The typical reason for this issue is when we forget to set the variable in the inspector. Fact is, I did assign the variable in the inspector. So, my player has a GFX object, which has the animation and controller: My script has the controlled assigned. And in play mode I do not see it becoming null. In play mode I see the relevant boolean been correctly set according to the movement input: That's a first place where I'm puzzled: If the animator is not set, how can it react to the setBool call ? Additionally, at the 1st movement input it starts playing the relevant animation. Similarly to the case above, if the animator is not set how can it start the correct animation the very 1st time ? Thanks for the help.