Sorrow - How do you prove that you exist...? Maybe we don't exist...
Vivi Ornitier, occasionally stylized as VIVI, or with the surname Orunitia, is a playable character in Final Fantasy IX. He is a black mage, differentiated from humans by having a black aura surrounding his visible outer skin, glowing yellow eyes, and the ability to cast magic.
Vivi appears at first to be gullible, clumsy, and shy, often stumbling over his speech lacking self-confidence. He is fearful of his powers, origins, and his own lifespan. Over time, he gains bravery and confidence, as well as a sense of right and wrong. Vivi befriends Zidane, who acts like an older brother to him, and resolves to use his magic to protect his new friends.
Vivi's special abilities are Focus and Blk Mag. Blk Mag grants him access to a wide variety of offensive spells, most dealing elemental damage or negative status effects. Focus improves his Magic stat for the duration of the fight, and can be stacked, allowing him to cast more powerful spells. Vivi's Trance changes his Blk Mag to Dbl Blk, allowing him to cast two spells at once. Vivi equips mage equipment. When in a party with Steiner, he can grant Steiner access to his learned spells as Swd Mag spells, amplifying Steiner's damage and adding an elemental effect if desired.
Profile[edit | edit source]
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Vivi has a completely black face and large yellow eyes. He wears a large tan pointy hat, a blue jacket, green and white stripy trousers, red and white gloves, and brown boots.
In Trance, Vivi's clothes are replaced by a full-length white robe, gloves, and an appropriately-sized hat that stands at a point. The straps crossing over his chest are replaced by a stylized design down the middle of his robe including a wing-like design on his chest. The black shadow under his hat gives off a dark bluish hue while his eyes are stark white instead of yellow.
Personality[edit | edit source]
No more. I won't let you make any more instruments of murder!
Initially, Vivi is clumsy, shy and gullible, almost to a fault. Often stumbling over his speech and lacking in self-confidence, he is afraid to use his magic to save his friends, believing himself incapable. During his journey, his personality develops and Vivi gains confidence and bravery in the face of danger. Despite his new-found confidence, Vivi questions his existence and discovers he must find answers to some of the big questions in life himself, instead of relying on others' help.
Vivi's trademark existentialist line "How do you prove that you exist...? Maybe we don't exist..." is slightly different in the original Japanese version, with "If you can't show proof that you're living/alive, it might as well be the same thing as being dead.*" 生きてるってこと、証明できなければ 死んでしまっているのと同じなのかなぁ...
Story[edit | edit source]
Vivi is a black mage created in Dali at the behest of the kingdom of Alexandria after Queen Brahne learns of this technology from Kuja. Vivi is a prototype black mage who fell out of the cargo ship into a forest near the town of Treno. A month later he was discovered by a Qu named Quan who raised Vivi out of the hope he would grow big enough for him to eat, but after six months Vivi was still as short as before.
Vivi was oblivious to Quan's intentions and lived happily with his "grandpa" in Quan's Dwelling. During this time Quan named Vivi, and taught him many things about the world, sparking a curiosity in him to see it for himself. When Quan died Vivi was left alone. A week later he headed to the nearby town of Treno and got a ticket for a play, and the next day he hitched a ride on a nobleman's airship to Alexandria.
In Alexandria, Vivi has a ticket for the Tantalus Theater Troupe's performance of Lord Avon's play, I Want to Be Your Canary, but when he shows it at the booth he is told it is a counterfeit. A sad Vivi stumbles upon a street-smart rat, Puck, who helps him sneak over the rooftops into the show.
Vivi and Puck are caught watching the play without tickets and are chased through the crowd by guards. Puck deserts Vivi who is chased onto the stage where he casts a fire spell to defend himself. He accidentally sets ablaze "Princess Cornelia's" cloak, revealing her identity as the Princess Garnet to the crowd, and chaos ensues.
The Theater Ship takes off and crashes in the Evil Forest. A member of Tantalus, Zidane, tries to convince the confused Vivi to help him find the princess who fell out of the ship during the commotion, but Vivi is unsure if he wants to use his magic. Steiner, the captain of the Knights of Pluto and Garnet's bodyguard, convinces him, as he has taken a liking to the mage and calls him "Master Vivi".
Although Vivi is at first hesitant, he tags along and helps the others defeat a carnivorous plant keeping Garnet hostage. After escaping the forest, the party travels through the Ice Cavern to get above the Mist where Vivi casts Fire spells to melt the ice to reveal hidden treasures.
When the group reaches the village of Dali Vivi is captivated by the windmills. A villager captures him and brings him to the underground black mage production plant, thinking he got away by accident. Zidane and Garnet rescue Vivi, and discover the Dali villagers are manufacturing black mage drones for Alexandria.
Boarding a cargo ship, Vivi tries to converse with the black mage pilots, but is unable to elicit a response from any of them. Vivi's anxiety about his race is deepened when the evil Black Waltz 3 razes the ship, having been sent by the queen to capture Garnet, who had sought Tantalus's help to escape. The Black Waltz kills the black mages who attempt to defend Vivi, the latter beginning to question his identity and similarity to the mindless foot soldiers Queen Brahne manipulates.
As the party reaches the regency of Lindblum, Vivi learns of the Festival of the Hunt from a shop owner and is persuaded to join in along with Zidane and his friend, Freya Crescent. Vivi asks for a Tetra Master card for a prize, and wins the Theater Ship card if he succeeds. After the festival, a dying Burmecian soldier informs the leader of Lindblum, Cid Fabool IX, of the attack on the kingdom of Burmecia by the army of mages wearing pointy hats.
Vivi, determined to find out more, travels with Zidane's group to Burmecia only to discover the kingdom in ruins. The party travels to the Cleyra settlement, the sister kingdom to Burmecia, and witnesses it fall to the hands of Brahne and her army of mages. After saving Princess Garnet from the queen's clutches in Alexandria Castle, the party deduces Kuja's role in the black mage production, and sets out to hunt him down, following rumors he hails from the north.
After crossing Fossil Roo to the Outer Continent, the party visits the dwarven town of Conde Petie. The dwarves express a familiarity toward Vivi and the group discovers a black mage in the town's shop. After questioning the locals, they discover the "pyntie-hets" live in a village deep in a southern forest. The party follows the black mage to the Black Mage Village where many "awakened" black mages live, having defected Alexandria to live a life of peace. The black mages regard Vivi with suspicion at first, associating him with the humans.
Vivi is frustrated by their way of thinking and stops by the town's cemetery, and comes to learn that black mages have a finite lifespan of around one year. He talks with a wise black mage, Black Mage No. 288, who explains the nature of death to Vivi, who is, at first, distressed. It is suggested Vivi is a prototype build, and 288 tries to console him in saying Vivi may last longer than the one year afforded for the other black mages.
After meeting with an orphan summoner girl Eiko Carol, she leads them to the ruins of Madain Sari where Vivi ponders over his existence and is comforted by Zidane. They find Kuja at the Iifa Tree and witness him kill Brahne during his quest to overthrow his master, Garland, to become the master of the worlds Gaia and Terra. He enlists the sentient black mages from the Black Mage Village promising to prolong their lifespan if they follow him, and when Vivi learns of this he is upset, knowing Kuja is a liar. The black mages are abandoned by Kuja when he learns of the power of Trance and return to their village.
The party learns of the mysterious world of Terra, and after obtaining the elemental mirrors from Ipsen's Castle set out to place them in the four elemental shrines. Vivi and Steiner join forces to visit the Wind Shrine where Steiner shields Vivi from the blustering wind with his body, and the two defeat the shrine guardian, Tiamat. After opening the portal to Terra and traveling there, Zidane becomes troubled after learning he was created by Garland. Vivi empathizes with him, having gone through a similar identity crisis himself, and with his friends' help, Zidane snaps out of his depression. They confront Garland who is killed by Kuja who uses his new-found power of Trance to annihilate Terra.
The party ventures into Memoria where Vivi helps the party defeat Trance Kuja and the mysterious Necron. Sometime later, everyone gathers in Alexandria for another showing of I Want To Be Your Canary by Tantalus. Vivi is the only one absent, instead being represented by several children, each of whom looks like Vivi. It is uncertain how Vivi's "sons" came about as the Iifa Tree has collapsed, and the source of Mist, an ingredient used in black mage production, is gone.
I always talked about you, Zidane. How you were a very special person to us, because you taught us all how important life is. You taught me that life doesn't last forever. That's why we have to help each other and live life to the fullest. Even if you say goodbye, you'll always be in our hearts. So, I know we're not alone anymore. Why I was born... How I wanted to live... Thanks for giving me time to think. To keep doing what you set your heart on... It's a very hard thing to do. We were all so courageous... What to do when I felt lonely... That was the only thing you couldn't teach me. But we need to figure out the answer for ourselves... I'm so happy I met everyone... I wish we could've gone on more adventures. But I guess we all have to say goodbye someday. Everyone... Thank you. Farewell. My memories will be part of the sky...
Monologue from the ending of Final Fantasy IX
The monologue during the ending is spoken by Vivi, indicating he has expired by the time the ending takes place, as he is saying goodbye to his friends and the final words of his monologue are "Farewell. My memories will be part of the sky", an allusion to death in the world of Final Fantasy IX. Because the speaker of the lines is not specified it has incited speculation among fans on Vivi's fate and who is the speaker of the monologue. The game's Japanese version is more explicit on the issue, as the speaker uses a speech pattern and pronouns that only Vivi used throughout the game.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Vivi wields staves in battle, his special ability is Focus which boosts his magic power, and his skillset is Blk Mag which casts offensive and elemental magic. His Trance changes this to Dbl Blk, allowing him to cast two Blk Mag spells in one turn. If Vivi is in the same party as Steiner, Steiner can make use of these spells through his Swd Mag, which does not cost Vivi MP or a turn. Vivi has access to many support abilities which can improve his magic or shield him from statuses. Although Vivi can learn Water, he cannot learn the Waterga spell. Waterga is exclusive to the Kraken enemy. Vivi can indirectly utilize Waterga through the Return Magic ability.
Musical themes[edit | edit source]
"Vivi's Theme" plays once early on when Vivi is wandering around Alexandria. The song is paced at a fast tempo and is mildly syncopated, which elaborates the aura of Vivi's curiosity. The song "Black Mage Village" uses parts of Vivi's theme in its melody in its second half, and the song "Limited Time" is the same melody, but slowed down.
Other appearances[edit | edit source]
Vivi has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy Dimensions II as a summon.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy as a cameo.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy World Wide Words.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- World of Final Fantasy as a non-player character.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Tetra Master as an opponent and cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances[edit | edit source]
Other media[edit | edit source]
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Development[edit | edit source]
Vivi's design is inspired by the Black Mage job, a Final Fantasy tradition, although he forgoes wearing a robe in favor of a jacket of the same color.
In an early draft for the Final Fantasy IX opening sequence, Vivi would have ended up on the Theater Ship stage during the play, and Baku would have been quick to incorporate ad lib, asking Vivi to use a fire spell. Vivi would have created a wall of fire separating Steiner (who is up on the stage trying to stop Tantalus from kidnapping Princess Garnet) and his corps of paladins from the others, and Garnet's hood would have caught on fire. As Garnet would have tossed her robe away revealing her identity to the audience, the paladins would have attacked Tantalus and Vivi would have joined in on the battle on the player's side, with Vivi the only one able to use real magic, the others' "magic attacks" being mere special effects. In the final game, Tantalus fights the battles against a lone Steiner and Vivi does not become part of the play.
In dummied out dialogue, Vivi tells Puck he bought the theater ticket from "a moogle with a hat". Puck says he will hurt the moogle if he ever finds them.
Age[edit | edit source]
Though official sources usually list Vivi's age as nine, the timeline in Final Fantasy IX places him as being born in 1799, less than a year before the game's start. Although Quan could have believed he was around nine or so after saving him, the estimate of a few months is more accurate due to him being linked to the mass-produced black mages, since their production started shortly before the start of the game. At a mere six months old, not only is Vivi the youngest playable character in Final Fantasy IX, but in the entire series, as well. Vivi's given age, nine, alludes to the number of the game. Final Fantasy IX has many other allusions to the number nine, as well.
Voice[edit | edit source]
He is voiced by Ikue Ōtani in the Japanese version of both games.
Merchandise[edit | edit source]
Vivi has a Play Arts action figure, released in 2009 with a Mage Staff, extra hands, and display stand as bonuses. Two Coca-Cola bottle cap figurines for Vivi also exist, one fully colored and a "red crystal" version.
Vivi was released in November 2019 as a Bring Arts figure that comes with different facial expressions and weapons. He comes with his default Mage Staff and his High Mage Staff. A necklace featuring a Vivi pendant was released on 2020, with both black and silver versions.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Etymology and symbolism[edit | edit source]
Vévé is a symbol used in black magic to summon a god or spirit for various purposes. These are possible allusions to his search for the meaning of his existence, his abilities with black magic and maybe even his struggle to prove he is not a puppet to do others' bidding.Viví is the past tense of the Spanish verb vivir, which means "to live", therefore Vivi can be translated as "I lived". Vivi is also the present tense of the Italian verb vivere, which also means "to live", therefore Vivi can be translated as "You live", or also as the imperative "Live!"; it can also mean the plural form of the adjective vivo, which means "alive". In the Voodoo religion, a
In the North American version of the Final Fantasy IX instruction manual, Vivi's last name was rendered as Ornitier. His name was later changed into "Orunitia", the romanization of the Japanese pronunciation of "Ornitier", in the Greatest Hits release. In Japan, his last name is Ornitier as shown in the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania guide, but his name is still spelled Orunitia on the North American website.
"Ornitier" is a scarce name in real life, appearing rarely as a surname in France and Belgium. Removed from Final Fantasy IX references, it is not easy to ascertain how many instances of "Ornitier" are authentic surnames and how many are pseudonyms obliquely inspired by Vivi. If "Ornitier" is a true surname, it may be derived from Latin ornitharius, which means "pertaining to birds". The natural French descendant of this word is ornithier [/ɔʁnitje/], with ornitier as a possible alternative spelling. The more common uses of the Latin root in English relate to "ornithology": the study and observation of birds.
References[edit | edit source]
- Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania File 1: Character page 276
- FFIX World Chronology – p.44-46 of the FFIX Ultimania - Characters' personal timelines (Accessed: December 07, 2018) at The Lifestream
- Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, p.010–011
- Height comparison chart from Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimania
- Top 25 Final Fantasy Characters - Day V (Accessed: November 13, 2019) at IGN
- From the old back up file (dead) (Accessed: March 30, 2012) at Mistwalker Corp (dead)
- [Final Fantasy IX] Hidden Scenes (Accessed: November 13, 2019) at YouTube