Remember when I posted these weekly? I keep saying I want to get back into posting these regularly, but there’s so much I need to work on constantly. I just got done playing NieR Replicant, and there’s actually a mode where the in-game soundtrack will be replaced by songs from NieR Automata, and this plays in place of “Shadowlord“, and it works. I admit, I didn’t realize how utterly amazing this track was until recently, but I do think it can go toe to toe with “Shadowlord” for the title of best boss theme in the series, which is saying something because there is SO much amazing music in these games.
Like most of NieR music, this is an intense orchestral piece that almost speaks for itself… I say almost because the context it plays in is what sets it apart from typical “orchestral bombing.” Explaining why involves spoilers, so I’ll explain the obvious first. That opening hooks you right from the start, and lets you know this is going to be some intense shit. And that fucking chorus perfectly captures the emotional strife of… the situation. Fuck I hate dancing around spoilers. Also, everything else about this track is perfectly arranged. Anyway, SPOILER TIME!!!
So first thing’s first, that weird ass title. Some of you may be wondering, why the hell would your game’s final boss theme be titled “Dependent Weakling” when JRPG final bosses are typically all mighty and powerful? And while Eve is certainly a powerful foe, the title pertains to his emotional dependence on his older brother Adam, and the overwhelming grief and despair he faces once Adam is killed. In his own words “My brother was everything. Now everything must die!”
Eve’s overwhelming fury comes because of his desire to sacrifice all of robot kind to destroy 2B and 9S, which is represented by him literally using the robot mooks you’ve fought throughout the game, some of which have been shown to be capable of sentience, as shields and as an extension of his own body. This is in direct opposition to how JRPG final bosses are usually faceless abominations or evil Dark Lords who can’t fathom anyone who can beat them. Despite Eve being a robot, his motivation is very human. The imitation of human life, to an absolute fault at that, is a core theme of NieR Automata.
It is also a callback to NieR Replicant, where the running theme was constant retaliation in order to seek revenge, and in the process, only adding more death and destruction. Yoko Taro himself said that one of the key inspirations for the original NieR was 9/11 and how it effected the world thereafter. How everyone’s sense of grief and despair leads them to abandon rationality and support the slaughter of innocents because they don’t even consider that their “enemies” are just as human as them.
Hearing this while attempting to take down Eve and his literal storm of robot corpses not only captures the direness of the situation, but it also make you feel bad for Eve, which is how we SHOULD feel! We should feel compassion for other human beings even when they engage in harmful and destructive behaviors. It is because of this that what would normally be just a standard JRPG final boss theme is instead, something much more special.
And as I mentioned earlier, this fits surprisingly well against the Shadowlord as well. Both are surprisingly similar when you think about it. Both are emotionally dependent on their sibling to the point that they are willing to sacrifice everything for them, both are especially tragic figures with overwhelming power at their disposal, and Eve even starts to physically resemble the Shadowlord towards the end of his fight. Given that this is Yoko Taro we are talking about, this is probably intentional.
Anyway, there are also a bunch of arrangements I can cover, but I don’t want to spend too much time in this piece when I have other shit to do. Oh shit, now I need to redo all the NieR Replicant VGMs I covered since the remake came out with superior renditions. I’ll be sure to get to those… eventually.
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