Warning: Possible spoilers and semi-accurate speculation may exist in this post.
With the announcement of the two new characters 9S and A2 at the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live, I have begun to restructure my initial speculation regarding No2 from the YoRHa play. Here’s the breakdown:
- I still think No2 from the stage play is *alive* and will play a role in Automata.
- I no longer think that 2B is directly or figuratively No2. I think she will be an upgraded No2 model that comprises both of the now defunct YoRHa “Attacker” and “Gunner” designations.
- However, with the reveal of A2, there are some interesting things that might connect her more closely to actually being No2.
- She is an older android who has seen her fair share of battle on the surface of the planet.
- She was an Attacker type YoRHa android, but by this time, these particular types have been decommissioned and are no longer in active duty. Any remaining androids that may still be intact and have been recalled generally become experimental units to develop new technology for future YoRHa models. This is how A2 could have been used as a prototype to create then next model of androids like 2B and 9S.
- She has some major issues PSTD type issues related to her past and must learn to channel the anger she feels because of those experiences.
- Much of her frame has been damaged, with the most damage stretching from her chest and outward to her limbs. The majority of her head, arms and legs are relatively undamaged. This makes me believe that the bomb affixed to her heart might have partially exploded, causing massive damage to her frame. Still, the damage could merely be the result of engaging the Bio-machines in battle for many years. The bomb could still be sleeping within her…
- How this connects with No2’s past looks like this:
- Before No2’s first mission, she met and spoke briefly with her idol: Seed.
Seed was an experimental android that was used to develop new weapons and armor–which the first series of YoRHa androids, including No2, were with. As depicted in the stage play, the Pearl Harbor Mission in 11941 was the first time the YoRHa androids were deployed.
- Prior to becoming an experimental unit, Seed was also deployed multiple times to the surface of the planet and was one of the few androids who actually met *real* humans.
- This progression from ‘deployed android used in multiple missions’ to ‘decommissioned tool to develop new androids’ is extremely important as it shows the standard “life cycle” of a typical YoRHa android if they survive the missions they’re sent on.
- Seed was destroyed during an experiment that she willingly participated in because she wanted to protect No2. It could be that Seed was the prototype used to create No2 and her sisters, just as A2 is the prototype used to create 2B and 9S.
- This would wrap up No2’s story very nicely, give it a very neat feeling of completing the cycle, and it continues the “bloodline” to promote evolution.
Seed –> No2 –> 2B.
- Before No2’s first mission, she met and spoke briefly with her idol: Seed.
- A little bit of an aside regarding why 2B’s series of YoRHa androids are forbidden from expressing emotion is because that is what essentially doomed the 126th Descent Mission aka the Pearl Harbor Mission (plot in the Stage Play). It doesn’t seem possible for the androids to turn off this function completely, but they are somewhat able to control or at least suppress it.
- And that leads to another important question: WHY DO ANDROIDS FEEL? If emotion is such a devastating weakness that can jeopardise their missions, then why are they programmed with that function in the first place? Why can’t it be switched off? What is its purpose? I’ve speculated this a little in the original post here, but I think the YoRHa androids are not your typical intelligent, artificial lifeforms… they are not merely robots programmed to emulate human emotion and memory… but are independently mobile units of the master computer system that housed the Gestalt information… Of course, that information is all that’s left of humanity when it was still whole. It could be that the “soul” that houses EMOTION and PERSONAL HISTORY and MEMORY in every YoRHa android was installed from the Gestalt data. YoRHa = humanity.
- We know that the S in the name 9S stands for “Scanner“. This was a designated type that was in service in the YoRHa Stage Play; however, the Attacker and Gunner types have since been discontinued. Given the above speculation that A2 = No2 from the Stage Play plus No2 was an Attacker type… then it is most likely that the A in A2 is “Attacker“. In an interview with Yoko Taro, he states that the B in 2B‘s name stands for “Battler“, which makes sense if this model series is an all-round fighter that is able to use a multitude of weapons.
Yoko Taro had stated in a previous interview with Hooked that 2B is *not* No2 from the YoRHa stage play… But, having another look at the script, I came across this line that gave me chills.
This line is said in context about the androids fearing death. Although the androids are not “alive”, they are still very frightful of “everything fading away” when they’re destroyed. Likewise, their personality routines are heavily based on their pre-programmed “false memories”. For example, No2 remembers living a peaceful life with her grandmother in the country. They comment that should they lose their memory, they would essentially become a new individual.
I’ve talked more about this speculation before, but could this be the reason Yoko Taro stated 2B is *not* No2? She could have lost her memory, either in battle or intentionally, in order to survive, essentially becoming an entirely new character.
I really think that should this be the case, No2 would have done this to herself intentionally. She was so full of emotion–especially fear–throughout the entire play, but by the end, she was forced to face her fears and stand strong. She lost so many friends, I can see her having huge emotional scars…and perhaps this potentially became her weakness. I can see her intentionally removing her memory and storing it somewhere safely so that she’s able to combat the Machines to the best of her ability. It’s also a sort of self-preservation mechanism to continue living, like No4 said. Perhaps she created the little droid Pod to house her original personality files…
Additionally, the events at the end of the play could have shocked her system so greatly that even her personality could not remain the same. This is true for any individual who undergoes a great loss, really. At the end of the play, she stands alone against the onslaught of the Machines, but her eyes are cold and unfeeling, full of determination–very different to how she used to be, all unsure of herself. This new “mature” version could be so different from her original programming that she’s almost like an entirely different character.
On the other hand, her visor might have a new purpose in the game than in the play. In the play, it was merely a tactical devise used in battle. When the androids are not engaged in battle, they don’t need to wear it. But, perhaps a secondary function of the visor could inhibit their personality routines to maximize their battle output. It would be a much simpler reason for wearing the devise nearly all the time while still allowing the possibility that 2B is in fact No2 after all.
In relation to No2′s admiration for Seed, the experimental android used to test out weapons and equipment for the new model YoRHa units, she could have “left everything on the battlefield” just as Seed had done…
No2: Why do you fight?
Seed: Do you know why I’ve continued to work as an experimental unit on this project even though I should have been retired? No, of course, you don’t…… I left everything on the battlefield. Fear, sadness, anger, joy… If I leave that place, I have nothing… Nothing remains in this empty head of mine…… That’s why. As long as I fight, that’s how I can forget everything.
But… anyway, lots of speculation and thinking really hard to see ways in which 2B could still be No2 even though YT said that she’s not. I’m probably trying too hard, but… No2 was an amazing character. It would be really great to see her again, even just a little. But… we’ll see… xD
On the topic of humans in the Automata timeline…
There seems to be a very good hint to how or why humanity seems to exist even after the events of the first NieR. I go into more detail about that here.