If the Nier series does one thing exceptionally well, it's getting its fanbase to meticulously observe every minute detail for hidden secrets. That's still very much the case for Nier Automata Ver1.1a, the new anime adaptation that hit Crunchyroll earlier this month. In typical Yoko Taro fashion, there are already strange clues and cryptic messages buried within its first two episodes and of course, fans are already at work deciphering them.
As spotted by Kotaku (opens in new tab), secret and seemingly nonsense messages have been hidden within the episodes' eyecatches. If you've ever seen an episode of anime you'll be familiar with an eyecatch—small transitional images or clips that act as a small intermission between the episode. Nier Automata Ver1.1a's eyecatches are seemingly very basic at first glance, until you manage to pause it at the correct moment.
It's a real "blink and you'll miss it" moment, but for a split second, jumbled lines of code make an appearance. It's something you'd likely not even notice casually watching, but Nier fans really are built different. Several Reddit users brought the code to attention, with user Lifedealer999 (opens in new tab) managing to decipher part of it. There's even a Google Doc (opens in new tab) currently running that is keeping track of what each secret message means.
Running the messages through a hex-to-text converter spits out a Japanese sentence, which fans have then been roughly machine translating into English. The first episode has phrases like "androids are beings that repeat life and death" as well as words like "resistance" and "YoRHa" repeating. The second episode has more complete sentences, like "pseudo-intelligence exists in mechanical life forms" and "what difference does it make to human intelligence?"
It'll be interesting to piece these together as the episodes go by, and I'm sure fans are hoping for some extra easter eggs along the way. One Reddit user (opens in new tab) has theorised that it's the pods belonging to 2B and 9S communicating with each other, as each message begins with "report." It's a pretty solid theory so far, and I'm sure we'll discover more with each new episode.