Square Enix's breakout hit, NieR: Automata is getting an Anime Adaptation, here are all the details!
NieR: Automata was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, and the game singlehandedly launched its director Yoko Taro's career into the stratosphere. Which was odd from the outside, since it was the sequel to a very weird meta-sequel/prequel to Drakengard. Listen, NieR is weird okay? It is very hard to explain what makes either of those titles so great in the first place without ruining the magic. Don't worry! It is now getting an anime adaptation.
Glory to Mankind 1.1
The anime is called NieR: Automata Ver. 1.1a following the naming scheme of the remake of NieR, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139. Confused yet? Don't worry, it'll get worse.
But first the details. The anime adaptation will be handled by A-1 Pictures, which is a mainstay of the industry. Coming hot off the production of Lycoris Recoil, a… let's call it a John Wick-esque action story featuring Japanese schoolgirls. Which ran earlier this year to a lot of praise and critical acclaim. (Even Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima praised it.)
Directing the whole affair is one Ryouji Masuyama, a very talented animator. Masuyama has his name attached to the Evangelion rebuild movies, Gurren Lagaan, and the storyboard of the excellent movie, Promare. Previously he directed 2017's slice-of-life comedy Blend S. And honestly, anyone who worked at Gainax — and Cyberpunk: Edgerunner's creators Trigger— at some point in time is guaranteed to deliver.
If that doesn't convince you, find comfort in the fact that the script is handled by NieR creator Yoko Taro himself. Who has already threatened to mess with the original story, much to the dismay of the anime's staff.
Talking about NieR:Automata Animation.
— yokotaro (@yokotaro) September 24, 2022
For the Japanese version the complete cast of voice actors will reprise their roles, as we learned at the recent NieR Fan Fest. This makes us wonder if Kira Buckland and Kyle McCarley will reprise their roles as 2B and 9S for the English dub. The anime will start airing in January of 2023, but we don't know yet who will handle international distribution and streaming.
What's NieR: Automata anyways and why is there an Anime?
Glad you asked! The game NieR: Automata tells the story of the androids 2B and 9S who fight on the side of YorHa against alien machine lifeforms who have invaded earth in the far-off future. Mankind was forced to flee to the moon and is hoping to one day return home after the fighting is done. But nothing's as simple as it seems. Both 2B and 9S observe that there is a lot more to the machine lifeforms than they are led to believe which kickstarts a series of events that you quite honestly have to experience yourself. Words don't do it any justice.
The game was produced by action experts and Bayonetta creators, Platinum Games and published by Square Enix to overwhelming fanfare. And it easily makes it into the top 10 list of the eighth console generation titles.
Which leads us to the question; why is there an anime adaptation when the game is already there? Well… with Yoko Taro at the helm, things are never easy. Just to give you an example of the level we are operating on here, NieR: Automata was a kind of sequel to 2010's NieR: Replicant. Which was itself a sequel to one of the joke endings of 2003's Drakengard (Drag-on Dragoon in Japan). Which was originally teased in a highly experimental Idol pop group stage play called YorHa, produced by Yoko Taro himself.
So you can be sure that this is not just going to be a straight-up retelling of the events of the game. Even the recent remake of NieR: Replicant wasn't a straight remake either, turned out it had a completely new ending that flipped the entire canon of the series on its head. And somehow all of this might tie into an eventual Drakengard 4; because the ending of the remakes strongly connects to Drakengard 3 and-
It's complicated. I assume that the anime will be great enough to give you the much-beloved story of NieR: Automata. But I also expect after being exposed to Yoko Taro's madness for years, this Anime is going to switch things up. There is already key art of a character floating around that is only mentioned in the game, not to mention there have been several stage plays and a novel that served as the true ending(?).
If you're a fan of the man's multiverse of madness, you already know exactly what you're in for. If you have just stumbled into this mess by accident. I feel sorry for you. Just sit down, relax and enjoy the inevitably induced emotional trauma that comes from being a fan of this series.
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