Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song-
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song- ?
Last episode ended on a massive cliffhanger as Vivy realized that, by being directly responsible for the death of a human, her latest mission as “Vivy” had led to her contradicting her mission as “Diva.” With this, the walls she put up to allow her to have two missions at once came crashing down—leading to the AI equivalent of a mental breakdown. Unfortunately, this week's episode isn't about Vivy struggling to come to terms with what happened and possibly becoming an AI unlike any other in the process. Rather, the anime simply sidesteps the whole dilemma.
After the events on Metal Float, all memories of her activities as Vivy have simply been wiped from her data banks (or at least partitioned off so she can't access them), including the formative memory of her first fan, Momoka, and the name she received from the little girl. So in a very real sense, this episode doesn't follow Vivy. It follows Diva.
On the surface, Diva seems to be what she would have become if she hadn't gotten involved in Matsumoto's time travel shenanigans. She's a popular singer who, thanks to being the oldest autonomous AI in existence, has the breadth of experience needed to act in a way indistinguishable from humans. Not only has she sung on the main stage in Nialand, she's the closing act in a major music festival. It's basically the life she had always dreamed of: to bring happiness to humans through her songs on a massive scale.
Of course, if you look more closely, you'll realize that Diva's success is built largely on what she learned during her missions as Vivy—regardless of whether she remembers those events or not. Her philosophy for singing mirrors what Momoka told her about singing from her heart and the personal theories she quotes aren't her own: they are Estella's. Moreover, it's been implied that in Matsumoto's original timeline, Diva was largely a failure as a singer which is why she eventually ended up as a display piece in a museum.
So it makes sense that Diva realizes deep down that something is wrong with her. However, without any external proof, she's able to go on about her life as normal, focused on her singular mission. Of course, the moment she sees the man who looks identical to a young Yugo, all that stability goes out the window. Her subsequent meeting with Matsumoto only makes things worse; she knows from the start that he has something to do with the part of her that's missing.
Yet, what's most interesting about their interactions in this episode is how hard Matsumoto tries to keep her out of what's going on. The Matsumoto we knew would have done everything in his power to manipulate Diva into helping him with his mission. However, here he seems to care about her well-being nearly as much as he cares about the success of his mission. Not only does he save her from physical harm twice, he keeps her in the dark to spare her from mental harm as well. It only when she hints that she has information vital to his mission that he gives her any information on their shared past at all—even then, he tip-toes around the situation that caused her to freeze up. Honestly, at this point, it seems likely that Matsumoto is the one responsible for her memory loss.
This episode's cliffhanger revolves around the revelation that Ophelia, the youngest and most talented of Diva's sister AIs, is destined to commit suicide at this event. It's a thought-provoking plot hook; after all, an AI ending its own life would directly contradict its built-in mission. At this point, only Diva has been able to do this on her own, and it wasn't exactly on purpose. The only obvious reason an AI might self-terminate is because they have already failed their mission. And while we don't know if this is the case with Ophelia, we do know that this is the case with Diva. Should she get her memories back, it might be her that ends up dead by her own hands, not Ophelia.
This episode gives us two big timeline facts that don't help very much. We know that at least 12 years have passed since the Metal Float incident (because this is the 12th Zodiac Festival) but not the exact date. We also learn that Vivy is 61. However, as we don't know how old she was at the start of the series, we can't use that information yet either. Edit: As helpful reader 09jcg pointed out in the comments, Diva was about a year old in episode one of the series—in fact, Matsumoto's bear body was her birthday present from Momoka. I don't know how or why that slipped my mind but the correction is appreciated!
• A character named Ophelia gets dunked in water not once but twice and is destined to commit suicide? I think even Shakespeare might call your allusions a little too on-the-nose at this point.
• So Ophelia used to travel with a partner—a partner who is obviously not around now. Yeah, no way that's not going to be important.
• The Yugo look-alike could be several things at this point: a hologram, an AI, or even Yugo's son.
• I'm not discounting that the whole Yugo thing could be a setup by Matsumoto to drag Diva back into his mission. But I'll be the first to agree that that would mean he is going hardcore into reverse psychology while seeming completely sincere.
• Somehow I'm convinced that this is building to be yet another Toak terrorist attack—like that they will infect Ophelia with a virus to make her commit suicide (thus proving that AIs are mentally unstable and therefore unsafe).
• Every time Diva snaps her fingers, I am reminded of Tamanawa from My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU and expect her to let out a stream of nonsensical buzzwords—or perhaps break into a rap.
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