Vivi (Final Fantasy)
|Final Fantasy character|
Vivi as he appears in Final Fantasy IX.
|First game||Final Fantasy IX|
|Designed by||Hideo Minaba|
|Voiced by (English)||Melissa Disney|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Ikue Otani|
|Special ability||Black Magic|
Vivi Ornitier (ビビ・オルニティア Bibi Orunitia ), is a fictional user of black magic in the Final Fantasy series, and a main protagonist of Final Fantasy IX. His appearance is directly based on the black mage characters from various other Final Fantasy games. As a result, he is garbed in blue, wears a tall yellow hat, and has no facial features beyond a set of yellow eyes. He did not have a voice until Kingdom Hearts II, where he is voiced by Ikue Otani and Melissa Disney in the Japanese and English versions respectively. The Kingdom Hearts II incarnation of Vivi was designed by Tetsuya Nomura. Vivi was created after the plot of Final Fantasy IX was complete, which was unlike previous titles such as Final Fantasy VII and VIII, which had their protagonists designed before their stories. Because he was a key character to the plot, part of the world design was centered on him.
Since appearing in Final Fantasy IX, Vivi has received largely positive reception. He has been featured in several pieces of merchandise, including a figurine. He was referred to as an emotionally engaging character by Edge editor Margaret Robertson, while IGN listed him as the second best Final Fantasy character, citing his simple design. Game Critics editor Erin Bell, while finding the rest of the cast to be largely uneven, found Vivi to stand out due to large portions of the plot being about him.
Vivi Ornitier first appears at the beginning of the game, and becomes embroiled in Tantalus's plan to kidnap Princess Garnet when he travels to Alexandria to attend a performance of the play I Want to be Your Canary. With some encouragement from Zidane and Adelbert Steiner (who calls him 'Master Vivi' out of respect for his magical prowess), he starts to believe in his abilities and initially joins the group to save Garnet from the depths of the Evil Forest. After they find Queen Brahne's Black Mage factory in Dali, he remains with the group to search for the truth about his origins.
It is later revealed that Black Mages are mindless footsoldiers, manufactured by Kuja who supplies them to Queen Brahne in order to help her conquer the Mist Continent. The Black Mages are larger than Vivi and wear purple jackets instead of blue ones like his, and mostly do not show emotions like Vivi himself does. Vivi desperately wishes to find out the truth about his origins and the reason for his existence, fearing his purpose is nothing more than to be a soulless killing machine. He also does not understand why he is different from the rest of the Black Mages, including why he shows emotions when other Black Mages, including the Black Waltzes, do not. The truth is revealed to him by Kuja and the Black Mages in the Black Mage Village later on in the game. He learns that most Black Mages "stop" after one year, equivalent to death in humans. A conversation with the Black Mage leader suggests that Vivi was the black mage prototype built to "last longer." Vivi's history prior to traveling to Alexandria was he fell out of a cargo ship, and a Qu, Quina's race, adopts him. Vivi refers to him as his grandpa. They lived in a cave near Treno. However, Vivi's grandfather eventually died, probably prompting Vivi to leave his home and travel to Alexandria. It is possible that interacting with the Qu who raised him has given Vivi the emotions and sense of himself that most other Black Mages seem to lack.
Vivi himself does not appear in the epilogue cutscenes, but the screen cuts to black to display his ending monologue. Instead, five other black mages who look exactly like him appear at the celebration in Alexandria, one of whom identifies himself to Puck as "Vivi's son." Through his messages during the ending scenes, Vivi thanks Zidane for their adventures and the lessons of life, and bids everyone farewell. It is implied that he dies due to his limited lifespan.
Vivi makes an appearance in the Disney/Square Enix crossover Kingdom Hearts II. However, the Vivi in Kingdom Hearts II does not seem to show any of the magical abilities of his FFIX counterpart, nor is referred to as a Black Mage. Vivi is apparently a member of the Twilight Town Disciplinary Committee led by Seifer Almasy, though it is said that he is not so much a member as someone who ends up doing Seifer's biddings due to his meekness. The virtual simulation of Vivi's was briefly used on occasion by several Nobodies in order to do battle with Roxas. He is also a notable playable character in Itadaki Street Special. He makes minor appearances in manuals for both Dissidia Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy Origins. He is also featured in the rhythm game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a subcharacter representing Final Fantasy IX.
Reception and promotion
Since appearing in Final Fantasy IX, Vivi has received largely positive reception, being featured as a figurine multiple times. During the 2006 Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival, Edge editor Margaret Robertson used Vivi as an example of an emotionally engaging character in the Final Fantasy series, stating that gamers knew that something tragic would happen with Vivi in the end. He ranked second on IGN's top 25 best Final Fantasy characters list, saying he has the best of both the old and the new, praising him for having the depth and conflict found in recent Final Fantasy titles, but also having the simple charm and adventurous spirit of the original titles. They described him as endearing, due in part to Yoshitaka Amano's Black Mage design, as well as sympathetic due to his search for his purpose in the world. IGN editor David Smith called Vivi a welcome change from previous Black Mage characters, who before Vivi, were usually generic. He added that he enjoyed finding a "charming personality underneath that floppy hat", and while his evolution is a little predictable, he enjoys rooting for the underdogs. GameSpot editor Andrew Vestal stated that almost every character in Final Fantasy IX had an amusing personality trait, and that Vivi's trait is being clumsy and angsty. Game Critics editor Erin Bell described the cast of Final Fantasy IX as being largely uneven, though praising Vivi as feeling real to players due to his large portions of the game's plot devoted to him. Gaming Age editor Jim Cordeira stated that he loved Vivi, and wanted to uncover as much as he could about his life and story. UGO Networks placed Vivi eighteenth on their list of "Top 25 Japanese RPG Characters" calling him "the video game equivalent of a throwback jersey".
- Vivi: Leave me alone! / Knight 1: Stop! / Knight 2: Come back here! / Vivi: Don't come any closer! / Garnet: Ow! That's hot! / Baku: Zidane! It's time! / Zidane: Princess Garnet! Let's get outta here! (Final Fantasy IX)
- Zidane: Why are you calling him 'Master'? Steiner: You fool. That black mage has unimaginable powers... (Final Fantasy IX)
- Vivi: ...Zidane. Those...black mages and I... Are we...the same...? (Final Fantasy IX)
- Black Mage No. 288: Seven of our friends stopped functioning recently... I think our life span is limited... I've suspected this ever since the first one came to a stop. It varies a little, but most of us stop moving one year after production. (Final Fantasy IX)
- Vivi: A-Am I gonna stop pretty soon, too? / Zidane: ! / Black Mage No. 288: I don't know... Kuja said the prototype built before us would last longer. / Vivi: But...I am gonna stop eventually. / Black Mage No. 288: ...... (Final Fantasy IX)
- Vivi: "...How did I get...here?" (Kingdom Hearts II)
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- Jensen, K. Thor (2010-02-20). "Sora - Top 25 Japanese RPG Characters". UGO Networks. Retrieved 2013-04-20.