From beginning to end, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song has been a fascinating ride.
I really can’t thank Ashley enough for choosing Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song as his series to sponsor reviews for this season. While I’d kind of flagged Vivy to check out given it was listed as a sci-fi/action and from Wit Studio (you know they people who brought us Attack on Titan) a few little points were keeping me from just jumping all in on watching the anime.
For instance the description of Vivy as an AI Songstress kind of sent up a red-flag for me. Was this actually going to be an idol anime disguised as sci-fi? And if idol-zombies couldn’t keep my attention I doubted turning the idol into a robot was going to make it any more interesting.
How wrong I was and how glad I am to have been wrong.
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Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song will potentially be my anime of the year. I am almost certain it will be my sci-fi of the year regardless because I just can’t imagine another story coming out in the same year that feels as cohesive, well planned, and ultimately as lovingly crafted as Vivy. That’s not a declaration that this anime is perfect, there’s definitely flaws and moments that miss their mark, but there’s so much effort put into it that you can kind of forgive its imperfections.
So what is it about?
Essentially we start our story the way so many time-travel stories begin with a vision of a future apocalyptic event and a scientist frantically typing away on a futuristic looking computer and apologising to someone for something we don’t really yet understand.
However, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song then takes us back 100 years before this incident where we meet Diva, an AI programmed to sing to make people happy and it is to her that a futuristic program or virus enters allowing Matsumoto to appear before her and to give her a new mission – the singularity project.
Essentially, she now has to change pivotal moments in history to prevent the AI rebellion in the future and save humanity.
In the process of deviating from her original programming, Diva ends up manifesting two distinct personalities and Vivy (previously just a nickname bestowed on her by a fan) becomes her own being.
What follows is a a series of stories that are told over two and three episodes where Matsumoto awakens to warn Vivy of a key moment and to direct her to take action before he goes back to sleep and we then jump into the future again.
While this might have felt disjointed in another narrative, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song links each of these developments together smoothly and we see in each encounter how their actions have changed, or in some instances not really changed, the future pathway. We also get to see the gradual changes in Vivy herself as she assimilates the experiences from each moment into her programming and by the end of the 100 years we see a far more fleshed out character.
That character development is one of the key strengths of the series.
Without such a protagonist, this story would have felt pretty formulaic and fairly sterile. However Vivy, the autonomous singer and robot tasked with changing the future, is a character who draws you into her story and her inner conflicts. Each mission teaches her something and seeing her in five or ten or twenty years after that mission and realising how it has changed her again is a really rewarding viewing experience.
By the time we get to the finale, this is a character who is well and truly dear to the audience’s heart and her final performance is an emotional affair to be sure.
Over the course of the story, Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song explores a range of themes fairly common for these sorts of stories. The underlying question Vivy is plagued by is what it means to put your heart into something. Unlike so many storeis, in this one we do hear Vivy’s answer that she has come to after 100 years of struggle. It is unimportant whether we agree with the answer, what is important is that the character finds closure in her answer.
There are also questions about AI rights and their purpose. The method by which they complete their missions. There is a terrorist group against AI’s that appear in most of the stories to muddy the waters. Politicians who use AI’s as a platform to raise their status. Individuals who fall in love. Robots who fall into despair.
Anyone expecting a scientific and sterile exploration of artificial intelligence will find all this focus on emotions somewhat distracting, however I found this approach in Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song to be fairly fulfilling. It also made the events and conflicts a lot more relatable to current affairs and various other situations.
However, that doesn’t mean the series just tosses logic to the wind and hope.
There’s a genuine effort to have the events in the story make sense. As questions arise, such as why Vivy was the AI that Matsumoto enlisted to save the future, the series provides an answer of sorts in fairly short order. Most other questions that seem like they might be a hole in the story get given explanations that at least on the surface satisfy and allow you to really just enjoy the story.
And enjoying the story really seems to be a priority for the people crafting it because from start to finish Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song comes across as planned and focused. There’s a clear end point and the narrative arc seems to be perfectly timed to satisfyingly conclude in that final episode.
As much as I loved Vivy, you won’t hear me clamouring for a season 2. This story is done and a most rewarding conclusion it is.
Of course, I wouldn’t object to a spin-off set in the same universe with a different AI at the helm of a different mission… but it isn’t needed.
Closure like this feels like a rarity in anime, more so in anime originals, and yet Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song has succeeded beautifully.
Additionally, the anime is beautiful. Visually the futuristic world is interesting and colourful and the AI designs, particularly their eyes, are stunningly details. However the fluid movements of the characters and the animation in general for this series are pretty solid.
The only real sticking point is in some of the more climatic fight sequences where the screen becomes very busy and I regularly described the scenes as ‘messy’ as so many colours and lights danced across the screen that details become lost. This is clearly an aesthetic choice, though it wasn’t one I loved (it does however get across the frantic nature of these conflicts).
But I haven’t yet mentioned the sound of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song.
For a show about a diva, it is inevitable there will be singing, however the way music has been integrated into episodes, conflicts and used as a pivotal plot point by the finale is something that should really be celebrated. The sound direction as a whole was truly masterful with some moments where sound and song were nearly overwhelming and other moments were silence was allowed and quiet contemplation followed.
Voice acting was similarly on point making each character distinct and emotional responses clear. Even the more robotic characters gave nuanced performances that enhanced their characters and really brought them to life.
In case I haven’t already made it clear, I really loved the experience of watching Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. While there were one or two episodes in the mid-season that weren’t quite as compelling as others, and while there are a few scenes that don’t quite hold up to the quality present in the rest of the narrative, overall this is an anime that has been longingly crafted and is thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
I can only hope we get more series like this one that feel so focused, well thoughts out, and deliver such a great ending in the future.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the series so be sure to leave me a comment below.
Images from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.
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