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Sound Design Hegemony - Vivy Fluorite

Analysis Jun 13, 2021

Premise

To many people, Vivy Fluorite is an intricate series featuring an enthralling plot filled with twist after twist and a very charming protagonist, Vivy.

While I myself have also been entranced by those factors, to me, it is the sound design of this anime that truly elevated the show. In effect, this sets it a cut above other contenders in the same season.

For once, I'm not criticizing the plot of Vivy or its character whatsoever, but I just feel like the brilliance of its sound system isn't received well enough.

I mean, Vivy does have sick animation sequences, it does have neat directing to leverage the dramas, and the narrative is engaging, ambitious even, the characters are no doubt to my liking whether they are bad or good.

Yet again, sound design >>, nuff said.

OP

What can I say, Sing My Pleasure and Galaxy Anthem. For SMP, we get two versions of the track, one by Vivy herself (my favorite version btw), and the other by Grace, an unfortunate being in the series that probably suffered the most from the A.I's perspective.

"They are just music", you might be thinking. Yes, but no. They are music that carries a lot of vigor within as you keep watching Vivy.

For the first version of this tune, you take it as your typical idol-ish, cheerful song that is more or less just another ordinary asset, an introduction of the story.

That said, the lyrics, there's something behind it. I, too, felt like something was amiss as I stumbled upon this mesmerizing melody.

But the creator sure is savage. Before you knew it, they hit you where it hurts the most. Ultimately, you can hardly ever receive this OP in a light-hearted manner as your initial impression dictated.

As for the 2nd OP, Galaxy Anthem, it is a slightly different breed than SMP I'd say. Technically speaking, it does radiate a positive aura like SMP, but beyond that, there's more confidence condensed in this track.

Bluntly put, this song is here to resonate with a sudden character "shift" as the story progresses. You can most likely feel that the good ol' Vivy is in there, yet at the same time, something is telling you otherwise.

To me, SMP's tone suggests that Vivy has doubt for herself which somehow gives leeway for Galaxy Anthem to act as a foil for that notion, a perfect harmony, I'd say.

Insert Tracks

IMO, an idol show cannot be deemed as such without prolific singers serving as its backbone, and Vivy Fluorite had just managed to achieve that status.

  • Ensemble for Polaris (also 2 versions 😳)
  • Elegy Dedicated With Love
  • Harmony of One's Heart.

Put bluntly, every one of these tracks has its own purpose, and they get even better (and more painful) as far as we take the context of their own story into consideration.

For Polaris, it's about being free or having one's own will (at least that's how I interpret it). For Elegy, it's about obsession (rip Ophelia). For Harmony, it's about saying goodbye.

I mean, c'mon, at this moment, right now of writing this, I'm still having chills thinking back about all of those dramatic outcomes of certain arcs. Of course, as standalone instances, they are all great tracks, make good therapeutic material even.

Yet again, this is not JUST about composing a nice piece of music or having a dedicated singer anymore, but more so about giving them a goal, just so they can shine very brightly on the "stage" without being treated as mere decors.

BGM

Boi, I must be on the minority here, but all of the time when an exposition or revelation is going on, as the ambient music kicks in, the entire atmosphere of the anime shifts to an entirely different tone.

They are there to emphasize an event, to trigger up a sequence or chain reaction that is also wrapped up in a strange phenomenon, a bit uplifting, I'd say.

Sure, they are not important, probably of least significance to the anime in fact. Nonetheless, there's something captivating about it that I just can't explain well enough.

It feels like when you travel to beautiful places to have some time off, and there might have come some moments of your life when you stand in front of scenery so "surreal" that you just do nothing and enjoy it, it's like a complete "blank" period of your life.

In other words, that very same energy overflew inside me as Vivy constantly flexed its grandiose arsenal of BGMs.

I guess these ambient tracks just fit so well with the setting of Vivy, which features a strong, futuristic, and utopia (mixing semi-dystopia) vibe. This is what I'd like to call quality customer service as they don't do things half-assedly. In Vivy, every detail, every small component is treated with care, and the BGM speaks volumes in this regard.

ED

Last but totally not least, the infamous ED that almost nobody could ever predict its impact on the series as a whole.

I must say, though, this was indeed a 500IQ play from the creator.

They had us all fooled from the get-go, camouflaging this instrument of the series with a simple and relaxing non-vocal track. To top it off, they even placed it right at the end of each episode, where barely anyone would ever give attention to.

And then, they just had to do it... BAMM, outta nowhere, you get a disgustingly grim version of it right at the turning point of the story.

Who could have ever seen that coming? It would not be a lie to say it still gives me the creep even now.

But you know what they say, at the end of the tunnel, there's light, and the light that is to come is no doubt the fully voiced version of this ED, the one track to end it all (NGL I'm so hyped rn 🔥).

Go get 'em, girl

For this particular anime, the "sound" element doesn't stop at having a concise goal and purpose in the story anymore, but it even "invades" the meta by having a translucent structure to squeeze out the absolute most of its potential and value, which is, I must say, an excellent decision from the production team.

Not only did it break the cycle of "adding music just for the sake of adding music", but it also delivered a rarely seen side of anime, which is to use sound as a reliable foundation for almost everything else in the series (well, it's still an idol show in the end so lel).

Technical

On a different note, while being a heavily music-centric anime, Vivy Fluorite knows how to get its priority.

Sound is sound, it's only a means to an end, which is why it's crucial knowing how to use them rather than cranking them up without any plan nor consideration for the context of the story.

For example, the volume is toned down at battle scenes, just so they won't overshadow the actual content that's running on the screen.

Or, given the circumstance of an event, sound distortion was also put into good use to highlight the tragedy or bitterness of the grand scheme of things.

Timing is also of paramount importance, especially when the flow of the event needs to be coherent.

TLDR: having the right material (composer, voice actors) + solid planning + seamless execution = The Hegemony of Sound Design in Vivy Fluorite.

Bottom Line

Phew, writing this post reminds me that, despite having gone through countless mediocre anime, I still hold this medium in very high esteem for the infinite amount of potentials it has underneath.

More importantly, there's something only this medium can afford to accomplish, and Vivy Fluorite is but a prime example of my belief.

Tags

Gaftonosh

Chilling out and rolling out.

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