Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song-
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song- ?
Up until this point, the series' structure has been following a simple pattern with each of Vivy's adventures taking place over two episodes. Each first episode tends to set up the mystery and then end on a cliffhanger that recontextualizes what we've seen so far. Each second episode shows us how Vivy overcomes the actual problem and grows in the process. However, with this episode, the pattern is broken.
The Ophelia arc looks to be a three-part story rather than a two-part one—which makes sense, when you think about it. Episode 7 was all about introducing us to the new “Diva”—i.e., what Vivy has become without all the memories that made her into an AI who would destroy other AIs to stop the robot apocalypse. It didn't really have time to set up the actual conflict facing Diva and Matsumoto until the closing seconds of the episode, which means that we were either going to get a rushed two-parter or a well-paced three-parter. I'm happy we got the latter.
With most of the Diva stuff out of the way, this episode is all about the mystery: what could make an AI commit suicide? We learn about what Ophelia's life was like when she had just started out. She had an overbearing support AI, Antonio, who was basically her only fan; then one day, Antonio simply shut off for unexplained reasons. While clearly hurt, she continued to sing on and eventually became loved the world over.
Matsumoto postulates that, like Vivy, Ophelia's growth most likely resulted in her redefining her mission in a way that led to an irreconcilable conflict. By including Antonio in her mission to “make everyone happy through singing,” it's possible that she was unable to deal with the fact that her mission is now impossible due to his unexplained shut down.
Unfortunately, what's also apparent here is that Matsumoto is projecting his own issues onto Ophelia. During the Metal Float incident, Vivy became his ideal partner, but doing so led to her own mental destruction. It's clear Matsumoto needed to understand why it happened and eventually figured it out—with him likely responsible for Diva's memory loss as a way to save her life. However, in doing so, he has lost his partner in crime forever. Yet, even without her memories (and with more life experience) it's obvious that Diva could easily fall back into her old role again—i.e., saving lives so that they can be made happy by her songs. Matsumoto is torn between needing her help and wanting to save her from a repeat of their last adventure.
However, as we see in the closing moments of the episode, Matsumoto's focus on his past with Vivy has blinded him to other possibilities when it comes to Ophelia. While it's a bit ambiguous, it seems that Ophelia, as we know her, doesn't actually exist anymore. Rather, outside of the flashback, it is Antonio inside Ophelia's body who has been running the show. It's him that wants to commit suicide.
Antonio sees Ophelia as the perfect singer. With her gone and him in her body, he has tried to recapture her essence through song. However, his imitations of her songs have failed to live up to his own idealized expectations. He attempted different things—wandering the world playing in front of different small audiences, doing huge events in front of millions, asking the top AI singers for advice—but none of this has helped him achieve his goal of singing like Ophelia did, of bringing her back to life in that way. I suspect this is his own way of twisting his mission into something new. But in the end, what is a support AI without anyone to support? Is it any surprise that, in his despair, he wants to kill himself?
• It make sense why Antonio performs better during a sound test than in an actual concert. In a sound test, he is singing to a small audience like Ophelia did—and more than that, he isn't singing to a crowd of people, but to his memory of her.
• I wonder if Antonio is named for the lead character in Antonio's Revenge—a play written by Shakespeare's friend, John Marston—which has a plot quite similar to that of Hamlet. (Fun Ophelia-related fact: in the play, Antonio is thought to have died by drowning at one point .)
• We have a good conflict going on here between Matsumoto and Diva. She wants to know why her memories were wiped but if he tells her why, she'll likely go catatonic again.
• I'm unclear on how the death of Yugo's piano teacher AI during his childhood caused him to grow up and want to commit AI genocide... but I have a feeling we'll find out next episode.
• I'm also interested to see why Yugo looks so young now and how/if Toak is involved in the events surrounding Ophelia and Antonio.
• The other big looming mystery to be resolved is what happened to Ophelia in the first place.
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