Glory To Mankind
Nier Automata Preview (No Spoilers)
Following the events of Nier: Gestalt/Replicant, an army of aliens have invaded Earth, with their machines and humanity constantly going at war with one another. Despite humanity's best efforts, they were forced off of Earth and eventually colonized the Moon. In order to combat the machine threat, humanity developed various types of combat androids as part of Project "YoRHa". Among these androids are YoRHa No. 2 Model B (2B) and YoRHa No. 9 Model S (9S), two androids tasked with helping the Resistance on Earth slowly drive the machines back. It is up to the pair to try and take back Earth for humanity, as well as end the war - but not without discovering some long-lost secrets of the Old World and its human inhabitants.
Seiyuu Name: Yui Ishikawa, Kira Buckland
YoRHa No. 2 Type B, or 2B, is one of Project YoRHa's Battle model androids. 2B is primarily used by YoRHa to carry out missions involving heavy combat, as she is capable of both close range combat - due to her arsenal of weaponry - and long range combat, thanks to her Pod support system, Pod 042, which shoots at any enemies too far for 2B to slice apart. During one of her missions, 2B is assigned a partner, 9S, who serves to both help 2B and add some levity to the situation. 2B is usually very strict with 9S, reminding him that YoRHa prohibits any forms of emotions, and that mission completion is most important for androids. 2B is typically seen as calm and serious by everyone around her, but she makes sure to get the job done if it means that humanity can be one step closer to re-inhabiting Earth.
1. Great at Combat
As her Battle designation implies, 2B is excellent when it comes to fighting machine threats. 2B is introduced wielding both a short sword and a long sword, but she can acquire multiple types of spears, bracers, and swords on her journey. When she doesn't have a weapon by her side, she is still perfectly capable of using her fists to deal with any threats nearby. If the enemy is too far away, she can also fire different types of bullets and lasers in order to close the gap and finish off enemies. Her combat experience makes her one of the most useful members of Project YoRHa, with 2B single-handedly taking down machines which could easily take out a brigade of any other androids. 2B was also modeled off of another YoRHa android, A2, who excelled in both combat and situational management, allowing for 2B to be able to handle most situations properly regardless of stress or pressure. 2B is able to best her predecessor in combat - as well as other YoRHa androids - as shown in one of the side-quests, in which 2B easily dispatches of a few rogue androids. 2B's excellent combat skills are some of the most vital assets to YoRHa in the fight to reclaim Earth and should not be overlooked.
2. Designed to be Beautiful
The elephant in the room whenever 2B is brought up is her appearance - and it's certainly not hard to see why. 2B wears a gothic maid-style dress with a leotard underneath and a blindfold which doubles as a combat visor. She also wears a traditional white leotard underneath, which can be revealed more clearly when 2B self-destructs. When asked about the character design, Creative Director Yoko Taro simply stated that it's because he "Really Likes Girls". 2B was designed to look beautiful and appealing, but that design does not take away from how badass she truly is when the game begins. Her pretty design may not serve much practical purpose, but it has certainly helped cement her in both the anime and gaming community as one of the most attractive game characters of recent memory.
3. Always Follows Orders
YoRHa androids are all programmed to do one thing, which is to follow their orders. 2B in particular, is known around the Bunker to be very serious - almost even more so than her own Commander. This serious tone serves as a foil to 9S' more inquisitive and humorous nature, with her constantly reminding him of the fact that he shouldn't be side-tracked and should instead focus completely on the mission at hand. 2B even has to constantly remind 9S of the fact that emotions are prohibited in YoRHa androids, which explains why she is typically more stoic or cold - even though almost no other android follows that particular protocol. Even if it is a mission which 2B doesn't personally agree with, she will almost always make an effort to follow directions and do what she is told by her superiors - for better or for worse.
4. More Human than She Thinks
Since YoRHa androids view themselves as nothing more than tools of destruction in order to save the Earth, they exhibit many traits that are human without intending it. 2B's serious demeanor makes these situations all the more apparent - as she has a tendency to break her directive and have outbursts of emotions - whether due to anger or sadness. 2B slowly warms up to 9S as they explore together, with 2B preferring to be called by her name rather than "ma'am" and sometimes even allowing 9S to act in his usual comedic fashion. 9S also wants 2B to refer to him as "Nines" a nickname that his friends call him - unaware of the fact that 2B was the first one to refer to him as Nines before having to erase his memory as part of her mission. 2B clearly cares for 9S and wants to keep him from harm and his inevitable demise as long as possible.
Perhaps the most humanizing element of 2B is revealed post-mortem. After 2B is taken out in Route C, it is revealed that she was actually a YoRHa No. 2 Type E - which stood for Executioner. 2B's main programming and objective in life was for her to kill 9S whenever he learned of YoRHa's many hidden secrets. In supplementary materials, it is revealed that 2B originally referred to 9S as Nines, and even acted more emotionally before growing more callous due to her mission. However, her serious nature is broken down when she believes she is killing him once again in the first ending of the game - with her even dreading the action and stating "it always ends up this way". 2B clearly dreads her objective and thinks of him as more than just her friend - but she is also unable to go against her programming, which is perhaps the most tragic event of all. 2B acts emotionless not because she cares so little for 9S, but rather because she cares so much for the only friend she has, and doesn't want to get too attached anymore when she knows what'll happen next.
5. Cares for her Partner
Throughout the course of 2B and 9S' partnership (which spans far more time than the opening of Nier: Automata lets on), 9S is constantly on the cusp of figuring out YoRHa's secrets, only for his Pod to tell 2B that it is time for her to kill him. The two go through many different situations - 9S killing himself one time simply to stop 2B's suffering, or becoming defiant and attempting to kill her before she can win - but the end is always the same, with 2B executing 9S. Every time she does so, however, 2B asks for forgiveness and wishes that she could stop. The pair spend many days together, with 2B cherishing times where they would go fishing together all day long or ponder about what shopping at a mall would be like after the war was done. 2B's actions slowly become more irrational when it comes to 9S, and the spiral which the two are constantly in is tragic.
2B shifts from a stoic and cold combat android to one of the most emotionally distressed characters in recent video games - and that is why it becomes hard not to cheer for her and her friend in retrospect. Despite knowing the cycle they are trapped in, 2B still hopes for an ending in which her and 9S can be happy together and not worry about constantly being at each other's throats. Even as she is slowly dying, 2B leaves a message stating how much she loved the time she spent with him, as well as 9S himself. She lets herself die in order to protect him, as she most likely wanted a happy ending for 9S even if it meant she was gone - an ironic end for the one who constantly had to execute him.
2B's character is by far the most nuanced in Nier: Automata, and her struggle with killing the only person she's ever loved or cared for takes her from an emotionless robot to one of the most sympathetic characters in recent gaming. By putting a new context to 2B's actions and words, Nier: Automata becomes an entirely different experience for the player upon repeat playthroughs, with much of what she does coming off as much more pained and emotional.
The level of depth in 2B's character make her go from one of the coolest female protagonists in games to one of the most memorable, and her journey alone makes Nier: Automata well worth going through twice over. However, these are just some of the many reasons why 2B is such a memorable character, and we'd love to hear your reasons in the comment section below! If there is any other character that you loved from Nier: Automata, feel free to also discuss them and what you like about them!