Become as God Tier TV – Nier: Automata Anime Announced

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Potentially Love a Video Game Anime Adaptation

Allow me to don my cynic cap – a fedora, of course – while I make a generalized statement, as I am wont to do: anime adaptations of video games tend to suck. Persona 5: The Animation is a 26 episode (and 2 OVA) distillation of a 100+ hour game. During the 4th class trial in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, it’s explicitly stated to be the halfway point of the 25+ hour game; in the adaptation Danganronpa: The Animation, this happens around episode 9 out of 13. When you boil down these stories to their barest essentials, you lose a lot of what makes the experiences special.

Enter Nier: Automata, whose anime adaptation (produced by Aniplex) was just announced during the game’s 5th anniversary livestream. It had been rumored for a few weeks; in fact, Big Cheese of this very website, Andrew Semicek – knowing how much I love this game – sent me the initial Twitter leaks, but I just didn’t (or rather, couldn’t allow myself to) fully buy into it. How do you adapt a story that is so firmly embedded into its own medium? Well, we’re about to find out soon enough.

Nier: Automata is a 2017 action JRPG developed by PlatinumGames – the masters of hack and slash – as well as the passion project of Yoko Taro, the creative force behind the Drakengard series and the original Nier; one of gaming’s preeminent auteurs, fond of storytelling twists and trolling his fans in ways that surely make Hideo Kojima himself blush. The story centers on an elite android military known as YoRHa, in a war against a mysterious legion of “primitive” machine lifeforms. We follow 2B and 9S, as they navigate both an apocalyptic landscape and their own unlikely partnership, uncovering the difficult truth about the enemy’s existence, as well as their own.

I would love to delve deeper into this topic at a later date, but for now, I will say that Nier: Automata is an outstanding narrative experience. Without spoiling anything: it utilizes the fact that it’s a video game to more effectively present its existential, avant-garde storytelling. It’ll be interesting to see how these tricks are implemented in the adaptation (if at all).

In any case, I’m taking off my cynic cap and allowing myself to become utterly consumed by the hype. I may very well end up disappointed – and you’re damn sure I’ll be back here reviewing this anime either way – but it’s better to open yourself up to trust and have your heart smashed into pieces, than it is to remain withdrawn forever and never experience the euphoria of unbridled happiness. I’m ready, Aniplex – break my heart.