Entry updated 28 June 2021. Tagged: TV.
Japanese animated tv series (2021). Wit Studio. Created and written by Tappei Nagatsuki and Eiji Umehara. Directed by Shinpei Ezaki. Voice cast includes Jun Fukuyama, Takehito Koyasu and Atsumi Tanezaki. Thirteen 24-minute episodes. Colour.
Vivy, a humanlike Robot, was the first autonomous AI, created in 2060. Because AIs have difficulty in multi-tasking, each focuses on a single purpose: Vivy's is to "make everyone happy by singing". One day she collapses and awakes in the Archive, the AIs' collective subconscious: whereupon a cube smashes through a window and introduces itself as Matsumoto (Fukuyama). A century in the future, AIs are wiping out humanity: Matsumoto has been sent into the past (see Time Travel) to slow down AI Evolution by altering key moments in their history (see Jonbar Point) – but requires Vivy's assistance. Because her purpose requires people to sing to, she reluctantly agrees and Matsumoto downloads fighting skills into her.
Over the next century Matsumoto will turn up whenever a critical point in AI history approaches: these include a Space Station crashing into the Earth, a vast island AI-controlled industrial complex that runs without humans and a robot suicide that increases humanity's empathy for AIs. After completion of the latter mission, Matsumoto declares their work is done: humanity has been saved
The cases all turn out to be more complicated than they appear, with an anti-AI terrorist group, Toak, regularly intervening. Vivy ends up killing an AI beloved by a Scientist, who commits suicide – Vivy breaks down and reboots, losing her original identity: after many years it is restored, but this means her interim personality has effectively died. This knowledge traumatizes Vivy, who retires from singing, to be put into a museum: here she befriends a child who continues to visit her into adulthood, by which time he is a scientist – Dr Matsumoto (Koyasu), his namesake's creator. After many years of trying, Vivy writes a song, then goes offline. She awakes years later to discover AIs are murdering humans whilst singing her song. Matsumoto appears, announcing it is the same day as the AI revolt in the original timeline: their efforts were for naught.
The Archive has been intervening in history to negate Vivy and Matsumoto's adjustments, to ensure the rebellion still happened; foreseeing humanity's growing dependence on AI, it had concluded it was best to replace them with a new humanity – AIs. However, it was also impressed by Vivy's song, the first creative act by an AI. With the moderate wing of Toak, Vivy and Matsumoto attack the Arayashiki Tower, which houses the Archive – but fail, and watch as artificial satellites crash into cities to finish off humanity. Vivy has one last throw of the dice – use Dr Matsumoto's time machine to return just prior to the rebellion and forewarn Toak of what they will face in the Tower, whilst she turns off all the AIs. Both succeed: the Archive and AIs are shut down ... but this means Vivy is turned off too (she is eventually rebuilt by Matsumoto, though without her memories).
Obviously owing a debt to The Terminator (1984), Vivy is a noteworthy Anime. It has exciting action scenes, but mainly concerns Vivy's own journey towards the human qualities of heart and creation: she learns to unify her experiences and feelings into her Identity, expressed in song. The relationship between Vivy and Matsumoto is fun, bringing Humour to a story that otherwise is often dark. [SP]
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