WARNING: MASSIVE ESSAY-LONG POST INCOMING. READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION
DISCLAIMER: Everything you are about to read is absolute bullshit. Yoko Taro has gone on record saying that 2B's fetish design is mostly just because he felt like it. It has no narrative importance. That being said, it does unintentionally improve the story, and I want to discuss how.
It is important to remember that despite 2B being the central marketing figure, 9S is ultimately the main character of NieR: Automata – we spend most our time playing as him, and he develops far more than any other character on his journey from Nines to Punished "Venom" 9S. In any form of entertainment, it is typically important for the user to relate to the main character, so that they can personally feel the impact of the fictional events instead of merely observing them. Because 9S’s development is tied closely to his interactions with 2B, our relationship with 2B is central to our relationship with 9S – in essence we, the player, should feel the same about 2B as 9S does. There are a few ways that N:A accomplishes this feat, most notably by having the first playthrough through 2B’s eyes, but in this post I want to bring up another, less discussed way: 2B’s character design (at least for straight males).
9S wants to **** 2B. I think at this point we’ve come to the consensus that “ **** ” is not kill or fuck, but rather both simultaneously. From Jackass’ sidequest, we learn that androids receive pleasure from violence in the same way that humans are pleasured by love. The Romeo & Juliet is a visualization of this idea, with the “lovers” conveying their love by slaughtering each other. This physiological android fact makes 2B and 9S’s “romance” vastly more intriguing than the typical video game love story between “main character and their sidekick.” 9S and 2B are not two lovers who are forced by circumstance to kill each other – they are two lovers precisely BECAUSE they are forced to kill each other. While we still debate the extent that 9S knows that 2B will kill him, it is pretty clear that he knows at least on a subconscious level, as demonstrated by his past “wiped” memories being visible when he meets the manifestation of 2B inside his own mind. This subconscious knowledge is certainly enough to drive his emotions, and thus his actions. So, 9S’s “love” for 2B isn’t a pure kind of love – it’s violent, but not malicious. He longs for 2B, but he is wary of her. He wants to **** her.
These conflicting emotions are conveyed rather effectively to the player through 2B’s character design. 2B is straight-up hot, and her outfit really shows off her figure. Yet it shows off TOO much. When we climb ladders or run across the fields, the camera will pan down slightly to give the player an upskirt shot, whether we want it or not. 2B isn’t just hot – she’s creepily hot. For a character that is not defined by flirtatiousness or some sort of Bond-girl role, her design is astoundingly fetishized. It feels almost wrong to consider her attractive. The player has these conflicting emotions of “she is hot as fuck” and “I’m creepy as fuck for this.” Our attraction to 2B is tense. It isn’t “pure” in the same way that thinking a Lara Croft or Triss Merrigold is a good-looking game character, because 2B is over-the-top sexy. We, like 9S, have these conflicting feelings towards 2B, and in that sense brings up closer to him.
Although yeah this is total bullshit and Yoko Taro just wanted to have a chick walk around in high heels and a torn skirt.
/end waste of your time