Nier: Automata Ver1.1a (Season 1), Episode 8: Nier Automata Ver1.1a further deepens the bond between 2B and 9S in this episode – a character-focused segment of the series – making for a quiet yet powerful episode overall.
Nier: Automata Ver1.1a (Season 1), Episode 8 Recap:
‘aji wo [K]utta’
The episode opens with 2B and 9S reporting to The Commander their failure to apprehend A2 in the previous episode. The Commander reveals that A2 has destroyed several androids pursuing her and that she should be considered an enemy. However, she refuses to reveal the reason for A2’s desertion in the first place when asked by 9S, as it is classified information. She then gives them a new mission: pursue and investigate A2.
Pascal appears and informs them that the little sister, the machine lifeform they had been after, will be escorted back to his village by the soldier she decided to marry. He doesn’t know much about A2 when questioned by 9S, only that she is a dangerous android who kills machines but has never come to their village.
Back at the Resistance Camp, 2B and 9S are talking to Lily for intel on A2, but Lily lies and denies knowing A2 at all. They then question the red-headed twins, who genuinely do not know A2, but reveal that Jackass might and that Jackass can be found in the flooded city. They advise them not to get too friendly with them owing to their being treated like outcasts by the rest of the Resistance.
As 2B and 9S arrive at the flooded city, 9S’s Pod explains that the city’s bedrock was damaged in the previous war, and that is why it is sinking. 9S wonders why A2 deserted yet still continues to fight machine lifeforms. But 2B interrupts him and says that curiosity that goes too far will destroy them. This appears to convince 9S as 2B looks on.
They continue searching but without any luck, and 9S decides to take a break. As he looks at the vast sea, he comments on the silence, which makes him ask 2B if that is what a peaceful world is like, but she doesn’t know since she’s never seen one. 9S takes off his boots and even his visor-like blindfold, despite 2B’s warning that it’s prohibited under military orders. He then walks into the shallow part of the sea and starts playing in a lighthearted moment.
9S tells 2B that humans voluntarily went into the ocean, calling it “sea bathing,” and when 2B says it is unnecessary, 9S responds that humans also did seemingly unnecessary things. Further, if humans enjoyed such things, then they, as androids, should also be able to enjoy them as they were created in the humans’ image. 9S invites 2B to join him, which she does.
2B also takes off her visor, saying that she finds it hard to move in the water, causing 9S to laugh. She then spots a flower, which her operator, 6O, confirms as a Lunar Tear. 6O is very touched that 2B did as she asked and asks that 2B wear it in her hair, but 2B puts it on her chest instead. After a brief yet excited outburst of joy, 6O reveals her dream of visiting the Earth, having been enchanted by its beauty in the videos she has seen. She then asks if the planet is really that beautiful, to which 2B says that she’ll have to see that for herself and agrees to join 6O when asked by her. 9S chuckles due to his happiness at 2B’s actions, in spite of not understanding it himself.
To resume their search for Jackass, the YoRha duo decide to split up, with 2B finding Jackass fishing not long after. Jackass confirms that 2A was Lily’s old comrade, which 2B already knew, as Jackass surmises. Jackass tells 2B that the Lunar Tear is a flower that is said to grant wishes, and she tries to contact 9S but finds that she can’t.
The episode moves back thirty minutes in time, where 9S decides to hack into the Bunker to find more information on A2. He decides to hack in through images that he uploads to the server for his operator 21O, who wanted to collect data as a hobby, as revealed in a brief flashback. 21O says the images indicate that humans lived in small familial units, which they discuss a little as a silhouette moves in the background unnoticed by 9S.
Nier: Automata Ver1.1a (Season 1), Episode 8 Ending, Explained:
9S successfully manages to hack into the server of the Bunker, where he sees a live video feed of the Commander talking to The Council of Humanity, and they are in the midst of an argument. She disagrees with certain orders from The Council, but they say that the plan is the priority. At this point, 9S is detected by them and hastily leaves. The Council then asks The Commander if she knows what to do, and she says she does.
9S starts covering his hacking tracks, and all of a sudden, a ball bounces in front of him. At the end of the corridor, he sees a silhouette with long hair, whom he assumes is A2. Meanwhile, 2B’s Pod has discovered that a powerful jamming signal has been deployed in the area 9S went to, causing her to worry about 9S.
At the same time, 9S walks into a room that is full of artwork of him and 2B, including recent ones where they were playing in the seawater. His Pod suddenly vanishes as the light flickers, and an unseen enemy attacks 9S.
Elsewhere, at Adam and Eve’s table, Eve finishes reading his book and is shocked to find out that Adam has disconnected from the machine network.
With the ending in particular, the audience can gauge that it was not A2 who attacked 9S but Adam who has chosen to disconnect from the machine network for some unknown reason. The anime gives us its first proper cliffhanger ending at a most inopportune time as it is going on a brief hiatus again, owing to COVID-19, like last time. There’s no word on when the series will return, but hopefully, it isn’t long.