a war has ended in failure. Does she give up?

The comparison of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song and Terminator is more or less inevitable at this point. As it turns out is the war between AI’s and humans as despite 100 years of effort the war began at exactly the same time and more or less went through exactly the same progress as in the original timeline. The only difference is that the humans who had been working on the Singularity Project now know they already did that and it failed.

But you know, just because we’ve seen this kind of conflict before (Westworld) and with time travel (Terminator) doesn’t mean that Vivy doesn’t have something to offer us as see the war unfold before her. Even if Vivy isn’t a human protagonist, her reaction to this war, knowing she failed to stop it, makes her seem very human.

The kid is going to get it in a minute.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021.
Trust me kid, you don’t want it.

For me, there’s little doubt at this point that nothing Matsumoto and Vivy could have done would have changed this outcome. It seems like the event itself is one of Doctor Who’s fixed points in time. What may change is the outcome of the war now that Vivy and Matsumoto have joined up with Matsumoto’s creator and the remnants of TOAK.

I’m really not surprised that they brought a connection back to the young terrorist that Vivy protected all those years before on her very first mission. The granddaughter trying to bring a moderate tone to TOAK and looking for ways for AI and humans to coexist fits within the narrative even if it makes little practical sense.

This is once again a situation where an anime simply acknowledging something makes little sense doesn’t make it any better. If the granddaughter wanted to walk that path she didn’t need to be inside a terrorist group and giving us a throw away explanation didn’t really help. It’s a minor point in an otherwise well done episode but it was perhaps the moment that took me out of the narrative for an instant.

Yui Kakitani
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021
Of course you are because everything has to come full circle in this story.

Basically, everything seems pretty much lost here with the AI wiping out all humans. Things get worse when the AI Archive announces it is dropping a satellite and essentially dooms the few humans left in the region because if they tried to evacuate they’d be killed by robots and if they stay where they are they’ll be destroyed once the satellite crashes.

But, by being so extreme and also by announcing their intention, the AI have essentially given Vivy a clue as to how to stop things. It is one of those moments that needed to happen so the story could continue but also made the AI overall seem less unstoppable.

Vivy taking care of the robots.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021
I love how these Robots all explode – why are they filled with materials that explode now?

The Archive isn’t a human villain that needs to be seen as smart. There’s no reason to announce its plans. We already know the AI can receive message without broadcasting them so it seems really suspicious that we’ve had this large scale announcement to humans and AI’s. I wonder if this is deliberate (as in is the AI trying to scare humans out of hiding) or is it just a weak plot point to keep us driving forward?

Regardless of whether that question gets answered next episode, Vivy has really done a great job in building up this final conflict. Given we’ve been heading toward it since episode one, seeing it unfold now and seeing the characters react to events is giving a great sense that this story has held itself together. Now we just need to see the characters somehow overcome all of this.

Vivy Episode 11 5
Human on human violence never helps.

Or maybe not. Maybe humans don’t win? Is there any winning? If they shut down the AI I’m pretty sure the world doesn’t work anymore for these humans. Coexistence sounds good but the only robots not on a rampage are those that haven’t updated. And of course, Vivy herself for reasons yet to be explained.

I’m pretty sure Vivy can stick its landing at this point which means I can comfortably wait for the final two episodes to bring this all to a close. Please don’t let me be wrong on that point.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 10 Impressions of an Amazing Character Journey

Vivy Episode 10
Ashley Capes sponsored Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song.
https://thereviewheap.home.blog/

Losing Diva has meant Vivy has lost her purpose. Now what?

It is going to be really hard to discuss this episode of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song without wanting to discuss the sequence that occurs after the end credits. So I’m just going to say that while it feels like we’ve been waiting for something along those lines to occur, it was still a great way to end the episode, leave us wanting more, but not feeling like a cheap cliff-hanger.

It did leave plenty of room for discussion but honestly if you don’t want any spoilers you’d be better off just watching the show yourself and staying out of discussion boards and avoiding anything on YouTube to do with Vivy at this point.

Vivy - The singularity project is all I have.
Image from Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song 2021.
What happens when you lose your mission?

So avoiding discussion of the ending, this episode is very much Vivy focused. Diva has well and truly left in that touching farewell sequence we watched at the end of episode 9 and now we are left with Vivy in a museum awaiting Matsumoto so that she can continue her work on the Singularity Project.

Why is she so keen?

Becuase she can no longer sing and that means her mission to make people through singing is officially dead in the water leaving Vivy at a loss.

Where this could have been quite the slow and dull episode with Vivy sitting in her case and moping at the museum, instead Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song demonstrated its strength in developing this character throughout the series. Sure she is moping to a point but she continues to interact with those visiting the museum and when left alone she’s hard to at work internally trying to find a new path.

Vivy composes.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song 2021.
Matsumoto might tell her it is the long way around but at least Vivy’s trying to move forward.

In this Matsumoto’s presence is interesting. He appears after 5 years only to tell Vivy that there will be no more missions for the singularity project. It makes sense given so much has changed and he couldn’t possibly know the future anymore however it seems strange he waited 5 years before telling her this.

It only begins to make sense when you realise Matsumoto is in his own way fulfilling his promise to Diva. He’s trying to force Vivy to find her own answer rather than waiting for another mission that isn’t coming.

Though it does raise another question of why Matsumoto is even still functioning if his purpose of fulfilling the project is complete. Maybe he also has doubts about the outcome of their changes? It is a curious thought.

Matsumoto eye's Vivy.
Image from Vivy Fluorite Eye's Songe 2021.
Matsumoto isn’t exactly nice.

However, the other element that holds this episode together as we traverse nearly twenty years, is in Osamu. Originally visiting Diva in the museum as part of a school trip, this young boy continues to come back and visit Vivy at intervals throughout the episode, aging to show the passage of time.

It is no surprise that it is through her interactions with Osamu and his family, tragedy, and birth, that Vivy finds the connection she needs. While we still don’t know if she can sing or not, she’s finally made progress after hitting a wall for so incredibly long.

All and all, this is a lovely bit of interaction between humans and AI’s and a beautiful throw back to the girl in episode one who also believed in Diva.

When we finally learn Osamu’s real connection with the overall story it isn’t overly surprising. It is more an ‘oh’ moment as everything kind of clicks into place for Vivy. Sure there are story holes if you go looking for them but there’s a real effort at cohesion and as we move toward the finale they really have made a genuine effort to connect us back to the events of episode one.

So ten episodes along, three to go, and Vivy still hasn’t really had a major misstep even if there have been a few moments that have been less than amazing. After seeing that after credits scene I am very keen to jump into the next episode.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Why Vivy May Become My Favourite Sci-Fi Anime

Vivy Feature
https://thereviewheap.home.blog/

In the spring 2021 season, Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song came out providing us with a new time travel, science fiction anime to enjoy (or not depending on which reviewer you are reading and what they want from the science fiction genre).

Time travel science fiction isn’t exactly new. While some stories take the notion of time travel very seriously (such as Primer) and others barely explain it other than using it as a plot device (such as Terminator) the genre is crowded with entries of varying qualities and I’ll admit I’m a sucker for a well told time-travel story even with the inherent paradoxes and inevitable loose ends or unanswerable questions that these sorts of plots tie themselves in.

Steins;Gate gave us a serious anime attempt at using time travel, albeit accidentally at first before the characters had to make an effort to use their own machines with precision to undo the ripples they’d created.

A story like Re:Zero explores a ground-hog day like phenomenon with the main character going back in time after his death with his memories in-tact. I can’t talk much about its success as a story (though it has got quite the following) given I’ve never made it very far due to an absolute hatred of the main character’s personality.

Vivy watching the plane explode because despite knowledge of the future wasn't allowed to intervene.

Vivy and Time Travel

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song has taken on the basic plot device of going back in time to change an unfavourable future and has combined it with the emotional journey of an AI looking for what it means to make people happy through singing and the overall evolution of technology and the ‘rights’ of artificial intelligence. It is almost as if the ideas in Terminator collided with A.I and then got fused into a cute anime girl’s story.

With less care and attention, this story would have ended up feeling derivative and could very easily have fallen flat and yet, despite a few missteps, for the most part Vivy has managed to be a pretty interesting viewing experience and it has some stellar moments along the way.

There’s a couple of things that I’ve really appreciated about how Vivy has come together that have elevated it beyond just kind of pop-corn viewing while at the same time it has stayed pretty easy watching.

Firstly, is the protagonist. Diva/Vivy has been interesting to see develop across the season so far. As Diva her mission is clear and she wants only to make people happy through singing. When we meet her in the beginning she isn’t very good at this as while she can sing the songs they lack warmth and heart and it is only in the later episodes where we see a confident Diva who has learned how to interact fairly fluidly with humans that her singing has become successful.

However, Diva is also needed for the mission (we’ll get to why later). Fortunately, she isn’t the kind of AI that can’t be reasoned with and an understanding that she can’t make people happy through singing if they end up dying in an AI rebellion ensures that Diva takes the necessary steps to support the mission of changing the future.

Vivy Ep1 7

The result of this is Vivy. While at first Vivy is a nickname given to Diva by a human girl, Vivy becomes the name Diva takes on when on missions to change the future. While Diva is a singing AI, Vivy has combat programs and a far wider view of the world than just singing to make people happy.

In episode 9 we see these two distinct personalities briefly converse and more or less concluding a fairly solid character arc for our main character as she prepares for the final episodes.

Changes in our protagonist are slow and small, kind of drip-feeding throughout each mission, but when she see the two back to back and leaning against the door inside the construct, you realise just how far they’ve brought Vivy over the course of the series. It was solid writing and a character journey that has felt pretty satisfying.

Vivy Ep7 3

Secondly, I have really liked the set-up with the time travel. Rather than Diva being a traveller from the future, she has instead been joined by a program from the future that goes by the name Matsumoto (presumably the name of the person who sent him). Matsumoto at first inhabits a toy bear and later a cube to interact with Vivy in the real world, though the two also interact inside Vivy’s mind.

Now, what really works with all of this is that Matsumoto hasn’t been sent 100 years into the past simply to alter one event and send the world on a different trajectory. Instead, there are a series of pivotal moments across the 100 years that they are working to change in order to create ripples that will send the future onto a different path.

Where the story gets really interesting is that as we jump to each event we do see that they have drifted from the original timeline, as shown in the diverging images of what should have happened in each event, however despite seemingly being successful, the overall goal of slowing AI development and preventing AI rights that lead to their rebellion seems to be failing spectacularly with some developments actually speeding up.

Vivy Ep6 8

I do like the idea that it wasn’t one single incident that lead to the future we saw in episode one but rather a series of events that cascaded in order to lead to the tragedy. I also like that because of that basic set-up instead of the story focusing on a single time and incident we have a couple of episodes dealing with one situation before we jump forward to the next pivotal moment, moving us ever closer to the future that they are trying to change.

The story also makes attempts to address some of the concerns that arise when you start thinking about the time-travel occurring here. Such as why Vivy and why send the program back 100 years? Even as I thought these questions in episode 1, the next few episodes provided some reasoning that made this at least plausible even if it wouldn’t probably hold up under deeper questioning.

We also have begun to see that Matsumoto, the seemingly infallible time-travelling program has been wrong more than once in his predictions and as the timeline skews further from the original things seem to get further out of his control.

Vivy Ep8 5

With the story making an effort to address viewer concerns almost before they become concerns, the the more obvious plot holes being dealt with, it is difficult to fault the writers for their efforts. Certainly, not everything ends up being overly brilliant and occasional moments definitely feel clunkier than others, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Finally, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song never gets to bogged down in its own premise. Vibrant musical interludes and dramatic, messy action sequences are dropped into episodes ensuring that things never feel too slow. Beautiful characters and scenery interact and leave a stunning impression. As each moment in time only lasts for a couple of episodes, the stories never feel like they are dragging before we move on to the next thing but nor do they feel particularly rushed (though one or two of them may have benefited from a little more time to establish themselves).

Basically, we have AI fights, internal conflicts, time travel, terrorism, and divas… What more could you want from an anime?

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 9 Impressions

Vivy Episode 9
https://thereviewheap.home.blog/

Diva’s final song.

So many questions during this episode of Vivy and some of them aren’t overly helpful for the series. honestly, Antonio and Ophelia’s story, after two episodes of build up, was pretty underwhelming. The motive was kind of lame and while the fight sequence with Matsumoto on the roof was vibrant and energetic, overall it kind of became messy and was nowhere near as compelling as the story of Diva facing off with the TOAK guy. You know it is sad that after all these episodes I still haven’t really got his name.

Ophelia - Vivy Fluourite Eye's Song
And can I also just ask, who designed Ophelia’s outfit? Even without the lighting here, it is just not good.

What that means is that while Vivy, Fluorite Eye’s Song remains one of my favourite shows this season and so far this year, this episode was a bit on the messy side. We had the ordinary, Matsumoto fighting Antonio and Ophelia and the attempted tragedy of that story which mostly just kind of happened.

I’m still loving Vivy but that was a bit messy.

And then we had something that was a little bit over-dramatised as TOAK guy shouted his frustrations with the way AI’s and humans interact at Diva (a little weirdly considering he somehow became an AI in order to still be around in 40 years since their last encounter just to ask her a question) before the two fought it out resulting in a pretty awesome conclusion to the this particular three episode story.

Not because of the fight, though that was really fluid and the far more effective of the two conflicts this episode, but because of the internal discussion between Vivy and Diva. That was gold.

Vivy Ep9 6
Though watching Diva fighting was also pretty cool. I love how fluid the animation in this series has been.

Honestly, this episode review is messy and I’m jumping back and forth a lot, but that’s because ultimately my thoughts on this episode are messy. Part of me really loved this episode but I know a lot of that is good will because of the series so far and because they pulled off a fantastic final act giving Diva a beautiful character moment.

Part of it is also because we now know this show will have 13 episodes and I’m actually kind of hopeful that we will see the overall narrative conclude. However, the realist in me knows that this episode was very much hit and miss with some character beats landing and other flying wide off the mark and a lot of the run-time being taken up with some cool visuals that ultimately had little substance.

Vivy Ep9 2
Sparkly though.

One thing this episode did do well was make me intrigued about what is next. What will Vivy do after these events and how will Matsumoto change now that he knows his vision and knowledge of the future is not infallible? What are the implications of the TOAK guy having technology that shouldn’t exist and who was responsible for his revelation? Is there actually another AI from the future pushing things in a different direction, which of course would explain why every time Vivy and Matsumoto have succeeded something else happens to push AI technology forward?

From an individual episode point of view, this one is fairly ordinary, as was episode seven. When taken in the context of the series, so far I have little to complain about as Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song has remained pretty compelling viewing this season and so far any perceived failings or plot holes have at the very least had attempts at addressing them giving us a Sci-Fi story that while not mind-blowing remains intriguing and the action and animation have remained pretty gorgeous to watch even if at times they rely on being very bright and messy.

Vivy Ep9 7
The end – though if Ophelia is still dead, wouldn’t that mean the future didn’t change?

I’m looking forward to the next episode and the next stage of Vivy’s journey.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Karandi James


Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 8 Impressions

Vivy Episode 8 3
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Who, me? Vivy asks the questions.

Vivy returns with episode 8 and in a surprising turn of events doesn’t resolve the current story with Ophelia and the potential for AI suicide. I will admit, I like the Diva we see in this particular time period. She’s got a lot of sass and she’s figured a few things out so she isn’t constantly wondering or relying on others to draw conclusions for her. While I’m not entirely sure that Diva is going to get out of this situation without her previous personality emerging again, I’m actually kind of enjoying her as she is and I’m loving that she’s managed to cause Matsumoto to rethink his own assumptions more than once.

Vivy calling Matsumoto out.
Given how far you’ve now diverged from the original timeline, one has to wonder how much it matters that Matsumoto is from the future at this point.

Ophelia gets a lot more time front and centre this week, which is nice given the story is apparently about her. In episode seven, we only really saw her as an up-and-coming songstress who seemed way too timid for the role. This episode fleshes her out and gives her back-story and motives. It really makes her feel like a complete character. Which makes the final sequence on the roof-top a fairly dramatic and interesting spin on everything that has come before it over the course of the two episodes (and no I’m not going to spoil it).

Part of me started questioning Matsumoto’s whole mission in this episode. He was sent back to stop the timeline from progressing to the point where AI’s declared war and essentially slaughtered the humans and initially he was doing this by trying to slow down AI advancement… however somewhere along the way that mission feels lost. Ophelia’s death in the original timeline certainly sparked a discussion about whether AI’s had souls and were feeling things, but even if humans determined AI’s did have rights would that necessarily lead to AI’s becoming more advanced? It seems that without the original ‘naming’ law that Vivy managed to head-off, they’ve advanced just fine. Actually faster than originally intended.

Vivy Ep8 2
The original timeline.

However, despite repeated failure at diverting the timeline away from advancing AI’s, Matsumoto remains convinced his path is the correct one. While I get that part of that is his programming and loyalty to the ‘mission’ it also makes little sense. Ultimately his mission was to stop the war but his current course doesn’t seem to be working and he isn’t considering alternatives. I really did like that the ending of this episode really did smack Matsumoto in the face with the fact that he isn’t the be all and end all and that his assumptions aren’t always right.

Vivy Ep8 3
And this is probably a good thing.

Finally, we get another close encounter with the mysterious man from last week. They seemed to indicate he was the guy that Vivy has saved a number of times, the terrorist guy, but he’s so much younger. We then get a flashback sequence where he’s learning piano from an AI who dies trying to save humans… It seems like they are trying to establish a back-story for his actions but it all felt a little weak compared with how other characters have been built up along the way. It wasn’t poorly done but it just lacked impact in amongst everything else this episode.

Vivy Ep8 6
Same guy? Different guy? Not sure.

What I do know is that the next episode is already out and I am definitely going to go watch it as soon as I proof-read this draft because to be honest, I want to know what happens next.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Karandi James


Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 7 Impressions

Vivy Episode 7
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Vivy or Diva?

One of the interesting things that comes out of episodical anime reviews is that each episode ends up getting evaluated on its own strengths and weaknesses rather than when you review a whole season and you are looking at the overall flow of a narrative and the quality carried across an entire season. As a result we have an episode such as episode 7 of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song that is still a decent episode but isn’t as compelling as the six previous episodes delivered by this series and the end result is I felt a little disappointed when it ended even though that is ridiculous and this anime remains a very solid watch.

Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song
Diva is focused.

Part of the problem comes from the fact that Diva/Vivy has had some kind of memory glitch and is firmly in Diva mode. She’s forgotten her previous missions with Matsumoto, outside of a few minor glimpses and her focus is firmly on her performance on the main stage. We’ve jumped again in time and she is now 60 years old but we’re only the briefest of glimpses into how her previous actions have affected the time-line.

The basic formula has been the first episode of a pair gives us the new context, establishes a mission and Vivy sets off before we end on some kind of surprise or obstacle and then the second episode resolves it. Here we lack the context other than Diva is really successful and there’s a concert happening and the reveal at the end of the episode seemed to come out of nowhere (unless of course you know what happens to Shakespeare’s characters in which case the name makes sense but it still seems like an out of context problem for Matsumoto to be involved with).

Whether this ultimately proves to be a weak link in an otherwise strong narrative will really be determined by the next episode and whether or not it brings all the threads together. I have confidence in this anime so far because it has given us six pretty solid episodes leading up to this one, but on its own, without the second part, honestly this one feels a little lacking.

Vivy Ep7 6
Good question and why does he keep changing size (or rather, how does he do it)?

However, while the narrative feels a little lacking in grounding and like it got a little lost or is meandering a bit, Diva/Vivy’s character was on full display this week. Since her first encounter with Matsumoto this AI has been going through small and subtle changes and these have definitely accumulated to the Diva we meet at the start of this episode some 60 years on from that first meeting.

While she is still definitely an AI and hasn’t just become an idol, her personality has very much expanded to feel more nuanced and fitting with her role as a performer. It is a really wonderful character evolution to watch and it will be interesting to see where the story takes this.

Vivy Ep7 3
Yeah, don’t call the mechanical girl heavy.

As usual, this episode looked really good. The opening song was fantastic to listen to and the visuals were spot on as always. The weakest point comes during the darker scenes where Vivy activates her combat program to avoid some falling debris, but even then the movement is pretty fluid. As much as I have said this episode is a weaker entry that is only comparably to the rest of this series. Vivy remains one of my favourite shows that I am watching this season and if it wasn’t for my fascination with Mars Red it would be my top pick for the season.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Karandi James


Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 6 Impressions

Vivy Episode 6 Review
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That was an interesting twist in Vivy this week.

Vivy continues to be a fairly compelling viewing experience. Episode spoilers follow.

The story isn’t without it’s flaws – I mean there’s genuinely no reason for the AI at the end of this episode to still have its human torso and even less reason to believe that a single puncture would somehow shut the whole thing down so stopping and thinking about the climax here isn’t going to get you very far except to realise that they went for looks cool over practical or logical.

That said, these moments of ‘look aren’t we cool’ are offset by some genuinely clever story telling that mean the audience can follow the plot but at key points we are forced to question our own assumptions.

Vivy Ep6 5
Scientist and AI…

See, in episode 5, when this scenario was being set-up I made an assumption. The first time-line that lead to the massacre we saw in episode 1, had a pivotal moment where a scientist married an AI, the first marriage between human and AI and it was a big deal. I assumed based on how the visuals had run together plus the presence of scientist with cute robot housemate that the marriage had still happened in this time-line.

Turns out though that Vivy’s alterations to history have made bigger ripples than originally suspected.

I liked this reveal because unlike some anime that pull a plot twist out before their climax, this one felt earned. As I thought back over episodes 5 and 6 I realised it all actually made perfect sense and it was the missing piece that the audience needed to understand why things turned out the way they did in this episode. That’s a well constructed plot twist when it does catch the audience by surprise but it makes sense on reflection rather than feeling like it came out of nowhere.

If we throw in the fact that with the time-travel element the audience has been waiting for the moment where things got out of alignment to the point where even Matsumoto couldn’t predict where things were heading, it was a plot twist that fell within our expectations even if the specific details were a surprise.

Vivy Fluorite Eyes Song Episode 6
This still feels like a fairly forced emotional moment though. Have these guys never heard of copy and paste?

Additionally, we finally had an actual conversation between Vivy and the TOAK guy. Admittedly, he mostly threw suspicions at her, but surprisingly he ended up helping her to achieve her goal. it kind of leaves me wondering when their next encounter will be and whether he’ll listen first or just start shooting.

It is a bit weird because the TOAK guy is the only reoccurring character outside of Vivy and Matsumoto and he’s getting older in leaps and bounds between stories. I wonder if he’ll be a gray haired old man by the end or if once he gets too old to participate in battles anymore if he’ll dramatically sacrifice himself for the cause? Weird how a character I have no name for has made me this invested in what his future holds.

With all that said though, I do have to point out that the action animation in the climax of this episode took a definite hit. The sound didn’t. If you want a cool action sequence to pop-song moment Vivy continues to deliver on those. It would be nice if eventually we got a wider range of songs but at least it sounds cool. However, the visuals became very messy during this sequence.

I get part of it was to show speed and movement however thinking back to Attack on Titan and the sequence where Levy is fleeing through the town and how fluid and clean that looked despite the pace, Vivy isn’t even going to come close. What we get is a cacophony of colours and blurs with explosions without a lot of detail. Though, the final approach to the core took a very Star Fox turn.

Vivy Ep6 1
I’m just waiting for Andross to appear at the end of this tunnel.

Going forward I look forward to the next conflict Vivy is going to have to intervene in. I loved that in this arc she’s embraced the two sides of herself. Diva, the singing AI and Vivy, the one who fights to protect humans so that she can sing for them. It was a great character moment for her. The biggest flaw in this series remains Matsumoto as he still manages to pull out amazing technological solutions to things almost without effort at times and yet at others he’s pretty hopeless, depending on what the narrative needs him to be.

Still, if someone was to ask what shows they should check out from the Spring anime season, I’d definitely have Vivy on the list as so far it has been a pretty enjoyable ride.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James