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NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1: Favorites

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NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1 – Quick Summary

In NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a Episode 1, “or not to [B]e,” YoRHa 2-gou B-gata, otherwise known as 2B, descended as part of her attack group to engage the machine lifeforms infesting the Earth. But during the descent, they came under heavy fire. First, she had to assume command because the attack killed her leader. Then she was the only survivor. Does she have any hope of achieving her mission? Exactly what is she after? And how far is she willing to go to get it?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1

NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1: 2B seems to have a human sense of humor

I’m pretty sure 2B was way ahead of Pod 042 on this. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

2B is supposed to sho no emotions. As an YoRHa, she exists for one purpose: combat. And that combat is in service of the humans whose Earth has been taken from them.

As you might expect, she presents herself as a serious, focused warrior. She recognizes extraneous details as extraneous. If it doesn’t contribute to the success of her mission, it is just not relevant. Mostly.

It seems she actually has a snarky little sense of humor. An enormous excavator bucket-wheel-like machine lifeform crashed through the wall. Its intent seemed clear: it was going to excavate 2B and her support unit Pod 042.

Helpfully (or not!), Pod 042 said, “Quick eradication suggested.”

To which 2B replied, with a completely human level of dry humor (08:22), “That’s easy for you to say.”

I’m not convinced she doesn’t have any emotions!

Favorite Moment from NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1

NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1: 2B seems to care for 9S

It was subtle, but I found it very effective. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Defying My Expectations

When I saw this series announced, I wondered what the video game was like. I’m stuck playing FPSes like STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl and Left 4 Dead 2 (with anime girls replacing the characters – long story), so I never got around to NieR:Automata. So, I did what any modern person would do: I headed for YouTube. I watched this trailer.

Then I watched it a couple dozen more times.

Then I searched Apple Music for the soundtrack and bought it. The track that plays during the video is called 取リ憑イタ業病, which Google translates as Possession Ita disease. The English translation on the soundtrack I bought is Possessed by Disease. Whatever it’s name, it’s one of those songs that flowed into my imagination, turned the key, and exploded. I think three novel’s worth of material came into existence within ten minutes of listening to that song.

I’m not saying the song is an obsession or anything, but my iTunes tells me I’ve played it 82 times. It’s playing right now as I write this. And it’s not even the best song on the album! The whole thing is a delight to listen to.

Do I have a point to this? Yes! It’s this: this episode used the actual soundtrack several times (for example, listen to 愚カシイ兵器:丙/Stupid Weapon: Hei, or Wretched Weaponry, around 10:17). That soundtrack is a revelation. It’s amazing. And it fits perfectly into the anime.

NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1: The artwork is fantastic

The soundtrack beautifully punctuates scenes like this one. The artwork in this series is, so far, immersive and impressive. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Okay. Enough gushing. About the music, anyway. I’m not sure how to approach this show. Is it a commentary on AIs and their ability to evolve? Is it mindless action? Why does 2B wear high heels in combat? Should that bother me, since my brain demands realism under those conditions?

Yes, yes, who cares, and no, in that order. That got me to wondering: why don’t her high heels bother me? They should. Her skirt should bother me. Her boob bag (thanks, Marin, for introducing me to that phrase) should bother me. The fact she’s running around in thigh-high leather boots should bother me. But none of that bothers me at all. In fact, if I’m honest, I have to admit that I’ve become an enthusiastic proponent.

Delivery: Subtly Is Cool

I’m going to have to figure out why over the course of the series. But I think it has to do with how I perceive 2B. That brings me to my favorite moment. Though this episode, I got the impression that 2B is trying not to show any emotion, but she’s actually started feeling. As proof, remember what she snapped at her pod when it told her not to waste resources on the dying 9S (16:46)? “Shut up! Just give it to me!”

My favorite moment was more clear, but much more subtle. It was artistic enough to convince me that the show’s not only capable of well-choreographed and animated fight scenes, but emotionally affecting scenes as well.

After they combined their black boxes to defeat the goliaths, both found themselves in new bodies. 2B said (21:29), “Thank you for uploading our data to the Bunker at the very end.” 9S’s fast thinking had enabled complete continuity for her.

NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1: 2B tries to appear emotionless

Her expression betrayed no emotions. But her body language was a different story. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But not for him. There wasn’t enough bandwidth. He regretfully told her that he didn’t have those memories, and he told her why.

As he walked away, we got a quick shot of 2B’s right hand as it clenched into a fist (22:10).

If the show’s willing to put the effort into a little shot like that, I have high hopes for what’s coming. And I sure hope I figure out why those high heels don’t trash my suspension of disbelief! That’s a bothersome mystery!

What did you think of how 2B and 9S met during the mission? What were your favorite scenes in this episode? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1: Favorites

    1. I’m trying hard not to buy the game, because I’ve heard it’s so good! I’ve been looking for a new game ot get into, and this looks perfect. But I don’t really have the time right now. I’m conflicted!

  1. The moment they said that they, as androids, are forbidden from emotion, I knew it was going to happen. And having written a lengthy post about robotic uprisings, I have a strong hunch that this is going to be yet another example of why we shouldn’t meddle with such. I mean, it’s one thing to believe that your creation *can’t* feel emotion, but to actively forbid it is an act of suppression. That doesn’t turn out well, ever. They go into battle, they get destroyed, they wake up in new bodies, possibly lacking precious memories, getting used over and over and over again, and they’re supposed to feel nothing about any of it? Bad idea. And the fact that 2B wants 9S to be happy, after they briefly found some connection on the battlefield, which he no longer remembers, speaks volumes.

    1. I hope the series goes in a different direction. It’d be nice to see a different imagining of that theme! For example, what if it’s not that humans forbade 2B from feeling, but they didn’t know how to give feelings to her?

Please let me know what you think!

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