Nier: Automata Ver1.1a Fixes Video Game Anime's Biggest Mistake – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Nier: Automata Ver1.1a actually uses the game’s iconic score, something which is done by few anime adaptations outside Cyberpunk: Edgerunners.

The following contains spoilers for Nier: Automata Ver1.1a Episode 1, “Or not to [B]e,” now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Nier: Automata Ver1.1a isn’t the first anime based on a video game, but it is one of the most accurate. Made with dedication to the now-classic game in mind, the brand-new Nier anime so far feels like a streamlined version of its source material’s story. There’s one element in particular that helps to make the adaptation feel complete, and it has nothing to do with 2B or 9S.

Nier: Automata Ver1.1a notably features some of the video game’s iconic music, and this is a bigger deal than some viewers might realize. Not only was this music lauded by fans and critics alike, but by having it in the show, the Nier: Automata game succeeds where many video game anime fail. This success is much in line with another recent anime — Cyberpunk: Edgerunners — and how it handled the familiar tunes of its source material.

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Nier: Automata Ver1.1a and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Utilize the Games’ Music

Nier-Automata-Episode-1 (1)

As mentioned, the first episode of Nier: Automata Ver1.1a lays out the first small section of the game’s story, namely 2B and 9S meeting each other and their fight against the Engels Goliath. These epic action sequences feature their corresponding background music (“Bipolar Nightmare,” for instance) from the game, further heightening the feeling that this is the game’s story brought to visceral life. It sounds like a small element, but featuring the original soundtracks or even remixed versions of them is somewhat rare in anime adaptations. That includes game franchises with iconic and recognizable music.

Anime such as Street Fighter II V (based on Capcom’s Street Fighter II), Sonic X (Sonic the Hedgehog) and the Netflix series Castlevania (Konami’s adventure series of the same name) were all well-received in their own way, but they lacked the music from the games that fans had come to love. This was somewhat understandable back in the era of Street Fighter II, but it had become egregious with the later anime, which released in a time period where the fan bases were easier to gauge. It didn’t help that Castlevania was directly based on Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, while Sonic X adapted the then-recent games Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2 and arguably elements of Sonic Battle and Sonic Advance 3.

Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is one anime that has gone against this grain, with the series’ music having already been available on the radio in the Cyberpunk 2077 video game. The same goes for the show’s background score, which also features songs from the game. Again, this is all part of going the extra mile and making a show feel like the material fans are used to, all the while acting as a stepping stone to get newcomers to play the games. Thankfully, Nier: Automata Ver1.1a does the same thing.

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Nier: Automata Had an Award-Winning Score

Cover for NieR Automata The End of YoRHa edition

Keiichi Okabe and the Monaca music studio handled the score for the original Nier: Automata game, and the result was absolute magic. Combining epic orchestral sounds with moody New Age pieces, the soundtrack was incredibly unique, even for the often already-incredible OSTs of Japanese RPGs. Winning “Best Score/Music” at the 2017 Game Awards, it also debuted at #2 in sales on the Japanese Oricon charts. This put it in the same popularity realms as beloved anime soundtracks for shows like the pop-music filled Macross anime.

The music from Nier: Automata has had several arranged soundtracks, not to mention having been performed live. “City Ruins,” an arguable theme of the game, was even remixed for 2B’s accompanying stage as a crossover character in the Namco fighting game Soul Calibur VI. Needless to say, the anime adaptation definitely needed to follow the lead of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and include the game’s music. With how accurately everything else has been laid out so far, Ver1. 1A should provide for perhaps the best and most streamlined version of the game yet.


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