NierThe 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:
- Berserk Button: Be a Shade; a sidequest even has him mentions that he doesn't care if a Shade is just minding his own business and not attacking, he'll still cut him down.
- Canon Name: His name is derived from the name of your save file, but it's still canonically Nier.
- Casting a Shadow: Nier's magic tends to be focused around darkness.
- Cessation of Existence: Ending D. Played with in Ending E, which combines most of D but allows a new him that does not know Kainé or the others to be made.
- Character Title: He's the titular character of Nier.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Has a habit of helping out anyone who needs him to earn some money. He sort of insists he doesn't do this, saying it's all for Yonah, but Weiss comments otherwise. There wasn't any reward for finding the brothers' mother, or helping Emil.
- 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.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: As weird as it sounds, a different Nier finally gets to be happy with Kainé in Ending E. This ending is only in supplementary material however, they didn't have the time to implement it ingame (and it would have had the added bonus that you could reuse the file name that you had previously consigned to be lost forever).
- Empowered Badass Normal: He was a self-trained warrior able to use different kinds of weapons to kick ass and take names even before gaining magic from Weiss.
- Fantastic Racism: Unintentional on his part but he is insanely violent towards the Shades even before they took Yonah, since they are monsters to his eyes despite hints that some of them are pacifist (two sidequests has Shades never attacking you and one of them even befriended a kid) and intelligent creatures because he doesn't care to learn about them besides kill them and you'll get a cure for your daughter/sister.
- Good Is Not Nice: In a harsh world there's little time to be nice. He falls short of being a Designated Hero. He does want to help people even though he has his own objective but he will voice his displeasure about it. His crusade against the Shades becomes less to cure his sister/daughter and more about revenge.
- Heel Realization: Hinted at occasionally. Made especially apparent after Emil sacrifices himself when he lets Kainé kick the crap out of him.Weiss (On Gideon): Revenge is a fool's errand.
Nier: ...I know.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Which arguably makes the Character Title kinda unnecessary.
- Heroic BSoD: Rather subtly, but after Emil's sacrifice he allows Kainé to kick the hell out of him because he's finally realized just how badly he screwed up and how many of his friends have died.
- Heroic Suicide: In Ending D.
- Indy Ploy: Usually charges in without any plan other than 'kill the enemy', much to Weiss's exasperation. However he always manages to come up with a solution at the last minute, and gets pretty resourceful at using his magic too.
- Last Kiss: With the Shade-possessed and already dying Kainé in Ending C. Was also their First Kiss.
- Made of Iron: Halfway through the game he gets impaled twice by a massive blade, before finally being put out of combat.
- 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 Kainé and cantankerous Weiss can't stay away from him.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: He ruins a lot of plans in order to protect Yonah. A few of them could be considered evil, and most of them vital for one species.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: When it comes to Shades, there's never any other option considered. Helps that virtually all of them suffer a Cruel and Unusual Death.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Killing the Shadowlord was a big no-no in the grand scheme of things, as their death winds up leading both Replicants and Gestalts to their eventual extinction (save Emil), resulting in the end of mankind and kicking off a large part of NieR: Automata's plot as the androids created to serve humanity try to find new raison d'être.
- Off Hand Back Hand: You know he's taken a few badass levels when a Shade appears behind him and he stabs it in the face without looking!
- The Power of Friendship: After assembling his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, Nier seems to broaden his horizons and learn to care about something other than Yonah, until eventually he's practically running off this.
- Pretty in Mink: His outfit is lined with fur, including a fur collar and boots in Replicant, which is probably for practical purposes since he's nearly always travelling.
- Ret Gone: Ending D. To the extent that everybody else forgets he ever existed as well, and your save files are all deleted! The new Nier from E isn't remembered by Kainé nor does he remember her as well.
- Significant Birth Date: He is a Well-Intentioned Extremist willing to commit any atrocity for what he believes is right. Fittingly, his birthday is September 11th.
- Staking the Loved One: When he is forced to kill a possessed Kainé on Ending C.
- 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 shoulder guard in place.
- Taking the Bullet: Almost gets himself killed defending Weiss.
- Tomato in the Mirror: He and the Shadowlord were the same person all along.
- Took a Level in Badass: After the timeskip his abilities have increased greatly, so that he can now use various weapons and stronger magic. More obvious in Replicant since Nier has grown into a man.
- Too Many Belts: 'Father' Nier has no fewer than seven, whereas 'Brother' Nier's whole outfit is probably 50% belts.
- The Unfettered: He's gonna save Yonah. No matter what. Except if someone needs pink flowers, he'll take a break.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between him and Kainé, particularly after the time skip. It's prevalent in Replicant but downplayed considerably in Gestalt where Nier is much older than her and a widower to boot.
- 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".
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A major plot twist in NieR: Automata reveals his actions in this game ultimately lead to the extinction of the human race. Whoops.
- 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.
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.
- He Is All Grown Up: Just look at how much he's changed during the Time Skip! Kainé 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.
- 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 Kainé in a romantic light. That is until the ending...
- Parental Abandonment: Both his parents died within a few years of each other.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Anti-Nihilist: He knows that the world is dying but it doesn't stop him from trying to keep his daughter alive and helping people in need.
- Armor Is Useless: The only armor he wears on his upper body is a single shoulder pad... which does nothing to protect him when the Shadowlord stabs him through that shoulder.
- Badass Boast: A bunch of them. His first line when the first Shades encounter starts sums it up.Nier: Come, I'll tear you apart.
- BFS: Even his default sword is massive. And he still uses it one-handed!
- Blinding Bangs: In the opening.
- Cool Old Guy: Well, more middle-aged. People from the village really like him since he helps a lot and can kill Shades like no one else.
- 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.
- He confessed to Weiss that he doesn't care what he has to do to make Yonah better, even if someone asked him to collect horseshit he would do it, because even that is more hopeful than watching her die.
- Eyepatch After Timeskip: During the time-skip he somehow lost an eye and now wears an eyepatch.
- 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.
- Face of a Thug: Some villagers comment on how he looks like a brute, but at the start of the game everyone knows he is a helpful guy who just wants to take care of his daughter and only swings his sword at sheep or monsters. To the monsters, however, he looks and acts like a mass murderer.
- Gentle Giant: He's a nice guy at heart, who's big on helping people and genuinely does the best he can.
- Good Parents: His world begins and ends with Yonah. It's to the point where he will eat stew that "tastes like death" simply because Yonah made it for him.
- Hunk: Contrasting Brother Nier's Bishōnen.
- 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 to his inability to help Yonah, but he can be a bit more open about his concerns than others. One of the major difference between him and brother Nier is that his anger about his situation is present in all his lines.
- Noodle Incident:
- 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.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Even though he's very uncomfortable with this lifestyle. Yoko Taro even says unlike Brother Nier who sold his body for medicine Father Nier simply kills and takes since he is a grown up warrior.
- Scars Are Forever: Has scars all over his torso and suffers some sort of injury to his eye during the timeskip.
- Screaming Warrior: He is more vocal when he strikes than young Nier.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Aside from a few bits of armour.
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.
- Barrier Maiden: The Shadowlord doesn't care if he is the only thing that keeps humanity alive, if Yonah dies he'll follow her.
- 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: Literal in the Western version.
- 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.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Gestalt Yonah willingly accepts death so Replicant Yonah (that's the one you're looking for) can get her life back.
- 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.
- Protectorate: Nier's sole motive in the game is to cure her illness or save her from danger.
- 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.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Gestalt Yonah's decision to sacrifice herself to save Replicant Yonah causes her father the Shadowlord to go berserk and eventually be killed, leading to the death of all Gestalts and their Replicants, finally ending the human race.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Dark and Troubled Past: 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 turned, 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.
- 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 is Shiro (from Hon Shiro = "White Book") which is a common pet dog name. This is why he's 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.
- Grumpy Old Man: He sounds that way in the Japanese version.
- Heroic RRoD: Without Grimoire Noir, he cannot exist.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Helps to give Nier a fighting chance against the Shadowlord.
- Insistent Terminology: You shall refer to the great book Grimoire Weiss by his full and proper name! Unfortunately everyone ignores his complaints. However, his final words to Nier state that he's become fond of being called Weiss.
- Insufferable Genius: Constantly mocks Nier for his lack of brains and/or sense and acts incredibly arrogant whenever he's proven right.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may come off as an egotistical jerk, but ultimately, he's loyal as hell to his friends, and comes to appreciate humanity and lament its suffering.
- Large Ham: Loves giving big dramatic introductions. Nier and co. tease him for it.
- The Mean Brit: Zigzagged in the dub, as Liam O'Brien's voice sounds like a stuffy British man using American consonant pronunciations.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: With Papa Nier in the dub; Weiss is a well-spoken masculine-sounding book who likes to bring up the wonders of the world, while Nier is a down-to-earth father who rarely ponders outside his objectives.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: To his chagrin.
- Power Floats: He's a magic book, he can't really move otherwise.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Has an endless supply of snark to keep the dialogue moving and provide much needed comedy.(To Nier) "How remarkably useless of you."
- Slut-Shaming: Keeps calling Kainé a hussy and suspects that she said something lewd to Emil when he confided in her.
- Surrounded by Idiots: And hussies.
- 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, Kainé 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.
- Action Girl: To a ridiculous degree. She dual-wields a pair of serrated blades, hops around like crazy, and employs Full-Contact Magic.
- All of the Other Reindeer: She was bullied as a child for being intersex.
- Badass in Distress: While petrified after Knave of Hearts escapes; again, in the second visit to the Aerie, where a Shade knocks her out and Nier must take care of the Shade army by himself.
- Bandage Babe: Her left arm and leg are permanently bandaged.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: She's sick of living but will fight for Nier since he is one of the few to accept her and forgive her attitude.
- BFS: She wields two curved, serrated blades as long as her legs.
- Bird Run: Her default way of moving. Running any other way with those giant swords of hers would end up chopping something.
- But Now I Must Go: In Ending A.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Her feelings for Nier, which she would prefer to express through fighting (and dying) for his sake rather than words.
- Combat Stilettos: The heels are lower than many other examples.
- Cool Big Sis: For Emil, the only person she is unfailingly kind to.
- Cluster Bleep-Bomb: In Replicant, Kainé's worst made-up swears are these, combined with Symbol Swearing in the subtitles. Joked with during the battle with the Knave of Hearts.Kainé: "%&*#$)+%+^#?@!!"
Weiss: "What the hell does "%&*#$)+%+^#?@" 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: Kainé 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.
- Demonic Possession: Is possessed by the bloodthirsty Shade Tyrann.
- Determinator: Considering the only reason she's even alive is due to her own willpower...
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: With Nier in Ending C. It's actually death by his hand, but same principle.
- 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.
- Heroic Albino: With white hair and pale skin to match.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Her backstory reveals that Kainé forced herself to change due to her harsh lifestyle and not being able to trust anyone. Rather adorably, when Emil reveals that they tells campfire stories while waiting outside towns for Nier, she tells him to stop because she's "got a fucking image to maintain."
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Summons her swords out of nowhere.
- Instant Runes: When generating her lightning ball spells.
- It Was a Gift: The Lunar Tear that Nier gives her, which later serves as Kainé's only reminder of him after he is wiped from existence.
- It Has Been an Honor: She thanks Nier after he kills her in Ending C.
- Lady Swearsalot: Not one for subtlety. See the above quote.
- Leitmotif: "Kainé - Salvation"
- Love Hurts: In the Drama CDs, following Ending D, she does - despite everything - on some vague, subconscious level remember Nier. She cannot recall specifics, however, drives her to depression as she searches for what she's lost without even knowing what it is.
- Male Gaze: Granted, with her outfit it's a bit hard to know where not to look.
- Magic Knight: She's incredibly dangerous with her swords, and she can produce electricity-based magic attacks to annihilate anything dumb enough to stand in front of her.
- Ms. Fanservice: Lots of people comment on her looks, with one of Yonah's letters mentioning that Devola describes her as "put together in all the right places".
- 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. She also gets captured because she broke the temple's rule but she does break out in time for the boss fight.
- Parental Abandonment: Literally. She was Raised by Grandparents.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When seized by blood-lust.
- Sexy Backless Outfit: That nightdress bares it all.
- Sharing a Body: With the Shade Tyrann, a psychopath who derives pleasure from killing and threatens to take over permanently if she ever "goes soft".
- She-Fu: Her moveset involves a lot of kicks, handsprings and backflips.
- Shock and Awe: Her magic has more of an electric theme than Nier's.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: The amount of stuff that she hides behind that tough exterior is heartbreaking. She never tells the others about it either.
- Stripperiffic: As Yahtzee puts it, Kainé's wardrobe basically consists of "a jockstrap and a negligee". Grimoire Nier attempts to justify this by saying that she took a liking to clothes that emphasized the feminine parts of her body after enduring abuse from the other villagers for being intersex. Her grandmother encouraged her to assert her femininity, even flaunt it, and Kainé (as she is wont) took it perhaps a little further than intended. Unusually, people in-game do find her mode of dress genuinely odd and frequently comment on its impracticality: the first time she meets Nier, his first words to her are a comment on her clothes, and Weiss frequently needles her about it.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: In official artwork.
- Superpowered Evil Side: When her inner-shade, Tyrann, comes out to play.
- Taken for Granite: Allows this to happen so she can protect the village from Knave of Hearts. It lasts for five whole years, but she recovers.
- Tragic Monster: Particularly in Ending C. She ignores Shades' pleas, even though she can understand them, because Tyrann will take control if she goes soft. When Nier's support soothes her sadness and anger she turns and asks to be killed.
- Transgender Fetishization: Played with. While she's intersex, the story means for the player to realize how unsettling the fanservice of her character is supposed to be. She still ends up being a sexy and attractive woman.
- True Final Boss: In Endings C and D. The Shadowlord's death causes her to relapse into her Shade form. Nier works with Tyrann to put her down.
- Tsundere: She's harsh, hot-tempered and foul-mouthed, but shows a much more thoughtful and caring side at times.
- Woman in White: Interestingly, she wears a Little Black Dress in the original concept.
- Younger than She Looks: Wait, wait, wait, she's seventeen?!
Emil aka No. 7
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 Kainé.
After the timeskip his terrible past is revealed, which leads to him obtaining new powers.
- Adorkable: After he gets more comfortable with both Nier and Kainé, Emil is downright endearing. Of note is how excited he gets at the prospect of romance while the rest of the party is groaning over it.
- 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.
- Cute Monster Boy: Even after becoming No. 7, he remains as endearingly sweet and cheerful as ever.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He was experimented on to become a weapon, and apparently only one of the scientists treated him and his sister like children.
- Dark Is Not Evil: As No. 7, he's draped in black and uses dark magic, but he's a genuinely kind and sweet kid and even heals Nier on occasion.
- Deadly Gaze: Turns anyone he looks at to stone, whether he wants to or not. He loses it after his transformation, and even gains the power to undo the effect with his magic, though we only see him do this once.
- Dem Bones: After the defeat of No. 6 he absorbs its body and becomes a floating skeletal creature.
- Discard and Draw: After defeating and absorbing his sister, No. 6, he loses his petrification power but gains immense magical powers as a result.
- Don't Look at Me!: He hates his skeleton body, and is quite uncomfortable being looked at as a result. He gets better as the game progresses, thanks to Kainé and Nier's unconditional acceptance of him for who he is rather than what he looks like.
- The Heart: Cares equally about everyone, tries to stop them fighting and maintains a cheerful atmosphere.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Ending B, his head survives.
- Hesitant Sacrifice: During his sacrifice he admits that he's scared and doesn't want to die.
- Human Weapon: To a lesser extent than his sister; while she was designed to be the ultimate weapon, he was created to stop her if she ever got loose.
- 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.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After he accidentally causes the deaths of innocent people by destroying the Aerie.
- Nice Guy: Emil is an absolute sweetheart and has no bad bone in his body. He's really the only outwardly kindhearted of the group.
- 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.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Shouts this at Kainé after fighting her shade.
- Power Incontinence: He can't turn off his Taken for Granite Deadly Gaze, forcing him to bandage his eyes shut and hide 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 loses control and nukes the Aerie.
- Power Limiter: The bandages around his eyes.
- Precocious Crush: Word of God is that Emil develops a crush on Nier.
- Really 700 Years Old: He was alive before the great calamity when Shadowlord was created.
- Series Mascot: Emil in his No. 7 form is arguably the mascot of the series, to the point that Taro Yoko is known for wearing a mask of Emil during public appearances.
- Straight Gay: He falls in love with Nier over the course of the game and shows no interest in other women; it's more subtle with Father Nier and more explicit with Brother Nier.
- 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 Conga Line: While most characters experience at least some form of this, Emil gets special mention for the sheer amount of crap he goes through. He isolates himself from other people for over 1000 years because of his eyes, and when he finally makes friends with Nier and Kainé he's forced to petrify Kainé to protect the village. Five years later he thinks he might find a cure for his condition, but instead discovers that he was a test subject in an experiment to create an ultimate weapon along with his sister, and his body is forcefully changed to that of a skeleton, which he is deeply ashamed of. He and Nier save Kainé, but because the villagers are frightened of them he's forced to sleep outside with Kainé, facing even more prejudice than before. And then he loses control of his powers and destroys an entire village, killing dozens of innocent people. This is all topped off by his Heroic Sacrifice, which actually turns into a Hesitant Sacrifice (as noted above), as he reveals all he wants is to see Nier, Kainé, and Weiss again and that he's terrified of dying. Oh, Emil...
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: He forgot all about the experiments and his sister due to this. The experiments themselves probably didn't help.
- Undead Abomination: In his "weapon" form, he is a skeletal being with a rictus grin and magic reserve.
- What Have I Become?: He's absolutely horrified when he first transforms, screaming at Nier to stay back and not to look at him. Nier has to hug it out with him.
Devola and Popola
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.
- Anti-Villain: Seeing as they're the ones directing the events of the game, including instigating the Shadowlord's actions.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Popola does not take well to being left all alone without her beloved sister.
- Apologetic Attacker: The Twins genuinely like Nier, apologizing for what they have to do.
- Cool Big Sis: Often take care of Yonah when Nier's away. Sometimes behave this way toward 'Brother' Nier too.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Devola in Popola's.
- The Extremist Was Right: The two are confirmed to be correct following the events of Nier, as the relapsing of Shades leads to the Replicants dying out from the Black Scrawl, with several Shades outliving the Replicants by several hundred years before dying out and marking the end of humanity.
- Hot Librarian: Popola apparently lives at the library, and is swamped with confessions and love letters.
- Madness Mantra: A hysterical Popola after Devola dies and she attempts an all out suicide attack against the group."No one stops... No stopping... No stopping ever!"
- In Vino Veritas: According to Nier, Popola doesn't drink because it sends her into a violent rage, whereas Devola tends to get a little too friendly.
- Magic Staff: They each gain a staff when you fight them.
- Miko: Their outfits make them resemble this.
- Mr. Exposition: They're the ones to tell Nier about how to cure the Black Scrawl. They also give him the truth near the end.
- Mythology Gag: Their names are derived from a weapon in Drakengard.
- Please Wake Up: Popola, to Devola, who dies in her arms after failing to kill Nier.
- Polar Opposite Twins: Devola seems to be the more outgoing one compared to Popola, who is composed and serious.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: They are some of the first androids made with the goal of preserving humanity.
- Soulless Shell: The game refers to them as soulless automatons, though they subvert this in their final moments.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Debol vs Devola and Popol vs Popola, from Japanese to English.
- Taking You with Me: Falling into despair because they killed Devola, Popola unleashes the full might of her power with the intent of dying and taking out the ones who killed her sister. Thanks to Emil's intervention to shield his friends with his own abilities, she only succeeds in rendering him a disembodied head.
- Threshold Guardians: At the Lost Shrine.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Popola and Devola, respectively, to some extent. It's more obvious in the Japanese version.
- Villainous Breakdown: NO ONE STOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPSSSS! EEEEEEEEEYYAAAAAAAAAAAGHGGHHHH!
- 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 whose bodies would be taken over. Their actions are motivated by the increasing number of relapsing Shades and with it the Black Scrawl killing their Replicant counterparts. Since Nier and company aren't willing to let themselves and everyone they know be subject to a mass Grand Theft Me, humanity goes extinct.
The King of Façade
- "Rules do not exist to bind us; they exist so that we may know our freedoms."
A boy who inherits leadership of Façade 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 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 Façade 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.
- 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 Façade 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 Façade'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 Façade, 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 Blue Hair: Purple hair. It can look silver at times, though.
- "Oh, screw the rules!"
A young girl who lives in Façade. She was rescued by Kainé, which gained Kainé 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 Façade, 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 Façade.
- Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Being gnawed on by a wolf does that.
- Break the Cutie: Her childhood was just horrible. Yet she kept an optimistic attitude and when things started to look up for her the wolves killed her at her wedding.
- 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.
- 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 Façade.
- Pimped-Out Dress: By Façade'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 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 Façade'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.
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.
- An Arm and a Leg: Gideon frantically tries to pull Jakob's body free by the hand. We hear a sickening crunch. Direct cause for Gideon's Self-Harm.
- Ax-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.
- Please Wake Up: Gideon to Jakob. Followed by a Big "NO!".
- 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.
- 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: Their mom abandoned them, they found out she died running away with her lover, and then Gideon accidentally caused Jakob's death, followed by him dismembering his brother's corpse trying to pull him out of the debris.
Tyrann aka Masayoshi Yura
A Shade that possessed Kainé 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.
- Ax-Crazy: It comes with being a regressed Shade. Although even as Masayoshi Yura he was insanely ruthless.
- 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 Kainé in his own way.
- Evil Laugh: He finds murder hilarious.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's a smooth-talking wise guy with a sick yet hilarious sense of humour.
- General Ripper: When he was human.
- Grand Theft Me: Tyrann shacked up in Kainé's dying body and will take over the other half of her brain if she comes close to death.
- His history reveals that this is his Modus Operandi, since the data of his Replicant was intentionally not saved.
- In Love with Your Carnage: He gets very... excited when Kainé kills other Shades. A short story in Grimoire Nier hints that this has the expected effect on her unique body.
- HeelFace Turn: In Endings C & D, Tyrann helps Nier save Kainé.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The two options that he gives Nier both result in his death.
- Meaningful Name: It's German for 'tyrant'.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He goes through this in Endings C & D. Turns out that he actually did care for Kainé after all."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: Kainé 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 Kainé the ability to use magic and regenerate lethal wounds.
- Terms of Endangerment: Calls Kainé "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.
- Anti-Villain: He's a Type IV.
- 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.
- Bishōnen 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.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He looks like a dark angel but his power keeps humanity alive, and even his goal isn't that bad.
- 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.
- Decoy Protagonist: He's the Nier from the prologue and is briefly controllable for the combat tutorial. However, his Replicant becomes the main character afterwards.
- Despair Event Horizon: Crosses this hard when his version of Yonah sacrifices herself; at this point, his goal during the fight with Nier changes from "save my daughter at any cost" to Suicide by Cop.
- Evil Counterpart: Few things he has done can be worse than Nier, but the latter always tried helping people if he could, despite his daughter suffering, while the former abducted someone's daughter to keep her alive and doesn't seem to care about anyone else.
- Fisticuffs Boss: The third phase of his battle, he puts Weiss out of commission, stealing your magic.
- The Heavy: As the guy in charge of the Shades, but his kidnapping Yonah is the focus of the main plot after the Time Skip.
- Living Battery: 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: Like Nier, he has his own goals. The same goal, in fact.
- 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.
- Shadow Archetype: He is basically a living incarnation of Nier's worst traits.
- 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.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Gestalt Yonah is destroyed.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's the original incarnation of Nier. Thus, he's just as willing to do anything to get what he wants, including kill another man's daughter to save his own.
- What You Are in the Dark: He basically embodies this for Nier.
- Winged Humanoid: Has four moth-like wings capable of flight.
Weiss's dark counterpart.
- Baleful Polymorph: As revealed in And Then There Were None, he wasn't always a Grimoire.
- Evil Counterpart: To Weiss and he is the potential savior of humanity, just pointlessly smug and evil about it.
- Misanthrope Supreme: He apparently wants to govern humanity and views himself as above them.