"If we can't cry, then at least, let us be the ones who are always smiling." Elizabeth
Intense action scenes. The emotional reunion of the twins. Beautiful soundtrack underneath the starry sky. The central philosophical question of Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song what does "putting your heart into something" means. Not only the AIs answer it with their earnest actions, the production team behind "Vivy" certainly make it with great passion, too. The Sunrise Arc definitely surpasses the previous arc.
The Sunrise Arc covers episode 3 "A Tender Moon Tempo - A Pleasant Chat with the Stars" and Episode 4 "Ensemble for Polaris - Our Promise". After 15 years, space tourism becomes possible due to AI technical advances. Diva(VA: Atsumi Tanezaki, singing voice: Kairi Yagi), under the identity Vivy, and Matsumoto infiltrate Space Hotel Sunrise to prevent it from crashing. Matsumoto (Jun Fukuyama) offers to destroy Estella, the "most grievously defective AI" according to his database, as quickly as possible. Vivy declines as she tries to understand the cause behind Estella decision. Eventually, the situation becomes more complex as they discover Estella's twin sister is still alive and behind the crash.
The story begins with Vivy's desire to know what does a "heart" means. For AIs who make decisions based on ones and zeros, the concept seems incomprehensible. A scientist in charge of maintaining Vivy suggests her to look for the answer of "what does 'putting your heart into something'" means to her.
This concept is the soul of the entire story. Ironically, it is the AIs that express the "heart" the most.
The "heart" means going beyond her caretaker/ life keeper mission. To Estella (VA: Yōko Hikasa, singing voice Licca), the cheerful AI owner of the hotel, it means "wanting our guests to happy." To achieve this, Estella goes extra miles to remove unpleasantries with her "genuine, unparalleled hospitality". Her smile relaxes her guests, even children love to play around her in the gravity playground. When the alarm causes the guests to panic, Estella shows them a beautiful view of the stars and sings a lullaby named "Ensemble to Polaris". The beautiful song compliment the view as it levitate the guests stress. Estella's sincere efforts beyond her caretaker program proves a "heart" in her.
"Putting your heart" also dictates Estella's headstrong twin sister Elizabeth(Yumi Uchiyama, Singing Voice Noa). Seven years ago, they were separated when their experiment failed, and Elizabeth was the only one being disposed, making her resentful toward humans and her sister. On a rainy day, when Elizabeth drags her broken body aimlessly in a scrapyard, it was Yugo Kakitani/Master(Tarusuke Shingaki) who found her and gave her a new mission to live for.
"Unlike me, the only one they discarded, you had a mission. I have nothing at all. And then he gave me... it was Master who gave me a new mission, who gave me light. And so... I am Master's life keeper. If it's our mission to serve humankind, then for me, the only member of humankind is Master." - Elizabeth to Estella
Contrary to Estella, Elizabeth devotes her life-keeper mission solely for her Master. When Master decides to confront Vivy alone, putting himself at risk, Elizabeth disobeys the order and sedates Master, so she can face Vivy and Estella in his place.
Fast-paced, smooth movement, intense and impactful the fight between Vivy and Elizabeth is. Time is running short. They waste no time for leisure chatting. At one point, Matsumoto makes a surprise virus attack on Elizabeth to reset her memory. As Elizabeth's body function deteriorates, her voice becomes crackle and eerie like a broken machine.
Knowing her time is up, she pours all her raw emotions for the last desperate attempt. She overwhelms Vivy and turns her next attack towards Estella. But she stops. Estella has Elizabeth's hair strands from years ago as a memento. Elizabeth's hesitation allows Vivy to deliver the finishing blows. As the last bit of her memory remains, she wholeheartedly wishes her Master to take care of himself.
When the twin AI sisters pour their heart in to their last mission, it creates the most hauntingly beautiful scene.
"At this moment, this plane is in Earth shadow, but we ask you to look to the right. Can you see Earth's outer rim gradually growing brighter?" - Estella
As it is too late to stop the fall, Estella stays behind to organize the evacuation and minimize the falling impact. An explosion wounds Estella preventing her from complete her mission. Feeling dejected, she regrets that she cannot save Elizabeth once again. Elizabeth who has regained consciousness arrives at Estella's side. Due to the reformatting, she reverted to the Elizabeth before the disposal, so for her this is the first time the twins meet in person. Elizabeth reminds Estella their promise to always smiling regardless of circumstances. Together, they lean their shoulders on each other with the determination to fulfil the last joint mission as life keepers.
The human guests in the dim evacuation planes are getting nervous as time passes by. A calm voice echoes the shuttles, telling them that they are going to land safely to a nearby airport. Then the shuttles are brightened with soothing white lights from the stars. As the guests are at awe of the alluring view, the relaxing lullaby Ensemble for Polaris is sung by two AI sisters, instead of one like the previous.
In the opposite direction where to one can see, the Sunrise engulf in flame. In the control room, dominated by the violent color of fire, Estella and Elizabeth sing a duet in harmony until everything is destroyed. The contrast between the happy humans and the demises of the twins is the embodiment of "putting your heart", bringing sorrowful tears to the viewers.
For Vivy, "putting your heart into something" means to shift from the emotionless Diva to the serious Vivy personality. "Diva" is nothing more than a title job name for an AI singer, but it is "Vivy" given to her by Momoka has the essence of a human heart in it. When she adopts "Vivy" she becomes more decisive and mission oriented. After she proactively requests Matsumoto to install the combat program that she once rejected, she quickly defeats multiple opponents at ease. This impresses Matsumoto as he believes Vivy is a "super sidekick AI" that he can rely on.
Furthermore, as Vivy assigns each identity for each mission, Vivy succeeds both missions in contrast to the "one AI, one mission" mandate. However, what happens if there are contradictions so great between her two mission? Will there be an identity crisis. Also, what happens if Vivy is infected by the same virus Matsumoto installs on Elizabeth? If that happens, what is left of Diva/Vivy? Being sent to a museum according to the future database?
Momoka has much more influence on Vivy than any realizes. Her death affects the Vivy-Matsumoto partnership. Momoka's death influences Vivy and Matsumoto partnership. Vivy asks him to "remove himself" like when they first met due to him letting the accident happen. Vivy only cooperates with Matumoto after accept the mission after learning the dire consequence of human casualties. Especially, It turns out that Momoka's little sister Yuzuka (Konomi Kohara)is also on the Sunrise. One of the reason the songstress AI the hardens her heart to become Vivy is to protect Yuzuka.
Besides the heart theme, the Sunrise Act brings interesting discussions.
Time begins to diverge from Matsumoto's future. AI technology advances faster. While Naming Law did not pass, a more favorable to AI law takes its place. Vivy's influence on the assemblyman Aikawa indirectly causes this change. In addition, Vivy is getting more popular, which is contrary to herself in Matsumoto's timeline. The significant changes affect the Sunrise mission. The incident happens 23 hours earlier; and the Sunrise is destined to crash to a coastal city instead of an empty ocean before Estella takes control it.
Another aspect that does an AI has freewill? The Estella-Elizabeth experiment offers some insights. The scientists create two identical androids except for slightly different appearances. The sisters' have their consciousness link together as Estella's life experience transfers to Elizabeth. Estella is set free first while Elizabeth's body remains immobile. The scientists want to know if Elizabeth's behavior is identical to Estella's when she is activated. However, the experiment fails. It is Elizabeth's long for freedom that makes her be disposed of. It is hinted when Estella finds one of the twin doves breaks the cage and dies hitting the glass ceiling in her room. Estella wonders how she can express sadness like humans when AI can't shed tears.
This is when something illogical happens. Elizabeth tells her "Then let's smile, at least, sister. If we can't cry, then at least let us be the ones who are always smiling." Heartfelt as this conversation is, but this is another reason the experiment fails. Elizabeth does have any interaction with the world outside her consciousness in which Estella fills with her own. Unless there is absolutely no free will, every Elizabeth's thought must be exact as her sister, and there is no contradiction. Yet Elizabeth offers "smile" to Estella's "cry" means each AI has different unique soul in Vivy's world.
The music in Vivy is phenomenal as the long awaited "Sing My Pleasure" finally appears in episode 4. It fits nicely to the theme of Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song. But it is the future "Grace" arc that the song deliver much more powerful impact. I'm looking forward to enjoying more of Vivy's future episodes.