I’ve had this figure of Nier: Automata’s YoRHa No. 2 Type B – hereafter called 2B – for some time; since I’m not getting many figures in the mail these days due to the current moratorium on EMS shipments from Japan to the United States, and since this figure recently went up for preorder again, I figure it’s a good time to take a look at her. It’s something of a wonderment that this figure was released at all; I don’t recall that Square allows many of their properties to be adapted into figures, at least not by third-party manufacturers. That they allowed Yoshizawa Mitsumasa to do the design is even more odd, but we’ll get into that in a bit.
2B is the lead heroine of Platinum Games’s well-received game Nier: Automata. I haven’t actually played this game yet, in large part due to having played World of Warcraft for the last eight years, but I did buy it during a Steam sale some time ago. Unfortunately I’ve heard that the PC version suffers from some major technical issues without applying a fan-made patch, which is a little discouraging, but it’s on my list of things to play now that Warcraft has substantially fallen off in my esteem. Nier: Automata was a breakout hit for the developer – as it should have been, given the accolades it received, but the design aesthetic of the main characters has also attracted gamers in a way that the dichotomous male protagonists of its predecessor – one of whom was a hulking old man included as a curiously quixotic ploy to entice Western audiences – never had a chance of succeeding at.
This figure of 2B is manufactured by Flare and was first released back in 2019 and is due for a re-release this October, presumably in conjunction with the release of the mobile game Nier: Reincarnation. No height scale is given but given that she stands about 168 centimeters in height and that this figure is about 28 centimeters in height, we can calculate that figure is exactly 1/6 scale, which looks right to me.
Flare released two versions of this figure, a normal edition that came with only a blindfolded face and a fully-clothed torso, and a DX version, which includes an additional head with an uncovered face as well as another torso which omits the dress. The DX version also includes a Pod unit, a flying, box-shaped robot; I don’t think the normal version includes that accessory, though I might be wrong about that.
Despite the game’s relative recency, 2B’s design is iconic, as proven by the thousands of illustrations, cosplay, doujinshi, and other such examples of fan appreciation visible on the internet. Much has been written on the game’s characters, gameplay, music, and philosophical underpinnings so I’m not going to spend much time describing 2B; rather, I’ll just say that I really like her look, particularly her boots, leotard, and blindfold. Also, while I usually much prefer anime-type girls to have long hair, I think 2B’s bob cut is cute; her hair reminds me a bit of Rei Ayanami, and I’m much more of a Rei fan than an Asuka fan.
Yoshizawa Mitsumasa – also known by the group name REFLECT – is, by my estimation, one of the most veteran sculptors still working in the figure industry. When looking at his work, several themes are evident: his predilection for long legs and lean torsos, mature and glamorous facial features, and tight-fitting outfits with high-heeled footwear. He’s also apparently no fan of large backsides, as virtually all of his figures have very flat rears. Further, these traits always supersede the canon appearance of the characters he sculpts; I’ve sometimes complained that figure makers are at times slavishly faithful to whatever illustration they are adapting as a figure, but that’s never a concern with REFLECT’s work.
All of this is to say that Mitsumasa was a very strange choice to design what is, to my knowledge, the only fixed-pose, scale-size PVC figure of 2B currently in existence. I’m a big fan of Mitsumasa’s work – I own a bunch of his figures – but I’m not so sure I would not have preferred a less idiosyncratic style. Or put more crudely, it might have been better had 2B been given a bigger ass, the way she is depicted in the video game.
Regardless, it is what it is (a phrase I found myself using a lot in 2020). As mentioned earlier, this is the DX version, which includes an extra head sans blindfold. With her eyes uncovered, 2B’s countenance manifests in a steely, emotionless stare – appropriate for an android but perhaps not particularly compelling. Also as mentioned, 2B looks older than the typical teenagers that populate a great many Japanese games, though having not played Nier: Automata, I’m not sure how old she seems to be, or whether maturity is even a characteristic evinced within the game.
Her basic costume includes this dress, evocative of Gothic fashion. Rather than make the dress removable, the DX version supplies an additional torso; the detachment point is not initially conspicuous but once you know where it is – it’s the prominent seam just under her bust – it becomes quite apparent.
Swapping to the alternate torso leaves her clad in a high-cut leotard, which is also visible in the game if the player would prefer to admire her backside. An emphasis on sexiness has fallen out of vogue as an element of video game heroine design, but it’s nice to see that series creator Yoko Taro is as incorrigible as ever.
In this display mode, one can see the slim waist and prominent hipbones common in Mitsumasa’s work.
The unfortunate thing is that her backside is really flat. Lamentably flat. Indeed, her whole body is very slender, almost unhealthily so, if body mass were a concern for androids. That said, the thong back of her leotard is a nice inclusion.
This flying robot pod is included in this version of the figure. The arms feature an impressive degree of articulation.
The face of the robot looks scratched here, though it’s not as obvious in normal viewing as the pod is not particularly large.
2B’s sword is impressively detailed. Thankfully, it’s also pretty easy to slide into her group thanks to the detachable handle. Instructions are included to demonstrate how to assemble and disassemble the figure and oddly enough, English translations are provided – that’s a very rare practice, and it’s nice to see that Flare appreciates their overseas customers.
I guess I don’t really participate in the figure-collecting community these days – I’m not actually even sure if there is a figure-collecting community, or where its nexus might be – but I seem to recall that there was some displeasure when this figure was unveiled, partly due to its price and partly due to the liberties taken with 2B’s design. I think that this figure has become more appreciated over time – both in terms of collector sentiment as well as monetary value. I have to admit I thought once or twice about selling mine since I left it unopened until just a couple of weeks ago. However, I’m very happy to have it and I think she looks great; I’m a big fan of REFLECT’s work, aside from the lack of rear definition, and while it wasn’t the most obvious style to use for a figure of 2B, I think it works fine. And even if it didn’t, there is not a surfeit of 2B figures to choose from, at least not in terms of licensed or fixed-pose products. But I’m more than satisfied with the way this figure turned out.
Incidentally, Nier: Automata endures in the popular consciousness of video gaming not only because of the game’s quality and telegenic characters, but also because Square Enix is happy to let the likenesses of its characters be used in numerous other games, including Soulcalibur, Phantasy Star Online 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Punishing: Gray Raven, and Shadowverse, amongst several others. Yoko Taro has said that he’s happy to see his characters in other properties, and as a fan of Epic Seven, I’m sort of hoping that game might get a collab that brings over 2B, 9S, and A2. Or really, anything but Hololive.