There are all sorts of interesting bits of information in the corresponding guidebooks and complete guides for the various DOD and NieR games. I’ve written extensively on many of these things, but there are still a plethora of material that’s out there. It’s nearly impossible to cover everything.
That being said, there’s a section in the DOD3 Complete Guide that grabbed my attention way back when the book was first released, but I never attempted to translate parts of it until now.
I got a good portion of it completed tonight, but there’s still more that I want to work on… But I suppose I can upload this in sections. I’ll update this post when I complete more.
- Eishima Jun: Novelist. Writer of the DOD3 side stories and the manga series “Utahime Five” and “Shi ni Itaru Aka”. She also goes by the name Nagashima Emi.
- Natori Sawako: Novelist, scenario writer. She is responsible for the scripts for DOD1, NieR, and DOD3. She also wrote some of the NieR side stories. She also goes by the name Natori Nazuna.
- Matsushita Ayaki: Novelist, freelance writer. In interviews for “NieR” and “DOD3” with Dengeki Online and Dengeki PlayStation, she goes by the pen name “Sagako”. She’s also a huge fan of Yoko Taro’s work.
■ Is the Multiverse created by diverging branches a contradiction or an intentional misdirection
Sagako: First off, I have a question. Out of the four endings in DOD3, none of them lead into DOD1, right? If you think about the overall timeline, one of the branches in DOD3 has to connect in there somewhere, but no matter how you look at it, there seems to be an inconsistency here. Many DOD1 fans have discussed this inconsistency had have come up with some interesting theories, but what’s actually going on here?
Eishima: At this point in time, I can calmly look back and remember Yoko-san never mentioning any sort of contradiction. I’ve saved all the emails from him so that if I’m ever confused about something, I can go back and reread his notes. I found one where he talked about the overarching DOD timeline which included the comic series Utahime Five, the prequel to DOD3, and also Shi ni Itaru Aka, the sequel to DOD3. Nowhere in his notes mentioned that DOD3 connects to DOD1. So, in short, he never said that DOD3 leads into DOD1.
Sagako: He never said it even once?
Eishima: Nope, I re-read everything he sent to me and couldn’t find one time that he said this.
Sagako: You’re awesome for taking the time to re-check that.
Natori: You’re a researcher…… A Yoko Taro researcher!
Sagako: So, I suppose he wasn’t lying then. I was really curious if he was merely keeping some stuff to himself or if he was being irresponsible. I suppose players like me got it in our heads that the two games were connected, so that’s all we could see.
Eishima: Yes, that’s right. We can accept that the two games don’t connect directly to each other, then what we should do is think in what situation *would* they connect.
Sagako: In that case maybe we should recall the endings in DOD3 and think about why none of them connect.
Eishima: In Branch A, Brother One lives on to create the Cult of Watchers but the pact system doesn’t exist, so that branch is out. In Branch B, the Flower used its Re-program function to create the pact system, but it appears in this branch Brother One never created the Cult of Watchers.
Sagako: Ooh, interesting.
Eishima: In Branch C, Mikhail died so Accord sealed off that branch since there was no future for the entire world. In Branch D, neither the Cult of Watchers nor the pact system were in place, therefore it would be impossible for it to lead into DOD1.
Natori: Each branch has some unique detail that cannot allow for any link with DOD1.
Sagako: I thought the timeline that was printed in the DOD 10th Anniversary -World Inside- book was kind of strange. Although there’s only one timeline, I thought it really odd that not a single moment in history connected anywhere. I remember it like was just yesterday when Yoko mentioned it would be a nightmare to work on editing this.
Eishima: I think you may feel really confused because of how other timelines branch at specific points. I think Accord explained how this is all possible. What interested me was the concept by which branches were introduced within the game.
Sagako: At the beginning of Branch B, you see Accord telling us that the world has split into separate timelines. We’re introduced to the idea of a multiverse, and even during the loading screens, it tells us more about this concept.
Eishima: Within the game, the term for this is “shift”. Just the idea of this alone captivated me. That and the existence of the “singularity”. The singularity directly causes these shifts when a certain amount of Maso has been gathered…… essentially its something living or not that triggers a shift. Within the game, the singularity is Zero or even Two in different moments.
Natori: Then the “singularity” isn’t necessarily born to be the singularity?
Eishima: I think the singularity is identified in retrospect, for example Accord witnesses the events of these branches and can pinpoint exactly what causes the timeline to split. When I think about these new branches that are triggered by the singularity, even if I say “branch”, there are several different ways to interpret this.
Eishima: Well, if you take a look at the English release of the game, they didn’t use the term “shift” for this concept, when the singularity causes the birth of a new timeline. It’s interesting that the Japanese version would use this word but simply put it in parentheses, i.e..(shift). This is further explained during the loading screens.
|Japanese Direct Translation
A special person, place, or thing that triggers a shift within the [Multiverse]. This phenomenon is triggered when a certain amount of Maso is gathered in an area and all other conditions are met. However, the “singularity” cannot be recorded until the existence of a new branch can be confirmed.
English Localized Version
Natori: I don’t really get why both capital and lower case letters are used here. Did they just want to make it more difficult to read?
Eishima: I was likely intentional.
Sagako: But it’s just as you said, Eishima-san. They didn’t use the term “shift” at all. That’s really curious…… Why is it you had a look at the English localization anyway?
Eishima: Ahh, that was because I was really curious how they translated Zero’s prologue chapter that was uploaded to the official website. Specifically, I focused in on the part where Zero was sentenced to death with “five girls”.
Natori: I see. If you mention five girls…
Eishima: Right. There are five Utahime sisters. As it turned out, many people got it into their heads that the five girls that were executed were reincarnated into the form of the Utahime sisters. But I wrote the four girls, not including the one whose eyes were destroyed, to have different ages and personalities. What’s important here was the number: all together, there were five of these girls.
Sagako: Oh, so they thought the Flower split Zero into her corresponding sisters but the they each directly represented one of the girls that was executed.
Eishima: When I tried to look further into it, I discovered that this thought originally came from a fan site. As far as the official website goes, they translated the chapter just as it was in Japanese with no statement of ages or specific personalities, but since they uploaded the site after this fansite wrote about it, the inaccurate version from the fansite spread like wildfire. Then translations from this site made its way across the ocean to Japan. I started getting messages from fans asking me about it, and I felt as though my hand was being directed in an entirely different way. While worrying about it, I got the thought that… this was all part of Yoko’s plan from the beginning.
Sagako: Oh, so you think maybe it was an intentional “mislead” that Yoko-san threw in there to confuse or misdirect your attention elsewhere. Maybe there’s also a hint in there about the “shift” term, too.
Eishima: Yes. It’s fine to have a look at the English translation, but… I am entirely unfamiliar with English. Just using a dictionary to translate things, I found that they didn’t use the word “Shift” for the Japanese equivalent but rather “Divergence” and “Branch”. I thought this was so fascinating, but I couldn’t really understand anything more than that due to the language barrier. How about you guys? Natori-san? Sagako-san?
Natori: I’m very sorry. I stopped studying after the beginner level of English…
Sagako: Same here.
Eishima: Yeah, right…? Hmm……
Takano: Um, I really hate to butt in at a moment like this. I’m Takano from Square Enix; I was in charge of the PR for DOD3 at the time. I studied English back in college, so maybe I can offer a little help to explain somethings for you. It’s been a long time since I last studied, and I might be forgetting a lot, but if I can do anything to help you guys out……
Sagako: Wow! I didn’t think someone with English background would come out of the woodwork like that!! I thought the editing team at Dengeki was worried that us three girls might start talking about something we shouldn’t, and that’s why Square Enix called you in to make sure we stayed on topic!!
Takano: No, setting that aside, I merely stopped by because was just really interested in what you guys might talk about……
Natori: It’s just a coincidence? What great timing!
Eishima: But, we could really use your help!! Please explain this for us!!
To be continued…