The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 118: Episode CXIII: Of Course a Japanese Stage Play is Canon

Episode CVIII: Of Course a Japanese Stage Play is Canon

Old Music: Blissade ~ Egregori

As I mentioned earlier, Anemone’s backstory we just read is derived from YoRHa – a Japanese stage play first performed in a run of shows in October 2014 and again in May of 2015. For reference, NieR’s sequel wasn’t announced until the 2015 E3 in June of that year. So the backstory of NieR: Automata had been kicking around in Yoko Taro’s head for a while.

Indeed, if you want to go even farther back... The 2013 release Drakengard 3’s boss fight vocals, like the song linked above, on the soundtrack attributed to a group called... YoRHa – an idol group formed by Okabe Keiichi and his studio MONACA along with Yoko Taro back in 2012. If you went to that group’s website back in the day, they had a backstory where they were... androids from the distant future where there was a forever war against living machines and the remains of humanity had fled to the moon. So ya know... literally Automata’s backstory.

Another fun fact: There’s a hidden unused track in the Drakengard 3 audio files. It’s embedded along with the other files associated with Accord, the time traveling interdimensional android from the future. It was initially attributed to be an unused boss fight theme for her since it’s also by this YoRHa group and sounds like the other boss themes. But nope! It’s actually the cast introduction song for the YoRHa stage play.

There were some fucking layers to the amount of foreshadowing there would be a NieR sequel... Anyway, I’m not going to go over everything in the play. Anemone’s Records covered the gist of it except for the very beginning and end along with a few interval scenes.

The date for the play is given as 11,941 making it four years before four years before the beginning of Automata. The opening of the play introduces the main YoRHa member cast... not to be confused with the YoRHa idol group since they also perform in musical interludes during this production.

Pictured above in order left to right: Scanner 21, Attacker 4, Attacker 2 and Gunner 16 (they all just refer to themselves by their numbers not A2 or G16.) Initial YoRHa outfits were only slightly less wildly inappropriate for a war zone. In the descent to the mission zone in Hawaii, everyone but these four gets shot down and killed by machine anti-air fire. Including their squad leader, unoriginally named Number 1. These leaves A2 getting a field promotion by...

Commander White, who also first appeared in this play along with A2. Yes, this is supposed to be The Commander and early Operators. Once the Commander got assigned to the Bunker and head of YoRHa, the military dress code went straight out the window. There’s not much to say about The Commander. Other than dressing 20x more conservatively she’s pretty much the same character, complete with kind of being resigned to everything going to shit all the time with her subordinates.

The machine lifeforms show up a few times during the play. Sadly, since this production didn’t have the budget to stick a child in a Stubby costume and have him seem threating to a bunch of gothic Lolita dressed girls. So it’s only animated gifs on a projector with sound effects. The only machines we see are giant bipedal war machines that look more like something out of Metal Gear Solid than the lovable dingus machines we’re used to seeing.

A2 is the least competent of the bunch since she almost immediately loses her shit and cowers seeing a bunch of machines. Everyone else at least makes an attempt to fight. But, like in Anemone’s Record...

...The Resistance shows up. They’re all dressed like they just raided an ‘80s throwback clothing outlet. Look... you have to make do with what you can for clothing after 200 years being stuck in an eternal warzone. Rose, the Resistance leader is the central one dual-wielding pistols. That’s Anemone on the far right. Everything from this point proceeds mostly as it did in Anemone’s Record. Except for one omission that neither Anemone nor A2 would be around to see.

A2, Commander and Anemone all originated from this play. But there was also two more characters that initially appeared in this thing...

The Red Girls, the creepy ghost holograms that had taken a liking to silently staring at events from the background back during Route B show up in this as well. They’re a bit chattier in this. They mostly appear in time stopped intervals to dunk on the androids to themselves and muse on why they’re so weird and dumb. But mostly to be creepy assholes.

There’s some other details that don’t particularly matter as the Resistance and YoRHa grow to trust each other and possibly team up to complete the mission YoRHa is on. The androids that dropped in the area the same time Anemone did was originally 160 units. So yeah... they’re down a few people. Rose started the surviving androids banding together to form the Resistance since apparently the Moon Command immediately abandoned them after they dropped and they’re all kind of resentful about that.

The whole business with one of the Resistance fighters getting infected with the Logic Virus goes down the same way. Anemone’s account omits the part where Logic Virus infected androids get crazy anti-gravity powers like Eve did back at the end of Route A/B. Apparently that’s just a thing the virus can do. It doesn’t matter if it infects machines or androids.

After Scanner 21 sorts out the Logic Virus, the Resistance and YoRHa become besties and join forces to go take on the mission to take down the Mt. Ka’ala server. This alliance is forged through a dance number, naturally. This is canon. They also take a while to discuss the meaning of life. A2’s uncertain leadership and a whole flashback to A2 being trained by some prototype YoRHa member named Seed. The Commander saying that YoRHa’s mission will probably fail because that’s how the scenario was planned and one of the Operators going “wait WHAT?” None of that is particularly important. They did have a dance number though.

When the mission gets underway, Anemone mentions how Lilly, the one that had early gotten infected with the Logic Virus, and most of the Resistance had stayed behind as the rearguard. Anemone glossed over the part where she retained anti-gravity powers from the viral infection and was doing most of the work holding off the several thousand angry Stubbies heading their way to stop the mission. Also The Commander ordered A2 to leave behind most of the Resistance as a decoy to buy them time. So that’s why most of the Resistance and Number 16 stayed behind to back her up. The Resistance all die blowing up a ton of landmines they planted along the mountain to stop the horde of machines. Number 16 self-destructs doing the same. That’s one YoRHa down.

It’s also mentioned that YoRHa totally had several fighters in the region that could have swooped in to help since everyone on the mission was gonna be turbo-fucked if they didn’t get back-up. The Commander declines sending support because they need that spicy Combat Data from the mission or else everyone’s deaths would have been in vain. Fucking Combat Data... Every time...

Old Music: Descendeus

Scanner 21 got infected with the Logic Virus when she was hacking the elevator to send everyone else down to the main server room. It ain’t easy being a Hackerman. Anemone’s role in the play ends with the machines advancing on her after she mercy kills Number 21. But of course that’s not where the play ends.

Before the final battle, everyone has a chat about what they’d experienced and whatnot. It’s worth mentioning that apparently YoRHa soldiers get implanted with fake memories of humans. A2’s were about how she lived out in the wilderness alone with her grandmother. They had a rough time and the neighboring town were kind of assholes. But she was happy. Hmph. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence A2 went on to become a potty-mouthed murder hobo that doesn’t wear pants...

When all the surviving members of YoRHa and the Resistance arrive in the Central Server Room they’re greeted by the Red Girls, who up to that point had existed outside of the events in the play and had just served as a Roman Chorus commenting on events. I suppose their role in NieR: Automata hasn’t been revealed directly but whatever... It’s not like it’s hard to guess they’re high up entities in the machine lifeform network hierarchy. And they’re here to drop some endgame knowledge on the androids.

For instance... destroying this server? Pfft. They’ve got like 20 of these things sitting around. Blowing this up isn’t gonna do shit. And Command knew it. Also that order to leave behind most of the Resistance to buy time could have totally been avoided. They just wanted all of the Resistance red shirts to die so YoRHa would have to complete the actual final stages of the mission with minimal help. They think that’s a real fucked up thing to do to your own dudes.

The final battle is against a swarm of machines (which is represented by a kung-fu lady in black) who proceeds to murder the shit out of the entire remaining Resistance fighter cast. The Resistance redshirts immediately get infected with the virus on death and the Red Girls can puppet their corpses around to fight. It’s a bad time for all involved. Rose gets ganked by her former squad here. I guess it’s for the best A2 didn’t share how Anemone’s commander died. Number 2 and Number 4 also get their asses fairly kicked. With Number 4 stepping up and defeating most of the machines...

...Only to immediately get gunned down by the corpse puppet Resistance members and apparently die in A2’s arms. It’s very sad. The Red Girls are huge assholes about it, of course. A2 doesn’t take any of this well.

Despite being sorta useless for most of the play and kind of a bad leader, Number 2 goes into a blood rage and double kills all the viral infected left androids in the Resistance. She also attacks the Red Girls who... immediately no sell it because well... they’re hologram ghost girls. What are you even playing at? You can't gank a hologram unless you're on a holodeck and that is CLEARLY not the case.

Since everyone else is apparently dead, the Red Girls lay one last truth bomb on A2... Literally. Turns out YoRHa Command implanted a automatically detonating bomb in all of the YoRHa soldier’s fusion cores that would explode as soon as one of them reached the machine server room core. So, even if this didn’t end with everyone dead from fighting, the mission end state is getting blown up when you reach the objective. Real dick move, that!

A2 loses her shit at hearing her and all her team were meant to die and had gotten totally dicked over. Number 4 turns out to be not quite dead, decides “fuck this noise” and runs into the core to blow herself up. Explosion and cut to black.

Old Music: Prevolt ~ Armaros

Following the mission, the Operators discuss how they collected a ton of valuable combat data from the exercise and that the Moon has decided to do a full production of YoRHa androids. Surely the next wave of YoRHa will turn the tide of the war. Everyone sent on that mission died for a good cause! The Operators give a cheerful “Glory to Mankind!” A clearly not particularly cool with what she just had to do Commander has the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme slowly begin playing in her head.

Meanwhile, the Red Girls decide that fucking with the androids like hammy anime villains is fun as hell and they definitely need to do something like this more often. A machine voice says A2 survived and wants further orders but they cut it off and run off giggling thinking new plans to be assholes to androids. Like I dunno... blowing up their space base or something? That could be rad. It’ll take some work though...

Finally, A2 takes off her dumb combat visor mask and decides she’s going to stop bathing, start drinking and murder every goddamn machine she ever crosses paths with on the dark trail of becoming a murder hobo.

And that’s the YoRHA Stage Play and the tale of A2’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and why she’s extremely pissed at machines and YoRHa Command. And now you know the full story too. Tune in next time when we actually get to some lighter subject matter for a while after all this talk of full party wipes and everyone having an awful time as NieR: Automata continues!