So, NieR:Automata’s anime adaptation is just around the corner, bringing us right back to the journey of 2B and 9S through an Earth our eyes have never seen. It’s one of the most anticipated anime of Winter 2023, with both gamers and anime enthusiasts looking forward to seeing how the popular video game will look when animated. But for new fans, there’s bound to be a lot of confusion. I mean, for one thing, why are 2B and 9S covering their eyes throughout everything?
The reason for that is multi-layered. There is no one correct answer for why 2B and 9S are covering their eyes in the game. One of the main reasons is that the blindfolds themselves act as a sort of tactical HUD (Heads Up Display) that houses functions like maps and sensory facilities. Instead of limiting their eyesight, it helps them observe their surroundings much more accurately than plain sight would. But another popular reason for them covering their eyes might be more symbolic in nature.
However, it could also just be aesthetics, like with 2B’s iconic design. Then again, this is a Yoko Taro work. And they are rarely known for only having fine details just for the sake of optics. There is always something hidden underneath the surface, where a single thing such as 2B and 9S covering their eyes, can have double meanings. I mean, it’s not like they are the only Androids in the game that do so. And so, it very much is a part of their ‘genetic’ makeup, so to speak.
The blindfold is useful for their missions, but the way it is worn is also sometimes deliberate. You can even see that during some pivotal moments of the game. So, to answer why exactly 2B and 9S are covering their eyes, we have to look at everything a little more closely. There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s get right down to it in another segment of Lore Analysis!
Tactical HUDs: The Technical Reason For 2B and 9S Covering Their Eyes
This is honestly the most straightforward reason behind the YoRHa Androids and their eye-coverings. Because, as discussed before, all of them have some kind of visor or eye cover that they utilize during the game. And while one might believe it would be a hindrance, considering how it limits their sight during scouting missions and combat scenarios, there’s actually a lot more to it.
First of all, think of the blindfolds as a weapon on their own. They are almost like accessory computers, a gadget that enables Androids like 2B and 9S to toggle different items they come across, even creating maps of the places that they have explored. They also use them to determine enemy information, saving what they’ve gathered for future use. The Operators, those who manage everything behind the scenes, wear something similar on their mouths, like veils.
In hindsight, it’s part of the uniform for them, acting as both technical enhancements and a way to distinguish the YoRHa agents from other beings around them or to showcase what rank they belong to. For example, the Commander doesn’t wear a blindfold or a veil, signifying her seniority in the field. But beyond that, the blindfolds hold another significance.
See No Evil: The Symbolism Behind The Blindfolds
This is my favorite reason why we don’t see 2B and 9S covering their eyes. And it’s the philosophy behind Project YoRHa itself. YoRHa agents aren’t required to ask questions when deployed on missions, they are completely loyal to the demands made of them. And that is dangerous.
Because in the end, that is blindly trusting the word of the unknown. When you first start the game, humanity is dead, and we don’t know why. 2B is going around in this dystopia, blindly following orders given to her and questioning nothing that happens around her. So, she never gets to see the destruction she is unknowingly causing around her. And the Commanders have lied to the Androids, even if it isn’t deliberate.
‘See no evil, speak no evil’ is one of the hidden mottos of NieR:Automata. The entire game is 2B trying to piece together why she’s doing the things that she is programmed to do. Like, what is the end goal here? And in that blindfold hides the liberation she’s never had. That’s why, by the end of the game, when 2B takes off her blindfolds, it signifies how she’s shedding away the part of her that was accustomed to the lies. Now, she won’t ignore the truth.
In fact, anytime that 2B and 9S have their blindfolds and coverings removed, it’s always a moment of emotional significance in the plot. It’s not a coincidence – anytime we see 2B without her blindfold, she’s the most humane she’s ever felt. Same with 9S during that scene in the Tower. It’s the only time we see the consciousness behind the machines, the truth of the Androids themselves.