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Yoko Taro does not write stories about characters. He writes vignettes where mechanically precise cosmological forces terrorize helpless children and the children sobbing uncontrollably as it happens. Sometimes the children are literal, like the machines, and sometimes they are children in adult bodies like Nier and 9S. But they have no agency or ability to change their situation and we are treated to lengthy cutscenes of them crying all the same.
These are not stories. They are nihilist anti-stories. Their value only comes from the crass manipulation of emotions involved in seeing cute and charming things suffer.
(At least until Ending E which is such a goofy tonal about face that it rings of Square execs pulling Taro aside and saying "Dude! Seriously!")
"I mean, come ON! Kill me?! Who HASN'T tried?!" -- Mike Nelson, Mystery Science Theater 3000
Well, isn't all writing, music, art, film... the whole spectrum of entertainment emotional manipulation? Happiness, sadness, excitement, disbelief - any and all emotions and feelings are manipulated to bring the audience more emotion, more feeling.
It'd be pointless if it didn't. Even the thought provocation a piece can deliver is a response to emotional manipulation.