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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: It's implied throughout the series that Zero regains at least some of his memories. What he remembers and when he remembers it is mostly left unknown, as well as how much any of that memory influences his decisions in any given situation.
  • Best Boss Ever: It's highly regarded that Omega and Dr. Weil are this, for different reasons.
  • Broken Base: No, really. Zero's death is still a hot debate, no matter the Jossing. And, remember that the Zero series officially ended in 2005.
    • It Was His Sled: Thanks to that long-standing argument, no one would be surprised about Zero's fate now.
    • Well, kind of. The Official Complete Works didn't really elaborate on his fate, and at best stated that he was missing in space. For a thing that would elaborate on a lot of things in the Zero mythos, it really seemed to screw up when it came to revealing Zero's fate.
  • Complete Monster: Dr. Vile/Weil, probably a mix of Ali Al-Saachez and Ribbons Almark who is so irredeemable that even Craft turned against him in the end. Heck, there's a reason why he's considered the biggest Complete Monster in the whole series.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Zero, now The Hero this time around, gets a tad bit too many of these, even compared to the previous series. And no one is complaining. Shining example: Zero vs. Omega.
    • And another: Badass vs. Complete Monster (everyone knows who's referring to what, of course). If that isn't enough, there are things which make it awesome in its own way.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: As listed here. The main favorites are Cannonball (final boss from Z3), Falling Down (final boss from Z4), and Departure (opening stage from Z2), not to mention a certain returning track from the X series.
    • Don't forget the series' ending theme Freesia by Rie "Ciel" Tanaka.
    • And Awakening Will, the theme of the first level and the credits of Z2, but to make the long story short, let's just say: The whole soundtrack.
    • Zero's Theme is also amazing, as it's a redone version of his original X series theme.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Harpuia. Also one of the most well developed characters in the franchise, which contributes to this.
    • Out of the most frequently featured guardians that is not Harpuia is Fairy Leviathan. She is beloved by the fanboys for looking real sexy helped by her stripperific appearance and voice. Her becoming a cute but psycho woman in the second megaman zero game helps establish further appreciation and lust towards her.
    • Omega, one of the more popular villains in the Mega Man franchise. Popular enough to come back as a bonus boss and an infinity plus one artifact and playable form in Mega Man ZX.
    • The Eight Gentle Judges seem to get more attention than the other bosses in the series, particularily Cubit Foxtar; see Evil Is Sexy below.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Ciel's unnamed ancestress provides one: Is she the one who created Zero's clone body?
    • A popular theory was that La Résistance later become the Guardians of ZX. This theory was backed up by the fact that the Guardians also wear green in their uniforms, and other Epileptic Trees that Alouette and Perroquiet are Prairie and Fleuve, as Expys of Ciel and Cerveau, respectively.
    • Some fans still think that the Dark Elf could be quite based on Iris.
    • In the English release, a popular belief was that Dr. Weil is Dr. Wily, of all people, due to name similarity, and wanting to tie in Zero's past from the prior series.
  • Evil Is Cool: Copy X's armor would spectacularly break any Mega Man X game, essentially being X5's Falcon Armor with extra firepower and Charge Man's weapon thrown in for fun.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Cubit Foxtar has caused many fans to doubt their sexuality, due to their human form. Their true form isn't half bad either.
  • Faux Symbolism: EVERYWHERE
    • At the end of the first game, Cyber-Elf X starts projecting an image of himself in a blue robe when talking to Zero. A

Cyber-Elfy halo appears above his head in this form.

    • Copy X, even moreso. If his first form full of angelic wings aren't enough, in his One-Winged Angel form, he almost literally turned into a seraphic angel. Add to the fact that he's fighting Zero, a crimson-horned reploid.
  • Foe Yay: Three of the Four Guardians have this going on with the titular Zero (the ones that isn't Phantom).
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: The antagonists of the first three games in this series all have the Greek letter Omega as their symbol. Sure most of them are Knight Templars, but they still mean well, fighting for the sake of humanity. But later we're introduced to an actual character named Omega, who is everything that the antagonists (except one) ever stood against.
    • Somewhat related: in X2, Zero, freshly Back From the Dead, very easily destroys a weak clone of himself that the Big Bad made. Cue the third game, where Omega (the same one mentioned above) is the original body of Zero, while The Hero is the clone. But it was subverted, the clone Zero didn't mind the irony of the situation he was in, and goes on to defeat Omega Zero easily. Also, The Hero may be using a duplicate body, but the mind is real; he is still the real Zero. Omega Zero is now just a mindless puppet.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Omega - Technically, since he's completely mindless (he's simply programmed to kill, period) and having destroyed the world once.
  • Goddamned Bats: The spiked wheel enemies. They are inordinately tough (two saber slashes when one will do in most anything else that moves), coming rolling from offscreen towards you (or occasionally from behind) with no warning, do a ridiculous amount of damage (more than virtually any other normal enemy), move just fast enough that it would take split-second reflexes to dodge them, spawn again if you move mere pixels backward from where they appeared, and are sometimes dropped in by lifter robots for added cheapness.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In Mega Man X4, This exchange is made by Sigma and the General in regards to humanity's views on Reploids when the former was trying to recruit the latter:

 Sigma: It's about the Maverick Hunters, General. They are far too eager to please the humans and hunt down the Reploids! Do you believe they pose a significant threat?!

General: Perhaps...

Sigma: You already know the truth, General! Their sole mission has been to destroy any Reploids who fail to do as the humans order!

    • As this series, and especially Dr. Weil's speech to Zero in Zero 3 showed, Sigma actually turned out to be right.

 Dr. Weil: Hehehehe... How pitiful. Of course, a Reploid like you would never understand. The joy of ruling all that you see... Only a human could possibly understand!

Zero: A...human?

Dr. Weil: That's right! I'm a bona fide human. The creator of Reploids... A human being!

Zero: ...

Dr. Weil: The desire for power. The joy of making everything work for you. You have no way of experiencing this without a human brain. It's the ultimate joy! No mere Reploid could ever understand!

    • That being said, Sigma (and by proxy, Weil) was only partially right - there's obviously some humans who think like that, but in this series, considering all of Neo Arcadia's propaganda, who would blame them? To say that all Humans Are Bastards in this instance would be to use the same fallacy that Yggdrasil used in Digimon Savers (using evidence of the actions of one Complete Monster[1] to tar humanity with the same brush).
  • It Was His Sled: Zero's Dying Moment of Awesome in the last game, and Copy X's very existence.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks: Regarded as this by some, to the point that the DS Compilation Rerelease includes an "Easy Scenario" with includes lots of 1-ups and all of the cyber-elves. You can still die even in this mode, given how Nintendo Hard it is.
  • Memetic Sex God: Zero. No, really.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Copy X was just more of being morally ambiguous in the first game (performing genocide on Reploids because of the energy crisis, supposedly for the better for humanity). However, in the third game, he's willing to launch a missile to a city block full of innocent humans just to obtain the Dark Elf. At this point, Hero Antagonist Harpuia can't stand it anymore and defects from Neo Arcadia. A bit later, when Copy X and Weil contact the resistance to cooperate, Ciel cites this event as why they can't be trusted.
    • To be fair, Copy X is reborn as Copy X Mk. II by the Obviously Evil Dr. Weil and he also manipulates Copy X to do so. Clearly Weil must have done things in him, including the Electronic Speech Impediment and the booby trap implanted in his body which activates when he goes One-Winged Angel.
    • Craft blasting Neo-Arcadia, killing thousands of victims. He dies shortly after this.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Elpizo's scream as he goes One-Winged Angel.
    • Dr. Weil, all the way. Not just that he survived a Kill Sat attack which destroyed entire Neo Arcadia, but what he looks like afterwards. Never show this to kids. And then there's all the acts he's committed, which are Nightmare Fuel themselves...
  • Player Punch: Elpizo aims for getting the Dark Elf, and to do so, he had to destroy the seal, X's body. When Zero finally catches up to him near the seal, he forces Zero to watch by binding him with the Baby Elves' powers as he stabs X's body, destroying it and releasing the Dark Elf.
  • Robo Ship:
  • Ron the Death Eater: A rare canon (at least, What Could Have Been) example: X becomes a tyrant Knight Templar dictator and Zero is the hero with a different body. Though probably Keiji Inafune had a reason for X becoming bad... At least, we can see the potential of it from the backstory for this game.
  • Saved by the Fans: X. Not from death per se, but from being an Ax Crazy dictator. Similar to what happened to Axel, this resulted in his inaction with regards to the Guardians' attempts to kill Zero. The sequels give him other things to worry about and the issue really doesn't come up again.
  • That One Boss:
    • Aztec Falcon from Zero 1, the first mission boss from Zero is almost impossible the first time you fight him. You have no charge attack (unless you spent time grinding it out by going back to the Underground Base; if you're playing on Hard, you're screwed), he isn't vulnerable to combos, and the Z-Buster actually bounces off when the chance to shoot him presents itself.
    • Phantom from the same game is spectacularly cheap compared to his fellow Guardians. Three of the Guardians have an elemental weakness which makes beating them fairly simply. Not Phantom. He's neutral, so it takes longer to kill him. Worse, the other Guardians can have most of their attacks interrupted. Only Phantom's dash attack can be interrupted. It is technically possible to interrupt his Doppleganger Spin technique with a charged blow, but for added cheapness Phantom will break the technique and strike you should you close in to attempt it. Speaking of the dash attack, he'll often do it until you hit him, and he charges to your position. If you don't hit him right off the bat, he'll get at least one hit in, maybe more if you don't score a knockback hit. Finally, his Desperation Attack makes him invisible, during which he'll throw kunai at you from random points on the screen. What's worse, he may potentially position himself above the reach of your weapons, or just plain above you. To top this, he has a Kaizo Trap ability in the second battle.
      • However, he is one of the only bosses vulnerable to the triple rod. You can push him far away during his dash attack, and you can hit him during the Doppleganger Spin without accidentally triggering his counter.
    • Phoenix Magnion from Zero 2 is plain ridiculous. It has an arena which spews fireballs from the floor, for starters. You can arrange it so the floor is blocked the first time you fight him, but not the second. What's worse, he dodges every attack. He literally cannot be hit unless he's attacking. And when he dodges, he counterattacks with very wide-area abilities.
      • He's an Expy of M. Bison, which helps explain his difficulty (Of course). That huge fireball he "shoots" after dodging backwards is the Psycho Crusher. Hit the fireball (with him inside) with a thunder attack (It's your only chance of winning in Hard Mode!).
      • If you stand next to him while holding the boomerang shield, you can bait him into attacking, then throw the shield for a solid hit. This works in hard mode.
    • Kuwagust Anchus in Zero 2 on Hard Mode is just insane! Not only is he really fast and powerful (two hits = dead, period), but he's the boss of That One Level! And he has an attack which can't be dodged, meaning you have to get him to change his flight path. And the only way to do this is to either shoot him with the buster enough times, which takes better timing than God to pull off, or deflect him with the Chain Rod. As if you're just supposed to know this out of hand. And he'll keep using this attack till you die.
    • Craft from Zero 4 is a nightmare to fight against. The grenades, the laser rifle that requires you to dash underneath it with split second timing, the giant knife that damages you as it throws you across the arena, the missiles, and the fact that he's one of the few bosses willing to get right directly up in your face on a non-scrolling single-screen battlefield are awful.
  • That One Level: Neo Arcadia Shrine, part 1. Those. Fucking. BIRDS!!
    • And that's not all. Temporary Platforms abound. Temporary Platforms that have no side grip, shoot bullets downward, leave no margin for error, and are placed above enemies which you will likely land on should you fall. There's also three bosses.
    • Neo Arcadia Tower: Spikes of Doom. EVERYWHERE!
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Harpuia's voice is Megumi Ogata, a woman. Plus his name is derived from the legend of the Harpy, half bird, half-women.
      • It does not help that he's wearing the exact same clothes as Leviathan (the female Guardian) with a Palette Swap (what appears to be a midriff-baring shirt and...panties).
    • Cubit Foxtar, possibly overlaps with She's a Man In Japan.
      • Made more confusing by being based on a Kitsune, which can change genders. Makes more sense if you assume that his inhuman battle form is his true form.
    • There's also Anubis Necromancess (boss in Zero 1 and 3), confirmed to be male [2], and Polar Kamrous (in Zero 2) which, despite the matching build and deep voice, is female.
      • Weirdly enough, the Complete Works book refers to Kamrous as male.
    • Burble Hekelot is based on Hequet, an Egyptian goddess, yet is a male.
  • Villain Decay: Copy X goes from being the Big Bad of Zero 1 to a mid-game boss and Unwitting Pawn in Zero 3.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Dr. Weil has just been captured, after cursing the Dark Elf and creating Omega, who has wiped out 60% of human population and 90% of Reploid population. All mostly For the Evulz.
      You'd expect His captors deem him too dangerous and irredeemable and just kill him already.
      Instead They decide to get more 'theatrical', thought he could redeem himself, and gave Weil an escapable Fate Worse Than Death: seal him in a capsule that prevents aging, but keeps his memory intact, hoping to make him repent. Naturally, when some idiot centuries later break the seal down, he becomes more monstrous and vengeful and eventually succeeds in taking over the world and make it so crapsack that it's worse than hell.
    • The Dark Elf is breaking free and X's body is the only thing he knows that can seal it.
      'You'd expect He'd tell someone what he's doing and set up a successor or a cover story.
      Instead He goes away without so much as a word, resulting in the need to replace him, placing a psychotic Knight Templar clone in charge.
      However
      It can be argued that he kept it secret so as to keep power hungry mongers from finding out where the Dark Elf was sealed.
    • Elpizo is making headway into the Dark Elf's seal with the Baby Elves in tow.
      You'd expect Neo Arcadia would dispatch every available resource including and especially the Guardians to intercept Elpizo.
      Instead Only Harpuia is sent, while Leviathan and Fafnir dick around waiting to play with Zero.
      However Harpuia's in charge of Neo Arcadia's military forces if not all of Neo Arcadia. He could have ordered the other two to deal with Zero. And last time Elpizo was a problem, they put him down with ease. Overconfidence? Maybe. Intelligence Failure? Quite possibly.
  • What Do You Mean It's for Kids?: Although the character designs of the game series are largely cartoonish, resembling typical kids' anime, there is a hidden cynical world-weary message deep beneath the story line about people - mostly humans in the city - who live in comfort of food and clothes and ignore the suffering of the other sentient beings much like their everyday headline news on the television.
  • The Woobie: Ciel gets extra points for this. Hoo-boy...
    • Alouette is implied to have gone through a Break the Cutie livelihood, and might have suffered even worse, if Ciel hadn't found her.
    • Iron Woobie: Almost all, if not all, the tragedies in the X series are inflicted on Zero, and even more are piled on here. Like the fact that he wakes up seeing the current state of the world, and freshly awoken, he has to continue fighting, again, and he was able to finally return the world to a peaceful state, which was what he and X have been fighting for a long time, only for him not to see it come to fruition, seeing as he's dead...
    • Stoic Woobie: After looking at Harpuia's motives, personality and the situation he's in, it's pretty easy to feel sorry for him.
    • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Some find Elpizo quite sympathetic.
  • Woolseyism: Some of the boss' names are changed overseas. In particular, Dr. Weil's name was originally Dr. Vile. There's already another guy who's named Vile (who is originally called VAVA), so the name change is to avoid confusion.

Notes

  1. who, amusingly enough, was a lot like Weil
  2. His name in Japan is Anubistep Necromances, with one "s"
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