2B (Nier: Automata)

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2B
2B Nier Automata.png
First appearanceNier: Automata (2017)
Created byYoko Taro
Designed byAkihiko Yoshida
Voiced byEnglish
Kira Buckland[1][2]
Japanese
Yui Ishikawa[1]
Motion captureKaori Kawabuchi[3]
In-universe information
Full nameYoRHa No. 2 Type B
RaceAndroid
GenderFemale
OccupationSoldier
AffiliationYoRHa
HomeThe Bunker

2B (short for "YoRHa No. 2 Type B") is one of the protagonists and initial player character of the 2017 video game Nier: Automata. A humanoid combat android created as part of the YoRHa squadron, her mission is to liberate Earth from hostile machine lifeforms created by an unnamed alien race. Her Type B designation indicates that she specializes in front-line combat, and she is able to wield two weapons and use a large variety of combat styles. Her personality is cold, collected, and quick-thinking in dire situations, a trait of her model line that was inherited from her predecessor A2, whom she resembles perfectly. She disdains open displays of emotion, believing them to be unnecessary, although she hides emotional trauma and anger over the missions she is forced to complete.

She has been noted as a popular character amongst fans both for her personality and character design, and has had cameo appearances in numerous games. Her uniform has been praised as an example of haute couture in video games.

Characteristics[edit]

2B has silvery white hair and pale skin, a beauty mark at the right of her lips, with a distinctly human appearance and features. She wears a short black dress adorned with feathers and white gloves with black designs, as well as a pair of over-knee boots on high heels with strings on the back. She also has some other accoutrements reminiscent of Lolita fashion.[4] Under her skirt is a white leotard that is revealed if her outfit is damaged in battle, or she activates her self-destruct function. A removable black blindfold covers her eyes and functions as a head-up display.

2B possesses superhuman combat abilities, and the ability to backup her consciousness to her base at the Bunker, obtaining a new copy of her body from storage. As with all other YoRHa, her consciousness is contained within a unique type of core, the Black Box, which creates a massive energy detonation upon touching another Box. Though supposedly a miniature fusion reactor, it is later revealed to have been created from machine lifeform cores, as installing "standard AI" was considered "inhumane" for the ultimately disposable YoRHa androids. This makes said units more prone to malfunction and going rogue.[5]

Development[edit]

Yoko Taro created 2B

The character's creator, Yoko Taro, has stated that he believes the character resonated with players due to her personality and design. The decision for 2B to wear a blindfold was due to the lack of other protagonists who had their eyes covered, and was unexpectedly popular. He said that 2B and the other YoRHa characters showed that "blindfolded protagonists are okay to have", saying that in a future game he "might include characters with weird masks on for the entire game".[6]

Yoko stated that while he would not want to revisit the storyline of Nier: Automata, considering it completed, if he was forced to make a game with 2B in it by Square Enix, he would put her in a different body due to her android nature, such as a "bug". He also stated that he ended the story of 2B and 9S on an optimistic note because, unlike previous protagonists in the Drakengard series and Nier that had killed many people, the fact that they were forced to kill each other meant that they were "cleansed of their sins" and therefore, a happy ending would be "appropriate".[6]

The 3D model of 2B was designed by Hito Matsudaira.[7] Starting from concept art created by designer Akihiko Yoshida, it was turned into a rough model in one to two weeks. In order to translate the character art into 3D, Matsudaira looked at the character model of young Nier from the previous game in the series, giving it a "doll-like form" that would match with the art style and therefore including "odd elements".[8]

Appearances[edit]

Nier: Automata[edit]

2B is initially created as a combat android, part of a model line based on the android A2, who had since gone rogue.[9] She is commonly partnered with the unit 9S, a "scanner unit" specializing in hacking and intelligence. From her base in the orbiting Bunker, she descends to Earth to fight machine lifeforms created by aliens in an attempt to wipe out all of humanity. Despite her cold demeanor, she is accommodating towards the game's faction of peaceful machine lifeforms, largely ignoring 9S's warnings. In the game's Ending A and B, she is forced to kill 9S with her own hands after he is infected with a logic virus by the hostile machine lifeform Eve, a fact that causes her a great deal of trauma, although he is revealed to have survived by copying his consciousness into surrounding machine lifeforms.

After Endings A and B, 2B is sent to Earth again as part of a large-scale assault, which fails after the machines corrupt almost all YoRHa forces with a logic virus, making them go violently insane. She and 9S survive the destruction of the Bunker, but 2B is infected by the virus soon after. After encountering A2, she asks to be mercy killed, then transfers control of her pod to A2 before her demise. For the remainder of the game, A2 is able to access 2B's memories from time to time as 2B had uploaded her memories into A2's system. A2 learns that 2B's actual designation is a Type E "Executioner" model and that she knows the truth about humanity's extinction; her true purpose is to kill her partner 9S over and over in order to prevent him from learning the truth.

It is revealed that a backdoor in the Bunker was intentionally placed in order to wipe out YoRHa, including 2B, allowing the creation of a new generation of androids who do not realize the truth and indefinitely drawing out the war. It is also revealed that due to their "disposable" status, she and the other YoRHa units' Black Boxes were recycled from machine lifeforms. However, in Ending E, her pod, 042, launches a suicide attack on the systems trying to erase her consciousness. It is unexpectedly successful, restoring 2B and her companions, and freeing them from the control of Project YoRHa.

Merchandise and other appearances[edit]

2B has appeared in crossovers with various games, including Soulcalibur VI and Shadowverse.[10][11] The clothing of 2B was added as free DLC to Gravity Rush 2 as an outfit wearable by the main character, Kat.[12] A character based on a palette swap of her design, known as 2P, was featured prominently in the YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse crossover raid in Final Fantasy XIV.[13] 2B eventually made an appearance herself in Final Fantasy XIV, in the Dark Apocalypse raid series in the Shadowbringers-expansion.

In 2019, official figures of both 2B and 2P were released by Square Enix for its Bring Arts collection, featuring interchangeable weapons from the game itself.[14]

A 2B costume was made available in Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout on June 18, 2021.[15]

Reception[edit]

Anthony John Agnello of The A.V. Club states that 2B's "Hamlet-sourced name" is indicative of Nier: Automata's "obsession with classic existentialist philosophy", noting that she is disturbed by the repeated deaths of her assigned partner, 9S, finding it painful that his memories get deleted.[16] Kyle Campbell of RPG Site says that while it is "hard not to assume 2B is written as a stereotypical hardened-military archetype", her true personality demonstrates her "tragic predicament". He states that, while 2B cares about 9S deeply and only stays with her assignment because she loves him, she is doomed to a hopeless situation when she is constantly forced to kill 9S to protect vital intelligence, and therefore puts on a callous "act".[17] Stating that "2B bottles up her sadness and only lets it out once 9S has been killed," he contrasts it with 9S's reaction at 2B's death, in which he "lets his emotions boil over" while fighting impostors of 2B.[17] Paste magazine writer Holly Green included 2B as the best new game characters of 2017.[18]

Celia Lewis of The Escapist noted that the blindfold worn by 2B is a "deviant design choice" that indicates her "inability to see the greater picture", with its black color scheme indicating how she was limited to a "black and white, good versus evil" view of the war. She also stated that 2B's "beauty is purely superficial", a piece of "visual design trickery" that makes the player believe she is different from the "ugly", "expendable" machine lifeform counterparts.[19]

Kimberley Ballard of PC Gamer calls 2B a "draped and ruffled china doll" in her design, also noting her outfit's connection to fetish wear due to its prevalence of "blindfolds, collars and black materials". She states that this emphasizes that "YoRHa are fetish objects, created by humans not just to reclaim the Earth but also a kind of dominance," while also noting that her blindfold indicates total trust on the part of the androids and a willingness to follow commands.[4]

Controversy[edit]

Shortly after the game's release, a hoax in which an erotic fan-created version of the character was swapped with her in-game version prompted further erotic fan art. In response to the controversy, Yoko Taro asked for the art to be collected and sent to him "in a Zip file", and he expressed surprise when fans complied with the request.[20]

A fan-made portrait of 2B created by artist Meli Magali was shared by billionaire Elon Musk in 2019, resulting in a controversy when he refused to credit the artist, later deleting the post but generating a wave of support for the artist.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2B Voices (Drakengard)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved 4 December 2020. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of the title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.
  2. ^ "Resume" (PDF). Kira Buckland Voice Actress. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  3. ^ Square, Push (2017-04-10). "Swing Your Sword at NieR: Automata's MoCap Artist". Push Square. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  4. ^ a b Ballard, Kimberley (2017-09-03). "From haute couture to industrial fetish wear, Nier: Automata's fashion is fascinating". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  5. ^ PlatinumGames (February 23, 2017). Nier: Automata (PlayStation 4). Square Enix. Scene: [Top Secret] Black Box. Each YoRHa unit is equipped with a "black box", an item created by reusing the core of a machine lifeform. [...] Said black boxes were installed after determining that it would be inhumane to install standard AI in androids that are ultimately destined for disposal. (For the record, malfunctioning black boxes have caused some YoRHa units to turn hostile.)
  6. ^ a b Minotti, Mike (2018-04-01). "Nier: Automata's Yoko Taro and Takahisa Taura on sentencing characters and turning 2B into a bug". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 2018-04-01. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  7. ^ Kerr, Chris (4 April 2017). "Designing and modeling Nier: Automata's android protagonist". www.gamasutra.com. Archived from the original on 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  8. ^ Matsudaira, Hito (2017-04-03). "An Exclusive Look at the Creation of Nier: Automata's Hero 2B". PlayStation.Blog. Archived from the original on 2020-08-30. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  9. ^ PlatinumGames (February 23, 2017). Nier: Automata (PlayStation 4). Square Enix. Scene: [Top Secret] Model No.2. After the first descent of the YoRHa prototypes, Attacker 2 (A2) was the sole unit to return alive, despite mediocre results during her simulations. [...] As reported separately, we will install this personality data in the new lot of E models and use them for the security protection of this project.
  10. ^ Kato, Matthew. "NieR: Automata's 2B Joining Soulcalibur VI Soon". Game Informer. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  11. ^ Lada, Jenni (2020-05-19). "Shadowverse NieR Automata Collab Adds 2B and 9S". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 2020-05-28. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  12. ^ Square, Push (2017-04-17). "Gravity Rush 2's Free 2B Costume Is NieRly Perfect". Push Square. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  13. ^ Nelva, Giuseppe (2019-09-15). "Final Fantasy XIV NieR: Automata Crossover Raid Gets First Images, Music, & Details; 5.1 Info Shared". twinfinite.net. Archived from the original on 2020-09-18. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  14. ^ SATO (2019-01-21). "NieR: Automata Bring Arts Releases Official "2P" Figure And Improved 2B Version 2.0 In July 2019". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 2020-08-29. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  15. ^ "2B from Nier Automata stumbles into Fall Guys". 10 June 2021.
  16. ^ Agnello, Anthony John (2017-08-31). "With one final death, Nier: Automata's ending redefines the meaning of life". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  17. ^ a b Campbell, Kyle (2017-04-23). "Death, Sex, and Love: A closer look at NieR Automata | RPG Site". www.rpgsite.net. Archived from the original on 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  18. ^ "The Best New Game Characters of 2017". 12 December 2017.
  19. ^ Lewis, Celia (2020-04-24). "NieR: Automata Challenges Our Ideas of Morality with Its Character Design". Escapist Magazine. Archived from the original on 2020-04-29. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  20. ^ Orselli, Brandon (2017-01-08). "NieR: Automata Creator Yoko Taro Responds to Protagonist Butt Controversy". Niche Gamer. Archived from the original on 2017-01-09. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  21. ^ Wilde, Tyler (2019-06-17). "Elon Musk refuses to credit Nier: Automata fan artist for some reason". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 2019-06-18. Retrieved 2020-09-13.