May 11th, 2018
Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse? Or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle…and wonder if we’ll ever get the chance to kill him.
— Nier: Automata
Uh… we’re talking about Nier this week, and hopefully we don’t dive too far down the existentialist rabbithole. Plus, we’ve got special guest Sarah (aka SMZeldaRules) as our resident Nier-ologist to get us through it all.
Next week, we’ll dive into that long-running and epic fandom: Final Fantasy fans (with special guests, Dan and Ari)!
Where can I learn more about SMZeldaRules?
Do you like Cosplay? Perhaps Video Games? Good news! SMZeldaRules is a huge fan of both! If you want to follow her work, you can find her on…
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smzeldarulesartandcosplay
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smzeldarules/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/smzeldarules
- Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/smzeldarules
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/smzeldarulescosplay
History and Origins:
Nier… is actually a complicated game series to explain. It is definitely most well-known because of the 2017 entry in the series, Nier: Automata, but technically that is a sequel to the less popular Nier (2010), which itself is a sequel to Ending E of Drakengard / Drag-On Dragoon (2003). I think I’ve got that right.
Speaking just about Nier and Nier: Automata (for the moment), the games are set in the far future where Earth has been left in a state of decay. Nier focussed on the character of the same name attempting to find a cure for an illness, the Black Scrawl, and the sequel focusses on a combat android, 2B, in the midst of a proxy war between androids and machines created by otherworldly invaders. Did we mention it gets complicated?
Both Nier and Nier: Automata were written by the eclectic Yoko Taro. And combined have sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
Given the complicated nature of the series, I looked up Drakengard, Nier, and Nier: Automata. The data is very spiky, but generally interest has gone up since 2004 (although most interest has been since March 2017 - approximately the release date).
Since Automata has the most data, we used it for looking at interest by region. The top 10 countries, by search data: South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Moldova, Malaysia, Russia, Puerto Rico.
(Nier data is pretty similar in terms of top five, but Canada makes an appearance at 6th and Australia at 10th)
Size of Fandom:
Looking at the data we have from a few sources:
- There are almost 31 000 subscribers on
- Metacritic has over 2700 user ratings for Automata
- Nier: Automata has sold over 2 million copies by March 2018
It’s fair to say that there are tens of thousands of dedicate fans of Nier.
Fanac Fast Facts:
- Archive Of Our Own has about 400 fics related to the Nier series:
- … Most of which are F/M (224)
- … Most of which have no crossover
- … Most of which involve 2B (296) or 9S (280)
- In a ‘best girl’ survey on the Nier subreddit, 2B narrowly beat out A2
Last Episode’s Famous Last Words
The popularity of Nier is as small as it is because it came out after Sony had disrupted the Nintendo-based gaming monoculture.
How did the series go from Dragons (Drakengard) to Robots (Nier)?
Why are there more albums than games?
G is in~terested. Attracted to the idea of stories that take place over a very long time.
T is in. Wants to play through some more, get more endings!
Z is in? Would really like to play them all… but that might be a fantasy.
Sarah is in. It’s great. As someone in the fandom for just three years, still kind of a newbie.
This week’s spotlight
_What is this Project, Commander? _
We have been tasked to analyze and reproduce sound data as images.
These images will then be compiled into a booklet to be distributed to all unmotivated androids. Glory…to mankind.
— Project: C[O]DA FAQ
It’s a fanzine for Nier, with proceeds going to the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation. Unfortunately, looks to be done now, but worth trying to find.
Famous Last Words
This week’s famous last words around next week’s fandom, Final Fantasy!
What is it that has endured about FF7 compared to FF6?
The people who came into the FF world long after the SNES… do they go back and play the old games (and do they like)?
Why is it still called Final Fantasy?
What is your all-time favourite Final Fantasy song?
At Zanarkand is the greatest FF song ever written. Debate.
"You son of a submariner" is a good Final Fantasy famous last word… ?
Where can you find us online?
We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:
- If you want to be part of our podcast (or just want to check us out), we record our podcast LIVE on twitch.tv every Monday at 20:00 Eastern Time!
- For all the latest updates, check us out on Facebook or Twitter
- To see the latest hijinx from our conventions or even our daily lives and adventures, check us out on Instagram
- For our latest convention updates, Let’s Plays, and other in-real-life video, check out our YouTube channel
- We’re also on iTunes, and Google Play, and would love it if you could leave a review and rating!
- if you want to reach us, and for some reason none of those work for you, try firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can check out our website; that will mostly bring you back to this stuff.
- Everything is
thenickscast, so if you can’t find us, go on your social network and search for that!
What is “Fanthropological”?
How did you read this far without asking this question?!
Fanthropological is an anthropological (ish) podcast where we bring the fan’s-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.
Who is “The Nickscast”?
We are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek … who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative (dare we say, the most creative).
We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It’s what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.
We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren’t “those Weird-o’s”, but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. Because everyone’s a fan.
Special thanks to SMZeldaRules for being able to make time in her schedule to share her wealth of knowledge on the Drakengard / Drag-on Dragoon / Nier series!
- Google Trends - Nier: Automata, Nier, Drakengard
- MetaCritic - Nier: Automata
- Reddit -
r/nier- Best Girl Survey Results
- Wikipedia - Drakengard
- Wikipedia - Nier
- Wikipedia - Nier: Automata
- Nier2.com - Timeline
r/nier- Connection with Nier and Drakengard
- Game Informer - Opinion - Give Me More Weird Masterpieces Like Nier: Automata
- YouTube - Lore summary - From Drakengard to Nier: Automata
- Giant Bomb Forum - NieR: Automata - Be Honest With Me: Why Do You Love NieR: Automata?
- Quora - How Famous is NieR: Automata
- Steam Community - NieR:Automata - Curious Why This is So Popular
- The Verge - Nier: Automata’s Director Explains Why He Wants to “Continue to Fail”
- Waypoint - Does the Designer Behind “NieR: Automata” Believe in God?
- YouTube - NieR Automata Analysis - Clemps (Part 1)
- YouTube - NieR Automata Analysis - Clemps (Part 2)
- YouTube - NieR Automata Analysis - Clemps (Part 3)
- YouTube - NieR Automata Review - Clemps
Music / Sound
- “Android Aware: Dawn of Sentience” by TeknoAXE used under CC BY 4.0
- All other music and sound for this week’s episode were provided by Nick Green!