Alright, so after the treacherous journey (IMO) of Routes A & B, it got to point when I finally completed the 3 major routes. Now everything here is completely opinionated, try not to get too caught up in your feelings, despite being human.
So! first and foremost, the game was good. During my first playthrough I made a mistake and played it on Hard and ending up resenting the AI most of the time, other mechanics as well but I won’t go into detail. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the story because it was a WTF is going on. None of the characters really did a good job to make me ‘intrigued’ enough to actually delve even further. With that being the case, I still said to myself “Press on, but this time turn it down to Normal.
Route B was decent enough, it was a smooth sail for me and things started to flesh out, well some. To be honest the only thing that was really explained for me in that playthrough was Simone. Do keep in mind I didn’t attempt to finish all of the sub-quests because they all seemed like a chore to me.
Route C was where everything is just dropped on you. It led me to wonder, why grind it out all the way to Route C just so you can BEGIN to feel something for the characters [Opinion]. Commander, 2B, 9S, A2, Operator 210, I don’t even think they really showed what happened to 60. All throughout the first two playthroughs I was just riding along, wanting to feel something but nothing was kicking; until Route C was played, but I felt as if it was too late. I had many concerns and questions about the ending still.
Who are the Red Girls?
Who and why re-programmed Devola & Sis to harbor feelings of Guilt when it wasn’t their fault that Gestalt collapsed?
Why create 9S when you had your suspicion of Humanity’s secret being leaked? Just for evolution?!
How were emotions for Machine & Androids generated??
Why the hell did A2 cut her hair!? Just to take the place of 2B??
Those are just SOME of the questions that’s still buzzing around my head, which have yet to be answered. It’s slowly getting to the point of frustration and truthfully, I’m sad by it. But, life moves on. I just felt I had to type this out after my experience, since there were a good amount of people giving it high praise, and that it’s a masterpiece, when to me it’s just good.
P.S. The soundtrack was excellent, though repetitive at some points, simply excellent.
A confused, little girl lost in the sand trying to find her way to a comprehensive outline of Nier: Automata, so the ambivalent feelings will fade away and be more concrete.
This will always be a “ymmv” thing. My love for N : A’s characters and my interest for its story was founded well before route C. I can see why people would dismiss route A or B, but it’s really a matter of taste, route A is a nice Tale, imho, it leaves a lot to the imagination, lots of unsolved tracks, but I was already completely sold on 2B and 9S love story.
But as for your question, first, please consider than some events and facts are still partially left to the player’s interpretation, and quite deliberately by Yoko Taro (read some of his interview, the man really likes to troll and not give definite answers, which I think is awesome), so I won’t pretend to have THE answers, but rather share my interpretation with you :
- The Red Girls are the embodiment of the Machines Network, an IA if you prefer. It was programmed by the Aliens to fight the androids, hence giving it a reason to exist. But along the way, it developed self-consciousness and self-preservation, that led it to take measures to ensure that its reason to exist would not disappear.
It is not said so in the game, but it is my theory that this is the moment the Machine Network devised the rebellion against its creators, the Aliens, the only ones that could have shut it down.
On the other hand, what is said in the game is that after the Aliens death, the Machines could have easily won the war and destroyed the androids, but didn’t do it because the Network would have lost its reason to exist; it was programmed to fight, not win.
That being said, the Red Girls are a Network, a system, not an Individual. this means that whatever it does is decided by behavior programming, which means some part of the system can be in conflict with other parts of the system, and it can be manipulated (as shown in route C)
So they are both active and reactive, omniscient and easily manipulated. In the end, it only follows its programming.
- It’s never explicitly described in-game: there should be androids that take such decisions, but it is also implied in Nier: Gestalt/Replicant that those androids also obey to some kind of grand plan, devised by the humans that created the androids. I believe that what Yoko Taro went for is the idea of a Program, the Gestalt Plan, that would be conceived with a lot of routines and protocols to deal with a situation where you have no longer any real human to control things, and that over a long, long time. But the problem is that such program cannot anticipate everything, and thus the reality evolves differently from the theory, to the point of the failure of the program’s main goal, but with some protocols left over. Imho, Devola and Popola punishment is that: it’s an automated answer to a crisis that destroyed the main goal. It’s useless, but there is really no-one to stop the process, that acquired a pointless yet stubborn life on its own.
- It is developed inside materials, but androids are created by copying human personalities. A such, you have a set pool of personalities to choose from, and they come with some innate properties. In the 9’s series case, high intellect and high curiosity. So the androids creating other androids generations do not create their personalities from scratch, they have to work with what is available to them. From that point, it’s a matter of risk/reward. Keep using the highly intelligent 9 models, but also assign E models to terminate them when they invariably discover the truth.
- About emotions…well, as I said, androids are created from human personalities, emotions included. For Machines, it’s a little more complex, but this is how I interpret it: Humanity is viral. If you come in contact to Humanity or are exposed to it for some time, you end up acquiring human traits that will lead to develop some kind of humanity. This is why the Machines, that were given the order to study human culture, probably in order to fight them more efficiently, develop emotions. One interesting note is that the plural nature of the Red Girls seem to have interfered with that process, preventing them from being fully humanized, like Pascal, Eve, Adam, and pretty much any Machine that has an individuality.
- Ha, the haircut…she just wanted to change her look, obviously! No, seriously, in symbolism, hair is HUGE. Many civilizations had and still have very important customs about haircuts, one of the more generalized associate the length of hair with the social status of an individual. The most powerful never cut their hair, and having to cut your hair is a form of dishonor, a loss of social standing. But one of the variations of such customs in the Japanese culture ties haircuts to social standing but also to the emotional state of the person. In this case, cutting your hair is akin to renouncing your old life and embracing a new path, the hairy equivalent to burning your house to set on a journey, symbolizing determination. In A2’s case, we can also add the fact that she accepts 2B’s memories and kinda vows to carry her burden, which perfectly fits with who she is: a survivor, that lives not only thanks, but also for her fallen comrades. So in short, she cuts her hair to show respect to 2B, vow to take her burden, and to reinforce her determination.
Original Link – Continuation of discussion