In the NieR universe, the YoRHa is an elite army of androids tasked by the Council of Humanity with defending Earth from invading aliens and their artificial lifeforms. The YoRHa androids are seen in the anime series wearing blindfolds. And why is that so?
Although it appears like the YoRHa Android 9S has resolved all issues relating to the blindfolds in the third episode of the anime series, this is not quite the case. He says, “They are not blindfolds, but special goggles,” in response to the Resistance’s inquiry about if they can actually see through those blindfolds. The Resistance asks no more questions after that.
Despite 9S’s simplistic, straightforward, and totally dismissive reply in the anime to the Resistance, however, the significance behind their use of blindfolds goes way deeper than that. He certainly only provided the Resistance with this clear, uncomplicated, and even robotic response to put an end to the issue and continue with their intended course of action. The rest of this article will delve further into the implications of the use of blindfolds by the YoRha androids and veils by the operators, as well as their implied meaning in this anime series.
Here is why YoRHa androids wear blindfolds in NieR:Automata Ver1.1a
The ingenious creator of NieR:Automata, Yoko Taro, initially revealed that the blindfolds’ inspiration came from his preference for seeing characters in that way and that he wished to promote and popularize this idea. At first, therefore, the mere reason for the blindfolds was aesthetics. However, during a dinner talk show, he added that “the goggles indicate the shielding of one’s eyes from the truth, but it is more towards not looking into the truth from the beginning.” They are symbolic of the idea of “seeing no evil.”
The YoRHa androids are oblivious to the inner workings of Project YoRHa, just taking and carrying out commands and doing as they are instructed, even if it means going up against another YoRHa android. As for their practical use, the blindfold-like goggles don’t restrict the YoRha androids’ vision, according to the game lore; rather, they allow them to see their surroundings much more precisely than they could with clear sight.
In the context of this theory, it might also indicate that they have to metaphorically filter out what they are meant to do to protect their occasionally fragile psyches, as androids were purposefully made with feelings and are incredibly complex. They even criticize the alien machine lifeforms by referring to them as “machines without souls claiming to be androids.” The game’s backstory states that YoRHa androids were developed to replicate humans, including their emotions, similarly to the original androids.
Only The Commander is fully aware of the truth about what they are fighting for; hence this is the symbolic explanation, or the suggested metaphor, of why her face is revealed, that is, uncovered. Even if unknowingly, the operators, on the other hand, must lie to the androids by covering their mouths with veils, which is connected with the principle of “speaking no evil.”
The YoRHa android soldiers can “see no evil” and hence are, at least metaphorically, blind to reality thanks to their blindfold-like eyewear. Also, it typically happens after crucial discoveries or scenes in which they are shown to be the targets of tremendous emotional effect before 2B, and 9S have their blindfolds torn off or removed. The main lie in the world of NieR:Automata resides in the fact that humanity perished within a thousand years since Project Gestalt failed due to Nier slaying the Shadowlord, as revealed in NieR:Automata.
In addition to all of this, according to the original video games’ lore, The companion and tetartagonist in NieR and its remake, as well as a supporting role in NieR:Automata, Emil, also known as No. 7, has a supernatural power that causes anybody he looks at to turn to stone. Emil is plagued with immense guilt and wears a blindfold to prevent terrifying others rather than abusing this power.
Moreover, the blindfolds are nanotech and serve as visors that collect information from the environment and project it onto the android unit’s eyes, as was made evident in a stage play of Nier Automata in Japan before the game’s release. The visor, for instance, displays communications they get from the bunker. It is not, however, of their own choosing that they wear said visors. As YoRHa androids, they have an obligation always to keep them on. In this stage play and the anime series and game, these blindfold-like goggles are only removed at specific moments in the narrative.
While both the game and the anime feature rich lore, both gamers and anime viewers appear to agree that none of them provide easy answers for the philosophical connotations and questions raised since the intention is to make us reflect on all that. Do androids actually experience emotions? What exactly are feelings? How does free will work? If someone thinks they are making their own decisions, does it mean they have free will? If one believes they are acting morally, does that make them good? Is the distinction between emotions really so simplistic? NieR:Automata Ver1.1a keeps poising more questions as the story unfolds one episode after another to the delight of both newcomers and long-time fans.
Furthermore, blindfolds can symbolize the sad but true fact that it becomes easier to dehumanize the purported enemy if one is blind to the truth and believes what they are told. This is what happens in our actual world, and NieR:Automata Ver1.1a‘s nihilistic setting is no different.