Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song review

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Review:

Vivy: Fluoride Eye’s Song is a sci-fi, action/thriller with musical elements. It is an anime orignal story which was produced by Wit Studio. Wit Studio previous works have included great anime series such as Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga and Owari No Sereph. As a result of Wit Studio’s previous works I was keen on giving this a go hoping this would be another hidden gem and for the most part I was not disappointed.

The basic premise for Vivy Fluoride is that in 100 years’ time an advanced form of AI will destroy humanity and it is Vivy’s mission to save this apocalyptic future from occurring. Whilst this may sound cliché there is a twist to this basic formula. Instead of this series typically involving a human protagonist the creators have opted to make the saviours an AI and robot.

The anime starts with us briefly seeing the apocalyptic events before it brings us back 100 years in the past. Here it is up to Vivy and her aide Matsumoto to stop these future events from transpiring by changing events at key moments throughout history. What makes this series enjoyable and engaging is two-fold; during each major arc we get significant character developments in Vivy's personality who is always questioning her role, motivations and what her true desires are. It is her desires and her subsequent conflicts in goals that largely dictate her later actions. That may sound contrived but it is all handled well.

The second pull of this series is that there are often unintended consequences to actions both good and bad with the decisions Vivy and Matsumoto make. What transpires in one major arc often has repercussions in future events and the series makes it a thing to highlight that noble or less noble acts can lead to unexpected outcomes. To add to all this the differing, and often conflicting, attitudes of a kind hearted Vivy and the more pragmatic Matsumoto makes the audience ponder who is the character with the correct attitude. Throughout the series I was conflicted, sometimes siding with Vivy other times with Matsumoto. This character dynamic as well as the overall nature of the plot does a good job of keeping viewers engaged as we are always left guessing what will happen next both with the characters and the overall story.

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This is not the only hook to the series. Our main protagonist Vivy is, at least to me, a very likeable character. She is earnest and her determination and single mindedness to achieve her goals however simple they maybe are admirable and I couldn’t help myself in rooting for her. Moreover, as events transpire, she does show significant character development where she is influenced not just by the events in the series but by the characters she encounters throughout her journey. In the end we find that she progressively becomes more human like as the series advances. Again, this may sound cheesy but it is well written so the transformation is believable.

With that said there are points in this series that will deter some viewers. There are downer episodes where despite the best efforts of our main protagonists events still transpire into bad, sometimes tragic outcomes. Whilst one may argue that these setbacks maybe seen to heighten the drama of later episodes, I think the nature and magnitude is sufficient that I could see people becoming upset particularly as there is a point in the series where it seems there is one bad event after another. Also, whilst the ending did have a clear resolution; I could see the end being problematic to some. I found it good but it is not a fairy tale type ending so if you like Disney endings, umm walk away?

This being a sci-fi series I can also see people being disappointed in the fact this series does not delve too deeply in how this future society runs and what its societal norms are. It does deal with the overall relationship of AI and man but again this could have been explored in more detail so if you are looking at this series to produce some kind of societal commentary like Psycho Pass you will be left wanting. After viewing this whole series, I see this as ultimately a 100-year journey of Vivy and how she develops as an AI during those years. If you want to get the maximum enjoyment out of this series, I feel this is the lens on which to view Vivy Fluoride.

Looking at the more technical aspects of the series I would have to say that I was somewhat disappointed with the overall animation particularly as it was made by Wit Studio who have done some fantastically anime series like Attack on Titan, Kabaneri and Great Pretender. The notable exception here would be the various still shots placed throughout the series that always conveyed the mood of the scenes well.

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OP is good and a few episodes even incorporated into the episodes themselves. Seeing as a big theme is music the OP could leave some viewers slightly disappointed however there are numerous tracks throughout this anime and most of them are of a good quality. It is just somewhat unfortunate the ending is very forgettable.


To summarise, I would recommend this series; it has a sound plot, Vivy is a character you can easily root for and with further character developments found throughout you will always be left wondering what will happen next to the plot and characters. The main stumbling blocks I see is due to the nature of the time jumping plot the cast is limited and we see relatively little outside the main cast. Because of these limitations this ultimately becomes a tale about Vivy's journey through time and the various events and characters that occur serve as a prop for Vivy's character development. That can be taken as a positive or negative depending on your viewpoint but to me the overall series was written well so I saw this direction in a more positive light. Animation wise it is a mixed bag so if you are expecting stunning visuals you will be underwhelmed. Vivy is one of the better series in the spring season and 2021 so far.

Story 8 – Plot is strong for the most part. It starts strong and gets better at the beginning but there are downers and a relative lull before the final conclusion. Ending was good not great and will likely put some people off.

Characters 9 – Vivy is a strong protagonist with likeable traits that is developed in a good and believable way. The contrast between her view and Matsumoto only serve to heighten the tension and drama throughout the series. Secondary characters do not get the same treatment but still pretty solid.

Animation 6 – Main weakness of the series. Fairly average for the most part with some good stills inserted here and there. Opening is good but ending is forgettable.

Overall 8.5 – A hit for the most part and is a series I would recommend. Most anime viewers will like this and it could appeal to an audience even outside the anime community. Not the best in terms of Wit Studio but a solid entry nonetheless.
 
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warita200

Tai Youkai
Sempai
Very good review, thank you. I started watching this one and I felt it has a refreshing new take on the otherwise overdone theme. One of the major pluses of this series is the character of Vivy. Frankly, I am tired of squeaky whiny female characters, who always talk about feelings, love, trust and such . Vivy felt refreshingly real, relatable and no fuss. She is strong willed, determined, goal oriented and once she has taken a decision, she moves with precision to implement it. But she is not cold hearted by any means.

I also agree with Monsta, that there was a good ammount of believable chara development.... the only downer for me was, that at some point the episodes felt very repetetive. The characters of the arc were changing, the plot was slightly different, but the underlying idea always kind of the same. And it felt like they are rehashing the same episode over and over.

So I never really finish the series because of this. But it sounds like a solid anime and I would probably enjoy it much more overall than a flop such as Mars Red.
 

monsta666

-the bee's knees
Staff member
Fansub TV Team
Very good review, thank you. I started watching this one and I felt it has a refreshing new take on the otherwise overdone theme. One of the major pluses of this series is the character of Vivy. Frankly, I am tired of squeaky whiny female characters, who always talk about feelings, love, trust and such . Vivy felt refreshingly real, relatable and no fuss. She is strong willed, determined, goal oriented and once she has taken a decision, she moves with precision to implement it. But she is not cold hearted by any means.

I also agree with Monsta, that there was a good ammount of believable chara development.... the only downer for me was, that at some point the episodes felt very repetetive. The characters of the arc were changing, the plot was slightly different, but the underlying idea always kind of the same. And it felt like they are rehashing the same episode over and over.
I would agree that Vivy is an interesting and likeable character. She has her flaws and limitations but that is what makes her special rather than usual perfect character that is difficult to relate to. If Vivy was not there or we got the usual archetype female character then this series would be alot more forgetable. The fact that she slowly changes and reaches a point of conflict really adds to the drama. The first half of this series was great at least to me. If that momentum had been maintain throughout the series then Vivy Fluoride would have been a classic.

As it was it was not to be; there is a definite lull around episodes 6 to 10 where the series loses some of its earlier spark. I suppose the repeated time skips make it less novel but I would also say when Vivy loses a certain something I did fear the show had lost its mojo. It does get better towards the end and so you may like it if you carry on. I think it would be better to marathon as the relative lull is easier to stomach than if you watch week by week.
 

Norren

Lazy Artist
Sempai
I decided to check this one out after seeing the review here, and wow, am I glad I did. The writing in this one was beautiful, I actually really liked the direction things took with Episode 6 and onward, because they really helped drive home some of the implied themes that defined the episodic clash of Vivy and Matsumoto's way of doing things. I particularly liked the way that arc teased at expectations, and
the way in which future Archive sent back the tools to ensure "Diva" would die to wake Vivy back up.

At the heart, this story acts out an old fear of AI Research that a robot could justify anything in the pursuit of its assigned tasks. (I seem to recall that there is a term for the specific sort of attempted extinction apocalypse we see in the intro, but it eludes me at the moment.) But, rather than just manifest this fear in the antagonist of the story, it equally if not moreso manifests in our protagonist, who in the course of the story transforms from an empty vessel seeking the answer to a simple yet difficult question into an entirely new persona simply by adding to her purpose above and beyond her original mission, one step at a time in a very human way.

The entire length of the story, this development seems onesided- we aren't treated to the true cause of the apocalypse until the very end. All along the way, we see the ripples in history caused by Vivy's actions, and these ripples constantly tease to the "greater story" that, I suspect, is something only easily seen in a marathon or on repeat viewing. The implied impacts of every action through the story and every refusal to take action are potent, and the tug of war between Vivy and Matsumoto makes it clear that a more harmonious outcome was always possible, yet was denied by focusing too narrowly on the future. (Edit: To emphasize, I believe the greater meta purpose behind the constant timeskips is to call attention to this without outright exposition dumping it.)

I do note with interest, that the various AIs possess far more emotion than typical AIs of this kind of story do. The uncertainty and overconfidence that plagues the human-like models is punctuated by more detailed drawings of them meant to pound home the uncanny valley of human-like behavior coming from an artificial plastic face. I was actually inclined to skip this show based on seeing some of these more detailed stills- the surreal style of art used is revolting to the point of disgust for me, yet in context these frames were perfect tone setting and I don't think anything could have replaced them.

That said, I'm only going to give this one an 8 out of 10. The very final moment of the show has a rather damningly placed error, where either the animation team used some stock reference material when roughing things in and ran out of time to properly finish the final scene or the editing team didn't recognize the material they had was in tonal dissonance with the story leading up to it. Either way, it robbed the show of a 9/10. I am very curious to see if the BD redraws those final frames to fix it, and may revise my rating if they do.

All in all, a great show.
 
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