This episode was really fun to watch. They’re weaving everything together really nicely and in unexpected ways. The series is following the game in tow. Chapter 3 (game) and Episode 3 (anime) are almost identical with the exception of Lily’s and Jackass’s presence. Lily doesn’t throw off the story but rather, her character gives weight to the Resistance giving us someone to anchor ourselves to so we can understand things from this faction’s perspective. They’ve been fighting this war for a long time. In the game, the Resistance had bases conveniently placed around the map so we could lean on them for goods and upgrades. But here, the Resistance is playing a larger part. Jackass is the one who drives both 9S and 2B to their mission site in the desert. She’s also a unique character, fascinated by androids and machines alike, wanting to dismantle them and study them for the sake of evolving ‘science’. Don’t all mad scientists claim it’s for the sake of science?
Lily has taken up a lot of my attention. She takes up way more space than 2B or 9S do when she’s put side by side with them. What does she know about 2B that we don’t? What was the ‘coded’ song she played on the old Jukebox and who was she hoping to reach with her message? OK, true, it could have just been a way to transition into the Desert theme but I think it was more than that. There’s still a lot for us to uncover here. If anyone has played or is watching ‘The Last of Us’, you’ll understand why I think she’s just sent a code out…
On the other hand, for fans of the game, the desert scenes will look really familiar with the exception of one thing. A little like episode 1 (the prologue), the story unfolds almost identically. The machines repeat the same words we’ve heard before: “This cannot continue”, 9S and 2B chase after a masked and cloaked machine, they stumble upon a group of machines mimicking human traits (intercourse, parenthood, etc.), and finally, the machines give ‘birth’ to what seems to be a man. But what is he, really?
After 9S and 2B slay the defenseless ‘soul’ that is birthed from the machines having merged into some kind of core, notice where the second body emerges from. The rib. Eve was said to have come from Adam’s rib. Sorry to spoil it for those of you who don’t know the story, but those are Adam and Eve, brothers and the game’s (and this anime’s) main antagonists. I won’t say more than that but we’ll see them again soon, you can count on that.
And finally, the memory 9S hacks into comes from the first NieR release, NieR Replicant. I’ve played both and Automata definitely has some clear callbacks to characters in Replicant, even the music, but I didn’t expect to see this sandy city in a machine’s core memory. I wonder if this memory did for this machine as the Lunar Tear flower did for the machine that perished in the previous episode. Was this interaction with the human world, with the living, the cause for its sentience?
To be Continued
For now, we’ll have to sit and wait for episode 4 and others to release as the series is taking an indefinite break as a new wave of Covid spreads causing issues with production. If you ask me, that means that it’s time to take up playing NieR: Automata again. Unless you’re like me and you’ve been re-playing for a week already. Go get the real ‘Broken Wings’ (W) ending and hopefully by the time you’re done playing through 3 times, the series will be back on.