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NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5: Favorites

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NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5 – Quick Summary

In NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a Episode 5, “mave[R]ick,” Lily asked the two visiting YoRHa soldiers, 2B and 9S, to do something unprecedented. At least, 9S thought it was so. Lily asked them to deliver supplies! For an android who was supposedly without emotion, 9S complained a lot about the mission. But his complaints only got more strident when he found out to whom they were delivering the supplies. Will 9S be able to stomach such a mission? Will 2B be able to smooth things over? And did Jackass try to disassemble or otherwise harass 9S in this episode?

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

Favorite Quote from NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5

NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5: 9S apparently want to go shopping with 2B

I can’t blame 9S for his ambitions! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

9S was on a roll in this episode! He said several things that ended up in contention for my favorite quote. I settled on the one that’s more poignant instead of the one that was more funny. But it was close. Him describing a toothbrush as (04:12) “…a stick with something fluffy on it” made me laugh.

On the way to Pascal’s village, they went through a ruined shopping mall. The scenery evoked melancholy. Seeing the plant life that had reclaimed the structure, and seeing the animals that had turned it into their home, left me with a feeling of diminished hope. While it was nice to see such a place should be teeming with life, I would have preferred it be more complex life.

9S dreamed of a time after they defeated the machine lifeforms. He dreamed of a time when they could do something as non-military as shopping.

“When we gain peace,” he said, almost frolicking from the joy of the thought (04:57), “let’s go shopping together. I’ll buy you T-shirts that look good on you.”

It was a sweet moment, especially for androids who supposedly felt no emotion. Though I think he should set a higher-bar for himself. Clearly, anything would look good on 2B.

Favorite Moment from NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5

NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5: 2B is more whimsical than I expected

2B showed a wistful side in this episode. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Real Life Frames What We Watch

Adam sure has eclectic tastes in books. He started out reading Being and Nothingness I by Jean Paul Sartre (00:31). I learned just enough about Sartre in college to realize I know nothing about him – which is actually more of an achievement than it sounds. By the end, he was reading Vice Amply Rewarded by Marquis de Sade.

That’s quite a contrast.

But it’s about what I’ve come to expect from NieR:Automata Ver1.1a. The show is boldly exploring some weighty ideas. Indirectly, I can tell by the conversations we’re having in the comments, like these comments from Merlin from episode 4. I can tell more directly by the personal inner dialogue it kicks off.

This week was a bad week for my personal inner dialogue. Too many Real Life Family Events (RLFEs) and Real Life Work Events (RLWEs) damaged my calm (to borrow Jayne Cobb’s line from Serenity, as seen in this clip). The way this episode treated 9S’s reaction to visiting Pascal’s peaceful village caught me at a bad time. For example, I’m watching accounts of Florida’s government attempting to takeover college curriculums. This is after the governor in question waged a partially successful campaign against freedom of speech, and in the midst of his continued scapegoating of marginalized populations.

NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5: 9S struggled to accept Pascal's village

9S didn’t approve of Pascal’s village or its philosophy. Yet, he didn’t attack it. Instead, he tried to understand, with 2B’s help. The show continues to effectively convey emotion with subtle animation. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

He’s attempting to appeal to the worst aspects of human nature, in an attempt to roll back rights that particularly affect women and minorities. He’s no longer even being subtle about it. I have friends in Europe, especially Germany, who continue to raise alarms. In the previous presidency, several of these dangers were only brewing. Now, they have materialized.

All my life, I lived in the hope that humanity might actually have pushed past some of those evils. And now, I’m forced to watch it happen, in my country, while people I grew up with cheer.

That, plus the week I’ve had, put me in a bad mood.

Delivery: Choosing to Focus on the Positive

Maybe watching NieR:Automata was a mistake, like watching Concrete Revolutio had been a mistake. I couldn’t bring myself to review its second season. But backing away from the mirror those shows hold up to reality is not an answer. Letting the evil that continues to gather and take shape is a cowardly option, and I don’t want to live a cowardly life. 

But this isn’t the site for discussing those issues, except insofar as they set the context for my favorite moment. In this case, it gave me the push I needed not to choose a heavy moment. Instead, I’m choosing a light one. 2B had just pointed out that neither machine lifeforms nor androids could live alone. 9S tried to riff off that to give a wonderfully awkward near confession of his feelings for 2B. But he chickened out at the last second.

She knew what he was saying, though, and in appreciation, she drew her hand to her chest. It was a beautifully animated moment. 9S seemed surprised when she told her pod to log this location. Confused, knowing their job here was done, he asked what she was doing.

NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5: 9S's near confession touched 2B

She just brought her hand up to her chest. But it communicated her feelings clearly. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

She looked up and shielded her eyes against the sun, which appeared in the slowly clearing sky. “Because once we have peace,” she said (18:27), “we’ll be back here together to buy T-shirts.”

Androids are not supposed to have emotions. But they clearly do. As this episode showed, that can be for the better, and it can be for the worse. I hope 2B’s optimism and affection will prevail. But I’m afraid that even if it does? Things are about to get a bit less hopeful in this world.

What did you think of the arguing machine lifeforms at the end? Please share your favorite moments in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “NieR:Automata Ver1.1a Episode 5: Favorites

  1. What we know, or can very reasonably guess, so far is that the machine life forms, whatever their true origin, are generally set for one specific purpose: annihilating humanity. But somewhere along the line, there has been some sort of glitch. You copy one program ten thousand times, input slightly different experiences into the machines, and distinctions will arise. Malfunctions, errors, etc. If this glitch occurs again, or can spread like a virus, then it is sensible to guess that further distinctions will arise.

    The previous episode showed a number of machines imitating physical human behaviors like acting, violence, mating, reading, self-adornment (to insane proportions), and pleading. There have been, and still are, humans who likewise go insane for whatever reason. Elizabeth Bathory, anyone? Particularly relevant to the one that kept adorning itself.

    This episode seems to feature machines who are imitating the behaviors of human society and the bonds of community. They’re friends, teachers, school kids, siblings, etc. But the “school children” aren’t actually going to grow up, are they? And growing up is pivotal to many of our interactions as humans. We grow, we mature, we change. The machines don’t. The way they have changed from other machines, like their origin, is the definition of unnatural, and so further change won’t go the way it naturally does for humans. The “school children” are imitating other human behaviors such as selfishness, bullying, anger, tantrums, and isolation, things which drive humans mad despite how we naturally learn to deal with simply by dint of growing up at all. The machines don’t have that.

    Even if they are legitimately feeling something, and thinking something on their own unlike other machines… actually, I rephrase that: *especially* if they are *actually feeling* without having any of a human’s experience in dealing with what they feel… there is a terrible, terrible danger there, in this community where the bonds and the identities and the peaceful behaviors of those within it are all more fragile than glass, with none of a human’s resilience.

    Thus, while the story told by this machine community’s leader is plausible, I await with mournful certainty the implosion of 9S and 2B’s dream, at least as far as these machines go. This may well prove why they are forbidden from having emotions that are supposed to be impossible for them to feel.

    As for Adam and the other android, I am going to withhold comment until we get a little more experience with them.

    1. “And growing up is pivotal to many of our interactions as humans. We grow, we mature, we change. The machines don’t”

      You know, I’m not sure. Once a machine lifeform gets yellow eyes (for lack of a better phrase), are they locked at that level forever? Are the different sizes all artifacts of their manufacture — that don’t change? I didn’t really give that any thought. I’ll watch more closely going forward!

      “there is a terrible, terrible danger there, in this community where the bonds and the identities and the peaceful behaviors of those within it are all more fragile than glass, with none of a human’s resilience.”

      I’d think of that as they’re trying to recreate human evolution without the environmental adaptive pressures — which is what drives evolution in the first place. Interesting thought!

      ” I await with mournful certainty the implosion of 9S and 2B’s dream, at least as far as these machines go. ”

      Yeah. That’s an unfortunately clear way of putting it.

  2. If the amusement park was a mental institution for machine lifeforms, Pascal’s village looked a lot more like a fully-functioning human-esque community. The fact that it wasn’t *perfect* (due to the bickering “kids” over the music box) only adds to the human-ness. With Pascal’s green-eyed wisdom, perhaps the MLs are finally adopting human morals and ethics to go along with the emulation of human life. In any case, I’m glad “Nines” softened his stance a bit this week.

    1. Yo your point, I like how the show portrayed Pascal’s morals and ethics as enabling a peaceful society. You mentioned the amusement park — it showed machine lifeforms trying to emulate human behaviors out of context. Completely different from Pascal.

Please let me know what you think!

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