Kainé is a companion and tritagonist of NieR, who ends up accompanying Nier after he helps her kill Hook. She is possessed by a Gestalt who dubs himself Tyrann, and as a result of her upbringing and Tyrann's occupation of her body, she has a disposition towards being crude and violent, but occasionally she shows off her kinder side, especially toward Emil.
|Weiss, you dumbass!|
SPOILER ALERT - Plot details for NieR follow.
Originally born in The Aerie, Kainé is a coarse individual who suffers from being only half human. Her left arm and left leg, which she keeps under bandage-like coverings, are those of a Shade. This hybrid form has left her to live as an outcast, unwelcome in villages and befriended by few. As a response to the harassment she received in her childhood for being intersex, she took a liking to clothes that emphasize feminine characteristics.
She has grown accustomed to being alone, and her veneer of shyness is easily shattered by sudden outbursts and irrational displays of violent anger. Though she is secretly glad to have Nier's company, she has already learned to survive on her own due to her grandmother who she loved dearly, her skill with twin swords, and her ability to wield magic.
The only person that showed her kindness and protected her was her equally foul-mouthed grandmother Kali, with whom Kainé lived her childhood and inherited her attitude from. She held both love and respect for her grandmother who accepted her and treated her as a woman. One day when returning home, she encountered the shade Hook, who was attacking Kali's house and had her pinned down, sadistically enjoying Kainé's despair. Kali died in the incident and Kainé was left mutilated. It was then that the Shade Tyrann fused with her, allowing her to live and causing Kainé's deep hatred of Shades.
When half of her body was taken over by Tyrann, she became a Shade-possessed and gained humanly impossible battle power and the ability to hear the voices of the Shades, but despite this had convinced herself that they are all evil and deserve to die (Tyrann even mockingly asks her if she's going to sympathize with the Shade Gretel after hearing its vow to protect its fellow Shades). By becoming possessed, Kainé suffered even more persecution and lived only to exact her revenge even if it meant using the powers of a Shade.
Kainé makes her first appearance in-game after Nier and Grimoire Weiss investigate the wreath of Lunar Tears in her shack. The two are forced to fight her until Hook appears, leading them to direct their efforts towards the large Shade instead. They succeed in driving it off, but Kainé is knocked out in the process. She is carried back to her shack, and promptly introduces herself before telling them to leave.
After Nier acquires the upgrade for his weapon, he and Weiss head back to The Aerie, and on their way there, they see Kainé fending off a group of Shades. The three team up to confront Hook, and while they fight, the latter manages to hypnotize her for a time by parading as her grandmother. She shakes off the illusion before taking out the large Shade with Nier's help, and was about ready to succumb to her wounds before the two convince her to join them. Finding out about Yonah's illness, she directs the two to Facade, as the city had been researching the illness to cure their king, who had also been afflicted.
On their travels, the two would find out that Kainé preferred hanging out at the outskirts to each settlement. It was while she waited at Facade's entrance that she encountered Fyra again. The latter recognized her as her savior years prior; that act alone was what granted Kainé—and by extension, her friends—access to the city, as she had been considered a benefactor according to the city's rules. Shown to be knowledgeable about Facade's legal system, she invokes Rule 1,024 as a way to enter the Barren Temple, as the area was off-limits to anybody but nobility.
While inside, she is cast away by one of the magical blocks in the third puzzle room, having violated the room's requirement of not using magic. She manages to find her way out later on, and helps with taking out Shahriyar at the end of the temple. They retrieve the prince, who had gone inside in search of the Royal Mask, and are then asked to come back to Facade as friends.
Returning from the desert, Kainé joins the rest of the party later on as Nier investigates a letter written to Yonah from a manor in the Southern Plains. She nods off in the manor's dining room before disappearing to explore on her own, only later appearing at the manor's study while Emil and the others are attacked by Grimoire Rubrum. Kainé leaves Emil with some parting words before she takes off.
The two meet up again shortly after at the library, as the Village is besieged by Shades led by Jack. The party succeed in locking the large Shade in the library's basement, but Nier is stabbed before he could hand her the key. He then fends off Grimoire Noir, but fails to prevent the Shadowlord from leaving with Yonah in tow. Still at the door, Kainé has Emil petrify her to keep Jack from escaping. She would remain there for five years before Nier's return.
- See also: Strait is the Gate
Upon Halua's defeat, Nier and Emil head back to the library to free Kainé from her frozen state. Almost immediately, Jack bursts out from the basement, but Nier finally puts down the Shade for good. Kainé awakes, and is given a Lunar Tear as a welcome-back gift. Before the party could celebrate further, they are informed by Popola that Emil and Kainé have to stay outside the village. Nier argues against the twins' decision, but ultimately relents. As the party explore the Lost Shrine, he apologizes to the two, and tells them that he'll try to convince the twins to let them in.
During this time, Tyrann's voice could be heard taunting Kainé, and was almost successful in taking over her body after she was knocked out from Gretel's poleaxe impaling her chest. The party defeated her Shade, bringing her back to her senses. She would then continue to accompany her friends as Nier acquires more key fragments for entering the Shadowlord's Castle, even witnessing The Aerie's destruction at the hands of Emil.
Once at the castle, she began speaking to the Shades more directly, although without revealing to the party what Goose in particular was saying. They then meet Devola and Popola a second time just before the Shadowlord's chamber and manage to kill Devola in the process, causing Popola to go berserk. The magical blast she generated threatened to eliminate the group, but Emil sacrificed himself so that the rest could push on through. Believing that he died, Kainé took her anger out on Nier. He didn't resist, and she stopped after a while.
The remaining party reach the Shadowlord and, after defeating Grimoire Noir, they discover that the Shadowlord is the original "Nier" as seen in the game's prologue, who was the primary test subject for the Gestalt Project, and driven by an identical desire to protect his sister/daughter. Having taken Yonah, he has given the original human Yonah her Replicant body, but this Yonah realizes that she cannot keep it, as she hears the Replicant Yonah calling for her brother/father.
She vacates the body, and Nier and the Shadowlord do battle. During the fight, Weiss loses all his strength and disappears, leaving Nier to fight the Shadowlord alone. After defeating him, Nier and Yonah are reunited. However, without their souls, the Replicants are doomed to extinction.
Ending A: Call Her Back
Replicant Nier is about to kill Gestalt Nier, hesitating for a second before dealing a final blow. Afterwards, Nier goes to Yonah's side. Worried when Yonah is not responding to his calls. Soon, Grimoire Weiss, after losing his body, uses the last of his strength to speak. He tells Nier that she will awaken when someone says the name of the one she loves the most. The player is then given a choice to write their character's name. If entered correctly, Yonah slowly opens her eyes and observes her brother/father after the five years.
Kainé goes to leave but is stopped by Nier, asking if she wanted to stay with them. She declines, saying she has "her own shit to take care of." The scene shifts over to Nier and Yonah back at the village, sitting on the hill near their house. Yonah runs up to a sitting Nier and gives her brother/father a Lunar Tear as the both lay down on the hill. The scene shifts again, showing a adult Yonah and the Shadowlord about to take each other's hands, then the adult Yonah takes hold and hugs the Shadowlord's arm; hinting that Gestalt Nier and Yonah have reunited.
Ending B: Lingering Memories
Ending B starts the same as Ending A. After Replicant Nier defeats Gestalt Nier, the scene then changes to Gestalt Nier scrunched up, weeping to himself - alone in a white void - as he regrets all the hardships he put Yonah through. A flashback occurs, with Yonah and himself alone in the grocery store. He tells her that he isn't hungry, while Yonah tries to force him to eat something.
The scene reverts back and images of enemies that Replicant Nier killed gaze at him while he cries to himself. Gestalt Yonah, in her young form comes to greet him and thanks him for always being there with her, and shares the cookie with her brother/father.
Ending C: Thank You
Ending C is a continuation of endings A and B. After Nier defeats and kills the Shadowlord, as Kainé goes to leave she begins to relapse. She then goes into her shade form, forcing Nier to fight her. After Kainé is incapacitated, Tyrann explains to Nier how he can save her—either by killing her, or forgoing his entire existence for her.
If the player chooses the first option, Nier stabs Kainé as he kisses her, finally ending her pain. Tyrann tells Nier Kainé's last words: "Thank you." A lunar tear falls next to a distraught Nier. He picks it up as he gazes through a window. He then goes home and lives with Yonah, with both living out their remaining days before they die from the Black Scrawl.
Ending D: Something Very Special
If the player chooses to sacrifice his entire existence for Kainé, the player's data is erased and everyone forgets he ever existed. Nier disappears, while Yonah thanks Kainé for saving her. A lunar tear falls on the ground, which Kainé picks up. When she holds it, she has a flashback of Nier and mentions that it feels like she found something special.
In "Ending E", told in Grimoire Nier, after the Shadowlord disappeared, a program to reset the entire Replicant system begins its execution in the Forest of Myth, and Kainé goes to destroy it. The forgotten Nier is reunited with Kainé, as a young boy/man, reconstructed with the “memories” that the tree had of his first visit to the Forest of Myth.
In a Get News interview with Yoko Taro, he stated that female members of the development team demanded a "male heroine". Yoko taking their request to the extremes led to the initial idea of Kainé's intersex condition. During the second part of the interview, it was the graphic stabbing scenes and blood that led to the game's Mature rating, not Kainé. Later, he shared that he thought her biology would be a huge reveal for players to discover and was surprised when it was included in the earliest advertisements for the game.
In another interview, Yoko says the first request character designer D.K was given for Kainé's design was "something to cover her half-Shade body that is weak to sunlight" and feminine. D.K interpreted this to mean "covering one arm, one leg" and drew several women in lingerie. While surprised by the results, Yoko liked the striking image it created and pushed through other developers' hesitations to make it a target for finalization.
Yoko said the censored beeping noise for Kainé's Japanese profanity was an homage to the game's own dubbing history and a contrast to other media with serious narratives. It was considered "too comical" by localizers and abandoned in English. He is not knowledgeable about Japanese voice actors, but Yoko was unsatisfied with the "cutesy" voices that were being considered for her role. He personally pushed for Tanaka Atsuko because he wanted "a sharp and bold voice!"
Grimoire Nier and subsequent interviews with Yoko reveals that Kainé's Gestalt was not originally intersex. She was a woman with a fiancé, but her Replicant was born as intersex due to an error in the long-running Replicant system.
Instead of Ending C and D being a decision for “Nier and Kainé”, it was more a choice for “the player and Kainé”. Director Yoko explained, "If you like Kainé after playing through the game twice, then sacrifice yourself and save her, if you don’t then you don’t have to save her."
Meanwhile, novelist Jun Eishima expressed her opinion that Ending C would have been Father Nier's choice, while Ending D would be Brother Nier's choice, stating: "A father is responsible to his own daughter, so he couldn’t just give up his existence. He feels that it’s his duty to protect Yonah and raise her, so he’d kill Kainé and live on. On the other hand, a brother and sister both coexist with and depend on each other, so maybe he’d choose to disappear and be relieved from his burden."
The NieR RepliCant × SINoALICE collaboration has Kainé available as a potential character through the collaboration gacha. Her swords can be unlocked through a payment of 150 or 300 crystals. Her job story has her cursing the world, her existence, and her life of killing. She nearly gives into suicidal despair before remembering that she has people she still trusts. Their existence is enough to renew her resolve to keep fighting.
During the collaboration event, she is given a passing mention when Emil remembers the truth. Unlike Nier, who turned into a Shade, Kainé is mentioned to have only "passed away." The ending afterword implies that her swords' emergence in the Library (SINoALICE's setting) contributed to the recreation of Emil's memories. Clicking on the "Follow" option for the Emil Copies NPC after the final battle in Normal difficulty has him mention the white flowers she liked.
When player characters attack with Kainé's Swords in battle, they are given an animation that is so far unique to that weapon. Its weapon story is a retelling of Kainé's looks and troubled emotional state in third person. Though filled with anger, sorrow, and hate with each kill, she couldn't bring herself to part with the bloodshed. With no one to understand her, she felt broken by loneliness. The last part describes Ending C, stating her heart was at peace while dying in her loved one's arms.
- Kainé’s Sword
She was slender, with smooth, white skin.
The hint of a dark shadow in her expression highlighted her beautiful features.
But something about the sword in her hand didn't seem to fit the picture.
Anger, sorrow, hatred.
When emotions overwhelmed her, she would swing the sword, so there was never a lack of blood to quench its thirst.
The problem was that she couldn't put the sword down.
A heart and body in constant conflict.
No one in the world could understand her.
And loneliness was eating her alive.
The long war came to an end, and darkness devoured her.
But her heart remained at peace.
Because she faced fate in the arms of the one she loved.
- Kainé is the only character out of the group who doesn't directly kill any main antagonists or bosses, as Nier kills every boss except Popola and Grimoire Noir, Emil helps Nier kill Wendy, and Weiss kills Grimoire Noir.
- Kainé is good at tongue twisters. A few times through and she starts adding curse words to them, though.
- Though originally rumored to be a character exclusive to the Japan-only NieR RepliCant, the third trailer for NieR showcased an audio-only monologue of Kainé berating Nier's book companion, Grimoire Weiss.
- Kainé makes an appearance in the arcade-based fantasy collectible card game Lord of Vermilion Re:2.
- Kaine is mentioned in NieR:Automata, along with Nier and Yonah, while Emil appears.
- Saito conducted a Niconico livestream to promote Automata which included a character popularity poll for Replicant. Users voted her to first place.
- A 4Gamer interview detailed that Kainé's inclusion in the SINoALICE scenario was considered but prevented due to budgetary reasons. PokeLabo could only afford enough for two voice actors.
- Grimoire Nier. Published by Square Enix in 2010. Available online.