"My mission is to make everyone happy by singing. That is the only reason I continue to operate." -Diva
At the first glance, "Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song" is a deceptively normal idol animated series whose voice actors/actresses want to promote their music career. But Vivy is a no nonsense profound story about Artificial Intelligence (AI) that offers one of the best watching experience in 2021. Its writers Tappei Nagatsuki and Eiji Umeha are aiming to overcome the colossal shadow of their previous works; and Wit Studio is doing its best to create stunningly high quality animation.
The first arc contains two episodes: Episode 1: "My Code: To Make Everyone Happy with My Singing" and Episode 2: "Quarter Note- The Beginning of the One Hundred-Year Journey". Together, they offer much more enjoyment than our anticipation.
An advanced AI named Matsumoto (Jun Fukuyama) is sent to 100 years in the past. His mission is to enlist support from Diva(VA: Atsumi Tanezaki, singing voice: Kairi Yagi), the first autonomous humanoid android, to change events (singularities) that leads to an AI-human war in the future.
Their first mission is to prevent the death of assemblyman Aikawa (Masayuki Kato) whose death will trigger an overwhelming support for the AI Naming Law. Should Diva and Matsumoto fail, the law allow massive improvement in AI technology which will certainly lead to AIs rampage in the future.
But throughout the episodes, Diva frequently do things beyond her programming. She refuses the installment of a combat program when situation demands. She saves an enemy combatant from falling debris which could cause her mission to fail. Most of all, her reckless decisions contradict to Ai logics. These suggest Diva is much more human than her AI partner Matsumoto.
Their struggling partnership is a major conflict in the first arc. While Matsumoto's communication skill are as natural as human, and his form is a cute teddy bear, do not let that fool you. He has a very data-driven and calculative analytic personality. He believes that for AI, "it never all or nothing, but ones and zeros that we cling to determine how we can complete every task in a rational way." This brings him conflict with his own mission. On one hand, he sees Diva's as a liability. On the other hand, he cannot complete his mission without her because she is the only AI that can continue to exist in the future. This conflict has much more potential in future episodes. Should he abandon Diva at the right moment? Should he come to term with her? Or should he hijack her system, overwrite her personality and control her like an emotionless puppet?
The sci-fi setting create unique and fantastic moments. Matsumoto hacks all the enemy's electronic devices and makes them experience a fake reality in accordance for minutes. Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song even pulls out a Code Geass moment beautifully. Upon hearing Diva's suggestion, Matsumoto detonates all the bombs in the building. The explosion stops their pursuers while creates a temporary bridge from the top half of the building. Within seconds, Diva carries Mr. Aikawa, dashes across the collapsing building and jumps to the nearby building. That is astonishingly breath-taking.
Tappei Nagatsuki is famous for setting up cruel trials and twists so that his characters can grow. In Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song, the "one AI, one mission" mandate appears to be the greatest challenge Diva will have to overcome. According to the narrative explanation, any AI who attempts to fulfill more than one mission will fail all of them due to confusion. Thus, this mandate is an iron-clad rule even in 100 years in the future. Diva is the only AI that takes two mission: singing and prevent future AI war. Is she destined to fail? So far, she seems to succeed both her mission without significant setbacks. To do so, she stretches her interpretation, "my mission is to make everyone happy by singing. So how can I let someone before my eyes die." Diva believes that saving humans is a stepping stone to fulfill her mission. After all, dead people can't see her sing.
This makes the violent scene in the beginning very terrifying. AIs from the future meticulously slaughter humans because they believe they are helping human. Similar to Skynet in the Terminator series nuking every country to prevent war, the future AI calculates the best way to help humans is to exterminate the root of all problems: humans themselves.
What makes Diva's interpretation of both missions different? In the unlikely event, the threat of failing both mission still persists. Matsumoto says that in the future, Diva will be deactivated and preserved in a museum. Does that imply that Diva will eventually fail her singing mission as well, given very few people ever see her performance?
"Museum-bound in the near future? What if I am?... For us AIs, it is not a matter of how long we operate. It is how we can continue to operate, is it not?"
Diva tells those words to Matsumoto when he laments about the hopeless situation, insisting that she will fulfill both her mission and his. This follows with Diva taking a desperate escape and succeeds in saving assemblyman Aikawa. When we see Diva and Matsumoto shake hands to celebrate their partnership, we are given a false sense of security that this anime will have a happy ending because of protagonist's determination cliché.
We are brutally wrong. A second after shaking hands, a new scene appears out of nowhere. Matsumoto who is in control of a big construction vehicle knocks Diva to the ground and break her arm to prevent her from stopping another tragedy. Diva's only friend Momoka dies when her airplane explodes in the air. A detail, beautiful close up shot focus on Diva's watery eyes as the reflection of the fiery accident.
Matsumoto, in his solemn voice, warns Diva that he will not allow her individual action to alter unnecessarily the timeline which leads to their mission failure.
As we are in shock with the unpredictable twist, the message is clear: Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song is not a typical anime, but an extraordinary contender for one of the best anime ever made. I'm looking forward with excitement to see how Vivy's story reach its end.