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Video Game / NieR Re[in]carnation

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All Prayers Lead to The Cage
"Massive stone towers pierce an empty sky.
This enormous structure is called The Cage.
In its shadow, a lone girl walks with purpose...
And she will not leave until she has what she desires."
Opening Monologue (“The Story of the Girl and the Monster”)

NieR Reincarnation (alternately rendered NieR Re[in]carnation ) is a mobile spin-off set within the NieR universe developed by Applibot, released on February 18, 2021 in Japan for Android and iOS platforms.

The world takes place within Cages, a series of towers and dungeons, sometime in the future. A girl awakens on a stone floor with no voice and no memories. She is greeted by a strange being calling itself Mama. In order to restore what she has lost and to redeem herself from a past sin, the girl and Mama travel to reawaken fragments of a forgotten world in a form of the Weapons from the Dark Scarecrows.

However, each Weapon contains a threat, in a form resembling a flock of crows, that tries to corrupt its memories. Thus, the girl is tasked to aid Memory Characters to eliminate these invasive enemies within in order to restore the Weapons’ original flow of its story. This in turn will help her restore her memories.

As they ascend higher levels of the Cages, they run into a Dark Monster, with motives unknown whenever it appears to them and flees, as if leading them for some reason.

The first main story arc, "The Story of the Girl and the Monster", concludes in twelve chapters. After the ending of the first story, the next main story arc, "The Story of the Sun and the Moon", was teased, which was released on October 20, 2021. This next story arc follows two high-school students from modern-day Japan as they're transported to the Cage. While both are determined to get back home, players can choose the Sun route (a girl trying to reconcile with her father) or the Moon route (a boy trying to save his mother). This arc concluded on January 18, 2023. "The Story of the People and the World", which released on May 18, 2023, is the latest story arc, with characters from the previous arcs gathered together to defend the Cage at Mama's request from an invading force.

A Western release for America, Europe and South Korea launched on July 28, 2021 by Square Enix, and as of writing both JP and NA servers release new content simultaneously. The latest server is the Asian server for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asia which launched on July 15, 2022 and was published by Komoe Games, but on June 30, 2023 was also the first server to shut down access to the Cage, less than a year before its 1st Anniversary.

Beware of unmarked spoilers.

From the world of Tropes into the Cage:

  • 20 Bear Asses: Get ready to grind a lot if you want the Dark Memory Characters.
  • Actor Allusion: The weapon associated with Akeha's Divine Assassin costume is in a similar shade of pink as the Lifeforce belonging to Cinderella, the other Yoko Taro mobile game character Eri Kitamura voiced. This may also be why Akeha is involved in the SINoALICE collaboration event, though ironically she is dressed as the character Cinderella despises, Snow White. Eri has also lampshaded her involvement in both games during livestreams for them whenever it's brought up.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Who are all these characters? What is the realm of Cages? How does this connect to the stories of NieR and NieR: Automata? The third story arc finally gives us answers: the Cage is a sort of afterlife for the multiverse, where the memories of each and every individual that has ever existed are archived in the form of weapons. Due to its importance to the multiverse, if it is destroyed, so too are the worlds it's connected to.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Unlike in similar mobile games, getting a random Glorious level boost that maxes out a character or weapon's level will return excess enhancement materials to the player.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: A variant; pulling on the same gacha banner enough times to get close to pity results in the ghost currently accompanying the main character's linesnote  becoming increasingly concerned for the player.
  • Anachronic Order: The first story, "His Body Rust," ends with Gayle killing Dimos who had been guarding Rion's dead body long after he had been dead for 100 years. The story is about jumping back and forth between viewpoints to How We Got Here.
  • A Girl and Her X: A girl and her "ghost" friend. Also, a girl and her "monster friend" from four months prior to the main story.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: An early complaint about the Japanese server was the lack of a pity system like other games. After the developers made sure that the game's pity system was working in Japanese, it was launched from the get-go in the EN server along with other QoL features.
  • April Fools' Day: Each year a Character will take over the NieR Reincarnation JP Twitter. In 2021 it was Mama while Hina Akagi and Yuzuki Kurezome share ownership in 2022, with Hina tweeting in the day while Yuzuki posts at night.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The Auto Battle is mostly competent save for the fact that it picks its targets at random if you don't lock-on manually, making certain fights more difficult since your team will refuse to focus fire.
    • The inability for the feature to use Character Skills or Companion Skills initially appears to be one, but this is actually an unlockable upgrade to Auto-Battle that you can acquire. Doing so requires clearing Chapter 6 on Hard difficulty, which is a fair ways into the game and is by no means an easy task without sufficient preparation and/or good gacha units.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • 2* weapons. They lack the same power as 3* and beyond, and they often fall off, but they are incredibly useful for boosting your parties overall Force by ensuring each character can have a max leveled (for there rarity) weapon. Once the player gets higher rarity options, evolved 2* weapons can still be helpful as backup weapons, since you can get several easily.
    • Memoir Set Bonuses that boost base stats. Simple, but potent if you give it to the right characters. "Of Kings and Soldiers" is particularly powerful if you have a high statted offensive unit and don't want to deal with the risks involved in running the "A Chance for Conflict" set, which gives double the bonus but reduces the user's DEF for the first 60 seconds of the fight.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The experiments performed on Gayle's sister turn her into an murderous, unstoppable living weapon, and it isn't until Gayle reunites with her that her original consciousness begins to return. It's unfortunately short-lived, as she is soon slain by an empire soldier while attempting to recover.
  • Breaking Old Trends: "The Story of the People and the World" plays differently from the first two arcs; instead of focusing on a new group of Characters, the arc brings back almost everyone previously introduced, and there's more than 1 playable Character in each Chapter. Additionally, each Chapter is shorter than the others, lasting for 8 sections instead of 10 and the Characters enter Bird Cages instead of Scarecrows.
  • Bullet Hell: The Shooting Game Exploration minigame is a simplified version of Automata's Hacking minigames, where you control a blocky Mama and dodge bullets by scrolling left and right on a rail while shooting at enemy blocks to earn points.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being absent from The Story of the Sun and the Moon, Fio, Rion, Dimos, Akeha, Argo and 063y are set to return in The Story of the People and the World.
  • The Cameo: Argo is seen holding Grimoire Weiss on the artwork for the Memoir "Hubris".
  • Combination Attack: Executing multiple Skills in a row starts a Combo that increases for every hit dished out. As your Combo rises, you gain a damage multiplier that scales for every hit, maxing out at double damage for 20 hits or higher. This encourages you to get multiple characters to fire off their skills together in rapid succession to maximize output.
  • Crossover: To date, collaboration events have been held for NieR: Automata, NieR, Drakengard 3 and Final Fantasy XIV. Fio and Mama also appeared in SINoALICE as part of the triple revival of their own Automata and Replicant collab events.
    • Outside of Square Enix properties, there's a collaboration event with Persona 5 Royal, featuring Hina joining Joker and Queen investigating a Palace linked to a suicide chat group.
  • Call-Back: Aside from various references to the Drakengard and Nier series, in Chapter 6 of The Story of the Sun and the Moon, Hina/Yuzuki can enter Kainé's hut complete with a Lunar Tear field just like 2B and 9S.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Each main story chapter is about one new character added to the roster. Character, Dark and Event Stories are dedicated specifically to those characters.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Mama's Room as well as the Cage in Chapters 6 and 12 is this.
  • Downer Ending: Nearly all of the memories end this way.
    • Rion and Dimos' story, seen in "His Body, Rust", "Two Lonely Marionettes" and their character stories ends with Rion dying of his illness nine months after fleeing his kingdom, his dream to unite the neighboring nations against it and bring peace to their land unfulfilled. Dimos, devastated both by Rion's death and their failure to stop the war goes mad with grief and remains by his corpse's side for 100 years, killing anything that dared to get too close to the church that became their final refuge, until finally meeting his end at the hands of Gayle. It's also implied the warmongering kingdom Rion's father ruled evolved into the evil empire that ruined Gayle's life before ultimately collapsing on itself, its remnants bringing boundless suffering for years afterwards.
    • "What Was Lost" ends with Gayle losing her arm and leg and her younger sister and winds up Walking the Earth while exacting revenge on the empire that ruined her life.
    • "This Violent, Fleeting World" ends with Akeha sacrificing herself to avoid killing the young girl she was sent to assassinate, hoping to avert the girl's fate as a living pawn like she became. However, clearing the Hard difficulty version of the chapter reveals Akeha survived and she and the girl escaped together and have been living with each other for the past five years.
    • "The Distant Peak" ends with Argo dying on the mountain after falling from a rock wall, dreaming of his daughter and pregnant wife as his life slips away.
    • "priSOner" ends with F66x performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save 063y, with 063y crying out in grief at the apparent death of his wife.
    • "LIberator" ends with F66x either executing a murder-suicide with 063y or killing herself to stop herself from killing 063y, with the conclusion implying that their status as clones means that their deaths are meaningless.
    • "A Cold and Hollow Silence" ends with Lars discovering that the enemy captain who executed his "parents" and whom he spent his life training to kill was his biological father, who had come to save Lars when he was a child. "The Reluctant Hero" turns this into a Bittersweet Ending, with Lars' captain Griff coming to his aid and rescuing him before he is found by his enemies.
  • Developer's Foresight: The Mama Menu button appears after the prologue, but Mama only explains how to use it in Chapter 2, when the player first uses a deck to play stages. Tapping on the menu button before that point has Mama point out that she intended to tell you about it later and asks if you want to hear the explanation anyway, with a no response having her tell the player "not to worry their pretty little head about it".
  • Distant Finale: Noelle's story is implied to take place in the far future from everyone else's story. It's hinted that not only is she an upgrade of the clone program that produced 063y and F66x, she's also a clone of Gayle's sister.
  • Dream Land: It's heavily implied that the Cage is a world where humans can only reach during their dreams. Memories of people both dead and alive can also be accessed from here.
  • Earn Your Fun:
    • Certain upgrades are locked behind main story progress, such as a boost to Chapter Summon Ticket rewards, a boost to Guerrilla Quest drops, and the ability for Auto-Battle to use Character Skills and Companion Skills.
    • Whenever a new Story chapter is added, you must clear it to re-unlock Daily Summons, Daily Challenge, and access to random item drops from the fruit tree in Mama's Room.
    • Dark Memory Characters are extremely powerful and can surpass even gacha characters in might, but to get them you must tackle the Dark Memories, which are grueling challenges that require strong and well-equipped teams to fight and require upgrading a special weapon tied to each specific Dark Memory in order to make progress.
    • To read 4* Weapon Stories, they have to be leveled up to their base maximum level of 60, evolved to 5*, and then up to level 70 minimum.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Chapter 12 ends with Levania meeting Fio in his original body and after a fight, both characters get their bodies back with the help of Mama. Even though Levania wanted to be human, he decided to give up that wish for Fio's sake and both of them exit the Cage to play together, leaving behind memories in the form of weapons for Mama to collect.
    • The ending to Chapter 5’s Hard Mode reveals that Akeha actually survived her injuries and managed to escape with the young girl she was meant to assassinate, and that five years later, the two are peacefully living together.
    • The character stories for Nier and Kaine’s 4* variants reveal one for the original game. These specific variants come from an alternate timeline where Yonah is completely cured of the Black Scrawl, Kaine is freed from her possession, and Nier didn’t have to sacrifice himself.
  • Easter Egg: Go on, tap Mama in the overworld 100 times. Doing so will grant the player 3000 gems.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When pulling the gacha, if the door is wooden with black hinges, don't expect much from your pull. But, if the door resembles Mama and/or has a flock of black birds, pop that champagne bottle because a 4* weapon is headed your way. And if the screen suddenly glitches and plays a cutscene, don't worry; it just means that you've got yourself a new 4* character.
  • Floral Theme Naming: The Memoir set from Chapter 10 is named after flowers (Laurel, Geranium, Marigold).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When you first start exploring the Cage, Mama shows surprise at the level designs as if she has never been there before, yet after Chapter 2 you get to a place that Mama explicitly says is her room. The room and the fact that she met the Girl in a place Mama claimed she had no familiarity with hints that she's hiding the truth from the Girl.
    • Every even-numbered chapter in The Story of the Sun and the Moon ends with a Duel Boss fight between the chapter's focal character and the previous one. It's later revealed in Chapter 6 that Priyet, Marie and Yudil as incarnations of the soul of the Sun and Saryu, Yurie and Sarafa as incarnations of soul of the Moon are always destined to fight each other, and that the same applies to Hina and Yuzuki.
  • Freemium Timer: There's a standard Stamina system like most mobile games. However, the game is ludicrously generous with it; A daily login mission goal grants 30 Small Stamina Recoveries, which restore 10 Stamina each (with more in the shop and as a reward for buying from the shop), and the Exploration feature (which runs on its own timer) can be played every 8 hours to gain a ton of Player EXP and a huge Stamina refill. You can also obtain Medium Stamina Recoveries, which heal 50% of your max Stamina, and Large Stamina Recoveries, which recover 100%. Paying 100 Gems to refill the gauge also recovers all Stamina.
  • Gameplay Automation: An "auto" button in the top right corner queues weapon skills when charged during a quest, but character skills must still be done by the player. Beating a quest also allows access to an "Auto-repeat" option before battle, which auto-plays a single quest up to ten times and allows the use of stamina recovery items as needed. It's helpful for Item Farming.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Depending on story progress, the ghost you have on the main menu is who interacts with you whether it's Mama, Carrier or the Substitute, each one having their own personality in how they interact with the player. Mama being, well, motherly, Carrier being a Deadpan Snarker and Substitute being The Silent Bob.
  • Genre Shift: Re[in]carnation deviates from the rest of the Drakengard and NieR franchise by being a turn-based RPG rather than the Action RPGs that the series is known for. Yoko Taro claims that he does not perceive the game as a "real" RPG due to this distinction.
    • Within the game itself, The Story of the Sun and the Moon has the player tracing 'spells' in the 1st 2 chapters while the 3rd chapter's 1st part has a rhythm game.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: F66x's Dark Memory story reveals the Flowers were created from genetic experiments to regenerate plant and animal life after climate change and pollution killed almost all non-human organic life on Earth. An experiment to grow a flower (heavily implied to be a Lunar Tear) goes awry after a scientist pumps too much growth solution into an incubation chamber in an attempt to stop it from wilting, causing it to grow uncontrollably and gain sentience.
  • Goroawase Number: NieR Day is held on the 28th day of each month. Players can get login bonuses and complete a set of special missions.
  • Hub Level: Mama's Room serves as an extension of the menu, allowing you to swap between The Cage and Event Quests. Once you clear up to the currently released story, you can also perform Daily Summons and Daily Challenges as well as obtaining materials from the tree in the room.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Dark Weapons are the strongest weapons you can obtain. They are different from the game's other weapons in several ways:
    • They are automatically obtained when a chapter is completed in Hard mode.
    • They are Evolving Weapons, as they start around the strength of 3 star weapons and are able to evolve up to eleven times instead of once.
    • They need unique upgrade materials that can only be obtained in the Dark Memory missions.
    • Once they're fully upgraded and the last Dark Trial is completed, the strongest variant of their character, known as "EX" and "Reborn" is unlocked.
  • Interface Spoiler: In the gacha, you can actually get certain characters' 3* and 4* variants before you reach their respective main story chapter. Up to and including Fio and Levania.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the story for Bear: Andre, it tells of a boy who, when he got older, he Took a Level in Jerkass, the bear being a memento of his late grandmother. The only one who knows the boy has this heart is the bear.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • A 4* variant of Fio became available from the NieR Automata event that released on the same day that the Global version became active, with her card being advertised on the gacha banner. This is despite said character being a Walking Spoiler whose appearance will likely tip observant players off to a plot point halfway through the first story arc.
    • The Automata event story assumes that you have played Automata as it involves 9S discovering an extremely important plot twist from the original game: footage of 2B killing 9S countless times, buried in a portion of her memory banks infected by a logic virus.
    • 2P's title and lore spoils the plot twist from Final Fantasy XIV's NieR: Automata Crossover raid questline that reveals that 2P is a facsimile of 2B created by the machines to mimic her.
  • Level in Reverse: The second half of the first story arc has you going through The Cage backwards from where it ended in Chapter 6.
  • Long Game: The Weapon Story for Courtly Gambol tells about a mercenary who was a Dance Battler until he was invited to the royal palace, where in his dance he kills the king responsible for destroying his village.
  • Loot Boxes: The game utilizes gacha mechanics, allowing for players to randomly roll for more Memory Characters to help the Girl in battles.
  • Mini-Game: Players can go on expeditions, in the form of minigames, in order to refill stamina without consuming stamina potions. There are 2 confirmed so far:
    • Shooting, which is a linear version of the hacking minigame from Automata, has the player shoot down as many cubes as possible within a 90 second time limit.
    • Flying Mama, which is a Flappy Bird parody in a black and white Max and Dave Fleischer cartoon style where players guide Mama over obstacles and collect items within a 99 second time limit.
  • Multiple Endings: In true Yoko Taro fashion, The Story of the Sun and the Moon ends like this:
    • Endings A and B force the player to decide whether Hina or Yuzuki gets to avenge the death of their father/mother. Either way, Hina/Yuzuki's sword's blade suddenly vanishes, only for the teen you didn't pick end up stabbed by various blades and dies, while the one picked ends up Laughing Mad as their sibling's dead body and they are recorded into their mainhand weapon as they gloat about avenging their parent. The story ends with their Bedsheet Ghost mascot lamenting that while their job is completed, there should have been an alternate ending (which also hints at the arc's multiple endings).
    • On the second playthrough, the player is allowed to Take a Third Option and stop Hina and Yuzuki from fighting each other. As the combined Sun and Moon shatters, both siblings are seen crying and embracing each other while their mascots console them. While both Hina and Yuzuki are quick to accept that what they've done will imprison them in the Cage for possibly the rest of their lives, Papa and Mama are reprimanded by the Deleted User who's implied to be their boss for getting too attached to the teens but manage to avoid punishment as the Deleted User is satisfied by the conclusion. Papa and Mama then decide to stay with Hina and Yuzuki to look after them in the Cage as their next job.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Chapter 11 has this happen the further down you go, like the game is starting to glitch out, even with Mama's own speech bubbles getting fuzzy in the Mama Room.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: The story told in the first anniversary livestream, in which Akeha joins Fio and Levania for a night in the Cage under the mistaken impression that the latter is her latest client. She becomes convinced that Levania is an insane cannibal, and Fio is his brutally murderous underling.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Despite Nier himself having a Canon Name, the game declines to use it and instead refers to him by a title, "The World-Ender". A title that alludes to how his actions resulted in The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Patricide:
    • Lars slays his own father on the battlefield, but doesn't find out that the man he impaled was his own father before dealing the fatal wound, and upon learning so he immediately regrets it.
    • Chapter 6 of The Story of the Sun and the Moon reveals that no matter what happens, Yuzuki will always end up killing his father for abandoning his mother in her time of need, much to Hina's distress.
    • The same chapter also reveals that the inverse is true regarding Hina killing her mother for being the cause of her divorce with her father.
  • Pixel Hunt: Scattered throughout the Cage are Black Birds that you can tap on to "kill" and earn substantial rewards for doing so. However, the Black Birds are tiny, an issue not helped by the camera and camera angles, and the only way they stand out from the background is the black sparkle effect surrounding their bodies.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: Pulling certain Epic Costumes like Divergent Kainé cues a "loading screen" to appear that quickly overflows past 100% and inflates into the thousands.
  • Regional Bonus: The 'Special Gift Roulette', a roulette that rewards the player with a random amount of gems as an Ad Reward, and Collection missions, which reward the player with gems when they get new outfits of a group of Characters, are exclusive to the EN server.
  • Revenge: A few memories start or end with someone wanting someone or something else dead to avenge the death of a loved one. However, in true Yoko Taro fashion, it doesn't always turn out as planned.
    • Gayle wants to exact vengeance against The Empire for turning her and her sister into killing machines before killing her younger sister, and despite the empire's fall she travels the world as a bounty hunter looking to kill any remnants.
    • 063y and F66x want revenge against the Flowers for killing their beloved son. It turns out that their revenge isn't real, since they are human clones and were implanted with Fake Memories to give them motivation to fight the Flowers.
    • Lars wants revenge against the enemy state that murdered his parents in cold blood, and grows up to become a ruthless soldier for his home country. Upon fatally wounding the enemy captain, he discovers that the captain was in fact his biological father and that he was kidnapped from his birth country as an infant; his father killed the strangers that raised Lars while trying to save his son. As his father dies Lars realizes that his entire quest for vengeance was All for Nothing.
    • One of the main themes of The Story of the Sun and the Moon. In each of the dual stories, a character's life is ended in tragedy caused by the anger towards or caused by (even by accident) the other main character. Foreshadowed when Hina and Yuzuki express anger throughout the arc at the parent who 'ruined the other parent's life'. Comes full circle when Hina and Yuzuki find out the truth behind their parent's death. Knowing that their wish will counteract and negate each other's wish, the two siblings direct their rage towards each other and summon their story counterparts to fight, then engage in a Duel Boss fight with each other to the death.
  • Rotating Protagonist: Each Chapter and Event changes who the viewpoint character is for the story.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Gayle's Dark Memory story revolves heavily around her memories as a child related to her father, a soldier fighting in a war. He eventually returns in Part 2, but suffers from severe PTSD and essentially acts like a completely different person, much to his family's horror and confusion.
  • Socialization Bonus: Adding friends to your Friends List allows you to send and receive Stamina bonuses to and from people on your list, granting up to 200 extra Stamina daily if you have reached the max Friends limit and both send and receive 100 assists.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: 2B's Divergent Battler asks this in her profile.
    "...But what do I fight for now? I should be free,
    but I feel like I've forgotten something some vital goal."
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The first Exploration game is a shoot em up where you play a cube shooting other cubes while avoiding their attacks. In other words, the game involves nothing but hit boxes.
    • A possibily-unintentional one involves the fact that enemies are represented by crows who you have to kill to fix memories, and who try to kill you. A group of crows, in English, is called a “murder” of crows.
  • Stat Stick: Subweapons are explicitly designed to turn other weapons into this by allowing each character to equip an additional two weapons whose stats (but not abilities) are passed on to the user.
  • Story Arc: Three so far:
    • The Story of the Girl and the Monster, which follows the Girl of Light and the Dark Monster with the Girl of Light seeking to fulfill her wish with the guidance of a Bedsheet Ghost named Mama.
    • The Story of the Sun and the Moon, featuring two Ordinary High School Students transported to the Cage via their smartphones and with the assistance of either Papa or Mama (no relation to the Mama from Arc 1), the two teens have to gather fragments in order to save their beloved parent.
    • The Story of the People and the World, which brings back all the Characters from the previous 2 arcs where Mama requests their help to protect Cage from being destroyed by outside enemy forces.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Chapter 10 is this. Griff, known in his unit as Captain Craven, goes alone to rescue Lars, who is wounded. He carries him across an enemy filled battlefield, getting clipped in the process. Just when it looks like the two are surrounded, his own unit comes to the rescue, saving them, earning a rare happy ending in a Yoko Taro story. Even Carrier lampshades it!
    • Even rarer, none of the additional story from the character quests or dark weapons make the situation worse, making for a rare aversion to Happy Ending Override in the game.
  • Tomato Surprise: Both Mama and Levania (even with the Laser-Guided Amnesia) are aware of Levania's true nature, but this is kept secret from the player until Chapter 6, which reveals the circumstances of the monsters and how Levania came to take Fio's appearance.
  • Trapped in Another World: The protagonists for “The Story of the Sun and the Moon” have been transported to the Cage via smartphone through mysterious circumstances, with their goal being to escape from the Cage and reunite with their parent (the father for the girl or the mother for the boy).
    • The true ending for "The Story of the Sun and the Moon" doubles down on this. The characters accept that due to their actions, they will never return home.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 6 of The Story of the Girl and the Monster. It not only reveals that the Girl of Light is actually one of the Dark Monsters, but that he possessed the body of a girl named Fio and banished her soul to the world where all Dark Monsters come from, which is heavily implied to turn humans into more Dark Monsters. This Dark Monster, Levania, felt guilty for doing so and wished for Fio to be restored back to her former self.
    • Chapter 6 of The Story of the Sun and the Moon serves as the arc's Season Finale. Hina and Yuzuki seemingly have their wishes granted, but it's soon revealed that their parent's death at the hands of their sibling is inevitable, and that both of them are incarnations of the souls of the Sun and the Moon respectively who are destined to fight each other to the death. When they find out, they end up fighting each other with the swords that appear at the end of their own memories, and start by summoning the Arc 2 Memory CharactersNote , followed by a Duel Boss fight with each other. Depending on what the player picks, Hina or Yuzuki end up killing their sibling as revenge for their parent's death. However, there's also a chance to Take a Third Option in which both of them decide to break the cycle; the consequences of that being that they have to stay in the Cage permanently. But hey, it's a favourable ending for everyone so Papa and Mama get let off by the Deleted User! The intensity of the chapter was large enough that Applibot issued a spoiler ban prior to the release which was then lifted on January 25 2023.
  • Wham Line: At least once per Story Arc.
    • Chapter 6 of The Story of the Girl and the Monster ends with the first sentence the Girl of Light speaks after regaining all that was lost:
      Girl of Light actually Levania: "I will... make her human once more!"
    • The finale of The Story of the Sun and the Moon drops this line by the Deleted User:
      The Deleted User (via text message): "Our testing is complete. Our path can be opened by causing the sun and the moon to overlap. At this point... we cannot avoid a conflict with Earth."
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: It's unknown how time in the Cage is relative to other locations such as the Scarecrows, but the Old Man in chapter 3 first came to the Cage from one as a little boy only to age rapidly in the span of 4 months.

    Weapon Stories 
  • 13 Is Unlucky: The story for Type-3 Blade, is about a bloodthirsty king whose sword can slice off twelve heads in one slice. During a campaign in a southern nation, his own men turn on him.
    "A dozen enemies surround me, so with one fell sweep, I will... wait. What are you doing? Why have you turned your blade on me!? You make thirteen, which means my blade...will...not..."
  • Another Side, Another Story: The Weapon Story for the Handgun of Protection describes the events of the Chapter 10 story "The Reluctant Hero" through quotes from Griff's subordinates. They initially perceive his retreats as cowardice (hence his nickname "Captain Craven"), but soon reflect on his recent success and past history, reconsidering his strategy as tactically advantageous and his way of looking out for them. Their loyalty to him is proven at the end when they ultimately decide to come to his aid despite his orders to retreat, saving both his life and Lars'.
  • The Atoner: The story for the Blackbird Greatsword details a knight who is grieving the death of an innocent man that he is responsible for the death of. He is approached by a girl being pursued by men, and, feeling that he deserves to die, allow the men to kill him to save the girl in hopes it will absolve him from his guilt. Turns out that the men were in leagues with the girl, who had exploited the knight's guilt to convince him to perform a Suicide by Cop to avenge the death of her father.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Bloodied Weapons involve stories of a mercenary group known as the Red Devils who have some heinous backstories of their own.
  • Bling of War: Handgun of Aid, Griff's Dark Weapon, has this look upon its final evolution being white with gold trim.
  • Blood Knight:
    • The Weapon Story for the Bloodied Rod describes a large man who is part of a destructive military unit called the Red Devils and laughs maniacally while killing people and causing havoc. It turns out he got it from his father, who told him to laugh when he was having fun and laughed the same way after killing his wife for cheating on him.
    • The Weapon Story for the Mock Type-4O Sword, in which 2P describes thusly:
      With a single white blade in hand, I set off in search of an android. Only when this blade crosses with another will this emptiness inside me be fulfilled.
  • Breather Episode: While most of the Weapon Stories are variably tragic and/or dark in nature, the Weapon Story for the Emil Heads describes Emil's whimsical encounter with the Cage and Mama's mysterious door (the gacha).
  • Can't Catch Up: In the Weapon Story for the Crimson Shortsword, two blacksmiths start off as friendly rivals only for one of them to go on to become the Ultimate Blacksmith while the other languishes in obscurity.
  • Cruel Mercy: Baton of Tender Rain is about a soldier given a healing staff despite wanting a sword. He wanted to kill the soldier who abandoned him and his mother, so he uses his healing magic on him after beating him in over.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Weapon Story for the Bloodied Rod describes a Red Devils member who was so high-strung he murdered people if they so much as annoyed him in any way; the first murder he committed was for someone talking to him funny. He continues killing for lesser and lesser slights until mere silence is so aggravating that he kills himself.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation:
    • Iron Pipe, the very first weapon from Nier, is one for The Shadowlord who had spent thousands of years waiting to be reunited with Yonah until he decided to stop waiting and take her back.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In the Weapon Story for the Blade of the Lost Seal, two countries intend to merge but are unable to decide who should become the dominant ruling power, so they both decide to send their best knight to fight each other in a duel to the death to seal the deal. The two knights fight for three days and ultimately gain a respect for one another, and in doing so decide to declare war on both countries. Both men manage to overpower the two countries' combined forces, and after defeating both countries in battle they officially declare their countries merged.
  • I Am Not a Gun: Subverted in the case of the Bloodied Artilery Weapon Story where the owner was fine being the gun.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • In a case of Gone Horribly Right, the Weapon Story for Blossoming Greatsword tells of a nobleman who even though he helped with his own subjects' land and was loved by all, was powerless in the face of a drought. He set himself on fire and the people ate his corpse, now making the others in his town burn and eat one another each day.
    • The Ebon Greatsword tells of a woman who had been kept prisoner for years, only knowing what day it was by when she was fed. When a knight sticks his hand in her cell to free her, she eats his hand, bone and all.
  • Interface Spoiler: It's a bit of Foreshadowing when it's first gotten, but the Weapon Story for Scar and Sin, the main Weapon for Chapter 6, spells out the plot between Fio and Levania: he ate her dreams until they swapped bodies.
  • Laughing Mad: The YoRHa-issue Blade reveals this was what happened to 24D in Automata. After spending an unknown amount of time in Sanity Slippage, most likely after the collapse of YoRHa, she a case of Go Mad from the Isolation that she slaughters the Machines who had been listening to her show.
  • Patricide
    • In the Weapon Story for the Lapis Lazuli Gauntlet, a boy grows up with an abusive father that when he grows up to adulthood, he takes the gauntlets and beats his father to death with them. It didn't bring him peace, leaving him to throw himself off a cliff.
  • Revenge:
    • The Weapon Story for the Javelin of Vice, the weapon from the Sunset Port event, involves a man who has been searching for the mercenary who killed his parents. After 10 years, he finally locates the supposed killer and impales him through the heart with his fishing spear, killing him. The very next day, he wonders if he really got the right guy, and sets out once again to find the "killer" while grinning madly.
    • The Story for the Dark Dagger mentions a boy whose whole village and family was slaughtered by a single mercenary. He is taken in by an assassin, who trains him as his apprentice in the art of killing so he can take the life of the man who ruined his life. Years later, he finally locates his target and plunges a dagger through his back, lethally wounding him. It's revealed that the boy attacked his own master, who congratulates him for finishing the job as the boy grieves over his master's body.
  • Spurned into Suicide: The Story for the Murderous Intent involves an assassin who is paid by a long-time client, a wealthy man, to kill them. As the assassin deals the killing blow, the man attempts to speak last words, but declines to do so and dies peacefully. Upon collection of the payment the assassin discovers a letter from the man addressed to them, revealing that he had feelings for them that they had ignored.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: A rare male example that saves someone's life. War's Chronicle II tells how a soldier who was relegated to the kitchen since he was too sick to fight in combat. His base comes under attack and every other soldier but him is killed, only being spared since he's good for cooking for the enemy army.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The 2* weapons you get from the gacha are Crimson (Fire)/Emerald (Wind)/Lapis Lazuli (Water)/Alabaster (Light) and Ebon (Dark) [Weapon].
    • Each Weapon theme, even those originating from Drakengard, Nier, and Nier: Automata all go by [Theme][Weapon], each one ranging in rarities from 3-4* (For example, the Bloodied series of weapons).
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness:
    • "Crime of Passion" has a Shellshocked Veteran who, after a war, meet a woman who becomes the love of his life. Just as he goes to pull out his engagement ring from his breast pocket, she shoots him, being just as much of a paranoid wreck thinking he was pulling a gun out.
  • Twist Ending: Most of the Weapon Stories involve the very last piece (the hardest to unlock) adding a substantial plot twist that alters the context of the rest of the story.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Blade of Parting has the narrator of the story, who left his smiling family waving goodbye, realize that after War Is Hell and having committed what amount to war crimes and having lost comrades, there's nothing back for them to come home to.