The gripping narrative of a combat android in a ruined, war-torn world touched the hearts of many gamers when it was released in 2017. Ensnared in the realm of exceptional music, memorable characters, and a compelling plot, players and critics alike only had rave reviews for NieR: Automata.
After winning the User’s Choice prize at the PlayStation Awards 2017 in Japan, it’s clear that the game’s legacy will continue to thrive among the community. If past trends are anything to go by, it’s that the land of rising sun is remarkably skilled in capitalising on popular media, so it was but a matter of time that more content were in the works for the brainchild of Yako Taro.
Throw in the nation’s long-running reputation of having theatrical productions and themed cafes, and that’s exactly what we have on our hands – two of the former, and one of the latter, borne from the phenomenal Square Enix hit that is NieR: Automata.
The NieR Stage Play
Come February 4, 2018, and the first theatrical run, titled Stage Play Shounen YoRHa Ver1.0, will stream on Niconico, but a nominal fee is required for viewing. Featuring an all-male cast, the performance is only available in Japanese, though additional details may be found over at the video service’s website. All’s fair in the name of stage plays, and the females are given their own time to shine as well in Musical Play YoRHa Version1.2, which runs from February 9-13, 2018, with a livestream on February 12, 2018 to follow.
The brief breakdown of Stage Play Shounen YoRHa Ver1.0 reads:
A spinoff of NieR: Automata, it follows the backstory of one of the game’s protagonists, 9S. Like the game, it is set 10,000 years in the future on Earth, where sentient androids fight a futile war they do not understand in the service of a mankind that long ago fled to the moon.
While the play begins with a comical interaction between 2B and Operator 6O, it’s the only time where the two female characters make their appearances. On the basis of being an all-boys production, the duo is eliminated quickly right at the start, but not unkindly – a polite announcement for fans to “relax and enjoy the show” comes after.
Here are the main features of the production:
In-game elements: Viewers are given a glimpse of various YoRHa, which for the uninitiated, are androids designed to fight machines on humanity’s behalf. Organised by a number system, they all sport the identical dress code of black pants, coats, and masks, with a different individual personality that’s made clear in an opening movie.
Character motivations: A deeper insight of the character’s psyche can be gleaned upon, as the central cast reflects on the significance of the songbird heard, and the meaning of their eternal battle. Fans are also privy to 9S’ perspective of the scorched world, gaining a more in-depth understanding of the androids’ existential suffering.
Well-executed fight sequences: No.4’s smooth gun handling, and No.3’s and No.6’s deft swordfighting skills come together to form a masterfully elegant dance of footwork, stabs, and passionate clashes.
Beautiful music: The phenomenal scores of Nier: Automata are carried over, with the musical brilliance of Keiichi Okabe and his team washing over dramatic orchestration.
Ingenious stage direction: Contrary to the conventional method of using theatrical blackouts to reset a scene, the adroit directing sees fluid time and situational transitions, with minimal usage of the aforementioned technique.
Supported by a strong, faithful concoction of all things NieR: Automata, in addition to the impressive fight choreography and stage direction, this is one theatrical production fans should look forward to.
NieR Menu, Merch Available at the Square Enix Cafe
Of course, there wouldn’t be a NieR: Automata if not for its predecessor, NieR. The Square Enix Cafe in Tokyo’s Akihabara district pays homage to the original series by releasing an exclusive food menu and merchandise list to the masses.
It’s truly a show of appreciation, with the interior wholly decked out in the game’s design scheme – a white-and-blue toss up as a nod to Grimoire Weiss, Kaine, and Yonah, and a black-and red colour code for Grimoire Noir, Devola/Popola, and the Shadowlord.
Like most themed cafes, this Nier tie-up runs for a limited time, and fans have up till March 2, 2018 to enjoy all the treats, from the delicious Yonah’s stew, to the acrylic-crafted standees of their favourite characters.
True to the popularity of both games, all weekend reservations have already been fully snatched, with tables still available for most weekdays. Walk-in dining is an option, though speed is key; there are limited spaces freed up on weekends from 9pm to 10.30pm, but based on a first-come-first-served system. For those who are only interested in checking out the merchandise, anytime is a good moment to do so.
Outside of Tokyo, a NieR:Automata collaboration is also happening at Osaka’s Square Enix Cafe, where store-exclusive coasters can be found.
Looks like it’s still full-on momentum for this RPG epic!