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It seems, mayhaps, the brothers are not as of one mind as Tang would prefer.

A while back I watched a playthrough of Nier on the PS3, a game that I wanted to experience but didn’t actually want to play through because it was known for having less than great gameplay. I found it captivating, if not entirely comprehensible. When a sequel being developed by Platinum Games was announced, I was hyped.

I started playing Nier: Automata a couple days ago. In a word, it’s WEIRD. That’s okay, though, because it’s the best kind of weird; the Alice in Wonderland weird, where everyone just rolls with the insanity of it all. I feel as though I love Automata in the same way I love the Evangelion reboot films. They pack in a lot of incredible music, visceral human emotion, and adrenaline-intense sequences, but the plots that encase it all are surreal and filled with metaphor manifest in reality. It’s near impossible to worry about the logic or canon consistency of their narrative, and yet the presentation and character interplay are engrossing (please, please don’t try to explain to me how Evangelion all makes sense).  So basically Nier: Automata is a barely comprehensible spectacle, and I totally dig it. I can’t wait to see what insane thing will happen next!

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  • KungFuKlobber

    One has been Wu-ed to the side of right! But it seems to have left a bad Tang in the other’s mouth…

    • http://rhr.thecomicseries.com Bree

      Nah, that’s a load of bull.

    • tych

      BOOOOO

  • Little Kingsguard

    The Infinity Parry: when you want to counter someone so hard they have an epiphany.

    • Turul

      The perma-parry.

      • foducool

        the one when your enemy joins your side XD

  • charles81
  • AGV

    For a moment I thought that he said “you big, dumb box”

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      No, they kicked the big dumb box into the forest.

  • Sunwu

    “Kind words are not Sincere, Sincere words are not kind.” TDJ Chap. 81

    • AGV

      Fists must be the most honest message ever, then

      • Sunwu

        Some people do say you dont truly know someone until you fight them

        • http://rhr.thecomicseries.com Bree

          Fights are actually an amazing way to bond. Doesn’t have to be physical, either. But by conflicting with one another, you tend to learn a lot about a person without realizing it.

  • SKy

    “Now, my new pupil, would you mind disciplining your brother?”

  • Sunwu

    Not sure if fight ended quickly because of plot or because NN4F creators want to move on. ahh well the anime will give us 10 episodes of Cho fighting filler.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      There are certain realities involved with updating once a week, such as a nine page fight scene lasting over two months. There is admittedly a balance to be found in moving the story forward and indulging in spectacle. As much as I’d like to do a 30 page fight where the Wu Tang bros run through every weapon in their case before finally resorting to hand-to-hand, it would mean dedicating a good part of the year to one fight scene. The comic’s pacing is pure pragmatism!

      • Sunwu

        how long was the yori uso fight do you remember?

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          TOO LONG. It was learning experience. Consider everything after the year hiatus a more efficiently paced story!

          http://nn4b.com/?webcomic1=495

          • Sunwu

            ahh I see it was a reason why you had to

          • clogboy

            I like the longer fight scenes. After the Kabuki it went back and forth betwene Cho’s fight and Jori fighting the blind warrior which ended in the kidnapping (forgot his name – but then nobody remembers the dead) and that felt a bit short each time.
            However awesome it was, the siege of that farm village lasting a good 100 pages might’ve been a tad too much though :p This fight seems well balanced.
            What’s best though is that the art keeps altering and improving ever so subtly. Keep forwarding 50 pages at a time to notice the evolution. While the art stays in the same spirit – the style keeps changing, and if this style is the best trade-off between time spent and detail involved then I think it’s a good style.

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            if the comic were my full time job and not basically a side passion project, we would have much longer and more involved fight scenes, for sure. I love drawing action stuff and fight scenes!

          • clogboy

            I realise that, and were this a 3-page-a-week paid subscriber comic, I’d totally subscribe. Since this is free I can only extend my gratitude for giving me something to look forward to every week, for what must be a decade. If I knew you’d keep doing the print versions, I’d buy all of them.
            Just saying I love the comic, and I like how you take part in the comments section.

          • Turul

            IMO, the long fight-scenes in Kyoto and the sieged village were really awesome when archive binged! But I can imagine they’d lose something when read at a page a week pace. The eternal problem of webcomics…

          • EBeth

            ::sigh:: Some of do remember! His name was Ryoku. And he was preeety! 😀

          • clogboy

            Not everyone is a fangirl 😉

          • EBeth

            Someday all the pretty Samurai boys will be mine!!
            Er, I mean, true…

      • Leandro Toniut

        My personal favorite part of the comic has to be the back and forth of Yori vs Ryoku on the bridge and Cho vs the Bros. Of course you have grown a lot since, artistically, but in terms of pacing and drama it was excellent. The moment that made me say man I wish this could be animated…

  • http://rhr.thecomicseries.com Bree

    Perhaps you ox to choose your words carefully, Brother Tang…

    • Hfar

      Doh!

  • clogboy

    Well now that they’re gonna be buds, Cho probably regrets kicking away the weapons case :) Wondering if their ProphecyPreventionProject is now over, failed or just beginning. If Cho is the will of the Tao, is it the will of the Tao for the world to end?

  • Kid Chaos

    *Now* can we get back to reuniting Masuhiro with his people, and Ken & Yori with Genchu? Pretty please with Matrix on top? 😳

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Your wish is my command!

      • Kid Chaos

        YEEEEEESSSSSSS!!! 😍

  • TheMaskedFerret

    Now he is angry. You won’t like his eyebrows when he is angry. (great facial expression there)

    • Turul

      His newfound inner peace was indeed not long lived…

  • leavescat

    Incidentally, someone either just found your comic or is doing an archive binge, because a half dozen of my old comments dozens of pages apart just got upvoted by the same person.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      It’s neat to know that the comments are just as much a part of the NN4B experience as the comic itself.

      • Blake

        When I first found NN4B, I would always exhaustively read the comment section of each page before continuing to the next page. So in my mind the comments really are a big part of the experience.

        I mean I’m basically either getting my fill of puns from people (my favorite kind of puns no less) or someone is rattling off this awesome history or philosophy about an attack or a weapon or the flow of the page (and your pages have some awesome flow so staring at each panel is a journey in itself).

        Heck, because I was so used to comics having normal sound effects, it was only by reading one of the earliest comments that I did a doubletake and realized they weren’t your every day “bwooosh” or “Kaslam” or [insert Batman slapping Robin here].

        • clogboy

          A good pun is a good pun, doesn’t matter where you’re from. :)

    • Turul

      There’s somebody who does that a lot and leaves a ton of upvotes every time. I think it’s lovely. :)

    • Hfar

      Yeah, I’ve had that happen a couple of times with different people as well.

    • http://rhr.thecomicseries.com Bree

      Not me this time, I swear. (I was guilty of it before but it honestly wasn’t me this time.)

    • EBeth

      Sometimes I will upvote old comments because I was sure I had upvoted them before, but I don’t see my upvote! I don’t know if this is Disqus being flaky or my devices being flaky (or maybe it’s just my brain).

  • Charvale

    Something tells me that Tang is about to get pounded… why does that sentence seem dirty to me?

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Because you have a dirty mind!

      • Charvale

        Can’t deny that one bit.

  • Flaming Squirrel

    Well, I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting things to go THIS direction.

    Also, the original Nier is one of my favorite games! I don’t know why people complain about the gameplay. The combat isn’t anything deep, but it’s kind of reminiscent of the old 3D Zelda games… except you can jump and ground pound. The story is amazing, and the soundtrack is, no exaggeration, the greatest I have ever heard in a video game. I really want to play Automata, but since I never got all three endings in the first game I figured I ought to replay it first.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I’m glad we’re still able to surprise you!

      I do have a great deal of affection for Nier, which is strange for a game I’ve never played. I admit, having watched a full playthrough, the gameplay didn’t seem particularly awful, I’d just read and heard it was a frustrating game to play. There were definitely some parts that looked frustrating to get through, though. If you haven’t gotten all the endings, you’re missing out, because the full narrative arc of the game isn’t done until those final credits roll. It’s got a powerful finale, even if it doesn’t make all that much sense if you really think about it.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        I also have to wonder, as a guy who hasn’t played any of the Drakengard games, what else am I missing?

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          I also watched a playthrough of Drakengard 3, which really did look like miserable game to play through, but a wildly entertaining game to watch, so I’d recommend that! My wife played the original Drakengard years ago, and it stuck with her because it was a game that starts out as a fairly generic medieval fantasy game with bland combat, and slowly goes down a very nihilistic narrative that gets more and more insane with each new ending, of which there are five. Canon-wise, the fifth ending, which involved giant babies falling from the sky, somehow leads into the fired Nier game, but despite reading the explanation as to how they connect up, I would say you can take it or leave it in terms of clumping them in the same canon. It’s like the Alien/Blade Runner connection, so tenuous that it doesn’t matter.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Also, also… when can we expect you to talk about the new Wheel of Time tv series that was just announced? Heck, you never even said anything when Brandon Sanderson announced that he’d sold the rights to make Mistborn and Stormlight movies!

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          You know I love Sanderson, and I’m super excited that he’s selling the rights to option a lot of his properties! But until we actually get some evidence that production is moving forward on anything, I don’t know how news worthy it is. Popular authors sell the option rights to their properties all the time with nothing ever coming of it in any immediate sense.

          As for the WoT tv series, well, maybe I’ll watch it if everyone loves it. I straight up did not like the series, because it rambled and took all its characters to weird places and I honestly couldn’t give you a plot synopsis of any of the books because I don’t understand what they were fighting against specifically or why. I couldn’t tell you which bad guys were which because there were so many and they all had weird names and were all generically evil. I mostly just remember the overall arcs of the three main characters, and really only Mat was likable by the end of it all (and I started off hating him, so that’s a quality arc!). Heck, I only read WoT because Sanderson finished it, and I did think the last three books were the best and most well paced in the series.

          Will the show have Rand’s polygamous marriages? Will it have all the weird spanking stuff? Will it have the characters constantly shaking their heads going “Wo/Men, am I right?”. Gods, I got so sick of that stuff. I assume they’ll greatly streamline the bloated plot so that plebes like me will finally be able to understand it all.

  • SKy

    Nier:Automata is one of those games I’m sure I could never get behind. Given, I only watched someone stream the first chapters and bits and pieces here and there – but what I saw frustrated me. I mean I can totally understand a game that doesn’t care about logic. I also get that a game can have a message it wants to promote. But this game seems to try as hard as it can to confuse you and throw you off track. Not once could I find a point to access the game mentally/emotionally. You’re thrown into an unexplained battle, following emotionally dead protagonists in a gray-in-gray area against some of the most boring looking enemies – and oversized construction equipment – that all attack with those slow moving red orbs that come from seemingly nowhere… And why the hell does it keep switching gameplay styles randomly? Choose one and stick with it – I don’t want to be forced to change my playstyle every 5 minutes…

    Wow, that ended up sounding way more negative than it was supposed to… All in all: Not my kind of game. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Ha, I can’t fault you for just not being interested in such a nutty game, but I can relay my own feelings on the same points.

      I think my emotional entry point was the relationship between a super badass, emotionally detached warrior and her slightly dweeby hero worshipping sidekick. It’s a trope I always enjoy and it’s got a Xena vibe to it; cornball but endearing. Everyone says the characters in Automata are emotionally dead but that’s not what I’ve seen. They’re constantly getting angry, frustrated, confused, and amused. I mean they frequently say there’s no place for emotion or attachment in battle but they’re consistently going against that litany and showing affection and concern for each other.

      My logical entry point to the game was the sense that the basic plot setup is a lie and I have a drive to discover the truth (even though it probably won’t make perfect sense). Is humanity really exiled to the moon? Who are these invading aliens and what are their goals?

      In terms of changing gameplay, the game’s gimmick is a combination of shmups and character action games. Keeping that in mind, as long as you can comfortably anticipate switches between 3D combat and 2D bullet hell, its not that off putting, and boy do I enjoy the combat! Combined with slick animation, great music, and many bursts of visual spectacle (there’s a lot more color once you get out of the factory opening), the game is totally my thing (at least so far).

      My biggest annoyances so far are a lack of autosave, and a dark souls style item recovery system that adds stress to a game where I just want to recklessly go all out in combat.

  • Orange Orangutan

    Well, that was unexpected…but totaly awesome!

  • ariama

    Long time lurker here.

    I must say, I am caught completely flat-footed by this development. Yet, in retrospect it is a natural one. Which is what I find the best sort of storytelling, while unbound insanity can be quite amusing, sure, but having a coherent structure behind it is so much more satisfying. Which is I so much enjoy your comic.

    And which is the way I found Nier: Automata, after digging enough in it.

    **minor spoiler ahead!**
    The playthroughs are quite reflective of character you play as, and overall a game is quite an emotional roller-coaster. The first route is battle-oriented, with just hints of the truth. Second one, you can breeze through without ever hitting an enemy, yet 9S’s curiosity brings quite a bit of information to the light. And the third one answers even more questions.
    **spoiler end**

    As an aside, from my experience, English voices turned out to be much less emotional than their Japanese counterparts. I played most of the game with Japanese voices and subtitles on, and preferred it to the English only option, even though I tried switching back a few times.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I’m definitely looking forward to progressing in the game! I’m also more of a sub over dub person, but often for video games, my first playthrough I prefer to be in English just because there’s often dialog happening during intense action. I’ve also found the English voice acting not terribly offensive. I really like 2B’s English voice, but maybe for the same reason I love Raiden’s English voice in the Metal Gear series. They both basically sound like nerds who are trying to sound like badasses. It makes me smile.

      • ariama

        Oh, I’m not saying it’s offensive, just different. It’s especially noticeable with 9S when certain later events unfold. To me English 9S sounds more mature, more androidi-sh, while Japanese 9S is more of a teenage boy that sometimes lets his nature slip through, if that makes sense. As for 2B, she is such a softie, yes.
        To be fair, it is probably more jarring to me simply because I’m used to a certain character in their voices.

        Oh, and regarding dialogue during intense action, a couple advices that will help you better get them. First, hacking interrupts the current line being said, and it won’t continue after. And second, later in the game it becomes too easy to damage bosses too fast even on hard, so they will miss some lines as well. After a few times I started simply stopping fighting and just taking a dodging exercise till the dialogue is over.

        I hope you will enjoy the rest of the journey ahead of you. Please take care of 2B!

  • Hfar

    “I’m fine with you calling me a dumb ox, but big? You go too far brother!”

    I enjoyed watching play throughs of Nier: Automata, but if I was playing it myself I think it’s something I wouldn’t be able to play through more than three or four times out of the year. It looks fun but even just watching it is an emotional wringer, especially when you get to the second half the game.

  • endplanets

    “I agree. F@CK THIS!”
    – Kenta

  • Primarch Lazarus

    That’s big dumb ox, brother tang, is probably better than you at ass-kicking. You’d better stop talking now, if you wish to have both knees in one piece.

  • Eric

    Aw, come on Tang.

    They were having a moment! Well, until your pouting kinda ruined it.

    Very nice classic Kung-Fu story student-teacher enlightenment moment story wise, I like it.

    So according to my copy of, “Classic Kung-Fu Story Plotting for Dummies,” this means that Wu is now all set to start his journey to defeat the previously unconquerable foe.

    Except Cho isn’t that foe anymore, so, uh, who is?

  • Scottygroundhog
comic696 comic697