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A list of characters from NieR, both the Gestalt and Replicant versions, and their associated tropes. Spoilers ahead
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The eponymous hero and only playable character of the game. Between the Japanese and English releases, there are two separate renditions of him - 'Brother' Nier and 'Father' Nier. Although they're very similar, there are some notable differences between them.
Tropes associated with both versions of Nier:
Badass Normal: Considering he gets the ability to use magic from Weiss. Everything else is just strength and skill.
Big Brother Instinct/Papa Wolf: Deconstructed. Both Niers are so devoted to finding a cure to the Black Scrawl that eventually they end up neglecting Yonah herself.
Berserk Button: Don't talk down to his friends, or get anywhere near Yonah.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Has the habit of helping out anyone who needs him to earn some money. He sort of insists he does not have this, saying it's all for Yonah and nothing but Yonah, but Weiss comments otherwise.
Dark and Troubled Past: He's suffered a lot of hardships due to the sickness and/or death of family members, and the steps he's had to take to eke out a living.
Declaration of Protection: Although his overriding desire is to do so at whatever cost, it's eventually revealed to have gotten rather out of hand.
Destructive Saviour: Nier blindly crashes forward into battle, heedless of any consequences so long as he gets Yonah back. By the end, he's pretty much screwed the entire human race thanks to his efforts.
Determinator: Not even getting impaled multiple times will stop this guy trying to defend his loved ones.
Indy Ploy: Usually charges in without any plan other than 'kill the enemy', much to Weiss' exasperation. However he always manages to come up with a solution at the last minute, and gets pretty resourceful at using his magic too.
Magnetic Hero: He's very popular in his village and everyone he meets is willing to help him out due to his sincere and righteous attitude. Even the fiercely independent KainÚ and cantankerous Weiss can't stay away from him.
Sticks to the Back: No matter the size or weight of Nier's equipped weapon, he can easily reach around and attach it to something on his back with an audible clink. Even more absurd in Gestalt, where the only thing he wears across his back is a few straps that hold his shoulderguard in place.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between him and KainÚ, particularly after the time skip. It's very prevalent in Replicant but downplayed considerably in Gestalt where Nier is much older than her and a widower too.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The man called Nier will kill anything that stands in his way to save Yonah. Even if his enemies show signs of intelligence.
"I have something I need to protect. I have a reason to keep on living!"
Main character of Replicant, a driven young man forced to raise his sister Yonah after being orphaned. He generally keeps a sunny and optimistic outlook on life, even to a foolish extent considering the grim realities staring him in the face. He feels compelled to help people in need and repay any favours he is given, believing that doing so will make the world a better place.After he crosses the Despair Event Horizon one too many times, he snaps. Following the Time Skip, he has grown into a ruthless Blood Knight who will kill as many Shades as it takes to rescue Yonah. Despite this, some traces of his former kindness still remain.
Anime Hair: Prior to the timeskip, he sports a couple of large, gravity-defying spikes.
Big Brother Instinct: His devotion to his sister is all kinds of sweet, particularly in their younger years.
Bishounen: Heck, in the backstory he's outright said to have a "womanly face".
Despair Event Horizon: He crosses it at some point before the beginning of the game, which leads to drastic measures and more than a little insanity. Then he crosses it again at the end of Act 1.
Dissonant Serenity: Nier's expression is often completely blank even as he carves up giant Shades left and right. It's pretty disturbing how such a nice boy can stand completely still and calm while getting showered with copious amounts of enemy blood. Maybe because his mind is fixed on other things...
Expy: After the timeskip, he starts picking up some of Caim's mannerisms from Drakengard. Unlike Caim, however, Nier does not let his anger consume him due to having True Companions he actually cares about.
Katanas Are Just Better: His default weapon resembles a katana, probably since it's more suited to his slender frame.
Kid Hero: He's only sixteen at the beginning of the game.
Knight Templar Big Brother: As specified, he isn't fighting the legions of darkness for something as feeble as "justice". He's fighting for his adorable little sister, and you had better not get in his way.
Last Kiss: With the Shade-possessed and already dying KainÚ in Ending C. Was also their First Kiss.
Promotion to Parent: He clearly struggles making ends meet in the difficult circumstances. Still does his absolute best though.
Unfriendly Fire: One of the short stories in Grimoire Nier implies that he killed the man who molested him in the midst of a Shade hunt. He's rather disturbed that killing humans and killing Shades felt the same.
Unwanted Harem: Word of God compares his friends to one of these, joking that every member of the band fell in love with him at some point. However, from Nier's perspective, it's not so much "unwanted" as "doesn't realise it exists".
Zettai Ryouiki: Technically doesn't have a skirt to go with his thigh-high boots, but the novelist, Eijima, defines it as such regardless and is absolutely fascinated with it.
"I swore to protect my daughter and my friends. If someone puts them in danger, they must stand aside or be cut down!"
The main character of Gestalt and Yonah's father. In contrast to his younger counterpart, 'Father Nier''s optimism has been steadily eroded over time to the point where he is achingly aware of how bad the state of the world is, and how pointless his actions are in the bigger picture. Having lost his wife some time ago, his one anchor of sanity is the innocent Yonah, for whom he loves dearly and devotes his entire life to protecting.Like 'Brother' Nier, he snaps after Yonah is taken from him, becoming a vengeful Blood Knight whose goal is to murder every Shade in existence.
American Kirby Is Hardcore: Was given an almost complete makeover to cater to the Western audiences, including making him older, grittier, more muscular and less altruistic.
Crusading Widower: His wife wasn't murdered so he's not out for revenge, but he still crusades for the daughter left behind.
Dumb Muscle: Is stubbornly single-minded in his quest to save Yonah to the point where he reasons that simply killing Shades will get her back. However, in a subversion of this, he isn't actually unintelligent. Just ignorant as to the consequences of his actions.
Expy: He's remarkably similar to a post-eclipse Guts, down to the physique, missing eye, fixation on the welfare of one person, a band of True Companions that help maintain their humanity, and psychotic obsession with killing a particular kind of supernatural creature in spite of the fact that it won't give them what they really want.
Gentle Giant: He's a nice guy at heart, who's big on helping people and genuinely does the best he can.
Knight Templar Parent: Insists that he will kill without hesitation anything standing in his way if it means saving his daughter.
Lightning Bruiser: The man is a huge hulking wall of muscle and yet he's still agile, dexterous, and extremely fast with most weapons. Only two-handed swords slow him down, but that's more on the sheer size of them than his own speed.
Mangst: Suffers from this a great deal due (usually to do with his inability to help Yonah) but can be a bit more open about his concerns than others.
Overprotective Dad: He's less than happy when he finds out Emil and Yonah have been corresponding.
Papa Wolf: To Yonah of course. It quickly extends to his close friends too.
Parental Substitute: He eventually becomes one for Emil, tapping into his fatherly instincts to become a pillar of strength to help the boy cope with his numerous issues.
Scars Are Forever: Has scars all over his torso and suffers some sort of injury to his eye during the timeskip.
Nier's fragile daughter/sister, whose illness provides the driving force behind the plot. She loves Nier more than anything and is extremely devoted and supportive, despite his long absences. She stays at home most of the time, frequently writing letters.
Break the Cutie: Stuck in bed with a painful disease isn't fun for anyone, let alone a little girl.
Ill Girl: Suffers from the crippling Black Scrawl disease, which Nier desperately seeks to find a cure to. There is none.
Lethal Chef: Decided she wanted to make a stew for Nier, and asks him to collect mutton and wheat. He was already less than thrilled about the idea, but gathered them anyway. She makes it for him, and his first comment is that it "smells like someone pissed on a campfire", and immediately notices "black lumps". Then he tastes it, at which point he goes on to comment that it tastes like death. The kicker? He eats it anyway, simply because Yonah made it for him.
"You stand in the presence of great wisdom! I am a text of the darkest, most arcane type, and I could be of assistance to you..."
An egotistical talking Spell Book that Nier picks up by accident and decides to take along with him. They find out he is part of a legend involving his counterpart Grimoire Noir, and that he is key in stopping the Shades. Possessing powerful dark magic and a dry sense of humour, Weiss guides Nier on his search for the cure in the hopes of recovering his lost memories and preventing the End of the World as We Know It.The supplement material Grimoire Nier reveals that more than a 1,000 years ago, Weiss was a nameless young man recruited by the Hamelin Organisation to fight the Legion. He was given medicine to withstand being turnedi, but it didn't make him immune to being infected with WCS, it just delayed the symptoms. After he was captured and imprisoned in a room with twelve other people, he had to watch how his childhood friend was killed and sucked into a book. The killer then disappeared too, and finally Weiss himself succumbed to the Gestalt process and his soul was sealed. From then on, he was only known as Grimoire Weiss.
Amnesiac Dissonance: Thanks to Nier breaking his seal quite violently, Weiss remembers nothing of his role in the Project Gestalt. And when someone tries to force him into it, his bonds to the main characters are strong enough that he outright rejects it. He's no less horrified by the revelation.
Arch-Enemy: He despised the man who became Grimoire Noir for what he did to his companion, so the first and last thing he remembers about his past is not liking him.
Baleful Polymorph: As revealed in And Then There Were None, he wasn't always a Grimoire.
Despair Event Horizon: When he realizes he and the other subjects' fates had been sealed the moment they were put into the experiment, and what role he's been forced into, he begins laughing.
Embarrassing Nickname: More so in Japanese, as his nickname in that language is Shiro (from Hon Shiro = "White Book") which is a common dog name. This is why he is so insistent on being called by his full name. Nobody cares.
Exposition Fairy: Because he's, well, a book, he has the knowledge required to fill Nier in on any backstory or general information he may require about places, people or objects. Though Nier usually tells him to shut up.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody seems to consider a talking magical book of legend to be worthy of more than a "Oh, neat" reaction. In fact most people take issue with his manners more than anything else.
"I'll rip out your eyeballs and piss in the fucking sockets!"
Outcast from the Aerie at a young age, KainÚ is a beautiful yet hot-tempered intersex swordswoman. She dresses skimpily and constantly uses foul language, but hides a tragic past with many insecurities. She was possessed by a Shade which allows her to use magic and provides enhanced strength, but also makes her a danger to others.She joins Nier in his quest after they avenge her grandmother, to repay him for giving her the will to live.
Cluster Bleep Bomb: In Replicant, KainÚ's worst made-up swears are these, combined with Symbol Swearing in the subtitles. Joked with during the battle with the Knave of Hearts.
Weiss: "What the hell does "%&*#$)+%+^#?@" even mean?"
Dark and Troubled Past: Ostracised for her body, abandoned, had to watch her grandmother die, mutilated, then possessed by a Shade, ostracised even more...
Death Seeker: Wants to die and join her grandmother after Hook is finally defeated. Nier talks her out of it.
Defrosting Ice Queen: KainÚ is at first aggressive, cold and mistrustful of the others, but starts to warm up to them after they save her life, joins the party, treats Emil like a brother and eventually falls in love with Nier.
Hair Decorations: She braids her hair and wears a flower in it after the timeskip.
Hermaphrodite: Due to the creators wondering how "the female lead being turned into a man" would affect things. Apparently, this isn't due to her being possessed by a Shade but, rather, because there was a mistake when creating her Replicant data.
Jerkass Fašade: Her backstory reveals that KainÚ forced herself to change due to her harsh lifestyle and not being able to trust anyone.
Kuudere: Shows a much more thoughtful and caring side at times. She was pretty cheerful as a girl.
Love Hurts: In the Drama CD's, following Ending D, she - despite everything to the contrary - does on some vague, subconscious level remember Nier but not being able to recall specifics drives her to depression.
Male Gaze: Granted, with her outfit it's a bit hard to know where not to look.
Stripperiffic: Grimoire Nier attempts to justify this. "As a response to the harassment she received in her childhood for being a hermaphrodite, she had taken a liking to clothes that emphasize feminine characteristics."
Neutral Female: Twice. First, against Wendy, but she's excused because she's knocked out. Then, in the Final Battle against the Shadowlord, where Nier explicitly asks her to stay back and protect Yonah.
"We were really human once. Just normal human children you could find anywhere else."
A polite young boy who lives with his butler in the mansion on the hill. He cut himself off from the outside world due to his ability to turn people to stone merely by looking at them. After Nier arrives at his home, Emil offers to help in their quest and becomes firm friends with Nier and KainÚ.After the timeskip his terrible past is revealed, which leads to him gain new powers.
Bad Powers, Good People: He's a lovely boy - he even willingly isolates himself and wears a blindfold because he doesn't want to hurt anybody.
Break the Cutie: Over and over and over. Prime examples being his past, his sister, the Aerie incident and his death.
Nigh Invulnerable: It's revealed that the Ultimate Weapon lives up to its name when his head survives Popola's explosion.
Not Quite Dead: In Ending B, it is revealed that his head survived his would-be sacrifice. According to certain expanded material and Word of God, he would later go on to have many adventures by himself and would even single-handedly fight off an alien invasion.
Beautiful twins who run the village Nier lives in. Popola seems to do the actual work at the library while Devola can be found singing either near the fountain or in the local bar, and manages local job openings. The two help Nier by informing him about the Grimoires and the cure to the Black Scrawl, and by directing him to several different locations. They also regularly supply him with sidequests.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: By the endgame, it's revealed that they are manipulating events in order to force the resurrection of humanity even at the expense of the newly-sentient Replicants.
The fact that Replicants can't reproduce and will die out in a generation if there are no Shades around explains why the sentience of the Replicants wouldn't matter.
The King of Facade
"Rules do not exist to bind us; they exist so that we may know our freedoms."
A boy who inherits leadership of Facade when his father dies of the Black Scrawl, despite his tendency to break the rules. Nier visits his kingdom to learn if they have found a cure so he can save Yonah. He's friendly and helpful to the main characters, but also shows great care for his citizens.He is friends with Fyra despite their difference in status. His real name is Sechs.
A Child Shall Lead Them: He's around the same age as Yonah when he takes the throne, and still just a teenager after the timeskip.
Adorkable: Sometimes, such as when he gets embarrassed by having to kiss Fyra in public at their wedding.
Badass: In the second half of the game, at any rate.
Badass Normal: Holds his own in combat as well as the main characters, despite having no magical powers to back him up. He even manages to take down the nigh-immortal boar Shade that Nier was unable to, albeit at the cost of his own life...
Bishounen: He's described in the novel as very beautiful, at least in Fyra's eyes.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Despite being so young and living in such an oppressive society as Facade, he is determined to help his people and not only puts his life on the line for them when they get attacked by wolves, but also cares about things like public morale and food shortages.
Shout-Out: When he finds his father's mask, he does a dance and holds it up while a cute little tune plays, calling Majora's Mask to mind.
The Wise Prince: So much. He's kind and friendly, determined and devoted to his people and their cause, a good fighter, and wise beyond his years. However the universe seems to hate him and wants to make his life miserable.
A young girl who lives in Facade. She was rescued by KainÚ, which gained KainÚ the acceptance of the citizens. Fyra however is not yet a formal citizen, and as such is not allowed to speak. She helps Nier and Grimoire Weiss learn the ways and language of Facade, then leads them to the sealed temple so they can rescue the wayward prince.After the timeskip, she and the King are engaged to be married, and Nier and company get an invite to the wedding.
Plucky Girl: She braves the dangers of the desert to help save the King.
Scars Are Forever: She has burn scars on her face which she is sensitive about. The King and Weiss still find her beautiful, and because of her mask the player never sees them anyway.
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: When the Prince goes missing, she decides to go look for him anyway, even though it's against Facade's rules for commoners to enter the temple he disappeared into.
Two brothers who run a blacksmith shop outside the Junk Heap. Jakob is the elder, more levelheaded and professional one, while Gideon is younger and emotional. Both siblings are the only characters who can upgrade your weapons.
Axe Crazy: Jakob's first thought when Nier and Weiss, his first customers since his mother left, come to visit, is how to kill them.
Bratty Half-Pint: He's had to go through a lot, but Gideon is still a very difficult kid.
Crazy Jealous Guy: Jakob, after their mother left and Gideon was still worried about her even though he did most of the work. He convinced Gideon that robots killed his father, and even boarded up the windows to their home so he only had to worry about Gideon leaving through the front entrance. Not only that, but he even considered the notion of breaking his legs so he wouldn't try and find their mother!
Domestic Abuse: Their mother was abused by her husband, and she in turn abused the children.
Mad Scientist: Post-timeskip Gideon ends up this way, creating special weapons to destroy Shades.
Misplaced Retribution: There was a robot nearby when Jakob was crushed. Gideon opted to blame that robot for Jakob's death, instead of facing up to the fact that it was Gideon's own recklessness that killed Jakob.
It wasn't Gideon who came up with the idea of thinking all robots are evil though...
Nice Guy: Jakob is a rather pleasant and polite individual, despite the circumstances. Subverted in Grimoire Nier, where it's revealed he was far worse than his brother, who was just hopelessly naive.
Parental Abandonment: Their father died when they were young, and their mother abandoned them to be with the man she loved, who is later implied to have been a con man. Both the mother and her lover were killed in the Junk Heap. It's later implied that their father is alive and now runs the tavern in Seafront.
Promotion to Parent: Jakob takes a great deal of care for his younger brother. Weiss suspects that he even gives Gideon both their shares of the food.
Blood Knight: The above quote should be enough to convince you.
Dirty Coward: Supplemental material suggests that before humanity collectively had used the Gestalt project, he was dishonorably discharged when he ran away during an isolated incident. As punishment, his Replicant data wasn't saved.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In Endings C & D, it's implied that despite constantly taunting and tormenting her, he did care about KainÚ in his own way.
"Wait... No. No, no, no! It wasn't fun at all! I turned you into a killing machine! I spread evil and chaos around the world! But it all feels so empty now! Why!? I don't understand!"
Not So Different: KainÚ eventually realizes that both of them are hate-filled individuals beyond saving who rely on violence to dull their pain, which is what begins his Heel Realization.
The Symbiote: Inhabiting a human body makes his powers stronger, and in turn, gives KainÚ the ability to use magic and regenerate lethal wounds.
Terms of Endangerment: Calls KainÚ "Sunshine" and various other lewd nicknames, just to get on her nerves.
The mysterious main villain, who has power over all other Shades. He is accompanied by Grimore Noir and looks almost identical to Nier; he also has a connection with Yonah that leads him to kidnap her.Mainly because he is Nier, the original one, who became a Shade like the rest of humanity. He wanted Replicant Yonah so that the Gestalt version could possess her, as was intended.
Living Battery/Sentient Phlebotinum: His successful transformation into into a Gestalt means that the Project can continuously "harvest" his unique essence in order to prevent the relapse of other, less refined Gestalts.
Orcus on His Throne: Was willing to wait for 1300 years, believing in Project Gestalt's promise that it would one day restore his Yonah to him. When he finally loses patience and kidnaps Yonah, he then goes back to doing nothing, even as Nier comes ever closer to finding him.