The NieR series debuted in the West in 2010 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The original game became a cult classic due to its unique storytelling and charming cast of characters.
However, the franchise really hit a high point with its sequel, NieR:Automata, in 2017. This popular title went on to sell over 5.5 million copies and, wow, an upgraded version of the original NieR game, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, releases on April 23.
While the series’ high-octane gameplay and protagonists stocked with weapons make for a fun experience, this franchise also deals with themes of existentialism and what it means to be human. This lore is important, and closely aligns the series with the powerful themes in a number of anime series.
Played through any of the NieR games and looking for an anime to jump into? Here are some recommendations for what to watch next.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba stands its own on this list because of the relationship at the core of the series: that of Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko. Much like the protagonist in NieR Replicant ver.1.22, Tanjiro is looking to cure his sister of a mysterious ailment he seeks to prevent.
And Tanjiro will do everything he can to protect Nezuko—and vice versa. In NieR Replicant ver.1.22, there’s a similar dynamic. Both protagonists are young and inexperienced at first, but as they grow and their stories progress, they become more powerful and confident in themselves.
Not to mention, both of these series have strong villains, and both protagonists are absolutely skilled with swords. If you enjoy the bombastic boss fights of NieR, then Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is your obvious next watch.
(Fun note: Tanjiro and Nier [young] have the same voice actor in their respective English dubs, Zach Aguilar!)
Watch Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba on Funimation!
In SSSS.GRIDMAN, a young boy named Yuta Hibiki loses his memories and meets someone named Hyper Agent Gridman, whom Yuta is able to combine with to fight a Kaiju menace.
The thing is, after each Kaiju attack, the city “resets” and everyone’s memories are erased, except for the main cast. As the series progresses, Yuta learns more about this phenomenon and the importance of his amnesiac state.
In NieR:Automata, you’ll often pilot mecha to take on giant enemies yourself. This series is known for incorporating different kinds of gameplay, and the mech portions are similar to “bullet hell” games. Don’t worry, that’s a good thing.
And without wanting to spoil anything from the NieR series, SSSS.GRIDMAN has its own story to tell with themes of human existence. On its surface, they are both sci-fi action series, but a layer deeper, there’s something truly impactful.
Attack on Titan
If you have watched Attack on Titan, then you’ll quickly see why it makes this list. The anime series absolutely encapsulates the high-action gameplay of the NieR series.
Attack on Titan follows the young Eren Jaeger, who, after experiencing a family tragedy involving an invasion of humanoid monsters called Titans, vows to rid the world of their destruction.
In the war against these Titans, Eren joins the famed Scout Regiment to reclaim his home. And death is all too common in this series, with the fighting escalating further as the show progresses.
In NieR:Automata, the YoRHa group functions similarly to the Scout Regiment. This group dispatches androids to fight alien invaders and other machine life forms. Much like the Scouts, their group’s goal is to take back Earth for humanity.
With Attack on Titan Final Season just wrapping up its first part, there has never been a better time to catch up on this incredible series. It’s a perfect pairing with NieR!
Watch Attack on Titan on Funimation!
BACK ARROW is about a young man named, well, Back Arrow. He crash-lands in a place called Lingalind, which is comprised of two dominant nations called Lutoh and Rekka.
Back Arrow is an amnesiac, but the one thing that he does remember is that he’s from “beyond the Wall.” Said Wall exists to provide protection for its citizens, and Lingalind essentially views it as a god.
The citizens in Lingalind believe that there’s nothing beyond the Wall, and that belief is the core foundation of its society. Challenging that belief is heresy, and if it turns out that there is in fact something beyond the Wall, then society might as well collapse. Back Arrow’s goal is to make it past the Wall to go back to where he belongs.
How is this similar to NieR? Well, let’s just say there are revelations in NieR and NieR:Automata that will make you question the powers that be. Also, BACK ARROW features mech battles! Characters in the anime can equip ring-shaped items on their arms called Bind Warpers that will summon giant robots for them to pilot called Briheights.
Watch BACK ARROW on Funimation!
Mobile Suit Gundam
In the original 1979 release of Mobile Suit Gundam, citizens of Earth have settled in lunar space colonies. A war breaks out between the Principality of Zeon and the Earth Federation when the former declares its independence.
Our story begins when a young man named Amuro Ray finds a prototype Gundam mobile suit and manages to operate it, a bona fide prodigy in warfare.
Mobile Suit Gundam explores the horrors of war and how no one is guilt-free from atrocities. Amuro also goes through his own traumatic experiences as he is thrust into the middle of war with no experience and is forced to take lives.
In NieR:Automata, YoRHa androids are in a seemingly endless war against other machine life forms on Earth. Throughout the game, you’ll see the consequences of the conflict just like war between Zeon and the Earth Federation in Mobile Suit Gundam.
The anime bears more similarities to NieR’s darker themes, making it the perfect watch for fans of the series!
Watch Mobile Suit Gundam on Funimation!