Episode Review: NieR:Automata Ver1.1A Episode 2

Growing life inside the machine
Now this is a big-brained storyboarding move! Nier:Automata ver 1.1A has stayed true to its name and differed from the source material with episode, where the direction of the story take a different turn as well an the introduction of a new character never seen before. With the nature of Nier, this decision is not a bad one, and not an unexpected one either, with so many endings and retrospective of the original game, going for an all-new branch with some similarities to the other routes is a very viable option. Not to mention this week’s episode has some great POV scenes.

We get a simple explanation on the situation of the Earth as well as YoRHa’s mission in reclaiming the Earth from the machine lifeforms, as well as cryptic “theater” sequence that explain the evolution of the machine lifeforms on Earth. Seeing them “learning” and gaining a speck of emotions is great, since the game placed a lot of emphasis on androids and robots gaining self-awareness, self-preservation as well as sadness, joy, anger and sorrow… The POV sequence from the perspective of a Medium Biped is quite impactful, more so when we found out that it’s actually just a throwaway one-off unit and won’t be “important” to the plot (like Pascal or Emil). But those scene serve to establish that the machine lifeforms are slowly gaining knowledge and emotions through what humans left behind, and it deliver a powerful message just like the original game did.

We also get introduced to the Resistance and a brand new character: Lily – who is the leader of the current group. Lily was introduced in the stage play and manga for Nier, her background is that of an android with a dark past long before the formation of YoRHa. During the stage play and manga, Lily has quite a big impact on 2A’s character development. In existing lore, she never crossed paths with 2B, but in this episode, the two actually encountered each other along with 9S as well. Let’s see how they will use the character, as at the moment, Lily seems to be very bitter towards the Council of Humanity since they deserted them (unless Lily knows the truth about the Council). Looking forward to more of this arc (oh and Popola and Devola are here too!).

There’s not much action this episode and a lot of the Machine lifeforms scene are actually hand-drawn. But there’s still CGI scene mostly the factory and stuff, as well as 5 seconds of the Flight Module. Still the episode was done well, except a few frames where the Resistance soldier looking a bit goofy, but that’s all right. What’s impressive is the still shot from the machine lifeforms factory – which is both atmospheric and immersive. The BGM during that sequence was amazing as well.

Overall, this episode is a nice surprise for viewers with the deviation from the story as well as a nice pov-switch to establish on the settings of the world. Pretty cool worldbuilding, even though it’s not a lot, but Nier was such a global phenomenon that giving the audience this much is plenty, and the rest will be filled with other material as well as subsequent episodes. And this episode managed to evoke emotions coming from the development of the machine lifeforms, something Nier was known for, so it’s a pretty good follow-up to ep 1. Oh and also I’m really liking the skit at the end of each episode where 2B just hit all of the joke ending and just went full kaboom lol.

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