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"Sigma, you should have studied the blueprints closer! There is only one Zero!"
Zero, Mega Man X 2

In real life, zero is a pretty undesirable number (unless you have zero bad things, which is good).

However...if a character in a story is named "Zero", or has "zero" as part of their name, then that character has at least one unique attribute that makes him/her/it significantly stand out from everyone else. Usually, they're some form of Badass.

Often, 'Zero' may simply be used for its convenient Xtreme Kool Letterz. However, there is sometimes justification in that the "zero" model of something may be the prototype -- thus, if The Ace is number one, the Phlebotinum Rebel is number zero. Or "zero" might be the Super Prototype, Flawed Prototype...or Psycho Prototype. The "zeroth" example of something thus makes a nice candidate for a Sixth Ranger. It may follow the format of a "top ten list," where number one is the best...therefore Zero must be even better. This may also be used in a Tarot Motifs context.

As a side note, the name "Cypher" or "Cipher" has the meaning "zero", but is rarely a good or lucky name, for various reasons (for the French-language version, see Le Chiffre). As well, "Rei" means "zero" in Japanese, and (spelled a different way) is also a common name there; thus, it is sometimes used in this sense.

Zero may be one of those Names to Run Away From Really Fast.

Only tangentially related to The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples. May be good at using the Zeroth Law Rebellion. See also You Are Number Six. Not to be confused with Zorro, despite the spelling (and many other) similarities.

The name comes from a segment about the number zero in Schoolhouse Rock.

Examples of My Hero Zero include:


Advertising

  • Very common on ads for diet foods. "Zero" is also seen as better than "diet" for getting the male demographic.


Anime and Manga

  • The Villain Protagonist Lelouch of Code Geass uses the alias Zero while working to obliterate the Britannian empire and build a new world in its place. It makes sense once you learn that Britannia names conquered areas and people with numbers (Ex: Area 11 and Elevens), so Zero signifies both his rebellion and his secret oppressed royal lineage. And the obvious symbolism of someone fighting for the Japanese and using the alias Zero (hint: remember the planes at Pearl Harbor?)
    • If one notices, on top of Lelouch's alter-ego naming, anything that associates with him on some personal level in the rebellions will have "Zero" in the title. The Order of Black Knights has the Unit Zero, Zero's Personal Guard (of sorts) that is composed of Kallen as its leader among other pilots, and, there's the Type 0/0A Shinkiro, Zero's personal KMF, with its Structural Phase Transition Cannon...Er, "Zero Beam". However, The Type 0/0A Shinkiro was made AFTER the Type 02 Guren. And the Type 03, 04, and 05. And made using the prototype Druid System computer in the Gawain. So it's not even remotely a prototype.
    • In R2 episode 21, Lelouch becomes emperor of Britannia, and awards his best friend Suzaku the custom rank "Knight of Zero" as part of an inside joke for the people who know his dual identities. He creates this title as the highest knightly position, whereas the previously highest was the Knight of One.
    • In Nightmare of Nunnally, Nunnally's Geass is known as "The Zero." Which makes things DIE.
      • As well, her alter-ego/contractor is called "Nemo", which means no one, fitting with her brother's theme.
  • Awfully subverted in one of the Mazinger Z spin-offs. Mazinger Zero is what Mazinger-Z may potentially become: an Eldritch Abomination. It happened in the spin-off, after Kouji crossed the Despair Event Horizon. He got in Mazinger-Z and fought like a relentless, raging The Berserker, fueling Mazinger's consciousness with a stream of negative emotions -rage, grief, despair, bitterness, pain-, until Mazinger-Z awoke, turned into a demon. The results were... not pretty.
  • Zero Enna in Candidate for Goddess was supposed to be The Messiah or something, and probably would have gotten there had the show not been cancelled/abandoned.
  • Zeromaru, the Veedramon from Digimon V-Tamer 01. "Maru" can mean "zero"; thus the two zeroes in his name, combined with the "ichi" (meaning "one") in his partner Taichi's name, lead to their Catch Phrase "Our combination is 100 percent!"
    • Furthermore, after first explaining this Catch Phrase, Lord HolyAngemon notes that zero and one are the basis for binary code and, thus, the Digital World.
  • EVA unit 00 in Neon Genesis Evangelion. And its pilot is Rei Ayanami, with the "zero" connection as above.
    • Arguably an inversion, as she's well behind Shinji and Asuka.
      • But on the other hand she is a vital part of the key to the destruction and rebirth of humanity...
      • Though if her collar in Rebuild of Evangelion is of any indication, Ayanami is only a cover name; her real designation is REI-02. Which kinda defeats the purpose...
  • The Zero Cyborgs from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.
  • The Gundam Wing Zero in Gundam Wing. It and the Epyon have a "Zero System" which enhances the pilot's abilities at the price of making him psychotic.
    • The pilot of Wing Zero, Heero Yuy, is also an example, being the "zero" in the numerical theme naming.
    • Also appears in SD Gundam Force as Zero the Winged Knight of Lacroa.
    • The Wing Gundam Zero's designation is XXX000G-00W0.
    • The first Gundam to appear in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is the 0 Gundam. The second season brings us the 00 Gundam itself, possessing the 0 Gundam's GN Drive. The titular Gundam also have a catalyst unit, the 0-Raiser. If the 00 Gundam and 0-Raiser combine, they'll form the 00 Raiser, a mecha whose abilities are never seen before with any of the Gundams that appeared before it.
    • Goes all the way back to the classic Mobile Suit Gundam with Amuro Ray/Rei. His name is an anagram of the notorious WWII-era fighter, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero (A-Roku-Mu Rei).
    • The Unicorn Gundam's official designation is RX-0 Unicorn Gundam.
  • A example from a villain; in Bleach, Yammy reveals that the ranks of the espada go from 0 to 9, not 1 to 10 as previously thought, when he proceeds to grow in immense strength and size as he loses the 1 from his 10 tattoo.
    • This won't help him, of course, as he is pitted against Kuchiki Byakuya and Zaraki Kenpachi, two of the most Badass shinigami.
    • Bleach also offers us the nihilistic villain Ulqiorra Cifer.
      • Who actually seems to work most closely with Yammy.
    • Another example from the Turn Back The Pendulum Arc: According to Kyoraku, aside from Gotei 13, there is Squad Zero, charged with protecting the Royal Family. This squad is special as its members are retired captains.
  • Louise, the titular Zero from Zero no Tsukaima is a Double Subversion. Her nickname comes from her apparently non-existent magical prowess, and nothing about her implies any level of Badass... until it turns out that her inability to cast any normal spell properly comes from her alignment with the forgotten branch of "void magic" -- which, needless to say, includes some insanely powerful combat spells.
  • The Big Bad of the final season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX uses a deck of darkness. His two key cards are "Zero" and "Infinity". A more generic example of the trope is that any high level monster with zero Attack Points will undoubtedly be far more destructive than the powerhouse monsters (Yubel anyone?)
  • In Loveless, a series chock full of meaningful pair names, there are two teams called Zero -- one whose members are both boys, and one who are both girls. They are called the Zero series because they are Artificial Humans who cannot feel pain, and, in theory, are undefeatable - but the creation process denies them the individuality of a unique name, and everyone so altered will always be named Zero.
  • Zero Kiryu from Vampire Knight for obvious reasons. His name actually is "Rei" in Japanese kanji, but it gets pronounced in English, presumably because it sounds cool.
  • Sifr Fran from Mai-Otome 0/Sifr OVA, has the double whammy of a meaningful name and prequel name. (Note that the first trailers had the title rendered as "Mai-Otome Sifl" before they got around to fixing it. "Sifr" means "zero" in Arabic, and is the origin of words for "cipher" and "digit" in some languages.)
  • Back when Harmony Gold was dubbing Dragon Ball, they named Goku "Zero". Luckily, they only ever completed three episodes (which weren't even in order).
  • Zeroro from Keroro Gunsou became quite the badass assassin before he became an invader. However, he changed his name to Dororo after coming to Earth to get rid of that hateful moniker.
    • Oddly, the dog he did Ninja training with was named Zeroyasha.
  • Similarly, Zero from Bomberman Jetterz.
  • A villainous Zero is Mr. Zero aka Crocodile in One Piece.
  • Liger Zero from Zoids: New Century Zero.
  • In the DearS universe, "Ren" means "zero" in the DearS' language. Having the main character say the equivalent of "My name is nothing" really pisses off some of the DearS.
  • Tenchi Muyo has Dr. Clay's robot assistant Zero, who captured Ryoko then became her duplicate. Or something.
  • Not even Pokémon is safe from the wrath of Zero. In the new movie, Pokémon: Giratina and The Sky Warrior, the main villain was a rather Yandere (not to a person, but a place) young man named, guess what...Zero!
  • Chachazero of Mahou Sensei Negima. A deadly, Ax Crazy Perverse Puppet With Psycho Weapon who serves as Evangeline's Ministra. Laments the fact that her master's gone soft these days.
  • In the fourth episode of Umineko no Naku Koro ni when Kanon grabs the bill-hooked cleaver on the wall and begins to talk (yell) to Kinzo and Beatrice (both of which aren't really there...we think he says that he's "the Zero on (their) roulette." Jokingly enough, his resemblance to Lelouch in his introduction made this much less serious than it should have been. He then gets stabbed in the chest.
  • Kurohime's beloved is the heroic Zero...who also has a slightly Ax Crazy twin brother named Rei.
    • Who actually is the heroic Zero just mentioned. I'll take Mind Screw for 900, please.
  • Change 123. Motoko, the main character, while normally a rather shy girl, has three distinct personalities, whose names start with 1, 2 and 3 (Hi Fu Mi) and are able to use first class fighting skills. And then there is the (hopefully) last personality, who calls herself zero, who has the abilities of the HiFuMis, thus the most likely strongest fighter in the whole world, and the urge to kill everyone she sees.
  • Variation: (Genesic) GaoGaiGar is the God of Destruction that "bring hope of a new start from zero."
  • Cosmo Warrior Zero, a Leijiverse series, has titular main character Captain Warrius Zero, a heroic veteran with PTSD who hunts Captain Harlock himself in the service of Vichy Earth.
    • Captain Harlock has a Doctor Zero on his crew as his medical officer.
  • Renton and Eureka of Eureka Seven pilot the Nirvash typeZero, the first LFO ever discovered.[1]
  • Zero, the most powerful member and Super-Powered Evil Side of Guildmaster Blaine of the Oracion Seis in Fairy Tail. In this case, his name is most likely intended to bring to mind 'nothingness' because he explicitly wishes to destroy all of creation.
  • In 666 Satan, Zero is the name of the white wolf that first trained and sort of raised Jio, to the point where Jio named his boomerang after him.
  • Zero in Mamotte Lollipop goes with the rest of the Numerical Theme Naming.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula has the Zero Realm, a type of Super Mode in which is a representation of having their limits surpassed by reading other drivers' thoughts, seeing a bit of the future and predicting other drivers' movements. Hayato, Shinjyo and Kaga have all entered the Zero Realm.
    • Hayato also drives the v-Asurada AKF-0 in SAGA and SIN and in the PS1 game, Seiichirou Shiba drives a variant of Asurada called AKF-0/1B Nemesis.
  • The elder brother of the protagonist of Psychic Academy is a legendary aura user known as Zerodyme.
  • Subverted in Death Note. There is a minor character named Raye Penber, who almost discovers that Light is Kira. Then Light manipulates him into killing himself and all the other American agents in Japan.
  • In Yami no Aegis, Zero is an assassin introduced early on (who incidentally looks exactly like the main character from The Professional)
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Saitou's "Gatotsu Zero" attack. His normal Gatotsu attack required momentum (from running, jumping, etc.) to give it power. The "Zero" form was done from a standing position, giving the enemy no time to react, but because Saitou was such a great swordsman he did not sacrifice any power that way.


Comic Books

  • Waaay back when Jack Kirby was drawing the 2001: A Space Odyssey tie-in comic book, he introduced one character who was participating in a superhero LARP as White Zero. The very disappointing ending to the game convinces the character to go into space, where he encounters the Monolith and fulfills his true special destiny.
  • Black Zero is an alternate, evil version of Superboy who kicked his super ass all around the court when they met. (Do not confuse Superboy with Superboy-Prime.)
    • And who took his codename from the Kryptonian suicidal cult/terrorist group who started a chain reaction in Krypton's core that, a few thousand years later, would make it blow up.
  • The main character of the short-lived Ghost Rider 2099 was a hacker named Kenshiro "Zero" Cochrane.
  • Secret Agent Zero is the name of the Danger Girl's only male Badass.
  • Stryfe, Cable's evil clone had a teleporting robot named Zero.
  • The Daredevil villainess Typhoid Mary also goes by Mutant Zero when on the job with the Shadow Initiative. The Constrictor doesn't understand the neccessity of the rest of the team not knowing Mutant Zero's identity, but the point is that she kicks it hardcore.


Film

  • Zero from Holes. Also in the novel of the same name.
  • In the film Zero Effect, the title character Darryl Zero is possibly the world's most skilled detective, to the detriment of his personal hygiene and social skills.
  • Let's not forget the agents in the James Bond films and books whose numbers start with "00" -- indicating their "license to kill". In Casino Royale, it's revealed that to become a Double-0, you need two kills on your record; it's possible the "00" is meant to represent those kills.
  • Since Cipher counts, there's the traitorous Cypher (AKA Mr. Reagan) from The Matrix, who wanted to return to zero by reinserting himself in the program.
  • In Wild America, the protagonist is nicknamed Zero by his older brothers.
  • Subverted in X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Agent Zero, a rather two-dimensional throwaway villain. (He dies painfully.) To be fair, he's actually pretty dangerous - if you don't have a skeleton made of adamantium and the original Healing Factor.
    • His comic version, on the other hand, can absorb kinetic energy so impacts can't hurt him, can't be tracked via smell, has a Healing Factor of his own, and a "Anti-healing factor" which can turn other people to mush..
  • Jack Skellington's heroic ghost dog is named Zero.
  • Sub-Zero from The Running Man is a murderous hockey player.

  Now, PLAIN ZERO!

  • Zéro from Crime Spree, a french badass.
  • The assembled Hackers from Hackers have a group moment of awe when they find out that their friend Wade had once been the badass uber-hacker called Zero Cool.

 Lord Nikon: "Zero Cool? Crashed fifteen hundred and seven computers in one day? Biggest crash in history, front page New York Times August 10th, 1988. I thought you was black, man." (beat) "YO! THIS IS ZERO COOL!"


Literature

  • In Isaac Asimov's Robot stories, the "Zeroth Law" is the one that supersedes and overrides all the other Laws of Robotics and more or less gives the robots free will. Only robots that are Sufficiently Advanced consider it to be a real law, as it was deduced from philosophy rather than encoded into their original programming.
  • Count Zero is the (nickname of the) hero of the William Gibson novel of the same name.
    • It's short for "Count Zero Interrupt", a computer term in the novels universe.
      • Actually a quite old computer term that has long ago lost its relevance but at the time of the novel's making was very new and sci-fi.
  • Zero from Holes. Though it's a derogatory nickname on the part of everybody else in the camp, it's later discovered that he's Hector Zeroni, the descendant of the old woman who put a curse on the great-great-grandfather of Stanley Yelnats IV who helps him undo the Murphy's Curse placed upon the Yelnats family. Sploosh!
  • Zachary "Zee" Miller of The Cronus Chronicles is referred to as Zero by Philonecron for being the 'starter', of sorts - his blood is used to animate the shadows that make up the villain's army.


Live Action TV

  • Captain Z-Ro [1], an early (1951-56) Sci-Fi children's show with a time travel theme.
  • Zero, a powerful minion in the miniseries Tin Man.
  • Mr. Zero, the mysterious employer of Spenser, Tracy, and Kong: The Ghost Busters (Not the famous ones).
  • In Heroes, when Sylar was being studied by Chandra Suresh, he was referred to as "Patient Zero." This comes from medical research, where the focus patient of an investigation is referred to as the index case, or the patient zero. Nevertheless, it signified the Badass portion of this trope as well.
  • In Kamen Rider Den-O, The Lancer Rider is called Zeronos, his time-travelling train is the ZeroLiner, his motorbike is the ZeroHorn, his weapon is the ZeroGasher and his Deadly Upgrade is called Zero Form.
  • The tokusatsu series Garo ("Fanged Wolf"), has the title character's rival go by the name "ZERO" (officially spelled with the characters for "Cutting Wolf"). And his civilian name is, of course, Rei.

 Rei: I am Rei Suzumura. Also known as ZERO.

Kouga: ZERO?

Rei: You don't get the joke, do you?

  • Ultraman Zero. Easily one of the most powerful of all the Ultra warriors.
  • Japanese-American prison chaplain Ray Mukada from Oz, one of the closest things to a hero you're likely to find there. The fact that Rei is a possible reading of both the kanji for spirit & zero was probably not lost on the creators, as he often struggles with the possibility that his spiritual guidance amounts to nothing in an awful place like Oz.
  • Subverted with Captain Zero in Last of the Summer Wine, the supposedly heroic human cannonball who turns out to be disappointingly prosaic.
  • Deadliest Warrior: Zero Kazama

  "I can do the same thing without a weapon. This? This is just to distract you while I break you with my foot!"

  • An episode of Stargate SG-1 involved reprogramming a mine that was protected by a combination lock. The counting system the builders of the mine used was based on an old Earth counting system that didn't include zero. However, the mine builders had modified the counting system to include zero, because as Sam points out, you need zero to be mathematically advanced enough to be able to build something as sophisticated as the mine in the first place. The fact that Daniel Jackson didn't realise this caused their attempt to input the combination to fail and nearly detonate the mine because they were off by one when inputting the combination.


Newspaper Comics

  • The character Zero from Beetle Bailey averts the trope. He's nothing more or less than The Ditz, and it seems likely that the reason for his name is that "zero" is his IQ.
    • He's also from near the very beginning of the comic's run, when Beetle was a college student (before he enlisted). "Zero" was an...endearing term older students had for the freshmen who they forced to do demeaning and degrading tasks to earn the approval of their betters. And now you know...the true story.
    • Also, the protagonist itself in Brazil, where he's known as "Recruta Zero" (Recruit zero; Zero is known there as Dentinho, "little tooth").
  • Also averted in the comic strip "Little Annie Rooney" (a "Little Orphan Annie" imitator) where the title character travelled with her dog, Zero.


Religion

  • God, if you are Sufi, Muslim, or Baha'i. The Ninety Nine or Hundred Names of God always begin with Al-Ilah, contracted as Allah as name number zero; if it wasn't counted that way there would be one too many names.


Real Life

  • The Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics, the thermodynamic equivalent of the transitive property in mathematics, is so named because, having named the first, second and third laws, scientists realized that it was important to state a very simple and obvious law which underwrote the others.
  • Arguable Real Life example: The Mitsubishi A6M Zero (or Type 0 Carrier Fighter). While its name derives from the perfectly mundane fact that it was originally produced in 1940 (or 2600 by the Imperial Japanese calendar), its name carries a historical feeling of menace (or presumably pride on the other side of the Pacific) due to it being Japan's primary naval fighter in World War Two.
    • However by co-incidence (presumably) the name is especially appropriate as the zero was lightly built compared to other aircraft designed for the same role, which was both its great strength and great weakness. The zero could only take a small amount of punishment before it was in trouble but its high maneuverability meant allied gunners and pilots often had problems getting and keeping the plane in their gunsights in the first place.
  • Zero Mostel may not have been a hero, but he was a good enough actor that he deserves mention here.
  • In computer science, the first position in arrays/strings/other list-type data structures in most languages has the index of zero, not one. There is a practical reason for this, however. It has its origins in assembly language and other early languages like C, which let (or pretty much forced) the programmer to work directly with the numeric addresses of information in memory. When working with a large chunk of data at once, what you actually have is an address of the first tiny bit of that data structure. From there, you get the rest of it by adding a number called an "index" to the base address-- Base + Index = Address. Naturally, the first element of the structure logically goes right where the structure starts, which is another way to say it should be at the base address exactly-- Base + 0.
    • It may also do with the fact that in electronics, the ground state is a valid value. Ground state has a value of 0.
  • Similar to the computer science example, outside of the United States, Japan, Russia (primarily in Latin America and Europe), the floor one most commonly enters a building on (the one at "ground-level") is not referred to as the "first floor." Instead, the floor above this floor is called the "first-floor", and the numbering scheme continues from there. Many languages in these regions call the "ground-level" floor roughly the lingustic equivalent of the "zeroth floor," even if the floor isn't literally called that. Given that the numbering schemes for floors in buildings can often be quite inconsistent and ad hoc, this is definitely a much weaker example than the comp. sci. one above, but it does follow the same logic of starting counting at zero as opposed to one.
    • Buldings in downtown Milwaukee typically have "basement", "ground floor", and "first floor". One side of the building will typically have an entrance on the "ground floor", the other side will have an entrance on the "first floor". This has to do with changes in elevation between streets.
    • Also common in Seattle, San Francisco, and other cities built on steep hills, with the designation of the lowest entrance floor varying between "first floor", "ground floor" and "lobby", with no attempt at consistency. Since entrances can be seperated by as many as three floors, depending on how steep that particular part of town is, the designated "first floor" will often be physical third floor (not including parking or basement floors). Entrance floors below the designated "first" will occasionally be referred to as "lobby" and "lower lobby".
  • In motorsports, or at least in F 1, a driver would have the number zero because the reigning champion retired, hence no number 'one'. The last time this happened was in 1994, when Alain Prost, the 1993 champion, retired, leaving Damon Hill with the number zero.
  • While playing for Aberdeen FC Hicham Zerouali had '0' as his shirt number. At least until the SPL outlawed it.
  • Former Oakland Raiders center Jim Otto wore 00 as a pun on his name ("aught-o").
  • Many baseball and basketball players whose name starts with O (such as Rey Ordonez, Al Oliver, and Orlando Woolridge) choose the number zero as a play off their name. However, it can also be used by other players (Gilbert Arenas, Robert Parrish who used '00') who just want a number that stands out.
  • The invention of mathematical zero is considered to be a major milestone in the development of maths and science, as there are several types of calculation that simply aren't possible without a concept of zero. Roman numerals, for example, have no way to represent 0 (and they make calculation inconvenient for this reason, among many others).
  • On the Roulette Wheel, zero is definitely hero for casinos. It is the presense of zero that tilts the probability of winning in favour of the House. 00 even more so; the payouts don't change whether the wheel has 0 or both 0 and 00. The odds? Hoo boy.


Video Games

  • In Mega Man X and Zero, Zero is a nigh-unstoppable, Badass Maverick-turned-Maverick-Hunter-turned-freedom-fighter fighting for humanity and fellow Reploids alike, disregarding the fact that he was created by Dr. Wily, Big Bad of the original Mega Man series. Out of all the other heroes in that universe, he's the first to achieve true peace at the end of the latter series, although at the cost of his own life.
    • ...who wields a lightsaber.
    • "Nigh-unstoppable" may be an understatement. Even killing him doesn't seem to keep him down for long.
    • Keiji Inafune, father of the franchise, wanted Zero to be the main character. Capcom only made him change his mind, eventually creating the blatant Expy that took on the name. Big mistake.
      • Actually, they didn't force his hand. He knew before even talking to them that just bringing Zero up as the new Mega Man and flying in the face of the blue bomber tradition would fail, so he let a co-worker design the expy to be the main guy while pitching Zero as secondary but all along intending to make him the Ensemble Darkhorse and future main guy. It worked.
    • Blues/Proto Man in the original Mega Man series has the codename DLN-000. Justified, he's the prototype of Mega Man.
    • In Mega Man ZX, Master Albert's body is revealed as a decoy after Prometheus destroys it. Albert in his "true" body then appears, and telling his codename, DAN-000 "The Original".
    • As of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Zero shares an English voice actor with...Zero.
  • The ninja in Borderlands 2 is named Zero.
  • Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel...he's a ninja squirrel.
  • Zero, the robot from Sonic Adventure, is invincible until Amy's boss battle against him.
    • He is also named E-100 Alpha, suggesting that he is the first of the E-series robots.
  • Ansem in Kingdom Hearts is banished to the Realm of Nothingness and escapes using the power of darkness. So he takes the name "DiZ", meaning "darkness in zero".
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Grungust Type 0 from Super Robot Wars Original Generation(s). Unlike Eva-00 above, its primary pilot doesn't share the Theme Naming. It's still incredibly powerful, though.
    • May be justified - wasn't it a prototype?
  • One of the more common Japanese mecha in Front Mission 3 is known as the "Zeros", possibly in reference to the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.
  • The Main Character in Persona 3 is stated to represent a "zero", in sense of possessing unlimited potential. It also refers to his arcana, The Fool, which is also represented with a zero.
  • Major Zero from the Metal Gear Solid games - he's your commander in the third game, and was the original leader of the Patriots, making him the closest thing the series has to an overall Big Bad. He also uses the alias Cipher when he recruits Zadornov and Paz to spy on Big Boss, who by this time had left the Patriots, in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. On a related note, Gray Fox once had the codename "Null", according to Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.
    • Doesn't "Null" actually mean something other than zero in strict mathematical terms? I could've sworn that Null stand for not zero, but the answer to equations that pose invalid results, such as Zero over infinity, Division by 0, etc.
  • Antagonistic video game example: In some of the Kirby games, the pink hero faces Dark Matter, whose core is called Zero.
    • And then Dark Nebula in Squeak Squad, who was called Dark Zero in Japan.
    • Don't forget 02 (pronounced "Zero-Two") in Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards
  • The newest Castlevania storyline seems to have renamed Sypha into Cipher. On the plus side, her name now matches the depth of her storyline.
    • She goes back into Sypha in Judgment, though.
  • Princess Rei in Saga Frontier is the only character capable of using Mirage magic, as well as being Orlouge's first mistress, and the only one ever to escape him. Also, ZEKE's Japanese name includes "Reishiki", or "Type-Zero", to denote its badassity. (Bahamut Zero was also known as Bahamut Reishiki in Japan. Japanese love Reishiki.)
  • In The King of Fighters, there are two bosses who go by the name Zero. The Zero you fight in 2000 is a traitorous clone who tries using a Kill Sat to take over NESTS. He gets killed by Kula, but succeeds in nuking Southtown. You fight the real Zero in 2001. Turns out he's actually an old man who prefers a fair fight. So he calls upon 3 strikers-a boss from a previous game, a Ninja, and a black mountain lion-to assist him in fighting you because he's a sub-boss. He dies in the end too. Both are capable of producing black holes.
    • Actually, the Zero in 2000 was ultimately killed by Whip (getting blasted with his own satellite by Kula didn't help him much, though). Kula did, however, succeed in destroying the Zero Cannon before it could be used to cause any additional damage.
  • How did we get this far without mentioning Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat?
  • Mass Effect has Subject Zero (known to companions as Jack). Who will mess you up if you look at her funny, or maybe just because. She also does not like being referred to as Subject Zero since it brings up some pretty horrible memories.
  • Zero in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an irritating Hollywood Nerd who gives you some of the worst Scrappy Levels of the game. One gets the impression he is thinking of the "special and badass" sense of the name, while everyone else is thinking "loser". He does make weaponised RC planes though...
  • Quake III Arena: Xaero, Arrogant Kung Fu Guy and expert marksman. Hope you like being gibbed!
  • One of the top level Korean Starcraft pro-gamers is nicknamed Zero. His real name is Kim Myung Woon.
  • The Fallout: New Vegas DLC Old World Blues introduces Doctor O, a member of the Think Tank. Except his name isn't O, it's Zero, and it pisses him off to no end that people can't understand the difference. With the right skills, you can show him how to distinguish the symbol by putting a slash through it (a common computer denomination) and remind him of the importance the zero plays in mathematics, after which he takes the title of "Destroyer of Math" since 0 reduces everything it's multiplied by into 0.


Web Comics


Web Original


Western Animation

  • The title comes from the Schoolhouse Rock song, "My Hero Zero", in which the literal number zero is a hero.
    • The song mostly concerns itself with 0's use as a placeholder in large numbers ("Place three zeros after any number, and you've multiplied that number by one thousand"), rather than with the mathematical concept of zero as the additive identity and the multiplicative...uh...zero-izer.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack's pet ghost-dog Zero and his glowing nose assist the protagonists many times.
  • Numbuh 0 in Codename: Kids Next Door.
  • There once was a show called Zeroman. It's about a senior citizen who lives with his mother, and happens to be a mail carrier. He finds an alien super suit, and becomes a super hero...so I guess you could say He fights crime. It's a comedy.
  • Agent Triple-Zero, AKA Secret Squirrel.
  • Played for laughs in a Popeye episode. Popeye parodies the masked hero Zorro, but instead calls himself Zero and draws the number instead of the letter Z with his sword (thus the Mark of Zero).
  • Inverted in the Hungarian animated movie Captain of the Forest. Zero is the name of the epynomous captain's nemesis, a Gentleman Thief, Evil Genius, and Master of Disguise, who crosses the Moral Event Horizon several times, and also proves to be a Dirty Coward when the odds don't favor him.
  • In The Venture Brothers, a character named "Zero" arises, who serves not only as the Big Bad of the episode, but he turns out to be Scott Hall / Number 1, a henchman from a previous episode. Thus, while he may not be a hero, he survives not only being a henchman in a superhero/villain world, whose death is portented and lampshaded, but FIGHTING BROCK SAMPSON, which counts as a superpower in its own right.
  • More of an anti-hero - Dick Dastardly in Wacky Races drives a car with the number Double Zero.
  • Duck Dodgers followed Popeye's example (sort of) and became Xero (still pronounced as "Zero")
  • The U.S. Acres segment of Garfield and Friends featured Orson's Bond-like alter ego Double-0 Orson.
  • A Phineas and Ferb episode featured a British secret agent known as Double-0 Zero. Doofenshmirtz even asked if it shouldn't be Triple-0. It earned a Getting Crap Past the Radar moment by having Doof stating Perry is "P" and the agent was "OOO" and that made... The agent interrupted Doof to explain it wasn't the letter "O" but three zeroes. Doof then stated he'd say "OOOP" and that somebody became nervous.


Thematic use of zero numbering:

Anime and Manga

  • 2007-9's entry in the Gundam franchise is Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
  • Toei Animation's adaptation of Yu-Gi-Oh! is ofter referred to as Season 0 in America. The name comes from a common misconception that the anime is actually the first season of the Duel Monsters anime that 4kids refused to dub.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula ZERO is the third entry and the second OVA in the series.


Comic Books

  • Several of the Star Wars comic series have zero-based numbering.
  • Comic books numbered "zero" are very common. It's a very old idea, dating back to the days of underground comics, and probably reached its pinnacle in Zero Hour, where every comic book from DC at the time got an issue #0. Marvel eventually outdid them by having every comic in their lineup have a #-1 (that's negative one) issue.
  • There's a soldier named Zero in the Beetle Bailey comics. In Brazil, he was renamed as "Dentinho" ("Little Tooth") probably because of his buck teeth and the name "Zero" was given to Bailey.


Fan-Fiction

  • The Chaotic fan-series Of Men and Mugic starts all the first chapters of each book with "Chapter Zero" instead of "Chapter One". The author of this fan-fiction seems to have only done this with this story, as his other fan-fictions begin with the normal "Chapter One".


Films


Tabletop Games

  • In Magic: The Gathering, many of the game breakers from the base set (dual lands, moxes, Black Lotus) cost zero mana. For that matter, cards that have an alternate cost (in effect costing zero mana) are generally game breakers, as is Lotus Petal, a toned down version of Black Lotus. Affinity decks relied on artifact lands (zero cost) and cards which got cheaper as you played more artifacts (sometimes down to zero). The latest of these zero mana cards are Chrome Mox (a legendary mox which gives you a mana of any color, if you have two other artifacts in play) and Memnite (a free 1/1), which also combine well.


Web Comics


Video Games

  • The Japanese tend to do this in titles of prequels, especially for video games: Ace Combat Zero, Street Fighter Zero, Resident Evil Zero. (Metroid Zero Mission however is not a prequel but a remake of the first game.)
    • Similarly, the Silent Hill prequel was called Silent Hill Zero in Japan, and Silent Hill: 0rigins (with a zero instead of an O) elsewhere in the world.
    • Interestingly, the player character of Ace Combat Zero has the codename Cipher, but rather than being bad luck, he actually managed to avert several apocalypses.
      • Well, he was bad luck for everyone he met, friend and foe.
    • Zork Zero, though not of Japanese origin, follows this convention
    • When the ROM image of the completed-but-unreleased English translation to Mother was leaked, it was dubbed MOTHER 1.
  • In Rumble Roses, the Japanese main character (there are two, but this one is..."mainer") is named Reiko and has the nickname "Zero Fighter" as a pun on her name. Somewhat averted in that she's not stronger than the others, though she is pretty easy to use.
  • In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Old World Blues, one of the Mad Scientists you meet is Dr. 0, who is mistakenly called Dr. O by his compatriots. You can help him settle this by telling him to use a slashed zero. With the Math Wrath perk, you can also convince him that zero is an awesome number due to it's ability to reduce anything it multiplies by into zero.

Notes

  1. The Humongous Mecha of the Eurekaverse aren't so much machines as they are cyborgs based on the organic Archetypes excavated from the scub coral covering the planet.
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