NieR:Automata – The Opening Sequence Script and Conte

Back when I was able to snag a ticket for the Music Concert & Talk Live, I knew I wanted to work on some translations for the new “Character Introductions” video. I managed to translate some bits and posted about it here, but I don’t think I ever got around to taking a closer look at the little overlays of the SCRIPTS and animation CONTE that rapidly flashed across the screen until now…!

Many times during the course of the video, the same page of the script would be overlayed on the screen multiple times, but you might be able to see one extra word compared to the first time it was displayed, or maybe the angle had shifted to make the text easier to read.

I took snapshots of these individual frames in the video, enhanced them, and translated the text; so now I believe we have a pretty damn good idea of how will begin.

** Potential spoilers abound here, so please be warned!! **

First, let’s review the Character Introductions video one more time:

And before we get into the nitty-gritty, here are some notes to be aware of:

  • Many sentences are incomplete because the complete line in the script was never fully displayed in the video. For these holes in the script, I indicate this as […], and for inferred text, I have added an extra ? next to a word or phrase that I added.
  • Italicized text indicates the narrative voice. There may be some discrepancy here due to insufficient information.
  • Lastly, the terminology “conte” has roots in Japanese animation (anime). In English, it is commonly known as a “storyboard”.

Now let’s break the video down into sections according to character; from 2B, 9S, and then finally A2…


2B

All […] has been lost.

2B(?): What are your instructions.

While […]ing, she responds.

Operator 6O: O-operator to 2B.
Operator 6O: Rendezvous with the Area Director, 9S, and scout for information on the terrain.

2B: Copy.

Flying at high speed within the Junk Heap.

As she advances forward, the walls on either side get narrower and she dodges gate after gate as they begin to close.

050_HD_a
※ 2B’s aerial equipment is nearly completely destroyed by the exploding gates and she discards it while in mid-air.

With a seemingly heavy voice, a massive volume of recovery information is displayed.

Pod042: Ho229 equipment has received massive damage.

conte02-2B conte03-2B conte01-2B

script01-2B script02-2B


9S

[…] reaches for a camera.

[…] with a […]-like figure sits a boy (9S).

[…] in front of the screen.

9S: […] Even if I give you oil, I can’t become family with a robot~~~

[…] gets his attention and he looks up to the sky.

9S folds up the screen and stands.

9S: So, it’s begun, huh……

Pan up to […]

The YoRHa squadron appear like shooting stars as they descend.

Upon the backdrop of the sky appears the title:

0_S0120_GM_b
※ 9S walks back to his aerial unit.

Operator 21O: Operator 210 to 9S. Do you read me?

9S: I hear you loud and clear~~~

Operator 21O: The descent mission has begun.
Operator 21O: Please locate the enemy quickly.

conte04-9S conte05-9S conte06-9S

script05-9S script04-9S script03-9S


A2

Pod042: Startup of Designated Number A2 confirmed.

Pod appears floating above and at A2’s side.

Pod042: Good morning, A2.

3010_S0020_GM
※ Conversation between A2 and Pod, Toward the Desert

A2: What……are you?

Pod042: I am the Attending Support Unit “Pod 042”.
Pod042: My purpose is to provide artillery support for YoRHa Unit: A2.

A2: I never……asked for that.

Pod042: Affirmative:  A request from A2 has not been received.

[…]

Pod042: […] the last command from 2B […]

conte07-A2 conte08-A2


Now I am very curious about the timeline for the opening. Considering there are no scene numbers listed, we’re left to assume that this is all one, continuous scene. Also, 2B’s section is labeled as Cut 1, 9S as Cut 4, and A2 as Cut 10. Whenever the camera angle changes (not including pans), this indicates the beginning of a new Cut. Generally, a single cut usually doesn’t last longer than a couple seconds, maybe no more than 10-15 seconds, so this progression through the scene seems to be rather quick paced.

  • From the information we already know from the YoRHa stage play, the YoRHa HQ is stationed on an artificial satellite station in low-Earth orbit. All YoRHa androids are assembled, equipped with weapons, briefed, trained, and dispatched from this station.
  • Both 2B and 9S ought to be from the same squadron and model of YoRHa androids, sometime in the year 11945.
  • From the script that I translated above, we know that 9S is doing some diagnostics with multiple computer screens open:

NieR-Automata-9S-screen01 NieR-Automata-9S-screen02

If you zoom in, you can see the following text in those menu screens:

TARGET ACQUISITION

TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY
Lock on  11%
Lock on  22%
Lock on  12%

CON MODE
F CON
CONFIG
INST

COUNTER-RAM

  • BUT! Something I just realized… I think 9S is already on the surface of the planet when 2B and the rest of her squadron descend. That would explain why 9S looks up at the descending units, why 2B & 9S originally didn’t seem to know each other from past character descriptions (I seem to recall this, but not sure where I read it), and also why they start off separately.
  • The mission the YoRHa androids may have been sent on is to handle the large “Opera Singer” Bio-machine in which we see in this epic boss battle footage.
  • It could be that the majority of the YoRHa squadron does not survive the descent from the orbital outpost to actually engage with the enemy target (the Opera Singer Bio-machine), which could be why it seems as though only 2B and 9S are present during this battle.

  • I’m going to assume the two of them defeat the enemy, but upon returning to their aerial suits to return to HQ(actually, there’s only one now, since 2B’s was destroyed), 9S becomes sick… infected with the Logic Virus that the Bio-machines carry. In the new trailer from E3 2016, we can audibly hear him say, “I’m done for.” Here’s the clip (look at timestamp 1:12):

  • From this point on, I’m really clueless how things go… but we know from the bit of script that 2B sends her Pod (Pod 042) to find and awaken A2. For what purpose this serves, I don’t know… 😛 I think A2’s bit in the script is the “newest” in terms of the flow of time in the game.
  • Could this be yet another massive bait-and-switch by Yoko Taro in terms of WHO the main character is meant to be? Like his manga “Thou Shalt Not Die / Kimi Shi ni Tamou Koto Nakare”, we were all lead to believe a particular character was intended on being the titular “Main Character”… and in the last pages of the first chapter… he dies. Woops. Could this be another instance of this trope?
  • Eeeeh, I dunno. I have been speculating that A2 might not last for very long, given the fact that she is an older model YoRHa android who has gone through her own fair share of shit in the past (please see my YoRHa stage play speculation about her here). She may end up sacrificing herself to save her “children” and pass down her legacy to 2B, who is clearly the next model created in A2’s image… It is very possible for A2 to transfer her memory to 2B…
    • That is, after all, how the YoRHa androids were developed. HQ would uplink the data from previous missions and install it into the newer models.  
  • And if that happens, there will essentially be NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO CHARACTERS!! Unless, of course, you believe specific individuality–or soul–can still exist within an entirely artificial lifeform… Hmmmmm!! I am very intrigued. <3

Well, that’s all for now, folks!! xD


Credits:
All material found in this post, including translations, photo editing, and all the crazy speculation, is credited to: Fire Sanctuary

  • eggly hills

    Maybe A2 could take on a more antagonistic role in the story? Sort of a loose canon rival of sorts other platinum games have had a similar character and the original drakengrad had a rivalry as well

    • No, I don’t see her turning against any of the other YoRHa androids, however, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t already turned against her “purpose” by being a weapon for the humans. If my speculation is right about her identity, then she would hate the humans equally as much as the Bio-machines. This is already part of her character description, anyway, how she is overwhelmed by hatred and memories of the past.

      That’s not to say that she is immune to the Bio-machines’ Logic Virus that destroys an androids mechanical brain. Even when the android “dies”, they can still be manipulated like a puppeteer controls his puppet on strings. She could already be infected to some degree, given her longer time in contact with the enemy… You noticed that black smudging on her artificial skin, right? It’s the same as what we see happen to 9S in the newest trailer from E3 2016. We know he was infected by the Logic Virus, so now I believe that it can also manifest visually on their skin… very much like the Black Scrawl Virus… Hmmm…

      • eggly hills

        If she dose harbor hatred for humans wouldn’t that put her at odds with the other yorha? Maybe theirs a parallel to zero and one who just sort of naturally oppose each other

        • Ahh, I see. It could happen. Like she could be a volatile “friend” who could turn on them if necessary… but I don’t see them as all-out enemies like Zero & One. Even if A2 might fight with her younger brothers and sisters, she is still fighting FOR THEM, first and foremost. I honestly don’t think 2B and the rest of the gang will be on the side of humanity for very long. xD

          • name

            especially once it turns out that a pack of wolves that you casually trashed during your journey were actually the last humans alive, ending A confirmed

          • haha yeah… I really think humanity is dead, though. I sort of have this idea similar to the Gazel Ministry from Xenogears. Either that or they’ve also “evolved” into something unrecognizable.