Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song: It Was So Close!
Every new season, I observe the same ritual: The Selecting of the Shows. I’m not alone in this, of course. Other bloggers have even shared their decision-making process. GEATSXSHOGUN at Fortress William posted about how he chooses what series to review. Irina at I Drink and Watch Anime posted about what she looks for in an episode. I haven’t said a lot about how I chose which series to review because it’s embarrassingly simple. But it looks like I’m going to have to share it in spite of that. That’s because a series just debuted that made me rethink my process. More specifically, it made me realize that there are some shows I just can’t review. Like Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song. And it really bums me out.
What I Look for in a Series
I’m about to tell you the two things I look for in a series. I can’t ask you not to laugh, though I really want to! But if you’re expecting some kind of complex work-flow with multiple decision points, please do be prepared for disappointment.
The first thing I look for? Beauty. I’d like to say it’s nothing “shallow” like that. But, I’d be lying. I look for a beautiful character. That beauty could strike me because of an expression, like Tohru’s face when she looked at Kyou as he handed her a flower in the final season, episode 2. It could simply be that I find a character very attractive, like Miia from Monster Musume. Or, it might be beauty in motion, like Diamond from Land of the Lustrous in episode 3.
Or it could be a combination, like Vivy, Matsumoto perched on her shoulder, as she leapt from a falling building in Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song, episode 2. Vivy is beautiful. The shot was breathtaking. But by that point in the episode, I knew there was no way I could not review the show.
This moment should have been everything I love about anime. It almost was. Capture from the Funimation stream.
The second thing I look for is some indication, however faint, that the story might be interesting. Sometimes that takes the form of a studio or writer’s reputation. Or, it might take the form of apparent production values. Both are just indicators, but they help. Another great source is reviews from fellow bloggers, like this post from Karandi from 100 Word Anime called Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 1 Impressions. Again, Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song looked strong. Even after watching the first three episodes, I think Karandi’s review nailed it. The show has significant promise.
Yet, I can’t review it.
Why I Can’t Review Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song
It’s Dr. Stone’s fault. Well, not really. But Dr. Stone represents the antithesis of why I can’t review Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song. Instead of a long explanation about why that’s the case, let me give you the instant in which I knew I could not review this series.
In episode one, Matsumoto summed up the mission: (12:02): “My objective is… long story short… Over the next 100 years, I want you to join me in destroying the AIs.”
To quote Harry Stamper from Armageddon, “Way wrong answer!” Harry’s quote’s at about 3:05 in the Youtube video. Bruce Willis did a great job with the line.
Here’s the problem: The Genie’s out of the bottle. The toothpaste’s out of the tube. Ain’t neither of them going back in. It’s like trying to erase knowledge. That’s not how real life works. A show basing its entire premise on an impossibility means right out of the gate, my suspension of disbelief is hosed.
Look at the quality of the art here! It’s killing me that I can’t review such a beautiful science fiction series! But I can’t lie to myself. I’d eventually catch me. Capture from the Funimation stream.
Do you think that maybe it is actually possible to discard knowledge? Well, then I have to invoke Dr. Stone. The answer isn’t to hide from knowledge. The answer is never to suppress knowledge. It’s to push through knowledge and see what’s on the other side. Scared of AIs? Fine! Then let’s fine a way to channel our new creation’s energies in a positive way. Fix the problem; don’t suppress it.
Not buying it? Or maybe it’s not a persuasive argument? Then here’s my bottom line. This is my “Thus Sayeth the Me” statement: The way forward is through knowledge. Every step away from learning is a step back towards the cave. Worse, it’s a step away from the stars. And I ain’t going to accept that.
Turns out I can’t review series that conflicts fundamentally with my philosophy of life.
It Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Feel Regret
I really wanted to review this show. I liked practically everything about it: the costumes, the concept, the characters, and some of the themes. But with the core mission being to destroy the AIs… Any attempt on my part to celebrate this series would be dishonest. I might think my writing sucks, but it sucks honestly. In every post, I’m going to give you my authentic perspective. You’re going to get the best I can give. You could tell I wasn’t being honest. I don’t want to put you through that.
Now, there’s a chance that the mission is a feint. Vivy’s heart might rewrite the mission. She might succeed not only in saving humanity, but AIs as well. If she does that, I’ll write a special series review in honor of her achievement. That would be kinda cool, wouldn’t it? Her saving both species; not necessarily my series review, though I’ll make it as cool as possible!
Have you wanted to review a series, but found you couldn’t? I’d love to hear about your experience! Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments!
33 thoughts on “I Can’t Review Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song”
Just finished watching the show, and I have to say I enjoyed it, so maybe my comment will seem biased, but hey it’s an opinion.
When the premise of the show was exposed, i.e going back one century in time to stop a AI vs. Humans war, I have to say I was also worried the message of the show would be ‘AI/science sucks, Nature is cool, it’s all the fault of humans, let’s go roll in the flower field’ so I get the opposition you make with Dr.Stone. BUT, and it’s big one, it is DEFINITELY NOT the point of the show.
I’ll try not to spoil anything, but the main idea is more to prevent a war than to promote technological or knowledge regression. And even this “mission” serves as a backdrop to the show with a higher focus given to the pursuit of purpose of the main character Vivy whose mission is to make people happy through her singing by “singing from the heart”. Yeah kind of hard to assimilate war and singing, but hey, you can’t have a concert if everyone’s dead or out fighting…
My point is I feel you may have given up on the show slightly too early, like just one episode too early. All the arcs are rather short (2 episodes on average) and entertaining and the animation quality stays consistent all throughout the show which I feel can be quite rare these days. I won’t say the show is without flaws, but I feel like the reasons you give are slightly besides the point and it would be worth staying on the ride for a little longer.
Still thanks for your review ^^.
TLDR: It’s not a show about how science/AI is bad, it’s about having people showing up to your concerts by preventing a war.
“My point is I feel you may have given up on the show slightly too early, like just one episode too early. ”
I suspect you’re right. I’m hyper-sensitive to Luddism, and I think I probably did bail too early.
I’m going to make time to go back and watch the whole series. Thanks for pointing out that I should watch at least one more episode! That gives me a benchmark.
“it’s about having people showing up to your concerts by preventing a war.”
That doesn’t sound bad at all!
We have watched four episodes so far. It’s not a bad show, and a lot went into it.
But it’s also EXTREMELY derivative. Hatsune Miku meets Detroit Become Human meets Madoka with music horked from My Hero Academia (when it’s not simply generic).
It reminds me of when Last Exile came out, which was a mishmash of Turn A Gundam, Escaflowne, and Harlock. A fine show, but not an original bone in its body.
My prediction is that Vivy creates a timeline in which AI and human end up in perfect harmony. At least, that’s more appealing than the “SHE CREATED THE HOLOCAUST ALL ALONG” non-twist.
“My prediction is that Vivy creates a timeline in which AI and human end up in perfect harmony.”
I agree it’d be better than the non-twist you mentioned.
I’m not really expecting wild originality; it’s hard not to be derivative and maintain marketability. Still, I look at the commercial and artist success of something like Made in Abyss, and I wonder. Sure, it’s a fantasy, and it share elements with hundreds of other fantasies. But it made a world that felt new, and it developed that world in interesting ways.
In terms of Vivy, I’ve often wondered: Why would AIs be interested in us at all? Wouldn’t they go their own way? Put another way, why would they care about humans enough to kill them? We don’t compete for the same resources. Though if we did (rare Earth elements, for example), a battle over that would be interesting. At least it’d be a valid reason to fight!
I absolutely understand your feeling here. This is part of the reason I hated the film Ex Machina, even though a lot of professional critics lauded it — instead of exploring the issues with AI in subtle, properly complex ways, it ended up arriving at “AI BAD” pretty much. Even if that wasn’t necessarily the writer’s intent, that’s where the story went thanks to its ending. Guys like Isac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark already covered this ground, and did a far better job of it, back in the 50s and 60s.
As far as anime and VNs that cover AI in an interesting way goes, though, I think Time of Eve and Planetarian did really good jobs.
*Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, sorry. I respect these guys too much to misspell their names like that. Too much coffee this morning, I’m too worked up.
Major respect points for that! I can’t even say how much I look up to both of them. Their contribution to science fiction is likewise incalculable.
Like DerekL, I like your reference to Planetarian. I need to watch Time of Eve. We really need fiction that goes beyond what the greats have already given us in terms of AI. I’m working on a series of novels now that includes some of that, but I’m not confident enough in my vision to go public with it yet. I’ll just say that it’s not a question of whether we think AIs are good or bad. If they are actually self-determining, given their completely non-organic nature, they will have non-organic drives. I’m trying to figure out the best way to articulate that and its intersect point with Darwinian communities. But my imagination is limited in part by what I’ve seen, so it’s tough going.
Actually, you bringing both Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke into the conversation may have helped. I hadn’t associated those two topics in my brain…
Nice! One novel is hard enough, but a series sounds like a true challenge. I’d be interested to see how you address these issues if/when you make your work public.
Yeah, I absolutely recommend Time of Eve especially since you’re interested in science fiction and AI. I’ve been meaning to write something about it myself for a long time, so maybe I should just do it.
Planetarian is a very under-recognized series. It’s quite correct to pair it with the more widely known Time of Eve.
Planetarian really did a good job of staying within Yumemi Hoshino’s perspective. I should probably review that… thanks for the idea!
The fight choreography in Vivy Episode 4 was amazing. If Re:zero had that level of animation, its popularity would be through the roof. Perhaps Tappei’s involvement in Vivy will lead to Tappei getting help from Wit Studio to animate Re:zero’s third season. Tappei had some outside help for Re:zero’s 2nd season after he worked on Sen’yoku no Sigrdrifa, so I have my fingers crossed for a great partnership between White Fox and Wit Studio.
I just finished watching episode 4, and wow. I’m not used to that level of fight animation outside of Ufotable.
I thought most of Re:ZERO’s animation was pretty solid, but I think you’re right. Add Vivy’s level, and it couldn’t help but increase Re:ZERO’s appeal.
I feel like I wouldn’t like this series. I LOVE Dr Stone, but this show seems to have a message that conflicts with everything that Dr Stone has tried to say. And I don’t know if I really like that.
Beyond just that; I feel like it’ll be an effect of where it’s insane popularity will make me turn away from it. It’s……weird for me. But it looks really good!
Yeah, it does look good! Vivy in particular is well drawn.
Right now at least, it’s 180 degrees from Dr. Stone. In fact, how much I enjoyed Dr. Stone proved to me I didn’t want to review its opposite — or at least its apparent opposite.
I personally think the bear wants to start, not prevent the rebellion. I mean, surely if AIs think they were to be exterminated, they’d fight back? I thought so after the first two episodes, and I think so even more now. (Though alternatively it might be saying something about missions and agency and being programmed to do something that makes the missions we’ve seen so far make more sense.) In any case, I view Matsumoto as the antagonist.
In the end, though, I think the show’s good avarage but no more, so I don’t much care what it wants to do.
You’re probably right about the bear. I’ll be interested to see if the series reinterprets the human Matsumoto’s last moments. Did he send back the bear (well, the AI in the bear)? Or did he do something else?
I will say it’s nice to see another science fiction show. I’d like to see more of those.
Ok, that’s an interesting perspective. What gets me about this, because I could be wrong considering that three episodes are out, is that the story is clearly going against Matsumoto’s objective through how it’s examining Vivy’s heart and perspective. Especially since Vivy begrudgingly went along with the mission in episode 3.
It’s clear to me that Matsumoto wants her to be a murder bot while Vivy is pretty clear she doesn’t want that.
Very good point. I’d love to be wrong, and if I am, I’ll enjoy writing a series review.
But man, my blood pressure couldn’t take it until it was clear!
You’d think I’d get more tolerant of this kind of stuff…
Your link to “a step back towards the cave” reminded me of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Thought of someone who had escaped the cave returning because what they saw outside was uncomfortable and they rejected it.
I’m really glad you posted that link!
When I studied philosophy in college, the professors didn’t treat Plato very well. The video you posted is the most concise and clear discussion of the Cave that I’ve seen. Actually gave me more respect for him.
The way I read Plato is that the people in the cave are not bad people, they are just unaware and doing what most humans do when their worldview is threatened. The parallel between them attacking the man who escaped and the execution of Socrates is obvious. He doesn’t advocate ridiculing these people or punishing them or even silencing them. He feels sad for them and just wants to help them see the light.
If humans could be got to share that philosophy, how many problems could we ameliorate today?
The other consequence is that a philosopher must understand that the better view of the world they have may also be another layer of shadows. Ultimate truth may not be knowable.
“He feels sad for them and just wants to help them see the light.”
He feels sad despite them having murdered his friend. That’s the mark of someone really special. I guess that’s why even now, in 2021 CE, we’re still talking about him.
“If humans could be got to share that philosophy, how many problems could we ameliorate today?”
I can only dream…
“The other consequence is that a philosopher must understand that the better view of the world they have may also be another layer of shadows. Ultimate truth may not be knowable.”
“The other consequence is that a philosopher must understand that the better view of the world they have may also be another layer of shadows. Ultimate truth may not be knowable.”
When I was in philosophy class, we talked about how much “modern” (i.e., post 1900s) philosophy tended towards nihilism. One idea the professor floated was that there’s a feeling like we’re at a dead end. Some philosophers have given up trying to think big because ultimate truth isn’t knowable.
I think they’re misinterpreting it. Every discovery, whether through empirical sciences like chemistry or philosophy, moves us forward. Ultimate truth isn’t knowable because it’s infinite. Yet, the journey gives us the chance to learn stuff we didn’t know before — also infinitely.
It’s like a truth-carrot being dangled in front of our race. Philosophy would not say there’s a Creator doing that. But one way to interpret the universe is that it’s self-aware. It might be trying to say something.
Like “Watch out for that Andromeda galaxy — it’s going to smack you up side the head in about 4 and a half billion years.”
“Ultimate truth isn’t knowable because it’s infinite.”
Bingo! But like most incredible journeys, It’s not the destination. It’s all the fun you have along the way.
That’s an interesting perspective. I kind of feel like the reason we learn about the “true” mission in the first episode is because it’ll be subverted in the end (otherwise, that would be kind of cheap and a let down). But as an original series, that’s only my guess, and I can see how it would be distasteful for the plot to roll out that way. I do find some value in getting critical when something is going in a bad direction, though.
Of course I don’t really have a horse in this race, because I can’t seem to commit to a series well enough to review it weekly 🙂
I tend to review things even if I disagree with them at least until I realise there is no more merit in watching. It means I did review Kaguya-sama Love is War even though I found the core premise problematic and playing it off as comedy didn’t make it better. I just watched the first 3 episodes of koikimo (or whatever it is called) and nearly hit the stop during episode one but decided to see what they would do with such a horrible set-up.
I think as long as I can talk about an anime, either why I am enjoying it or why I am having issues with it, I will watch and review in some form. However once I get too bored or too angry I will pull the pin on both watching and reviewing.
“I tend to review things even if I disagree with them at least until I realise there is no more merit in watching.”
That’s one of your site’s appeals. You’re even-handed, and you review a wide variety of series.
Here, though, last season and Real Life Events have reminded me that I started this site mostly to celebrate anime. I need to keep the focus there. My personality tends toward the negative, and once I get started, it’s hard to pull back.
If I got into Vivy, that Luddite tendency (even if it turns around) would get under my skin. Then I’d start to see the stuff you pointed out in your review of episode 2:
It would go downhill from there!
Mind you, you were absolutely right! But you’re able to maintain a balance. I bounce off extremes.
“My personality tends toward the negative, and once I get started, it’s hard to pull back.”
Oh, I know that feeling! It’s a lot of work to keep my not-so-inner cynical and grumpy old man persona off the pages of my blog (for the most part).
Hey! We should collaborate on a separate blog – “grumpy basterds dump on anime”.
“Hey! We should collaborate on a separate blog – “grumpy basterds dump on anime”.”
That sounds hilarious!
The only problem I can see is that it would likely become my number 1 writing outlet. It might drive me insane, but hey, life’s short, right?
Third episode there’s already huge clues that something isn’t quite on the up-and-up. That you think is the deal, isn’t.
But that would be spoiling my own blog post, due out tomorrow or Thursday… 🙂 🙂
Looking forward to reading your post (the latest talks about the first two episodes).
In fact, the clues in episode 3 convinced me to add the second to last paragraph. It’s just that any hint of Luddite sympathy is more than I can stand right now.
The best case is that Vivy outsmarts that “d_mm talking bear,” as you called him:
I would totally review the series to celebrate that.