A highly intelligent and powerful young black mage, Vivi Ornitier moves through the game with a positive exterior, being kind and gentle to his fellow party members, while internally struggling to come to grips with the fact that he is different. Vivi wants to find out more about himself in hope that he can rid himself of his loneliness.
Vivi is an important character in a number of ways; for one, it is very easy to relate to his lonely existence – most teenagers and young people at one time or another feel alienated in such a way by society because they consider themselves to be different or odd – Vivi is certainly no exception. He struggles bravely through the game with a happy disposition, while being torn apart in side by all sorts of rather philosophical questions.
Another reason Vivi is so important is that he is, aesthetically atleast, a return to the very roots of Final Fantasy. We’ve known of Black Mages since the very beginning, and in the previous ‘next generation’ titles, Final Fantasy VII and VIII, we’ve seen very little of such traditional characters. Sure, we’ve had chocobos and Shiva (and friends), but the playable characters in recent history have been moving slowly away from a big part of what made this series so popular in the first place – it’s involving characters.
Put simply, Final Fantasy IX really needed a character like Vivi to secure the interest of the older gamer market. We liked him very much indeed – very deep!