|That is why you, the YoRHa forces, exist:|
SPOILER ALERT - Plot details for NieR:Automata follow.
YoRHa is an elite military force of androids charged by the Council of Humanity with fighting the invading aliens and their machine lifeforms. Stationed on the thirteenth orbital base, known as the Bunker, they are constantly fighting to reclaim Earth for the human race.
The term "YoRHa" is used to refer to two distinct concepts: the first is the organization itself, an offshoot of the android central command from the previous machine wars. Other androids are part of a larger military organization referred to as the "Army of Humanity" that first formed in the year 5013.
The second use is to refer to the advanced androids ("YoRHa units") that form the organization, as distinct from previous android models still present on Earth.
YoRHa's androids are divided into specific models for defined roles. In the current classification system, each unit is denoted by a number followed by a letter indicating their model type: this replaced the older longform system used at the inception of YoRHa, where units were referred to by their full model type followed by "Number" and their number, shortened to just the latter (eg "Attacker Number 2," shortened to "Number 2" or "No 2"). Models from the older designation system have the reverse of the modern coding system (Attacker Number 2 is referred to as A2, while the modern designation for such a model would be 2A). Current-production units regard the shorthand version of their designation as their name.
Over time, models were phased out, updated, or added on to face the ongoing threat. Known models include:
- A - Attacker: specialized in close-ranged combat, with exceptional dash abilities and an experimental "berserk mode" ("B mode") only used in this variant. Obsolete, but known to have been present among YoRHa android prototypes deployed during the Pearl Harbor Descent, and among the prototypes that formed the M002 male squad.
- B - Battler: all-purpose combat unit, a hybrid of the A and G prototype models. This type was developed by utilizing the battle data on No2 from the Pearl Harbor Descent Mission.
- D - Defender: focused on defensive tactics such as the use of barriers, and heavily reinforced against the Logic Virus.
- E - Executioner: combat model specifically designed for anti-android operations. E-models are often covertly deployed and given another type designation, charged with monitoring and, if need be, eliminating androids who have violated YoRHa's policies in some way, including those at risk of or in the process of deserting, and those in unauthorized possession of classified information. E-models seem to be functionally similar to B-models regardless of their designation.
- G - Gunner: specialized in long-range combat. Obsolete, but known to have been present among YoRHa android prototypes deployed during the Pearl Harbor Descent Mission, and among the prototypes that formed the M002 male squad.
- H - Healer: specialized repair unit, with additional tools both for repairing physical damage and dealing with data corruption and electronic warfare. H-models were at one point also responsible for uploading squad black box data to the Bunker, though this ability seems to have been added to Scanner models as well at some point.
- O - Operator: logistical model, provides intel and missions for units in the field as well as collecting and compiling command-level data for operations in the orbital stations. One Operator is assigned to each combat unit in the field. The O series are not designed for combat, and are not permitted to leave the orbital stations.
- S - Scanner: scout unit with additional sensor capabilities and a comprehensive hacking suite for gathering data. Also charged with uploading the personality data of themselves and their companions to the Bunker to preserve it in case their body is destroyed. S models are especially unique being the only current-production male YoRHa androids, due to testing finding that male combat-focused models were stronger but poor at cooperation.
YoRHa androids are able to switch roles at their own request, presumably by having their data uploaded to a body of another model type.
The Commander is an older android model, hence her non-standard YoRHa codename: White. Prior to her command of YoRHa, she was a member of the Resistance on Earth and an acquaintance of the android known as Jackass.
Characteristics and Behavior
YoRHa androids have a variety of hair colors, including tones not common in humans such as white and red. They typically have dark eyes and wear black uniforms or armor. The only unit in YoRHa who does not follow this clothing code is the Commander, who wears either white or green. Due to their heavily reinforced combat frames, a YoRHa android is about two and a half times the weight of a healthy human of equivalent size. Combat androids are supposed to have a personality defined by their unit class (B being neutral, S inquisitive, etc) but in practice YoRHa models display a range of personality types similar to their human creators. Units with the same number all share a common base personality construct, though their experiences can radically alter this in practice.
YoRHa units can perform most actions a human could, including sleeping, eating and drinking, though these are not required and performed only as and when the unit feels like it. Their body structure does mean that certain foods, particularly oily fish, will seriously compromise their functionality. The combat chassis is largely self-cleaning with only occasional replacement of filters needed to maintain peak performance, although some units prefer to bathe regularly as they enjoy how it feels. There is apparently also some aspect of their function that requires them to breathe, since it is possible to strangle a YoRHa unit. They cannot naturally reproduce and are not fitted with any kind of genitals by default, though they can request this if they so choose, seemingly purely for recreational purposes.
It is known that combat and killing creates a pleasurable sensation for YoRHa androids: some unscrupulous non-YoRHa models have used data gathered from combat androids to synthesize "electronic drugs" that replicate this feeling.
The main distinction between YoRHa androids and the other Resistance androids remaining on the Earth's surface are their Black Boxes. These devices, derived from Machine Lifeform power cores, function as a combination of power cell and memory module, effectively being the unit's brain and heart. The device appears to have some kind of wireless link to the unit it belongs to as both 2B and 9S were shown still functional while holding their Black Boxes in their hands on two occasions, though it is unclear how long this state could be sustained. Data can be synchronized from the Black Box to the Bunker, allowing a unit to effectively survive their own death with all of their memories up to the point of their last backup intact. In addition, the data can be transmitted and uploaded to a stored android body. This is shown to be a process of transferring rather than copying with no discontinuity in consciousness, the android perceiving it as if they had been teleported to the new body's location.
The energy stored within the Black Box can also be unleashed in a devastating explosion: while this is usually performed by touching two Black Boxes together, a single YoRHa unit is capable of initiating the destruction of their Black Box.
A common phrase used as a greeting, salutation, and dismissal in YoRHa is "Glory to Mankind", which often is given out at the end of high profile messages as well as those from the Council of Humanity itself. The slogan also appears on YoRHa weapons, messages, and screens when they are not in use, all as a constant reminder of the androids' purpose. It is normally said in a salute with one's left hand placed flat over their chest.
YoRHa models have superior combat abilities to previous android lines, and also boasted complete resistance to the Logic Virus when first deployed, though the machines quickly adapted.
YoRHa combat models typically use high-tech bladed weapons in their missions, though the manipulator system used by combat units (called the near-field combat system, NFCS) to control their weaponry can in practice interface with virtually any object, from a purpose-built weapon to a discarded Iron Pipe. The manipulator fields produced by NFCS take the form of a series of glowing translucent golden halo-like rings along the length of whatever the field is holding, and allow movement in ways that would be impossible if the android handled weapons with only their hands.
Combat models usually wear clothing in the ancient human Gothic Lolita style, though they can be issued heavy body armor for more dangerous missions. Their garments are not just clothing and supplement the unit's functionality, with the skirt worn by B-models and the pants of S-models being part of the unit's heat dissipation system. They typically wear a black visor resembling a blindfold that is equipped with a variety of sensors, though their eyes are perfectly functional without it. Being as Operator models are strictly non-combat units, they do not wear a visor and instead wear a veil that covers their mouth. It is unknown if this veil serves a purpose or is simply decorative.
Insertion of troops and heavier combat is handled by single-seat SSTO aircraft referred to as "Flight Units," which can shift form from a powerful fighter craft to a bipedal mech for all-aspect combat: the unit also uses the legs of the bipedal mode as landing gear.
For fire support in ground missions, YoRHa units can be assigned a small AI companion referred to as a Pod. These hovering devices are primarily used to carry ranged weapons, but also serve as an additional assistant to the YoRHa unit, dealing with trivial mission-related issues and general questions to save contacting Operators. Pods may offer advice against an android's current course of action, but ultimately must obey all direct orders from the unit they were originally assigned to, even those that go against YoRHa command's directives. They possess substantial databases including historical records, and additional sensing gear, enhancing the capabilities of YoRHa units without requiring them to carry the additional systems themselves. They are also equipped with a series of manipulator limbs for handling delicate objects or performing repairs, a variety of medical supplies such as staunching gel and Logic Virus vaccines, and a powerful searchlight to assist their android companion in navigating dark areas visually. The firing interface for the Pod is provided by the android's far-field combat system (FFCS). The Pod also allows their companion android to partake in the human activity known as "fishing," though it is unclear if this is a result of deliberate design.
A YoRHa android's internal architecture is modular and can accept plug-in chips to enhance the capabilities of the unit, allowing them to customize their capabilities to suit a wide variety of potential missions. The chips are hot-swappable by units in the field. The only necessary component is the main OS chip which handles core functions such as their Black Box interface, NFCS and FFCS, and an android can selectively enable or disable their additional sensors (their system chips) as they see fit.
The Commander serves as the supreme authority over the YoRHa forces, coordinating all of their military efforts to retake Earth.
YoRHa also operates a number of ground bases across the world, including rocket launch facilities to send supplies to the orbital bases and the moon. YoRHa also has a surface fleet with at least one large aircraft carrier, Blue Ridge II, and an escort vessel, and maintained a number of powerful coastal defense batteries to prevent large aquatic machines from making landfall.
Other android forces of the Army of Humanity on Earth cooperate with the YoRHa forces, though they do not appear to be under YoRHa's direct command.
The stated purpose of the YoRHa organization and its androids is to serve the Council of Humanity and reclaim Earth from the aliens and their machine lifeforms. This would ultimately allow the surviving humans on the moon to return to Earth.
In actuality, however, this is not the case. The Council of Humanity was created as part of Project YoRHa: the organization does not exist, and humanity was extinct before the aliens even arrived on Earth, following the failure of Project Gestalt. Knowledge of humanity's extinction was affecting morale among the androids fighting on the surface, and so a false narrative about humans surviving on the moon was created, along with an elite force of androids to spread this message. This was masterminded from the facility called the Bunker.
Once this was achieved, a final plan was set into motion to destroy any evidence of the deception by allowing the Machine Network access to the Bunker, wiping out Project YoRHa. A new line of even more powerful android models would then be produced to continue the fight against the machines, they and the older androids on Earth all now believing that they were fighting for humanity.
The YoRHa androids were first developed around the year 11937 by a male android named Zinnia, working on the orbital research base "Labo," a replacement for the destroyed sixth orbital base, "Kaguya." Zinnia had previously worked on a radical new android powerplant based on the technology used in Machine Cores, achieving success with the "Black Box" system in 11928.
Zinnia's later work included two prototypes called Number 2 and Number 9. It was around this point that the policy of not giving YoRHa units unique names was set in place, as due to their use of Machine Cores, no android would ever see them as normal.
Zinnia came up with the idea to fabricate humanity's survival on the moon after a discussion with Number 2 about how humans once worshipped the constellations, giving him the idea of placing a "God" in the heavens above the androids fighting on Earth. This plan would use the android base constructed on the moon in 5100 to protect data on humanity from being lost to the encroaching machine forces, establishing a narrative that humanity was safe and sound on the surface of the Moon as they awaited the victory of their android creations, at which point humanity could return to Earth. Nevertheless, he wrote the plan off as too risky.
Shortly thereafter, he was murdered by the prototype Number 9, who put Zinnia's plan into motion with a single addition: a backdoor in the as yet unbuilt thirteenth orbital base's systems which would open and allow the machines to destroy the entire project once certain criteria had been met. Following this, the only data that remained would be the fabricated information that humans still existed, and the androids would have "a God worth dying for." He dubbed this plan "Project YoRHa." Number 2 promptly executed him, but there was no stopping Number 9's plan.
The first integration of Zinnia's work and the Black Box technology, the prototype YoRHa unit, was completed in secret at an automated factory facility on September 2nd 11937, just under two months after Zinnia's death. This prototype was sent to the surface for evaluation, but does not appear to have participated in combat.
Construction of a new orbital base to house the YoRHa organization's combat units and command staff began in 11938. This facility, the thirteenth orbital base, was assigned the name "Bunker" and completed in November 11940, becoming operational a month later when Commander White was assigned as commanding officer of both the Bunker and all YoRHa forces.
Following this a series of evaluations of the new android line were conducted, with testing of both male and female models and a variety of personality types, all under combat conditions and all without telling the units in question that their missions were primarily for data gathering rather than military gain. Most of these early units did not survive, either being killed in combat with machines or by E-model YoRHa units after they discovered the nature of their missions. All surviving male combat prototypes were completely reformatted as Scanners. The prototypes of the Pod device were also tested during this period, at this point only referred to as "SS" ("Support System").
Pearl Harbor Descent Mission
The attack on the machines' Pacific central server complex, buried beneath Mount Ka'ala near the former human military base at Pearl Harbor, was the first combat deployment of YoRHa units. This deployment occurred on December 8th 11941, and consisted of a group of sixteen female androids with experimental personality types based on a combination of Zinnia's initial work and memory data from humans.
The initial landing was a disaster with twelve of the units lost to machine anti-aircraft weapons before they had even landed. The remaining four units attempted to proceed with their mission, but their efforts proved fruitless in the face of the massed machine forces. Ultimately they were forced to join up with a disaffected group of Resistance androids deployed during the 8th Machine War, who felt they had been abandoned on Earth and were unaware of the new line of androids.
2B and 9S
The Number 2 and 9 prototypes were ultimately the basis for the personalities of two production YoRHa units, an E-model with a false B designation, 2B, and an S-model, 9S. The 9S unit's uncommon curiosity made him an incredibly effective Scanner and a major asset to YoRHa, but at a cost: sooner or later, he would always manage to discern the true nature of Project YoRHa. To this end, he was paired with an E-model who acted as his handler, and would execute him as and when he accessed the classified information. After this a "blank" 9S personality would be uploaded to a new body, with the cycle of discovery, death and rebirth constantly repeating.
The first 9S unit is known to have been produced on January 30th 11942. The date of the first 2B model's production is not known.
M001 and M002
These two groups were part of YoRHa testing of male combat models, consisting of a series of prototypes of various models under the command of an instructor by the name of "Black," a colleague of Commander White.
The conclusions of these experiments were far-reaching: the Attacker and Gunner models were phased out in favor of the multi-purpose B model, and despite their greater physical strength, the male combat models were declared a failure due to their inability to cooperate effectively.
243rd Descent Mission
This YoRHa operation began on March 10th 11945, with a small reconnaissance mission deploying from the thirteenth orbital base, aimed at locating a Goliath-class unit detected in the vicinity of an abandoned factory. The six-unit YoRHa combat force was detected entering the atmosphere and virtually wiped out by long-range fire from an Engels-type Goliath. 2B survived this assault, while a second unit, 11B, was listed as missing in action rather than killed outright. 2B joined up with a 9S unit which had been deployed prior to the main unit to gather intel.
2B conducted ground recon while 9S assisted her using his Flight Unit, the two finding the facility had been repurposed to mass-produce Machine Lifeforms but failing to discover the Goliath until it reactivated and combined with two Marx-class Goliath units. While 2B and 9S succeeded in defeating their target, 9S was critically damaged in the process, and several more Engels units emerged to attack. This prompted 2B and 9S to detonate their Black Boxes, wiping out the machines with 9S losing his memories of the mission. 11B meanwhile had in fact survived the ordeal, but had been so severely damaged during the initial assault that she eventually expired alone within the facility.
Following this, 2B and 9S were reactivated in the Bunker, and ordered to scout the nearby city and investigate reports of unusual activity among the machines. Specifically, reports from the Resistance that many local Machine Lifeforms were exhibiting a strange torpor, trundling around aimlessly and only becoming aggressive if attacked. 9S, at that point a reset-to-default personality who thought he had never met 2B before, found it odd that he was paired up with a combat model for a routine recon mission.
- The kanji used to write "YoRHa" in Japanese (寄葉) means "passing leaf."
- According to Yoko Taro, the unusual capitalization in "YoRHa" is meaningful, unlike the capitalization of NieR which was done simply to make the logo look more interesting. He refuses to be drawn on precisely what this meaning is, saying it is "a secret."
- Several of the dates related to YoRHa's history correspond with events in World War II. Respectively, the dates given for the following are exactly ten thousand years after a real event:
- December 8th 11941: the Pearl Harbor Descent and the American declaration of war against Japan.
- January 30th 11942: the construction of the first 9S unit and the invasion of Ambon by Japan.
- June 5th 11942: the rise of the submersible machine-city Atlantis and the scuttling of the Japanese aircraft carriers Hiryū and Akagi during the Battle of Midway.
- August 7th 11942: the android assault against Atlantis and the beginning of the US campaign on Guadalcanal.
- August 1st 11944: the 215th Descent Operation and the Warsaw Uprising.
- March 10th 11945: the 243rd Descent Operation and the US Army Air Force's firebombing of Tokyo.
- April 7th 11945: the offensive by the Engels-type Goliaths in the ruined city that uncovered the alien spacecraft and Operation Ten-Go, the suicidal naval operation that resulted in the sinking of the battleship Yamato.
- May 2nd 11945: the sinking of Blue Ridge II and death of the Behemoth unit Grȕn and the Soviet victory in the Battle of Berlin.
- June 26th 11945: the fall of the Bunker and rise of the Machine Tower and the formation of the UN.
- August 6th 11945: the launching of the Ark and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
- September 2nd 11945: the end of the 14th Machine War and the surrender of Japan that ended WW2 (VJ day).
- Timeline, Nier Automata Official Strategy Guide.
- "YoRHa Boys" stage play, the male E-model given the designation 2D does not possess a real D-model's immunity to the Logic Virus.
- There is also either a second E-model designation, or one of 2B's Flight Unit squadron during the 243rd Descent Operation (7E) is openly identified as an Execution-type on IFF.
- "YoRHa Boys" stage play.
- NieR Automata Black Edition Artbook, letter from Commander White to Jackass.
- Since the Bunker is shown in mostly black and white, Commander White's apparent clothing color is white, but renders show her uniform to be pale green.
- Ending A/B
- Q&A with Yoko Taro, NieR Automata Official Strategy Guide.
- YoRHa Stage Play
- Yoko Taro, NieR Automata Dinner Talk Show. This is the official explanation for the loss of these items when 2B and 9S self-destruct.
- "Project YoRHa" recital, NieR Automata concert.
- "Those two can never be given official names. Within YoRHa units' bodies lies a powerful energy source made from the core of a machine lifeform. Using the enemy's technology in their bodies like that ... disqualifies them from being treated as legitimate androids. It's already been decided in my meeting with Command that they'd continue to be named by their model number." - Zinnia
- "Hey, No.2. I think I'll call this plan "Project YoRHa"" - No. 9