A list of characters from NieR
, both the Gestalt
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:
"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.
- Big Brother Mentor: Emil looks up to him this way.
- 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...
- Expository Hairstyle Change: After five years he lets his hair down and grows it out, which makes him look older and more rugged.
- 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.
- Gray Eyes
- He's All Grown Up: Just look at how much he's changed during the Time Skip! KainÚ certainly notices when they're reunited.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Whored himself out to older men in the past in order to get money for Yonah's medicine.
- 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.
- Mr. Fanservice: Once he grows up. Gives him an advantage since it doesn't really work with older Nier. It's not quite clear how his appearance can be so well-maintained given the After the End setting, but try not to think about it too much.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Gets pretty protective when he thinks Yonah has a boyfriend.
- Oblivious to Love: He's far too busy thinking about revenge and Yonah to even begin to consider KainÚ in a romantic light. That is until the ending...
- Parental Abandonment: Both his parents died within a few years of each other.
- 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.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Even though he's very uncomfortable with this lifestyle.
- BFS: Even his default sword is massive. And he still uses it one-handed!
- Blinding Bangs/Hidden Eyes: In the opening.
- Cool Old Guy: Well, more middle-aged.
- 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.
- Eyepatch After Timeskip
- 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.
- I Was Quite a Looker: The World of Recycled Vessel is stated to be a dream journal written by Nier's wife. When Nier goes into it, he assumes his younger self, which is identical to 'Brother' Nier. It can probably be assumed that losing his wife, on top of spending every waking moment from then on protecting his only child, took a toll on him.
- 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.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Aside from a few bits of armour.
Yonah (Voiced by Ai Nonaka/Heather Hogan)
"Thanks for always being there for me."
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.
- Cheerful Child: Even knowing she may be dying, she's always upbeat around Nier and tries to keep him in good spirits. It's implied she may not be as cheerful as she seems though.
- Daddy's Girl
- Distressed Damsel: Brings about the events of the timeskip. She's absent for almost the entire second half of the game.
- Giant Waist Ribbon: After the timeskip.
- 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.
- Parental Abandonment: Depending on which version, either her mother or both her parents are dead.
- Plucky Girl: She has the determination to go all the way to the Lost Shrine by herself with only a vague idea of where it is and knowing the whole place is infested with Shades, and while badly ill.
- She's All Grown Up: Five years later and she's turned into a gorgeous young woman.
- Third-Person Person: Japanese version only.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: 'Father' Nier is craggy and ape-like, whereas Yonah is delicate and doll-like.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: In Gestalt, many of Yonah's letters imply that she'd rather have her father home by her side even as he's out looking for a cure.
- Woman in White: Reflects her innocence and purity.
Grimoire Weiss (Voiced by Shinnosuke Ikehata/Liam O Brien)
"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.
"It cannot be a sin to exist."
"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.
"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.
- Creepy Child: Before you get to know him.
- Dark and Troubled Past
- Deadly Gaze
- Dem Bones: After the defeat of No. 6 he absorbs its body and becomes a skeleton.
- The Heart version of The Face: Cares equally about everyone, tries to stop them fighting and maintains a cheerful atmosphere.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Ending B, his head survives.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: After living alone for so long who can blame him? He'd gladly die for any of them too.
- Literally Shattered Lives: In gameplay this happens to his victims after they're petrified.
- Power Incontinence: He can't turn off his Taken for Granite power, forcing him to shut himself away in his mansion home. After his transformation, he exchanges one version of this trope for another: When he pushes himself too hard in the battle against Wendy, he nukes the Aeirie.
- Power Limiter: The bandages around his eyes.
- Purple Eyes
- 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.
- Really 700 Years Old: He was alive before the great calamity when Shadowlord was created.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Considering all of the horrors he goes through, it's a miracle that he still presses on with his optimistic attitude. And tops it off with a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: He forgot all about the experiments and his sister due to this. The experiments themselves probably didn't help.
- What Have I Done: After he accidentally causes the deaths of innocent people by destroying the Aerie.
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.
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.
- Blade on a Stick: Like the other Men of the Mask this is his main weapon.
- Bratty Half-Pint: He's rude and irritable in his first encounter with Nier, although he quickly gets a lot nicer.
- Cool Mask: He's willing to almost get himself killed to attain it.
- Determinator: Despite being covered in wounds and on the brink of death, he still manages to make one last fatal attack on Goose.
- Distressed Dude: At the beginning of the first Facade arc, he goes by himself to the sealed temple to find his father's mask. Naturally, he gets in over his head and Nier has to rescue him.
- Heroic Sacrifice/Hold the Line: Stays behind with his men to fend off Goose while Nier and friends get the Shadowlord, knowing full well they'll go down fighting.
- No Name Given: His real name only appears in external sources. He's always referred to as the Prince/King of Facade in-game.
- Parental Abandonment: His father dies shortly before the game begins and his mother is never mentioned. The Royal Advisor is a kind of Parental Substitute.
- Real Men Dont Cry: He tells Nier to leave him alone at Fyra's grave, so they don't witness a king's tears.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Even while he was a young child, he was prepared to listen to Nier when no one else would.
- Rebel Prince: He breaks a lot of Facade's rules as a child, simply because he feels like it. The citizens say they wouldn't tolerate it if he wasn't so popular.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against the wolves after they kill Fyra.
- 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.
- Serious Business: He uses these exact words to describe... twirling his mask?
- 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.
- You Gotta Have Purple Hair: It can look silver at times.
"Oh, screw the rules!"
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.
- All of the Other Reindeer: First due to her scars, and then due to being a stranger in Facade.
- Break the Cutie: Her childhood was just horrible.
- Cheerful Child: Pre-timeskip.
- Cute Mute: Not actually mute, but the rules forbid her from talking until she receives a citizen's permit. Instead she uses sign language to communicate.
- She does eventually get to speak after marrying the King, but these are her dying words.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight
- Dub Name Change: Her Japanese name is romanised as Vier, but pronounced like "fee-rah", hence why it was altered for the English version.
- The Faceless: We never see her face beneath the mask.
- Not With Them For The Money: They're as unequal a pairing as you can imagine, but Fyra and the King Marry for Love.
- Parental Abandonment: Quite literally, her parents were disgusted with her so sent her to Facade.
- Pimped-Out Dress: By Facade's standards, her wedding dress appears very sumptuous, decorated by hundreds of gold medallions.
- 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.
- She even says "Screw the rules" word for word.
- Unsound Effect: Makes a peculiar sound when she runs.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Sadly it doesn't last...
Jakob and Gideon
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.
- Dub Name Change: Jakob's name is Jiminy in the Japanese game.
- Freak Out: Gideon, once the robot is defeated, starts beating it and laughing maniacally, screaming that it makes him feel better.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Jakob pushes Gideon out of the way of some falling debris, and gets crushed to death...
- 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.
- Please Wake Up: Gideon to Jakob. Followed by a Big "NO!".
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Gideon against the Shades, and specifically the P-33 Defense Unit.
- Self-Harm: Gideon begins cutting his arm after Jakob's death. He eventually damages it so badly that he has to amputate it and replace it with a mechanical one.
- Trauma Conga Line: Those poor poor kids.
"Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!"
A Shade that possessed KainÚ when she was young. Despite giving her superhuman strength and healing powers, he threatens to take over her completely someday if she ever "goes soft". He's also insane.
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.
- Big Bad: According to legend. But he's not.
- Big "NO!": After Gestalt Yonah voluntarily leaves her Replicant's body. Complete with appropriate camera angles.
- Bishonen Line: He's the most powerful Shade, and the most human in appearance.
- Cosmic Keystone: His existence is what lets the Shades, or, rather, the non-relapsed Gestalts, keep their sanity and human awareness.
- Cry for the Devil: His only wish was to live together with Yonah, just the same as Nier. Most of the evil goings-on were the fault of Grimoire Noir or the Twins.
- Dark Is Not Evil
- Death Seeker: He becomes this once his Yonah destroys herself for good, only continuing the assault on Nier in hopes of dying by his hand and reuniting with her.
- Fisticuffs Boss: The third phase of his battle, he puts Weiss out of commission, stealing your magic.
- Jekyll & Hyde
- 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.
- Not So Different
- 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.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Like other Shades.
- Super Prototype: Not only was he the first and only 100% successful Gestalt subject, he also gained superhuman powers that go beyond his contract with Grimoire Noir or any other Shade's abilities.
- Supervillain Lair: Lives in a hidden castle somewhere that can only be located using the Keystone. He rarely leaves, so Nier and co. decide to go to him.
- The Unintelligible: Talks in Shadespeak, natch.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's the original incarnation of Nier. Thus, nothing stated in Well-Intentioned Extremist above is any less true here.
- What You Are in the Dark: He basically embodies this for Nier.
- Villainous Breakdown/Despair Event Horizon: When Gestalt Yonah is destroyed.
- Winged Humanoid: Has four moth-like wings capable of flight.
Weiss' dark counterpart.
- Ax-Crazy: But then, she didn't retain any of her human character unlike Weiss or Noir.
- Baleful Polymorph: She wasn't always a Grimoire.