Terrorist trying to kill a man in a high-rise? Can Vivy safely get him out?
It was clear from the start of episode 2 that this episode of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song was going to be a much darker episode (which given episode one started with a whole bunch of robots murdering civilians in horrific ways seems like it should be the darker episode). However from the opening scene where we have armed men storming a building and Vivy taking a bullet to defend the politician who wants to pass the AI Naming Rights law there are very few moments of quiet contemplation and we lurch from scene to scene of Vivy attempting to get said politician out of this building. (Some spoilers ahead)
This episode also gave us a clear understanding of why Vivy was chosen for this mission and why they didn’t send Matsumoto back further or earlier in the time-line. It might be a slightly lame explainer, and fairly convenient if you want an ill-suited singing AI as your main protagonist, but at least they didn’t ignore that this was a problem for the story if unaddressed.
One problem that does emerge though is that Matsumoto has some very convenient technology hacking abilities. While that might be explained because of his 100 year advantage on the current technology, it makes little sense when at some points he seems to have nearly omniscient control of the surroundings and at others the groups get held up by small things. He’s inconsistent in his interventions and mostly it seems to be for the sake of plot convenience rather than logic.
In this episode we see Vivy stepping outside of her original programming and despite being fairly tough because she’s a robot, she isn’t programmed for combat, infiltration or any of the other actual skills she’d need for the current situation. While Matsumoto tries to patch her with various bits of data (Matrix style downloading combat skills) Vivy isn’t really keen on it given her central mission, or purpose, is to make people happy by singing. It adds some very real tension to the situation and the fast pace and fantastic use of sound in this episode really keep things moving along and kept me invested.
The human villains in this episode don’t get a huge amount of characterisation outside of being anti-AI. The younger and less experienced guy in the crew gets saved by Vivy and is somewhat furious about it so there’s a few ways this could go.
More time is spent on humanising the politician, but largely to point out that even though he’s campaigning for AI rights, he only cares about how that looks publicly and the votes it can earn him. He doesn’t actually care about AIs. It is a fairly cynical look at the motives behind what should be altruistic actions by those in power and as he quickly breaks down at every threat he’s not being shown in a particularly positive light at all.
Basically I enjoyed the whole building siege and the explosive ending. Then the anime did something weird and after a touching moment between singer and teddy-bear we cut to a scene where the two are fighting. While I put together why soon after, it felt like we’d just kind of jumped ahead and something was missing. It was the first time across either of the first two episodes where a scene change had felt jarring.
But, I did like the reason why they were disagreeing. Vivy was using the information in the paper from the future and realised that her human friend was going to die and wanted to save her. Matsumoto wasn’t having that because it had nothing to do with either of their missions. While this sequence could have been much better presented it does set a clear precedent for future actions.
Episode 2 definitely build on the expectations set in episode 1 and Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song continues to be a pretty interesting watch. I’m very curious about which way this will go and what the end game will be. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it doesn’t derail before we get to the end.
Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.
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