Mission Accomplished? Vivy thinks not.
Four episodes along and I’m incredibly happy by Ashley’s pick here. While Vivy: Fluorite’s Eye Song had been on my list of anime to check out at some point, largely because of its sci-fi tag, it certainly hadn’t been high on my priority list for watching and that would have been a mistake. I’m really enjoying this story and I’m enjoying it episodically because it is giving me time to think about what has happened, the implications of events, and to speculate. What is a sci-fi without viewer speculation?
However, outside of the genre tag, I’m actually just enjoying this anime because it is clear there’s been a lot of love put into its production. It is truly beautiful to look at and most of the vocal performances (both the singing ones and just the dialogue) have been spot on. It elevates this beyond interesting and into something that is actually kind of captivating to watch even if the after episode nit-pick does undermine some of the plot points (always going to happen with time-travel sci-fi).
This fourth episode largely closes the hotel arc and kind of sets us up with an expectation for a pattern going forward. The first arc took two episodes then we had a time skip. We’ve had the hotel story play out over two episodes and the preview kind of indicates we’re jumping forward again in the next episode.
In another anime this might lead to the anime feeling disjointed but here we new from the beginning that the point was to alter 100 years of history and our main character is actually not alive so will still appear the same regardless of the time skip, changing arms with another AI, or even uploading additional programs.
Yes, Vivy did in fact let Matsumoto upload a combat program during this encounter. The end result of which leaves me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it shows that Vivy has progressed despite being an AI. In order to accomplish the mission before her she needs to accept it and while in the previous mission she allowed her primary mission (to make people happy through singing) prevent her from adding programs that would distract from that, here she understands that to save the girl in front of her (and everyone else) her singing program won’t be enough.
This does however lead to the small problem of wondering where the challenge will be going forward for Vivy. If Matsumoto can simply upload whatever she needs how will they bring tension. While it was cool to see Vivy take direct action in the second half of this episode, things became significantly easier for her and the threat level definitely diminished.
Admittedly, there are other avenues to explore such as Vivy losing a sense of who she actually is if they keep just piling stuff on, not to mention there are other AI who are combat capable, but a lot of the thrill in the first arc was seeing Vivy fight through insane odds without the combat program.
I was also happy to see they did bring back the guy from the previous episode – you know, the young guy whose life Vivy saved and was angry about it. Well, he’s still angry and still working for a terrorist organisation working to turn people against AI’s. And he most definitely recognised Vivy.
I’m very curious as to what role he will play going forward in this anime given he’s now appeared in two arcs and so far is the only human character who knows about Vivy’s involvement in both situations. I did think he was a little underused here given his late appearance on the scene and then being knocked out and removed from the final conflict, but at least if he shows up in the next arc it won’t feel like he’s come out of nowhere.
Perhaps my biggest issue was the idea behind Estelle and Elizabeth and their backstory. It wasn’t really fleshed out enough to make sense and ultimately just felt like a cheap fix to make the current situation work. Thinking about the experiment they were initially a part of it didn’t make sense that Elizabeth was dumped at the end of it.
Surely simply wiping her program and starting over would have made far more sense rather than wasting the resources by discarding her. I really felt like they needed to either spend more time constructing that particular back-story or just needed a simpler explanation for how the terrorists intended to pull off this whole crashing the space-station plan. It was the one real road-block to this story feeling like it had thought its way through all the problems.
All and all this was another solid episode that resolved the current arc. Sure we’re left with questions, and ultimately still don’t know what impact this will have on future events. I did also feel that ultimately Vivy ‘won’ this round a little too easily, but it doesn’t take away from the episode ending which was both gorgeous and poignant as the credits played over yet another character song.
I am definitely looking forward to episode 5.
Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.
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