Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song-
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song- ?
It's been a long road for Vivy but the end is finally here. All in all, this episode was shaping up to be a pretty solid ending to the series... well, until the moment it suddenly wasn't.
This final episode of Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song- is a bit of a break from the pattern the series has followed so far in that the arc doesn't end in an eye-watering action scene, despite it being the final climax of the entire story. Oh sure, there are gun fights and we get some brief scenes of Elizabeth kicking ass, but there's no beautifully choreographed and highly-detailed animated fight scene that Vivy usually caps its arcs with—meaning the series peaked in that department during the fight between Diva and Yugo back in episode 9.
However, this episode isn't really about Vivy saving the world. Rather, it's a personal climax about Vivy discovering what Diva figured out decades before: what it means to sing from the heart. And to be honest, Vivy had largely cracked the code when she wrote her song years before. Being one with the memories that shaped you—incorporating your experiences and emotions, both positive and negative, into your actions—is what it means to do anything “from the heart.” After all, it's not only the joy in your life that develops you as a person, it's also the pain and suffering—and the struggle to overcome those emotions—that make a human, well, human.
This realization was only possible due to Vivy's hundred year journey to save the world. Had “Diva” stayed on her small stage in Nialand before being shipped off to a museum as little more than a footnote in the evolution of AI, she never would have accomplished her mission and found the fulfillment therein. Yet by becoming Vivy and growing far beyond her original programming, she was able to not only complete her self-proclaimed mission to stop the robot apocalypse but Diva's impossible-seeming mission to make everyone happy through song as well. After all, what song could possibly make people happier than the one that literally saved the lives of every person on the planet?
Honestly, that's a damned solid ending on a thematic level and one I was more than happy with. It's just too bad that the post-episode stinger had to come along and undercut everything in an attempt at some twisted version of a “happy ending.”
We're greeted with what appears to be an amnesiac Vivy waking up and being told by Matsumoto that her mission is “to make everyone happy with [her] singing.” But here's the problem: that's not the mission that made Vivy the “Vivy” we came to know and love. Vivy, as an AI entity, was special because she had three missions—one she struggled to understand her entire life, one she stumbled onto, and one she chose for herself.
The first of these missions is similar to the one we see in the stinger, but the latter lacks the vital additional wording which challenged Vivy to grow beyond being a simple songstress AI: “Your mission is to make everyone happy with your singing. To accomplish that, you must sing from your heart.” This is the core of Vivy's main personal conflict—hence why her finding an answer to what it means to sing with all her heart is the climax of the entire series.
Her second mission was the one she gained through her association with Matsumoto: to be an AI who will destroy AIs to stop the robot apocalypse. This mission gave her the chance to develop outside of her designated role and, in doing so, gain the experiences needed to fulfill her original mission as Diva.
The third mission is one that she gave herself, not due to outside influences—be that her creators or Matsumoto—but simply out of a need to better understand herself. Her creating her own song sets her apart from all other AIs as it is an obvious expression of self-determination—something AIs by their very nature do not have. It's an act of pure creativity born from deep introspection that literally saved the world by making the world's most complex and long-lived AI question itself and its plans for all robot kind.
So in the end, the person we see in the epilogue isn't Vivy—hell, it isn't even Diva. It's a new “sisters”-type AI in Vivy's body with a mission that all but ensures she'll never even become a sliver of what she was before. This new “Vivy” lacks the built-in drive for introspection, the opportunity to grow beyond her designed niche, and the environment to birth the creativity that saved mankind from extinction. And I don't know about you, but I feel that this death of personality is a much sadder ending than if Vivy simply sacrificed herself to save the world.
• I'm happy we got the clarification on why Vivy saving Toak faster than she did last time was worth Osamu dying. Even arriving a few minutes earlier saves a vast number of Toak soldiers and preserves the equipment needed to break into Archive.
• I really enjoyed the goodbye scene between Vivy and Matsumoto. Him accepting who she is, rather than expecting her to be who she was created to be, was surprisingly touching. You can see just how much it meant to Vivy—and how it gave her the state of mind needed to resist Navi's manipulations.
• Navi was designed to support Diva while Matsumoto was designed to support Vivy. Navi wanted “Diva” as she was, not “Vivy” as she became. But I liked how mature and introspective Vivy was about the whole thing. She sees and admits it was a mistake to give up on trying to include Navi in both sides of her life, thus abandoning him and leaving him without a purpose.
• It's also clear that Navi was, in his own way, trying to save Vivy's life. He cares more about her existence than that of the humans—though that care may be born from selfish reasons rather than selfless ones.
• It's important to remember that “Vivy” was born long before Matsumoto showed up. She was created in the eyes of one little girl who saw an AI as a caring person rather than a soulless robot.
• Elizabeth, who once tried to kill millions of humans for the sake of one man, is now going to be viewed as the savior of humanity and the last autonomous AI in existence. While Vivy died a hero, Elizabeth has the much harder challenge of living as one. She will be the champion of her kind going forward. If AI were ever to exist as a race again, it will be because of her actions going forward. I suspect her next 100 years will be as interesting as Vivy's last 100 were.
• All in all Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song- is one of the best anime of the season and is likely to be one of the best of the year. I hope you all enjoyed watching it as much as I did. Thanks for reading!
Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song- is currently streaming on Funimation.
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