An anime adaptation of the open world philosophical-robot genre-mash Nier Automata was announced in February, and now we finally have some details about it. The anime, which will be called Nier Automata Ver 1.1a, is being directed by Ryoji Masuyama (director of Blend S, key animator on Arietty), and will see the return of voice actors Yui Ishikawa and Natsuki Hanae as 2B and 9S. It'll be released in January, 2023.
An eight-and-a-half-minute video was shown as part of Aniplex Online Fest, containing character trailers for both 2B and 9S, footage of the voice actors discussing the anime (seeing them react to their characters in anime form on first seeing them is cute), as well as a conversation between Masuyama and original game director Yoko Taro. Taro explains the adaptation's name by saying, "The anime title has the affix 'Ver 1.1a' because the title 'NieR:Automata' was a story we created to be a game, so copying it as is wouldn't make an interesting story for an anime. So I brought up the idea of changing things around."
Masuyama is quick to downplay changes in the adaptation, and later says that, "The game movies themselves are very beautiful and complete as is, so there was a part of me that didn't want to change it up that much. So it's not exactly porting it into anime plus filling in the gaps so to say, but to get it close to the movie scenes including all the places where we made changes…"
Taro, meanwhile, is happy to lightly troll fans by summing up the behind-the-scenes process as, "The original creator was trying to destroy the original story, and the anime staff is desperately stopping that…" Eventually he explains that, despite changes being made to the anime version, he hopes that players of the game watch it as well. "I often see fans who worry that creators are going through their creative process with a complete disregard for the original game. But in this case, those worries have no grounds. The fact that the anime side, starting with the director, really respected the game struck a chord with me. And I'm the one going around and breaking things for them, so if anyone is dissatisfied, it's likely to be my fault."
Nier Automata recently made the news thanks to a hoax in which a team of modders pretended their creation was a secret area that had just been discovered. Thanks to the devotion of Nier's fan community, what began as a promotional stunt rapidly "got out of hand", as the modders told us. (That mod, the secret church, is now playable. It's an hour-long tribute to Nier: Replicant and Drakengard 3.) Let's hope their reaction to the anime is a little calmer, for Yoko Taro's sake.
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