School of Ragnarok
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sor

We’ve been hearing more information about this arcade game by Square Enix in the past couple of days. The latest information has revealed the main staff list in charge of its development as listed below:

World View/Scenario: Kodaka Kazutaka
Character Design: Fujisaka Kimihiko
Composer: Okabe Keiichi (MONACA)
Producer: Shiba Takamasa
Main Theme “Evolve”: Takahashi Yohko
Developer: Dimps

There are six pages in this week’s issue of Famitsu (No. 1365) that is dedicated to this game, so I’ve scanned them for you to check it out. It also includes an interview with Shiba Takamasa, Kodaka Kazutaka, and Okabe Keiichi. I don’t know if I will have time to make translations of this, but I will try.

sor-famitsu-No1365-01sor-famitsu-No1365-02 sor-famitsu-No1365-03 sor-famitsu-No1365-04 sor-famitsu-No1365-05 sor-famitsu-No1365-06

DOD3 Complete DLC List
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Apparently I never made a post using the information I compiled on the available DLCs for the game. I just reopened an old text file that I had made…so here it is.

Please note that this information is for the original DLCs available for the Japanese version of the game. I’m not sure about the specs for the International releases.


Complete List of DLCs
============================================================
[ File sizes include actual and required disc space necessary. ]

Zero’s Costumes – 300yen (309yen with tax increase)

Color Variation Pack
This DLC was originally free.
Released on December 19, 2013
30.9MB/31MB

  • light pink/crimson
  • jet black
  • white with crimson

Nier’s Clothes
Released on December 26, 2013
19.9MB/20MB

Furiae’s Clothes
Released on December 26, 2013
19.2MB/20MB

Manah’s Clothes
Released on January 9, 2014
19.9MB/20MB

Eris’ Clothes
Released on January 9, 2014
17.9MB/18MB

Caim’s Clothes
Originally available from the Official First Guide Book
Later released in the PlayStation Store on January 16, 2014
18MB/19MB

Kaine’s Clothes
Originally available from the 10th Anniversary Box
Later released in the PlayStation Store on January 16, 2014
17.5MB/18MB

 

Mikhail’s Hats – 100yen each (103yen with tax increase)

Tokyo Tower
Released on December 26, 2013
30.8MB/31MB

Baby
Released on January 9, 2014
30.4MB/31MB

No.7
Released on January 16, 2014
31MB/31MB

 

BGM – 200yen each (205yen with tax increase)

DOD1 Music Set
Released on December 26, 2013
19.5MB/20MB

  • Seere’s Prayer (Aerial Theme)
  • The Thirteenth Chapter (Closing)
  • Tsukiru aka Exhausted from the Route B Staff Roll

Nier Music Set
Released on January 9, 2014
18.5MB/19MB

  • Song of the Ancients
  • Emil’s Theme
  • Ashes of Dreams

DOD3 Music Set – Arranged Themes
Released on January 16, 2014
17.4MB/18MB

  • This Silence is Mine
  • The Black Song
  • Better End

 

Utahime Story DLCs – 600yen each (617yen with tax increase)

One’s Chapter
Released on March 6, 2014
386.9MB/387MB

Two’s Chapter
Originally released on March 6, 2014 as a free trial with One’s Chapter
418.5MB/419MB

Three’s Chapter
Released on March 13, 2014
387.6MB/388MB

Four’s Chapter
Released on March 20, 2014
382.4MB/383MB

Five’s Chapter
Released on March 27, 2014
447.8MB/448MB

Zero’s Chapter
Released on April 3, 2014
424MB/425MB

 

Utahime Story DLC Bundle – 2,467yen
Released on May 1, 2014
2.4GB/2448MB


 

Pre-Order Bonuses – Collector’s Edition, EU

Tier 1: Caim’s Costume DLC
Tier 2: One’s Story DLC
Tier 3: Baby Hat DLC for Mikhail

  • Japanese VO DLC

 

Pre-order Bonuses – Collector’s Edition, NA

Tier 1: Japanese VO DLC
Tier 2: Nier Costume Pack (Kaine and Nier costumes for Zero and No.7 Hat for Mikhail)
Tier 3: 6 PS3 Themes – Zero, Mikhail, Cent, Decad, Octa, Dito

  • Caim’s Costume DLC
  • One’s Chapter DLC
  • Baby Hat DLC for Mikhail

 

Pre-order Bonuses – Standard Edition, NA

Tier 1: Japanese VO DLC
Tier 2: Nier Costume Pack (Kaine and Nier costumes for Zero and No.7 Hat for Mikhail)
Tier 3: 6 PS3 Themes – Zero, Mikhail, Cent, Decad, Octa, Dito

  • Color Variation Pack

The Legality of Scanlations
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hatersgonnacat

My feelings have been in turmoil recently after reading various comments and gripes people have shared about the chapter of “Thou Shalt Not Die” that I worked on.

Firstly, I was quite disconcerted when I saw how quickly my addition of the first chapter to Batoto was spread around to other manga sites. It’s good for distribution and introduces the material to a broader audience, but I retain less and less control over it. It will be extremely difficult to make any further changes or updates to it should that become necessary–I am working on a few edits; mostly fixing the R-to-L reading throughout.

And then there are the incessant inflammatory or “flame” posts regarding my work. It’s probably beyond reason to expect the Internet to always offer constructive criticism. 4chan is filled with mindless drivel that no self-respecting individual should ever read. Gamefaqs is hardly much better; both of which often resemble the never-ending poo-spewing comments often seen on YouTube.

I would like to say many things to these people, but I would only be lowering myself to their level by doing so. I have made my stance on watermarking my work whether some people spit at or belittle me for doing so. This is the only way I am able to claim the work that I’ve put into these productions as well as protecting the original work.

Unlike many scanlation groups, I am a solo producer. I purchase the source material, scan, edit, translate, typeset the material myself. I do not claim to be perfect in any of these methods, but it would be nice to receive a little gratitude. My final stance on this is: If you don’t like it, then you can purchase the source material yourself. There is no need to profusely complain about the quality if you took no participation in its creation.

That being said, these “flame” comments have also prompted me to think more deeply on the issue of Copyrights.


 

Regarding Copyrights

Technically speaking, any and all scanlation endeavours are a breach of Copyright laws if an individual does not receive written confirmation allowing for its use by the Copyright holder. This means, that the great majority of any scanlation group is breaking Copyright laws of the rightful owner, who can then legally send a cease and desist order to the offending party at any time. So, there is very little grounds for any scanlation group or individual to get anywhere with Copyright issues.

Here are a couple interesting definitions on the subject:

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, a bridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.
— Digital Law Online

Translations, cinematic adaptations and musical arrangements are common types of derivative works.
— Derivative work definition on Wikipedia

The most important exception to the exclusive rights of the copyright holder is the “fair use” doctrine. This doctrine allows the general public to use copyrighted material without permission in certain situations.
Intellectual Property and Fair Use

There are exceptions to copyright, of course, but none of them are really applicable to the issue of scanlation. Fair use, in particular, is not a defence – the wholesale copying of the entirety of a copyrighted would never be considered “fair use” by a court.
Anime & Manga Stack Exchange

Lee said she had spoken to one Japanese publishing house that was not particularly happy about the unauthorized translations, but the industry has yet to engage in coordinated action, with many publishers seeing scanlation as an overseas phenomenon.

The lack of legal threats could have something to do with the way in which the majority of scanlators operate, as Lee discovered in her research.

For example, scanlators will try whenever possible to buy a copy of the original work and, if and when the Japanese original is translated, they will generally stop scanlating that particular work.
The Japan Times

The only reason I have been scanlating these chapters is to share the work with the larger, international fanbase that would otherwise not have access to the source material. When at all possible, I have also made it possible to assist fans who want to purchase the original item. However, I may have instead come to an impasse on the issue on the legality of scanlations.

Another reason why I’ve been working so hard on this material is because of my great respect for its creator, Yoko Taro. I, in no way, wish to damage his works, diminish monetary income gained from purchases of the source material, nor cause a problem legally.

Therefore, I will be formulating an official request from whomever to ask for written permission to continue my work on the scanlation. I don’t expect Square Enix to give me any sort of permission to do this, however; and should they refuse, I will be removing all of my scanlated pages. I will also refer their decision to other related scanlation groups.

MANGA: Thou Shalt Not Die – Chapter 1 – Review
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Now that I’ve finished working on my translation of the first chapter, it was suggested that I write a review of it as well. So, here we go! (The following notes and speculation might be a little disjointed.)

** Please beware of spoilers! If you haven’t read the manga or played through the Drakengard and Nier series, please read with caution! **


The opening fray reminds me a lot of the YoRHa opening sequence in which the YoRHa swad is under attack—the main 4 girls desperately trying to contact HQ. The thing is, they are able to communicate with the Commander, but the feeling of such tangible and eminent danger is the same. Also, the YoRHa girls only enter the fray due to their mission. They are commanded to enter into a battle that they normally wouldn’t want any part in…but then again, that’s the entirety of their purpose since they are ANDROIDS. Still, I think that alone is a perfect analogy for the STUDENTS that are forced to fight a battle they really know nothing about. They, like the YoRHa girls, have no free will to choose whether to fight or not. They must fight or die. And if the mission is successful, then they will be able to go home…

Now, I must say, that the moment the names of the first years were announced… I couldn’t help but wonder what the significance could be. The boy’s name is KUROI and the girl’s name is MASHIRO. KURO. SHIRO. Hmm… A little allusion to Nier, perhaps? And…that could entirely fit into the overall DOD/Nier timeline, too. Perhaps this could be the prequel story to Weiss and “his” brethren books.

Usuki quickly became my favorite character in this chapter—maybe because he is the standard “leader” type character that I love, which is why the ending shocked me so much. I knew the whole chapter was building his character up…making him likeable and such…so it should have been obvious that he was going to die. Very much like Yoko Taro. xD He certainly is the master of misdirection.

Mashiro appears to be the main protagonist of the story since most of the monologues are from her perspective. She is a very young and naive girl thrust into an impossible battle of life and death… but she’s already shown great potential, namely her somewhat of an Intoner Mode battle sequence in which she is overcome with the thought of protecting her friends while going ballistic on the enemy. Regarding Usuki, it seems as though she has a bit of a crush on him…which is really cute, and Kuroi knows all about it and wastes no time to tease her about it (maybe out of jealousy?). I think she has a great admiration for Botan, as well.

Kuroi’s character is all over the place. There are times he shows great intelligence, great naivete, and great sadism. Some of his lines are even redacted! What is he hiding!? How does he know the things he does? He knew about the land mine without having any sort of recon skills like Sumi… and he seemed to know that Usuki was being targeted at the end… I’m thinking that one of his abilities is to see Death. He can see when someone is about to die and therefore can choose to interfere or not. He saved Mashiro multiple times throughout the chapter, but he was unable to (or chose not to) save Usuki in the end. His line “What a waste” I think is a clear red flag. I think he gets some sick satisfaction in watching people die. But I don’t think it’s purely sadistic either, which is why he keeps asking Mashiro whether she wants to live or die. Those who end up dead have lost the will or ability to live and therefore the best end for them is death. Usuki was an idiot to go off on that “Yea! We’re awesome! We can do this!!” speech at that moment—and it got him killed. In Kuroi’s eyes, he deserved it. And boy was that death scene worth it.

We didn’t get to see much of Botan to really make much of a impression of her. She and Usuki are obviously a couple, she is probably not a virgin whereas Usuki is—It’s just another level of “innocence” or “purity” given to his character. Botan, on the other hand, will probably make a better leader than Usuki…which she will probably assume after Usuki’s death. She isn’t as soft or as understanding, as it was shown in the flashback scene during the Chairman’s speech at school. She seems much more realistic to the situation they’re in and a bit less emotional. Then again, she can’t bring herself to call Usuki by his rank of “captain”, which shows her emotional weakness when it comes to him. He is her boyfriend and she cannot see him as anything else. The scene between the two of them ending with Usuki patting her on the head and commenting that she means to call him “captain” is one of the many moments in which I got that “cute squee” moment. Their relationship is very endearing, which makes his loss all the more painful.

Sumi appears to be the straightforward, analytical type. Not much to say about him yet.

The Enemy Forces: It’s never said in the manga thus far, but they are probably the Legion. They appear to be human but they have become infected with the White Chlorination Syndrome (WCS) and have entered into a pact with the god (quite possibly the FLOWER) in order to remain “alive”. Should the reject this pact, they would most certainly die. They have the choice to either enter the pact or die. One or the other. Those who choose the pact become nothing more than mindless minions of destruction to carry out the god’s wish to annihilate all of humanity.

The supernatural abilities: These abilities are probably drug induced as per the DOD/Nier timeline’s reference to the drug “Luciferase” which was derived from particles of Maso that was first given to the military to surprise the effects of the WCS. It is later found to give supernatural abilities and is most effective with younger children. This starts Japan’s NPO push into impoverished areas of the globe in hopes to both combat the Legion and also recruit (and sometimes kidnap) young people to enter into the Luciferase drug trials.

Mashiro also comments that their powers were not meant to be militarized and that their strength still cannot match the destructive force of guns and other machinery. This shows how very out of place these poor kids. There’s almost no chance for survival for them…and the government knows this, which is why they keep sending Crusade after Crusade to combat the Legion.

Courses at the Special Abilities Private High School: There seems to be at least three different courses of training: the Short-Range Battle Course using katanas, the Long-Range Battle Course using telekinesis, and the Recon Course which students can learn to assess the landscape and view the positions of the enemy. Botan, Mashiro, and Kuroi are part of the Short-Range Battle Course, which means they are in the front ranks of the battle. Usuki’s speciality is telekinesis, so he is better suited some distance away from the enemy. Sumi is part of the Recon unit and is more than adequate as a strategist.

The mission: So it was the task of the Short-Range squad to draw in the enemy from the 8th floor of the abandoned building up within range of the Long-Range squad to attack. This is why all of the characters seem to be in the same location during the final moments of the chapter. Their mission to decimate the Legion (as far as they probably know, they are regular humans) but ends up in a massive loss. Who survives and where they go from there will be very interesting to see!

SPECULATIONS

I believe Mashiro and everyone are part of the “5th Crusade” that is talked about in the DOD/Nier timeline. They were deployed to Brazil and were nearly completely decimated in the battle with the Legion. We know that Mashiro’s unit was deployed somewhere in South America, but it’s never stated exactly who their adversaries are in the manga.

There may be a direct connection to some of these kids and the 13 Grimoire tomes. I originally speculated that Kuroi and Mashiro might be related to Grimoire Noir and Grimoire Weiss, respectively, but after reading the short story “And Then There Were None”, I believe it’s safe to say that we have not met the BOY who became Weiss nor the GIRL who became Rubrum. Three other tomes that were referenced to in the novella were the Amber, Emerald, and Azure tomes.

The drugs the kids are taking are probably the Luciferase that’s talked about in the DOD/Nier timeline. It was made from particles of “Maso” that would slow the effects of the White Chlorination Syndrome and was very effective to give young children magic-like abilities. This was not a cure for the disease, however.

I’ve made more translations to the overall timeline if you’re interested, please have a look. It’s around 2011 that things get interesting in relation to the manga.

http://drakengard-3.com/timeline.html


Well, that’s all for now! Chapter 2 is due out on January 25th!

MANGA: Thou Shalt Not Die – Chapter 1
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tsnd-ch01-00

I’ve finished with the complete translation work on the first chapter of Yoko Taro’s new manga series, “Thou Shalt Not Die”. This first chapter was published in Big GanGan 2015 Vol.01 on December 25th, so I guess a 2 day turn around on 70 pages isn’t too bad, no? xD (Please click the image above to read the chapter.)

The front cover of this issue also features a gorgeous design of Captain Usuki and Botan from the manga series.

For anyone who is looking to purchase the issue of Big GanGan for your own collection, please let me know. I would like to help people support the creators and artists who bring us this awesome stuff as much as possible. Not only is the first chapter of TSND in this issue but so is the final issue of “Utahime Five”, too!!

Here are some other links where you can purchase the issue:

Amazon Japan

Rakuten Japan

7Net Shopping Japan

Official Manga Web Site

 

DOD3 1st Anniversary Contest – VOTE NOW!
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00_PSD-main

The entries in the DOD3 1st Anniversary Contest have been posted on the Facebook page! Visit the links below to cast your votes!!

Voting will close on December 26 at 9pm (Pacific Time). So be sure to cast your votes by then!! Winners will be announced and contacted individually shortly after this date!

** Please note that any likes on specific videos on YouTube will NOT be counted for this contest! You must like the items here on Facebook to cast your vote! **

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Happy 1st Anniversary, DOD3!!
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AD-Rebirth2014

In celebration of the DOD3 1st Anniversary and the corresponding contest, I asked my incredibly talented musician friend, Alphadeus, to work his magic on an original remix. This is his rendition of “Descendeus” from the original soundtrack.

Also, if you like what you hear, I suggest listening to some of his other original works, either on YouTube or on Bandcamp, at the links below. He rarely does cover/remixes, but his style is still very heavily influenced by video game music. You’ll also hear styles including space, new age, trance, electronica, chip tunes, and much, much more!!
DOD3 “Descendeus” Remix by Alphadeus

Alphadeus on YouTube

Alphadeus on Bandcamp

Drakengard 3 FAQ
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This is a quick FAQ for those of you who may still have some questions regarding DOD3 and others. If you have another question that isn’t covered here, please let me know and I will add it.

This is a compilation of the answers that I made in the following posts on GameFAQs:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/707565-drakengard-3/70765968
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/707565-drakengard-3/70823056

** Also, please beware of spoilers. You should not read this if you have not yet completed through Branch D of the game.


 

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Why did One want to kill Zero in Branch A?

According to this scene and the DOD3 Complete Guide, both One and Zero shared the same goal: To kill all Utautai.

One appears to have the most clear understanding about their situation–that the entire purpose of the Flower is to destroy the world, which is why she believes that the Utautai should not exist.

In the scene in which Zero approaches One in the main hall of the Cathedral, One is sitting with a book in her hands that deals with the history of the Cathedral City. I really think that if she could get Zero to stop and really think things out clearly, they might have been able to come to a different conclusion besides murdering each other. Then again, maybe not.

 

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Why is Two not in Branch D?

We don’t know how Two died in Branch D, but according to the DOD3 Complete Guide, she is already dead at the point we enter this branch–after Chapter 2, Verse 3 on March 19, 1000. If you also take note of the date in which Two’s DLC takes place, we can assume that she died in the battle with the Homunculus.

Also, please check the following pages for further reference:

The Complete Drakengard Timeline (Work in progress)

The Outline for Branches and Divergent Paths

 

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Why does Two kill her sisters in Branch B?

According to the Complete Guide, it says that Two goes nuts (presumedly after the events in her DLC) and goes on a rampage. She kills Three and then kills One before Zero and the gang catch up with her. The thing is with the Utautai is that they are very unstable. The Flower copied their personalities and created their memories of their lives together–in essence, it gave them fake emotions and love for each other. So this is why the younger Utautai love One, because she is like their big sister, always looking out for them (also check the events in the manga “Utahime Five”). But when they use too much of their power and if they use it too long, they begin to come unraveled and can even fall into a berserker rage, unable to control their actions. This is basically what happens to Two in these branches.

 

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Where is Brother One in Branches B, C, and D?

Brother One’s story from Branch A continues in the manga “Shi ni Itaru Aka”. For the other branches, we can assume that since the final battle between One and Zero never took place in the same location (Branch A was in the main hall of the Cathedral, Branch B was in the Land of Forests, Branch C was in the basement orphanage area of the Cathedral, and Branch D was above the ruins of the Cathedral City) or never took place at all, Brother One could still be in hiding. From his novella chapter, we learn that One instructed him to hide away inside and to never come out. He only comes out in Ending A so he could finish One’s wish and kill Zero… but this could explain his absence in the other branches. For all intents and purposes story wise for the game, he is not a vital figure to further the plot, so it could be a reason why he never made another appearance. His story is really only explored in Branch A… so I welcome all “better ends” that may or may not occur for him in other branches…

On a side note, we know that Branch E, which is explained in the DOD3 novel, directly links to the events in DOD1. Brother One makes an appearance as the narrator as he’s telling his story to an unnamed audience, although he is probably talking with the unnamed, female aide who eventually appoints herself as the Second Seal of the Goddess. I have yet to read to the end of the novel (other projects keep popping up), but you can read my notes on what I’ve read thus far here.

 

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At the end of Branch D, it says that the Flower has been sealed away… What does this mean?

At first I was confused about this as well, but after further viewing of the ending and actually asking Yoko Taro about this, I’ve come to the conclusion that the girls have been SEALED away into another world or dimension; essentially meaning that for all intents and purposes, they are dead…but not quite. There is a possibility they could come back at some point in the future, which is what Accord’s final words allude to.

Also, by saying “another world”, it’s unclear whether this is another branching timeline, a parallel universe, or an altogether different world/planet. However, since there are so many similarities between them, the stone-like version of the flower/the girls could be the same as the Queen-beast at the end of DOD1. Of course, any connection between DOD3 and DOD1 at this point has been made in retrospect, so anything is possible.

 

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Where do One, Two, Three, Four, and Five get their personalities from?

The Flower copied their personalities from people that Zero met throughout her lifetime. There is more detail on this in the DOD3 novel (please check my notes, linked above).

It had been said in the past that the girls’ personalities were taken from a band of female freedom fighters, but I don’t believe this is accurate, especially given the narrative in the novel. It may be more accurate, however, to say that the leader of these freedom fighters gave One her leadership skills and desire to protect her younger sisters.

 

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Are there any reoccurring characters?

Brother One
Brother One is directly related to both Seere and Manah from DOD1. They are separated by roughly 4 generations. Visually, it should be obvious that they are related.

You can also view Brother One’s lineage that I helped to compile on the wiki here.

Zero
Considering how similar the ending battles to both DOD1 and DOD3 are, the connection between the Flowerified Utautai girls and the Queen-beast should be pretty obvious. The connection is never confirmed point-blank, but the similarities are certainly there.

 

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How does Nier fit into the whole Drakengard universe?

The majority of the “connecting” stories has been made in retrospect and was never intended in the beginning. Yoko Taro is quoted as saying that he never envisioned there would be a sequel to DOD1, so he didn’t really think that far into it. He was largely left out of the development of DOD2 but was active as creator/director for Nier, although he worked on the story for the unfortunately cancelled game for the Xbox360 called Cry-on in 2008 (it is unclear whether or not this unfinished game has a place in the Drakengard timeline along with Nier).

The story of Nier directly connects with the Drakengard timeline, taking place after the events of the original DOD1, Ending E. So, once you beat that, you could effectively go and play Nier again. DOD2 does not apparently exist in the same timeline.

And this is specifically to help illustrate where the DOD1.3 novella fits in the overall timeline, but I think it can apply here as well. This will help you see how all the games are tied into each other in the overall flow of the timeline.

 

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Are there any other spinoffs related to the Drakengard/Nier franchise?

If you feel like the game left a ton of holes… it could be because the majority of the story is spread throughout multiple different mediums besides the game itself. The above image regarding the timeline will also help you to see how all the “extra” story material fits in, but here’s a general overview:

MANGA: Utahime Five –> Prequel to DOD3. Tells the story from the view of One and her younger sisters.

MANGA: Shi ni Itaru Aka –> Continuing story after DOD3, Branch A. Follows Brother One and his psychotic Elf friend, Nero, as they attempt to find the cause and eradicate the Red Eye Disease.

CHARACTER NOVELLAS –> The majority of these are available online at the official Web site. These chapters will give you a better inside-understanding of the characters. There are a few that are only available in Japanese (and/or fan translated) because they were only released in the 10th Anniversary Box.

-World Inside- NOVELLAS –> There were three novellas printed in the -World Inside- book that was included with the 10th Anniversary Box, one for each of the main titles: DOD1, DOD2, and Nier. There are also 10 Nier-themed short stories in Grimoire Nier.

NOVELS –> There have been several novel versions of the games (especially DOD1). They’re all pretty good, but only the “Story Side” novels are actually written by one of the main DOD novelists, Eishima Jun.

I believe that is the majority of the connecting material, but I’m still not convinced that Yoko Taro’s “YoRHa” stage play is not connected somehow. If you haven’t heard anything about this, I suggest reading the posts here.

 


Many of the images on this page are courtesy of yosuga’s channel on YouTube.