Nier Automata is an incredibly stylish game mixing a unique blend of 3rd person combat, branching stories, and even space shooting elements.
For as slick and stylish as Nier Automata’s visuals are, they depict an incredibly bleak future! Still, bleak or not, the storytelling is top-notch, and it’s no surprise that Nier Automata (and more recently, Nier Replicant) has an enormous fanbase.
Nier Automata follows the story of 2 Androids, 2B and 9S; a combat android and a scanner android, respectively. 9S is fantastic in his own right, but he’s nowhere near as iconic as 2B and, for the most part, plays more of a supporting role in the game. With this in mind, this guide will focus on cosplaying 2B and how you can make her outfit a reality!
In this guide, I will go through everything you will need to cosplay 2B. I will be going through the entire outfit from top to bottom, including her Virtuous Contract sword. I’ll also be explaining some crucial points for actually wearing the Cosplay and taking it to a convention or expo.
Whether you’re brand new to Cosplay or have a few builds under your belt, you’ll find plenty of helpful info in this guide!
Bottom Line Up Front
Cosplaying as 2B from Nier Automata isn’t too tricky, but it can be expensive depending on how accurate you want to be. The most important parts of her outfit are her hair and blindfold; once you have those sorted out, most people will know who you’re cosplaying as, even if the rest is more free form!
Before You Begin
I know you’re eager to start planning the costume, but there are a few things that are vital to go through first! If you’re a veteran cosplayer and have some convention/expo experience, you probably know some of this stuff, but a lot of it is too important to overlook.
The Value of Source Images
When planning a cosplay, you can never have enough source images! These are easy to take from some games, but unfortunately, it’s not so straightforward here. There is no Photo Mode in Nier Automata, and the camera likes to fight you when you’re lining up those perfect screenshots.
The best way I’ve found to get decent pictures of 2B is to stand in a well-lit corner. You can get some good close-ups if you manage to get the camera between the wall and 2B herself, but angles are limited.
Usually, pictures directly from the game are the best for accuracy, but for this Cosplay, concept art online will be helpful. You can find a link to some of those in this guide’s ‘Useful Resources‘ section.
Your Comfort > Everything Else
A cosplay joke as old as time is how we all suffer for our craft! Sunburn, dehydration, aching feet, burns from hot glue, every Cosplayer has a book of these stories to share. These are things you can look back and laugh at, but they aren’t fun in the moment! Make sure you come prepared, and your outfit is comfortable.
At a convention/expo, you’re going to be on your feet most of the day, and as 2B wears high heels, that’s going to hurt! Bring some comfy shoes as a backup; painful feet can spoil the entire day, and who’s to say 2B wouldn’t appreciate a pair of trainers!
2B’s blindfold is iconic, but you don’t need to wear it the entire time. Unless you’re posing for photos, take it off or pull it up onto your forehead.
Bring a Bag/Bag person, and come prepared!
Once you have a few cosplays under your belt, you’ll quickly realize that most anime and video-game protagonists don’t concern themselves with trivial things like pockets! This is indeed the case with 2B. Tucking your phone somewhere is fine until it’s too late, so bring a bag or go with someone willing to hold your essential items. Cosplay venues are typically hot and stuffy, and if you’ve never worn a wig before, you’ll be shocked at how hot they can get. Make sure you bring water, snacks, and other essentials like plasters.
This guide will touch on how you can get/make 2B’s Virtuous Contract sword. Just be careful taking it on public transport to an event. Remember, nobody knows your prop is just for show, so be safe and conceal anything that looks unsuitable until you arrive.
Every Convention Is Different
Every venue will have different rules and regulations. These can differ on the size of the event, location and type of audience that’s likely to attend.
With this in mind, make sure you read up on what’s allowed and what isn’t. A 2B cosplay shouldn’t clash with any restrictions, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Pay close attention to the rules concerning props, as some venues require additional security checks when you bring a weapon, even if it’s just for show.
The hardest part of making any cosplay is knowing where to start. For every Cosplay I’ve made, I find the best thing to do is break an outfit down from top to bottom. Doing this means you can split the project into a short checklist. You can also note things you’re going to make yourself and what things require ordering.
In this section, I will be going through every aspect of the Cosplay. I will start at the head down to the feet and several ways to approach each part.
For many cosplays, the head is the most identifiable part (Master Chief’s helmet from Halo, for example). This is also the case with 2B from Nier Automata, so getting this part right is vital. Fortunately, you’ve only got a couple of parts to figure out.
2B has short white hair and a long fringe covering her left eye. Like many game protagonists, her hair defies gravity, so you’ll need a generous helping of gel or even spray glue to keep it in place! You’ve got a few options here. If you’re willing to try your handiwork with scissors, you can buy a close matching wig (a google search of ‘short white wig’ yields tons of results).
Wig styling isn’t easy, and unlike natural hair, any bad cuts are permanent. You should be fine if you take it slowly and have a somewhat similar wig. Wig hair is thicker and heavier than natural hair, so you will usually want the most potent hair products you can find for styling.
As 2B is rather popular in the world of Cosplay, you can also find custom wigs on websites like Etsy. As these are custom jobs, there is usually a substantial waiting time, and you can expect the cost to go up. If this is a cosplay you’re planning to use for a few events, the investment may be worth it.
2B wears a simple black headband. You can go as cheap as you like with this accessory. The only thing to consider is the band’s size, as 2B’s looks like it’s about an inch wide.
Of course, a 2B Cosplay is nothing without the blindfold over the eyes! In-game, it’s hard to tell what material the blindfold is, so any black fabric will do. As it’s going over your eyes, I’d opt for something soft at the very least. Cotton would be a solid choice.
I have seen people try and use a thin material for this so that they retain some vision through it, but honestly, the blindfold will obscure your vision no matter what you use. Conventions are busy places (they usually have lousy lighting, too), and you need your wits about you, so I recommend you only have the blindfold on for pictures.
I personally draw the line at changing my eye colour for Cosplay, but as 2B has striking grey/blue eyes, coloured contact lenses are a potential option. If you’re doing this, please go through the proper channels and speak to an eye-care specialist or optician.
This part is more general advice, but if you’re going to use make-up that’s different to what you usually use, test it first. It’s unlikely, but there’s always a slim chance of reacting to certain products. Don’t let this ruin a good event. Use an eye pencil if you’re drawing on the mole on 2B’s chin. Please don’t use anything on your skin unless it’s designed for it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re going for accuracy, this will undoubtedly be the most expensive part of the Cosplay. 2B wears a unique, intricately embroidered dress.
The garment sports a turtle neck collar, ruffled sleeves, and open windows at the front and back. The sleeves look like they split into feathers and are short, ending just beneath the elbows. The skirt is also unusual because it ties up to 2B’s right hip. In short, this is the tricky part!
Doing It Yourself
You can dive into the sewing pattern abyss if you have a sewing machine. You won’t find a pattern that’s an exact match, but you can get close. Depending on how experienced you are as a sewist, you can attempt to alter a pattern, but this is advanced.
Sourcing The Perfect Dress
The method I’d recommend is to go on the hunt for the closest dress you can find. You can check out Gothic and Alternative dresses, and even Steampunk may be worth a look. Sadly, the moment an item of clothing has the ‘Alternative’ tag, the price usually shoots up. If you find something that looks great and it’s in your budget, pick it up, and you can decide if you want to alter it.
You can commission a sewist to make a custom dress if money isn’t an issue. A professionally made dress will undoubtedly yield the most accurate results if you’re happy with the price and the lead time. If you’re doing this, make sure you have a good open dialogue with the sewist. The more information they have, the better.
Feathers aren’t as hard to find as you think!
Surprisingly, you can buy black feathers easily online, and they aren’t too expensive! I would still class these as optional, but you can add a beautiful bit of detail with these if you attach them to the dress’s sleeves. Either sewing them in or some fabric glue will be sufficient.
On A Budget? No Problem!
Cosplay doesn’t need to have a price barrier! If you’re on a budget, something well-fitting and black will suffice. Feel free to get creative too. Some of the most memorable cosplays I’ve ever seen are ones where the Cosplayer thought outside the box. Deadpool in a suit, Optimus Prime made out of cardboard… Why not go as 2B on her day off? You don’t have to spend hundreds to create a Nier Automata cosplay.
Hands & Arms
2B wears long, slender gloves that are 2-tone. They are white on the arms and black across the hands and fingers.
A Little Sewing Project
If you have a sewing machine, gloves aren’t too difficult to make, even if you’re a novice. There are plenty of patterns for gloves available online. If you can make a well-fitting pair of black gloves, you can make the white parts that go up your arms separately.
One issue with long gloves is that they tend to slip down when you move. Unfortunately, hair isn’t the only part that needs to defy gravity in Cosplay! You could mitigate this by sewing the white pieces into the dress’s sleeves and wearing the black gloves without attaching them. This will give you more freedom of movement, and you won’t be pushing them up all day.
DIY With Stockings
If you’d prefer to keep the sewing to a minimum, your best bet is to find some simple black gloves and then a pair of white stockings. You can cut the feet off the stockings and wear the rest on your arms. If they are tight enough, they should hold for most of the day.
Legs & Feet
On closer inspection, 2B appears to have long, black, high-heeled boots that fit over her knees. I’m all for accuracy, but I’m sure you want to be able to bend your legs too, so let’s compromise! The most straightforward way to do this part of the costume is simply black tights or black stockings.
Get the most simple black high heel shoes you can find. Shoes will usually have other colors on them, whether through patterns or shiny parts like buckles. To make everything black, you can use paint or even a marker like a Sharpie will do the trick!
Some 2B Cosplayers have also had success altering stockings to wear over their shoes. Usually, this means cutting a hole out of the stockings so the heel can poke through. This method looks great and is a clever way of solving the movement issue. If you’re going to try this, make sure you bring some spares as if they rip, it will worsen the more you wear them.
Virtuous Contract Sword
A prop is always optional, but if you’ve got a complete outfit sorted out, you may as well go the whole way! You could pick a few weapons for 2B, but the Virtuous Contract Sword is arguably the most iconic and practical for an event.
Forging A Sword By Hand
If you’re feeling brave and want to try and make the sword yourself, I’d recommend using EVA foam and following a blueprint or video guide. EVA foam is an excellent material because it’s lightweight and soft enough to be safe for any event.
You can use a wooden dowel or aluminium rod inside the prop to straighten the sword. Another massive benefit to using foam is you don’t need any specialized tools. A cutting mat, craft knife, sharpener, sandpaper, glue and patience are all you need.
If you’re fortunate enough to own a 3D Printer, many Katana STL files are available to download for free. The downside of the 3D prints is they can be heavy, and it will be up to the venue’s discretion if they are suitable. 3D prints usually require a fair bit of sanding work to get smooth so if you’re going down this route, make sure you have time to give your weapon the finish it deserves.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but
Don’t bring a real sword. It may seem silly even to suggest it, but replica guns and actual blades have made their way to cosplay events in the past. These incidents often get publicized and show cosplaying in the worst light imaginable. There’s no need to add to that, and if you can’t get a prop sword, it’s not essential.
When you have it all together
The only other thing I can think to add to this is maybe to learn some poses from the game for pictures. No matter how you’ve brought your Cosplay together, pat yourself on the back because it’s tough getting everything to work in unison!
If you’re looking for some decent images, you can find some fantastic concept art here. Depending on where you live, you can find custom-made Cosplay and clothing on Etsy. Square Enix sells some incredibly detailed figurines, and they also make for some superb images for reference, you can find the store here.
Question: Is a 2B cosplay hard to make?
Answer: Your first Cosplay will always be challenging, but that’s part of the fun! Compared to many cosplays out there, 2B isn’t the most difficult, and you can make it easier or harder depending on how accurate you want everything to look.
Question: I can’t afford everything you described. Does that mean I can’t cosplay 2B?
Answer: Absolutely not! The parts that make 2B instantly recognizable are her hair and blindfold. Even if those are the only bits you can get, you can always go as a ‘casual’ 2B or something along those lines. Be creative! Your take on a character will always be unique and more exciting than if you just copied what everyone else does!
Question: What is a Sewing Pattern?
Answer: Sewing patterns are packs you can buy that include templates for sewing your garments together from scratch. They come with instructions and sizing options. They are a little intimidating at first, but they are a sewist’s best friend once you figure them out. Sewing patterns often come with material recommendations, making shopping for the perfect fabric much more manageable.
Nier Automata Cosplay Costume Ideas Guide: Conclusion
If you’re a fan of the Nier universe, 2B is a fantastic character to Cosplay. Once you’ve sourced a wig and blindfold, you can take the outfit any way you want. This Cosplay is also ideal for events as your movement isn’t restricted, and it should be comfortable and lightweight.