Vivian is a major character in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Vivian originally worked as a member of the villainous Shadow Sirens alongside her sisters, Beldam and Marilyn. Later, Vivian defects from the Shadow Sirens and joins Mario as his fifth party member. She is consistently put down by her oldest sister, Beldam, and has had a poor relationship with both her sisters for quite some time when Mario meets her. Although she suffers from an inferiority complex throughout the events of the game, she learns to respect herself as she travels with Mario. In the original Japanese version of the game and some translations, Vivian is depicted as transgender, identifying as female despite other characters asserting that she is male, but in the English version, she is simply portrayed as a cisgender female.
Paper Mario series
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Vivian's first appearance in the game is during the interlude following Chapter 1, during which she and her two sisters are sent by Sir Grodus to ambush Mario in the Boggly Woods. When Mario arrives there, however, he learns that the picture they were to use to identify him was misplaced by Beldam, who is quick to blame Vivian for the loss. Mario is forced to battle the sisters when he comes to claim Flurrie's Necklace, which Vivian had found in the woods. Upon her defeat, she departs with Marilyn and Beldam, leaving the necklace behind.
After Mario's name and appearance are stolen by Doopliss, Vivian appears in Twilight Town alongside her sisters, who plan to defeat Mario using a Superbombomb. When the weapon turns up missing, however, Vivian is once again blamed and sent to find it. When Mario finds the bomb and returns it to her, it turns out to be broken, but she gives him a kiss to thank him for his help and, after learning of the theft of his identity, resolves to return the favor by helping him, unaware that he is truly Mario. Using her powers, Mario eventually learns Doopliss's real name, and the duo corners him at the top of Creepy Steeple.
Upon learning Mario's identity, Vivian is reluctant to assist in the ensuing battle, though she returns to his side after two turns, having decided that he treats her better than her sisters and is more deserving of her help. Following Doopliss's defeat, Mario stands up for Vivian when she is questioned by his other partners; she ultimately thanks him by handing him the Ruby Star and thus joins Mario's team.
At the very end of Mario's adventure, Beldam and Marilyn end their villainous activities and promise not to mistreat Vivian again. When Mario is preparing to leave Rogueport, Vivian is about to tell Mario that she has a crush on him, but decides otherwise, saying that she thinks he and Princess Peach will make a good couple.
Super Paper Mario
In Super Paper Mario, Vivian appears as a Catch Card won by winning the Duel of 100 in the Sammer's Kingdom. Francis also has a Vivian plush doll and there is a painting of her along with Goombella, Koops, Flurrie, Yoshi, Bobbery, and Ms. Mowz in Mario's house. Like Mario's other past partners, there is unused sprite data for Vivian, suggesting that they were originally going to appear in Super Paper Mario, but were removed during development.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In the Japanese version of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Vivian is depicted as a transgender woman. It is openly stated in Vivian's character description, which is translated as "One of the Shadow Trio, Vivian appears to be a girl but is really a boy." (in Japanese: 「カゲ三人組の一人だった オンナのコのようで ホントは オトコのコ」). Additionally, Goombella's Tattle reads: "That's Vivian. Of the Shadow Trio, she's the youngest sister... er, brother." (in Japanese: 「『ビビアン』よ カゲ三人組の一人で いちばん下の妹 ・・・じゃなくて 弟ね」). While Beldam uses the term "majotachi" (meaning a group of sorceresses) to refer to her, Marilyn and Vivian as a collective, she also objects to Vivian trying to call the collective 「カゲ三姉妹」 Kage Sanshimai, the "Three Shadow Sisters", correcting the name to the gender-neutral 「カゲ三人組」 Kage Sanningumi, the "Shadow Trio", reminding Vivian that she is an 「オトコ」 otoko, "boy", written in red katakana for emphasis. However, in the end, Goombella's letter indicates that Vivian's choice to be identified as female is accepted by her sisters as part of their efforts to be nice to her after the events of the game. In her Super Paper Mario Catch Card, Vivian is described as 「キュートな オトコのコ」, which is most likely meant to be interpreted as "cute otokonoko", a term for male cross-dressers in Japanese culture (「男の娘」, literally "male girl"), although there is ambiguity here due to the fact that plain ｢男の子｣ otoko no ko, "male child", sounds the same, and the line itself is written in phonetic katakana script rather than kanji, which was likely done on purpose; either way, the emphasis is that she is cute, but also physically male.
In the English version of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, all references to Vivian's gender were removed, such as Beldam's "man" quotes being replaced with "Plug-Ugly" insults. However, some non-English translations in the PAL region maintain the Japanese version's transgender portrayal of Vivian, such as the Spanish version and the French version, where Beldam explicitly calls Vivian a boy when Vivian tried to call them "three sisters", and then cuts her off when she tries to protest. In the Italian version, the character is female, but it is said several times in the game that she was male before, although Beldam initially contests Vivian's assertion that she is a "shadow sister" (sorelle ombra).
Powers and abilities
Outside of battle, Vivian possesses the same ability Lady Bow has in Paper Mario, but Vivian's works differently, as instead of literally turning invisible, Vivian can pull Mario into her shadow, where they can hide. This allows them to get past objects that move over them and avoid sight from enemies and their attacks. Vivian possesses the strongest magic of any partner in the game.
Attacks and stats
At Initial Rank (-), Vivian has 15 HP. At Super Rank (*), Vivian has 20 HP. At Ultra Rank (**), Vivian has 30 HP. Vivian is one of the most versatile characters in the game.
Names in other languages