Series Recommendation: Vivy: Flourite Eye’s Song

A journey of a hundred year,
and a song that touches the heart

An action-packed anime that features music and combat android that span a hundred year with a hint of Terminator, which sounds like a recipe for some incoherent crash-and-burn recipe; but Vivy managed to become one of the best series in 2021 with its unique settings and direction, as well as spectacular art and music. A surprising hidden gem that deceptively wear the cloak of a musical/action series but hides its true existential and social message underneath some very, very beautiful frames.

Vivy: Flourite Eye’s Song is a 13-episode anime released in 2021 – the year mecha make its comeback. The series air alongside SSSS.DYNAZENON, Eighty Six and Back Arrow. And would you believe that, all of them contains some sort of allusions to real world social issues (some more extreme than other), including Vivy. The series was produced by Wit Studio and written by Tappei Nagatsuki and Eiji Umehara. The story features an android created as a singer for an amusement park attraction. But all of a sudden, a visitor from the future appeared and forced her into a task where humanity’s survival depends on her. Will she choose to fight and save humanity or forsake us to the imminent AI rebellion?

+ Plot: We got some basic concepts from Terminator here, a robotic threat that humanity created themselves has staged an uprising in the future, driving humanity close to extinction. And the key to saving us is a singing android and she has to engage in ridiculous missions and dangerous combat situations to “adjust” the history and prevent the AI-pocalypse. The premise hinges upon the “Singularity Project” to push Vivy forward on her quest.

In addition with a very subtle implementation of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, the story depicts a very “real” emotional development of an “AI” whose world was turned around on its head. Her entire purpose was to sing and please others with her voice, now she has to engage in dangerous combat that involve the lives of millions, even worse, it is something that only happens 100 years from now, which means Vivy has no way to confirm if her actions are actually for the greater good. The constant self-doubt and drive for self-motivation keeps Vivy’s character evolving throughout the series with the assistance of the side characters, be it on her side or the other.

+ Animation: Wit Studio has a really cool style of animation for Vivy. With above average animation in most scenes and some choice frames where the art quality shoot to 100, mostly Vivy’s face when her emotion is at its climax. Imagine a super mega detailed mech’s head but instead a super beautiful android with eyes looking literally like real life. The mechanical details, the reflective flares, and even beautiful eyelashes. Those scenes really drive home the fact that Vivy is a mechanical doll with sentience yet her emotion develop just like a human.

Aside from that, the combat is very well done. The hand-drawn hand-to-hand combat is very fluid and fast-paced. Even if the characters are far away in the background, they still looks pretty decent. 3DGI are done by Busy Bees Animation, OLM and Graphinica. Busy Bees is actually a very new studio, but they are helped by OLM and Graphinica – 2 giants in the 3D field, so Vivy’s CG turn out to be very good. Dynamic camera work with fast-paced action using pretty simple models give us a sense of speed and weight – although a kind of elegant weight that result from super strong android the size of a human.

+ Mechanical Design: Most of the androids in the series are human-like, and they rarely expose their mechanical parts, but we still have some actual mechanical constructs in the series – including walkers, cyborg soldiers, etc… The design is quite simple and is quite common in typical sci-fi series such as GitS, Metal Gear, etc… Overall, the mechanical designs in the series are not overly unique but still decently looking.

+ Music: For a series revolving around a songstress android, you’d think Vivy would be full of great tracks. And you would be absolutely correct! The music in the series is phenomenal, and it’s not just vocal songs by Vivy and other insert songs, but also BGMs as well. Vivy’s voice actress – Atsumi Tanezaki – has quite a beautiful voice (despite voicing Anya Forger, yes that Anya). Vivy’s songs are either energetic, hopeful or emotional and melancholic that can touch the heart of viewers many times. She’s basically a Macross songstress that can actually get rough with her own hands. There are also other singers in the series, and all of them has their own theme songs which are good in their own way. One can say that Vivy nailed all aspects of its core concepts.

+ Conclusion: Vivy was a really bold story that sounds quite complicated on paper, but it was executed really well. Even though there are some time-skips that makes you feel disoriented, the story never really loses the audience’s grasp on the main plot. The supporting casts are also very fun and unique, and while the arc-specific characters appear not too long, they all leave a very good impact on us viewers. With great animation, superb music and those GORGEOUS illustration, the anime is a worthwhile watch that was definitely one of the best of 2021.

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