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NieR:Automata novel: Adam and Eve spoilers

こっそり
Publish to anyone 4favs
2017-08-11 10:50:05

Heavy spoilers of the novel "A Long Story", *only* regarding Adam and Eve. Messy unprofessional summaries ahead.

Someone else seems be covering 2B/9S/A2 spoilers here. I also have a list of spoilers pertaining to them and misc plot things here.

Before we start, some translation notes for the English version of the game are needed:
- In the Copied City, Adam says "Let us fight", but what he actually says in the Japanese version is "Let's kill each other!" in an excited voice.
- Eve sounds like a worried parent when 9S hacks into him at the end of Route B, but in Japanese, he sounds younger than ever; he talks 100% like a small child and uses baby words. He even refers to himself as 'Boku' instead of the 'Ore' he uses in every other scene. (If you don't know the difference then please give僕, 俺, and 私 a quick read here as it'll come up again later.)
- This isn't relevant to the novel but, just to clear this up: Adam does not, at any point, say that they have genitals. The word he uses is 股間, which refers to the general crotch area and not any reproductive organs that may be attached to it. I'm not sure why they went with 'genitals' in English, but it also makes more sense that people cover their entire crotch instead of just their private bits.

And now for the actual novel's revelations.

Why the machines created Adam

Because they were getting their asses kicked too hard, which is why "this cannot continue" was the catch phrase. They thought that in order to win against the androids, creating a human being—the creator of androids—was the way to go. But since there are so many humans, who should base their creation off of?

After searching through the network, their answer was "Adam"; the first human being created by god. Adam was made in imitation of god.

Except he also got his ass whooped. As he lay there, unable to move, he searched on the network what he could do to protect himself. The answer was "Eve"; like how the machines created him from the name "Adam", he thought he should create another him in the same way. 'Thought', because he can't remember actually doing it.

Interest bits regarding the ass whooping:
- You know how Adam just stands around doing absolutely nothing when the fight starts? And how 2B and 9S go "wow it's a harmless newborn, better brutally murder it!" and implicitly start shooting and stabbing him right off the bat with no consideration that he could be a friendly machine? According to this novel, Adam's eyes glowed red after he stood up—a sign that he recognizes 2B and 9S as enemies, which is why they were justified in attacking first.
- Adam doesn't ask "Why fight", which is possibly due to the above change.
- Before the fight, 9S (and 2B) were able to tell that Adam was a machine due to machines having unique electromagnetic waves.

Regarding the novel text itself: There's a really nice effect where Adam's narration starts out in plain hiragana (one Japanese writing system that denotes childishness when used for full story text) before gradually turning into proper kanji. The way he phrases his sentences and the words he uses at first are also incredibly simple and childish (and polite), which is pretty cute, and also pretty depressing because it's used while he says shit like this:

その後、私たちは、ひっこしをしました。私をつくってくれた機械たちも、私たちのくらす場所も、何もかもこわれてしまったからです。
After that, we moved, because the machines that gave life to me, the place that we would live in, everything was destroyed desu (´・ω・`)


What Adam thinks about Eve

This was something that was answered in a Nier café event a while back, but since it doesn't seem like it's quite reached the English community I'll restate it here: Adam thinks of Eve as the same being as himself. This (along with the scenes we got in the game) made it quite clear that Adam does not give a flying fuck about Eve as an individual—but the question is, why did he raise him then? Why did he let him refer to him as a sibling? Why did he bother agreeing to play with him?

In his narration, he reconfirms this idea (in a purely logical manner):
Eve is another me. The essence of "Adam" and "Eve" are both me. But Eve calls me "Nii-chan". That is my role, my attribute of being 'the thing that was born first'. Eve has the role of 'little brother', and carries the attribute of 'the thing that was born after'. Our essence is the same 'me', but we each have a different face and heart.

So while he does think of them as the same person since he set out to clone himself, he also recognizes that there are differences; that the timing of their birth gave them their respective roles, so he feels that he should play those roles. He feels obliged to act as the big brother that being born indicated he is, even though he doesn't actually feel like one. This answers everything except the playing part (which will be covered next). Also important to note is that he doesn't view Eve as a backup, or even as dumber than him—he views Eve as his exact equal due to the fact that he considers them to be the same person. While he does note that Eve doesn't seem to enjoy activities concerning words and knowledge, it's not in any degrading manner whatsoever; simply "Eve prefers different things, and it worries me because we will die if we don't educate ourselves".

What 'playing' means

Adam and Eve both refer to one form of playing as 人間ごっこ— a "human make-believe game" (or, "human role-playing game"). What that actually entails is unknown (unfortunately)—according to Adam it's both physical activity and things like reading and listening to music (only the primer of which Eve actually considers playing)—but as you can tell from the word 'human', this is surprisingly something that's for Adam's interest and not for Eve's. In fact, Eve doesn't truly care about playing, even as he asks for it.

遊ぶのは好きだし、楽しいけど、本当は遊びでなくても良かったんだ。にぃちゃんと一緒にいられて、にぃちゃんが楽しそうにしてるなら。でも、「人間ごっこ」をしてるときのにぃちゃんが一番楽しそうに見えたから、俺は「遊んで」って言ったんだ。
I like playing, it's fun, but in truth it'd be fine even if we didn't play. As long as I can be together with my brother, as long as he looks like he's having fun. But brother looks the happiest when he's playing the human make-believe game, so I said, "play with me".


Irrelevant to all this gloominess, the Copied City is actually their playground. They also enjoy killing androids for fun.

What Eve thinks about Adam

Not that it isn't dead obvious already, but for the sake of completion: the moment Eve was born, he knew exactly what it was that was important to him. He knew exactly who it was that he needed to protect—it was all just so obvious to him despite not having been taught anything. This is most likely due to why he was created in the first place (and part of why Adam doesn't think anything of his affections).

Eve is completely aware that Adam cares way more about humanity than he cares about him. Of course however he doesn't mind; as long as brother is happy, as long as they're always together, etc. If Adam is having fun, he has fun; if Adam laughs, he feels like laughing too; seeing his brother be happy gives him a ticklish, warm feeling in his chest.

If that wasn't pure enough, he sticks so much to Adam because he feels like Adam has to depend on him, too—brother is alone in this world, there's no one like him aside from me, and there's no one like me aside from him, we both only have each other. Eve's first narrative story really deserves a full translation, but due to everything making it great being impossible to carry over into English, I'm just going to translate one passage in the middle plus the ending portion:

I know what it is, you know. Brother's favourite thing. The books that the humans wrote long ago. The videos that the humans shot long ago. Brother, you like everything that the humans of long ago made, right?

[Cut a portion where Eve asks to play and Adam says no because he's going to prepare the alien ship stage. After Adam leaves:]

Brother. Let's play. Quickly finish up your errands, and let's play.

Let's play your favourite "human make-believe game". I'll wear these annoying clothes, and I'll even eat weird tasting fruit matter. I'll wait until it's time to go.

Hey, brother. Do you know what my favourite thing is?


Aaaaand after putting effort into translating that I realize how mundane it sounds. Kind of a tangent but you really have to blame the incompatibility of these languages; there are over 20 ways to write "this is a pen" in Japanese, each with a different nuance making them imply different things about the speaker's tone, emotions, personality, and relationship with the listener—and this is for a phrase you'll probably never even use. tl;dr in his entire narrative Eve is using cutesy talk. Shit's cute man. And tragic because Adam could not care less about what Eve's favourite thing is.

Adam's motivations, or why he seemed overjoyed to be on the receiving end of a hate crime

When you see Adam in game, there are a few qualities that seemed to describe him perfectly:
- Brimming with curiosity (would die for a scientific observation)
- Masochistic (wants to die for a scientific observation)
- A little fucked in the head
Above all, he was a character that seemed to be so unable to suffer: you hate me? Great! You want to hurt me? Can't get enough! You want to brutally murder me? Fuck yeah!

But then! Passages from his first side story:

イヴは、なんでも私のまねをしたがります。では、私は誰のまねをすればよいのでしょう?
Eve seems to want to imitate everything I do. Who, then, should I imitate?

[Cut]

私には、理解できない事が多すぎる。人間は、「親」や「師」によって、養育され、教育され、知識を得て、理解へと至ったという。
けれども、私には「親」も「師」もいない。私は自らを養育し、自らを教育し、自らに知識を与え、自らを理解へと至らしめなければらしい。
私はただ一人、そのとば口に呆然とたたずんでいる。その道のりのなんと遠いことか。
There are too many things that I don't understand. Humans are nurtured and educated, by "parents" and "teachers", acquire knowledge, and attain understanding.
But I have neither "parents" nor "teachers". It seems I have no choice but to nurture myself, educate myself, give knowledge to myself, and attain understanding on my own.
I stand there, dumfounded, before the first step of that journey, at just how far it is.


[Cut]

何者をも必要としない、それ以外に道もない、自律的で完璧な孤独。
私達にこのような宿命を負わせる遠因となった創造主に対して、私は些か複雑な感情を抱いている。敢えて名付けるなら......憎悪という感情を。
Needing no one, having no other paths; self-directed, complete isolation.
I hold a somewhat complex feeling towards the creator that forced upon us this destiny. If I had to give a name to that feeling…hatred, would be it.


For a guy who seemed to be enjoying the fuck out of every scene he's in or otherwise displaying incapability of experiencing negative emotions, it comes as a surprise that he was actually suffering from loneliness and frustration. 'Sad' would be the last word I would use to describe him in-game, but even 2B notes that he lets slip a sad expression for a moment when she fights him in the Copied City. So not only was he not happy—he also wasn't at all crazy. He doesn't research humanity due to plain curiosity and he doesn't imitate them for fun—he needs to live the way they lived because he has no idea what to do on his own. He has no one to consult, but someone consulting him. Humanity is the 'textbook' that tells him how to go on.

In order to imitate humanity, he needs to understand them. And this is where the frustration comes in: every time he tries to reach a conclusion and attain understanding, he is faced with more and more of what he considers bullshitty behaviour. To him, mankind is unfathomable and absurd; they flocked together in groups despite not having a network, enthusiastically engaged in reproduction to create imperfect copies of themselves despite having the technology to self-replicate perfectly, and regarded those copies as a separate existence and even went as far as to deliberately attach the names 'parent' and 'child'. Since mankind had actual creations like androids, it makes no sense that they had to view their own copies as 'creations' and 'lesser beings'. No matter how much he investigates, he just can't exhaust the riddles of human kind.

Interesting tidbit about why he told Eve to properly read his books because ~*it won't go into your heart*~: the written words humanity used, though nothing more than an arrangement of patterns, created and conveyed a shockingly rich 'world'. Books aren't just 'information'—they're small worlds, in and of themselves. They're something that he feels definitely can't be replicated through just using data. If you experienced bookception reading this, that's the general idea.

As he continued reading, he came to realize that there was one general concept that incessantly formed the basis of all human motivations: death. Phrases like "as if he wanted to die", "like he was dying", "I thought I was doing to die", and "I'd rather die" were frequently used. There were even books with death as its entire theme—particularly remarkable in philosophical texts. And the reason why he finds death hard to understand (despite pretty much every other machine lifeform seeming pretty aware of what it means) is because of their ability to regenerate. Their bodies can get broken, their cores can run out of energy, but a reboot is always a possibility; being 'out of service' is different than being dead. To be honest I was under the impression that a broken core = death, but apparently machines parallel androids in their ability to just be alive again as long as they have a data backup and a new body.

Humans tried hard to invent things that prevented death, but eventually still perished. And so, Adam thought: Was death really something that hard to get away from? It must have been an inescapable, fascinating concept, right? If I, as a machine, can understand death, then at that time, would I be able to attain understanding of humans too?

He basically says the same thing as 2B and 9S—that the machines' shared deep interest in humanity was probably a curse. Why is it that they're all interested to this extent?

Excerpt from before he heads off to the Copied City:

イヴを連れて行く訳にはいかない。イヴは私を即座に再生させてしまうだろう。活動停止は死ではない。私は理解したい。解き明かしたいのだ。人類を。
そうなったとき、私はようやく創造者の亡霊から解き放たれるのだろう。
There's no way I can bring Eve along. He'll go and immediately resurrect me. Being deactivated is not being dead. I want to understand. I want to unravel everything about humanity.
And when that time comes, I'll finally be released from the ghost of my creator, won't I?


The Copied City fight is a bit different than the game. There's a bit more dialogue (though the content isn't different enough to warrant a translation), and instead of teleporting around, Adam takes 2B's sword to the arm just so he can ask essentially her up close whether or not he's right about humanity (this is also when she sees that he's got some kind of depressed expression going on). After he disconnects from the network and states that he'd done so to understand death, all traces of sorrow are gone, and he looks elated from the bottom of his heart. When she kills him and he says "Is this…death…?", he makes an expression that's at once both satisfied and discontent, like there's still something missing. Whatever it is, that expression is certainly a smile.

Edit: Apparently people are taking this as Adam being suicidal, so let me clear this up: Adam wants to die in the same way that one would want to solve a math equation if the answer told them the meaning of life. The point is that he doesn't know how extreme the difference is. He sought death to understand humanity, and he sought understanding to be freed from the curse of obsessing over humanity so that he can graduate from relying on that textbook and live his own life, for his own real interests (which he hadn't had time to figure out yet). Essentially, he died for the sake of living. While he knew on a logical level that he wouldn't be resurrected, he didn't actually connect the dots and really realize what that truly meant. This is probably what made him make that expression at the end: satisfaction from finally attaining understanding, and discontent from realizing that it's over—that he has no time left to make use of that understanding as he'd intended to.

How Eve knew he was dead

While Adam and Eve are connected to the network, they know where each other is at all times. So when Adam leaves, promising Eve that they'll play when he gets back, Eve is knows that he's gone to the Copied City.

一人で行くなんて、ずるいや。俺も遊びたかったのに。
Going alone, that's so unfair. Even though I wanted to play too.


Before Adam left, he had told him to wait at home. So even when Adam disconnects from the network and he wants nothing more than to go right to the Copied City to find him, he keeps his promise and waits. He waits for one, two hours, and thinks that if he counts to a hundred, brother will come home. If he counts to two hundred, brother will come home. If he counts to three hundred…

But even after he's counted to nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine, Adam still hasn't come home. Eve finally breaks his promise and rushes to their playground, even though he knows he'll be losing praise for it. He thinks that he'll help with killing the androids there—but there were none. Even the ones used as decoys were gone. The only one there was Adam, who was lying on the ground.

I ended up translating the entire rest of his narrative after that which you can read here, but to summarize: the world is now meaningless.

Unfortunately the book doesn't detail why he decided to pick up only Adam's glasses and not his entire body, but it'd be nice if that was because he gave him a proper burial.

Wait, what about Adam's hatred boner?

—Is what I thought after re-reading the in-game mindfuck section. The entire narration before he left was focused on death, not hatred—in fact, he barely even mentions the word 'hatred' throughout the novel—so there's definitely a disconnect between him heading off into the Copied City and going into 9S's head. And after reading his novel parts again, I can safely say:

I don't know what happened.

The only things Adam hates are his (the machine lifeforms') alien creators. Nowhere in the text does he hold any sort of hatred for anything else, and more specifically, nowhere in the text does he seem to place emphasis on hatred or other emotions at all. "The true meaning of life is hatred"? "[Adam]'s treasure is hatred"? There is zero mention of him coming across info that would make him hold that concept in such a high regard. Death is the concept he considers super important; he's excited when he sees rage on 2B's face because then she'll actually kill him instead of just fighting him, not because of her hatred itself. He does get some extra dialogue during the death match, but it's about conflict (love contains hate, family is littered with disputes, etc.) and sheds no light on his sudden supposed obsession with hatred.

Misc interesting revelations

- Apparently, the long table was something Adam made…from watching a drama.

- We all know 9S is a raging ball of machine discrimination, but 2B's thoughts during the alien ship fight when Adam explained his plan was showed that she was not far behind.
怒りが止まらない。人類を引きずり下ろす?調査する?機械のくせに。機械のくせに。機械のくせに...。
The rage burned within her. Drag down the humans from the moon? Examine them? Even though you're nothing but a machine. Even though you're nothing but a machine. Even though you're nothing but a machine…


- The 'fight' itself is also a lot different in the novel; they don't teleport in front of their respective opponents (2B actually tries swiping at Adam instead of Eve), and there isn't even much of a fight at all—Adam and Eve just dodge/teleport away from 2B and 9S's attacks.

- Regarding the aliens: in English, Adam says "Oh don't fret about them" like he really couldn't care less, but his dialogue is a lot more passive-aggressive in Japanese:
「いいんだよ、こんな奴ら。 植物のように、単純でくだらない構造の生き物だ。 価値なんかない。」
アダムの視線がエリアンシップの死骸に向けられた。一瞬で凍り付いてしまいそうな冷たさと、一瞬で焼き尽くされそうな憎しみとが垣間見えたのは、気にせいだろうか?
"Those guys don't matter. They're simple, stupid, plant-like organisms. They're worthless."
Adam's line of sight went to the remains of the alien ship. For an instant, there was freezing coldness in his gaze, and for another, burning hatred. Were those moments just her imagination?


- Eve was implied to be the one beating up 9S (or at least he really wanted to finish him off because he was one of the two that almost killed his brother before his birth). 9S was probably half-dead from the EMP blast to begin with, but Eve helped make that 99% dead and only held off because Adam needed him alive for 2B. He also refers to 9S as 'this [thing]'.

- Funny fact: 2B has a problem with Adam's clothes. She's seen things like it in videos about humanity and Adam's way too good imitation pisses her off.

- In the Copied City fight, 2B doesn't mention 9S at all. It's only when Adam sees that she has no particular interest in having a death match with him that he goes, "Wait why don't you hate me :O?? The corpses of your comrades aren't enough? K how about this then" and reveals 9S. He was so excited to do the killing each other thing that when it turns out she didn't want to indulge him, he actually used 'Ore' instead of the 'Watashi' he uses every other time.

- Adam knew, at some point before his final fight, that mankind no longer existed via reading about how they all died despite their best efforts. And 2B actually didn't know. She didn't even want to think about it.

- Adam actually mentions during his fight with 2B that he sang and danced as part of his human imitation activities.

- Adam must get killed a lot because Eve actually didn't seem particularly fazed to see him lying in a pool of his own blood. His first thought was "I better hurry up and resurrect him", implying that he's pretty used to doing so.

- 2B thinks that Eve has a 'lacking talking style', and apparently his "So you came" was said like he was just reading off a script.

- After Eve's boss fight at the end of Route A, when 2B seemed to almost hesitant in dealing the finishing blow, she was in truth just being jealous of his ability to emote and act without consideration for anything.

- In the end, 9S did not go on the happy space journey.


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