The Nier: Automata anime is back and episode 4 nailed the best boss in the game

Nier Automata anime teaser trailer
(Image credit: Square Enix)

I've been keeping up with the Nier: Automata anime, so I knew it had temporarily stopped airing due to production disruptions, but I'd forgotten when it was scheduled to resume. I was reminded over the weekend when I saw not one, not two, but three different posts in three different subreddits (all safe for work communities, thank you very much) sharing different shots of 2B's butt from the newest episode. I don't know whether to tell Nier fans to never change or seek help. In any case, I'm pleased to report that Nier: Automata's anime adaptation still kicks ass, and episode four is probably the best one yet because it absolutely nails the most memorable boss fight in the entire game. 

Spoilers for Nier: Automata, both the game and the anime, ahead. 

Nier: Automata has a lot of great moments, but I remember the Simone (Beauvoir) boss fight at the end of the robot amusement park with rare clarity and fondness. The backstory for the central opera singer is arguably the best illustration of the tragedy behind the game's machine life forms. Obsession, vanity, and humanity collide internally as 2B and 9S clash with Simone in the theater, and the fight ends with an explosive climax that very purposefully satisfies no one. It's a sad, angry mess, and that describes a lot of Nier: Automata.  

Simone's fight was adapted for the anime with remarkable accuracy, right down to the iconic light and dark orb attacks that Nier bosses use. Like many previous episodes, you can pull out plenty of shots that were recreated one-for-one, and a few of them actually hit even harder in the anime. 

There's been a lot of praise for the hacking scene with 9S in particular, and I'm a big fan of it as well. Hacking in the game plays out as a little shoot-'em-up minigame, but that wouldn't be very exciting in anime form, so the adaptation went with a mixture of Digimon-style digital traversal and an Extremely Anime interactive history lesson. This scene tells us more about Simone and casually gives 2B the ability to support 9S in his hacking, which I don't think she ever does in-game, and I dig it.

Simone's fate is the same in the game and the anime, but the scene after the fight is also edited and embellished in the adaptation. Two robots bound into the theater hoping to see a performance from Simone, the matriarch of the park and their apparent mother figure, only for 9S to unflinchingly cut them down as they beg for mercy. It's a surprisingly brutal display for 9S, especially since the game ended this scene with little more than some curt dialogue from 2B about machines not having feelings, but I don't dislike the way the anime has made 2B more emotive through moments like this. 

I wouldn't yet put it on the same level as Cyberpunk: Edgerunners in terms of video game anime, largely because it's a fairly straight retelling rather than an original story that builds on the universe, but thus far the Nier: Automata anime is running circles around the likes of the Persona 5 anime. As other Nier fans have pointed out, the show's CG and 2D animation also seem to be improving with every episode, so bring on the next one. 

Sega has now paid Nier director Yoko Taro to turn its franchises into anime girls

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.