Events in NieR Automata Ver1.1a took a surprising turn when 2B and 9S discover a trove of abandoned Machine Lifeforms that are in the middle of making a massive evolutionary leap forward.

Previous episodes of NieR Automata offered some unexpected insight into the Machine Lifeforms, robots sent to Earth to conquer it on behalf of an alien species. The invasion has been going on for decades, however, and in that time, some of the Machine Lifeforms developed desires beyond fighting. Several were shown watering flowers and appreciating wildlife, something that few would expect from killer robots from outer space. The surprises continue into episode 3, where 2B and 9S sink into a cavern full of seemingly non-functional Machine Lifeforms, only to discover that they haven’t quite given up yet.


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NieR: Automata’s Machines Grow More Human

Nier Automata: The Machine Lifeforms panic when 9S draws his sword.

First, 2B and 9S discover a destroyed Machine Lifeform that appears to be wearing a wig, with human-like eyes drawn on it, much to their confusion. They then find a pile of semi-functional Machine Lifeforms, muttering small talk in nonsensical ways while some cry out over the deaths of their comrades. The ground collapses and drags 2B and 9S deeper into the subterranean structure, which appears to be held up by stacks of disabled Machine Lifeforms. In the underground, they find more of NieR’s Machine Lifeforms mimicking human behavior, such as worshiping on their hands and knees, or rocking a cradle as if a child were in it. 9S pulls out his sword, and the Machine Lifeforms panic. Hundreds emerge and climb up to the cavern’s roof, forming a massive ball of machines. The mass gives birth to an android-like robot, which takes on the appearance of a human and doesn’t seem to want to fight.

It’s obvious that the Machine Lifeforms are trying to understand humanity, although to what end isn’t yet clear. The Machine Lifeforms in this episode have the yellow eyes common to the ones from the previous episode, suggesting that they’re not functioning as intended. The Machine Lifeform with the wig seems like it must have been an early attempt at creating an android akin to NieR Automata’s immortal YorHa or the resistance fighters, but why? Is it simply an attempt at copying the enemy’s greatest weapons, or is there something more going on?

If some of the Machine Lifeforms have developed a fondness for Earthly wildlife, who’s to say they haven’t also begun to look upon the humans they were sent to destroy with the same feeling? It’s certainly interesting that the first successful attempt at an android duplicate didn’t want to fight, and suggests that perhaps NieR Automata’s Machine Lifeforms have another goal entirely–whether it was programmed into them or not.

More: NieR Automata’s Anime Has a Clever Plan to Address Alternate Endings

NieR Automata Ver1.1a is currently available on Crunchyroll.

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