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Zim is a member of the alien Irken race. Since his actions usually lead to disaster (having nearly destroyed the Irken homeworld during Operation Impending Doom I) his leaders, the Almighty Tallest, banished him to Foodcourtia. While there, however, Zim heard of Operation Impending Doom II, and - obviously not understanding the purpose of his previous exile - "quit being banished" and ventured to Conventia in the hope of getting an assignment. Chagrined, the Almighty Tallest sent him on a "secret mission" to Earth (though they did not know much of the planet at the time), in order to keep him away from Operation Impending Doom II.
After arriving on Earth, Zim enrolled in the nearest elementary skool to begin his infiltration and gather information about the indigenous race. There, he became quick rivals with Dib, an avid preteen paranormal investigator. Zim wants to conquer Earth, mostly to prove his superiority and impress his leaders. However, as mentioned by Gaz in the episode Bloaty's Pizza Hog, "he's so bad at it."
Although he is the protagonist, Zim is morally and ethically a villain (though occasionally considered an antihero), being overall a fairly unsympathetic character, though he occasionally shows some kindness towards certain characters (such as GIR in Walk of Doom), and usually only causing chaos and destruction for either himself, his own race, or Earth.
Zim's appearance, like that of most of the Irken race, seems to be based off the typical "little green men from outer space" stereotype. Many Irkens are about the size of a elementary school child (with a few exceptions), but Zim is exceptionally short. In "The Nightmare Begins," Zim is shown as being even shorter than the notoriously short Invader Skoodge.
Zim also has ruby-colored eyes - another common trait in Irkens. It's mentioned in "Walk of Doom" as well that Zim's eyes contain ocular implants ("Ocular implants are standard Invader issue"). Since the eyes he was born with aren't visibly different from subsequent appearances, it can be assumed that these implants are subcutaneous. He dresses like an Irken Invader would, since he assumes that he is one; he wears a red striped uniform with a pink collar and black boots and gloves.
He also possesses a pair of antennae; their exact function is unknown, but they seem to function like human eyebrows; rising and lowering to convey emotion. It is strongly implied that they function like ears, and pick up vibrations in Battle of the Planets. Template:Clear
Zim is, as previously noted, an Irken with megalomanical, sadistic, emotionally unstable, sociopathic, paranoid, and narcissistic tendencies. He usually ends up being a danger to himself and his own people, but he still considers himself a mighty Irken warrior. Zim has Mysophobia, which developed when he ordered a pair of goggles that let him see germs and bacteria, though he has coped with the fear.
Despite his self-proclaimed greatness, Zim is held up as a complete laughingstock by his own species. Unaware of that fact, Zim is cluelessly loyal and obedient to the Tallest and the Irken Empire, and is willing to go to great lengths to please his leaders. His self-absorbed nature prevents him from acknowledging any of his failures, choosing only to speak about the better things that came from each incident.
However, it is clear that Zim is highly intelligent in some respects - being a keen manipulator of tools and devices - but has absolutely no apparent interest to think things through, wasting much of his time fussing or dealing with unimportant "threats". Moreover, it is evident that he has the skill to destroy Earth, yet he hardly ever uses this capability properly, and has often been very close to taking over the planet, only to be thwarted by his own negligence. One of Zim's abilities is his somewhat inconsistent skills at piloting; while in a tense situation he flies masterfully, but crashes on most other occasions, and his skills pale in comparison to opponents adept at hand-eye coordination or overall agility (such as Gaz or Tak). Zim also has admirable engineering ability; in "Walk of Doom," he singlehandedly improved the SIR unit guidance system chip, and in "Walk for Your Lives," he hand-built a variable time stasis field, capable of altering individual time-fields. He is immensely proud of anything he creates, yet is often frustrated when his devices fail to live up to his grandiose expectations.
Even though Zim often affirms that he wishes to enslave Earth, it has been hinted that he would not actually want to rule it. In "Attack of the Saucer Morons," Zim gained a group of humans who would be willing to do his bidding, yet his only thought was escaping them. In the Nickelodeon Magazine Special, in which Zim finally took over the world, he did not stay to rule for very long, instead leaving Earth forever to ride alien bunny rabbits and drink soda.
Zim usually shows little to no affection, often claiming to "need no one", but he occasionally lets a softer side of him slip (probably by accident). In Parent Teacher Night, when Zim thought back to when he was born, he remembered that the first thing he ever said was that he loved the "cold, unfeeling robot arm" that "hatched" him from his incubation capsule and activated his PAK.
Strangely, it would seem that Zim also relies on the presence of his mortal enemy, Dib, for motivation. He said in A Room with a Moose that his mission might not be as "exciting" without Dib around to "annoy him," but also seems to dwell on the big-headed human quite a bit, almost more so than his actual mission. This importance was particularly highlighted in Mopiness of Doom; when Dib briefly decided to give up his pursuit of Zim, the Irken lost all motivation to take over Earth, or do anything in general.
Despite his pride, the only being Zim actaully fears is his own father, Kratoz. While oroginally not knowing his relation to the general, Zim looked up to him. That changed when Kratoz tried to kill him for almost destroying Irk. Despite his former idolization of him, Zim was extremely horrified to discover that he is actaully the general's son. That traumatic encounter caused alot of harm to Zim's ego as he everytime he looked in a mirror, he would see a horrifying spitting image of his father (as the general greatly resembled him).
Zim has shown to have some kind of romantic affection towards Gazlene in recent years. This feeling is stronger than his once-evil motives. Zim treats Gaz as both his queen and his wife.
Zim was immediately reassigned to work at a research lab on Planet Vort. Zim created the "Infinite Energy Asborbing blob" causing the death of Almighty Tallest Miyuki, who was eaten alive by the creature by accident. Zim was reassigned to several different labs, but caused the same amount of destruction on each one, although Zim tries to explain through tears each time that it was an accident and that he didn't mean to cause harm. Finally, Zim was sent to Commander Plag's Offense Force. There, he learned to direct his anger toward the enemy, not his fellow Irkens.
He eventually signed up to participate in Operation Impending Doom 1, and when he was in the testing process, his then-faulty PAK caused the control brain to relinquish the position of Invader to him. After the ruination of Irk's business and commerce district at the hands of Zim, he was banished to Foodcourtia to work for Sizz-lorr at Shloogorgh's Flavor Palace. (The business and commerce district has since been rebuilt and Zim has been forgiven.)
After two Irken years serving on Foodcourtia, Zim escaped in order to join Operation Impending Doom Two. Once he arrived at Conventia, Zim pleaded with the Tallest to allow him to participate. Almighty Tallest Red soon after assigned him a mission in the far reaches of the galaxy that would almost certainly lead to Zim's demise. Once GIR was constructed and Zim was on his way to Earth, a human child named Dib intercepted a transmission, warning him of his impending doom. Zim and Dib very soon became mortal enemies, and Zim's various plans to conquer Earth were all rendered unsuccessful. It was around this time that Zim met Dib's sister Gaz, and although he maintained a shell of his usual hubris during their first meeting, he subconsciously became infatuated with her.
An easy way to describe Zim is that he is very prideful and egotistical. Despite his self-proclaimed greatness, Zim was, for most of his life up until his ascension as Tallest, held up as a complete laughingstock by his own species. Unaware of that fact, Zim was cluelessly loyal and obedient to the Tallest, the Irken Empire, his planet and his people, and was willing to go to great lengths to please his leaders—that is, until he found out about his betrayal by them and subsequently banishing one of them to Foodcourtia and killing the other.
His self-absorbed nature prevents him from acknowledging any of his failures, choosing only to speak about the better things that came from each incident and brushing off any failures as "oh well, back to the ol' drawing board". He also is well-respondent to any compliments given about himself. Zim wears the typical invader uniform, and has ruby eyes. What distinguises Zim from most Irkens is his abnormal height, being even shorter than a typical Irken. However, by the time he becomes Tallest, he is of majestic height and muscularity.
Disguises worn in publicEdit
- Main article: Zim's Disguises
In order to blend in with the inhabitants of Earth, Zim has made a series of creative disguises. Zim often wears disguises to attempt to conceal his identity from the "earth-monkeys" that he plans to eventually conquer; they are often unconvincing and hastily constructed, but he knows that the humans (most of them anyway) are too oblivious to recognize that he is an extraterrestrial visitor anyway.
Zim's school disguise consists of some contact lenses and a bouffant wig. The contacts give his eyes a human appearance, and the wig covers his antennae; however, everything else about him, including his uniform and green skin, is left unchanged. He explains away his skin color and lack of ears as a skin condition in the ("The Nightmare Begins"), and has passed off being caught without his contact lenses as a bad case of pinkeye. It was discovered in the first episode that the sleeve of his right glove can become a self-destruct device, most likely to get rid of an Irken soldier if they believe their mission has been compromised.
He occasionally wears an old man disguise in "Walk of Doom" and in other episodes, which he uses throughout the first season. This disguise consists of a flowered hat and a white fake beard. It makes him resemble a short, crazy old man, and in "Walk of Doom," he was mistaken for a hobo. In the second season of the show Zim added another disguise to his arsenal: a floppy, huge-headed human suit with a cape, a sewed-on handbag and stuffed puppy, and a name tag reading 'human'.
Other costumes worn include a fat lady outfit (used to hide the time field explosion in "Walk for Your Lives"); a bear suit (use unknown, possibly an I Feel Sick reference) in "Battle of the Planets"), a "Baby Inspector" disguise for interrogating "Noogums" ("Plague of Babies") and the Santa Claus suit and Easter Platypus disguises used to manipulate the public in "The Most Horrible X-mas Ever"; the former was by far one of Zim's most ambitious and advanced disguises, being made from a Vortian liquid substance.
The Pilot also featured an oversized robotic battle-suit shaped like Zim's school disguise for use in the food-fight that occurred.
Brief on-screen appearances of other Invaders in "Walk for Your Lives" and "Planet Jackers," showed that almost all other Invaders use even shoddier disguises, so Zim's ineptitude in this regard is not unique. Template:Clear
Zim has had several voice actors.
In Jhonen Vasquez's original pilot episode, Zim's voice was provided first by Mark Hamill and then by Billy West. Jhonen Vasquez stated in the DVD commentaries that he felt casting West as Zim would have created a situation where there would be two comedy science fiction-based cartoons on the air at the same time with the same lead voice. The pilot episode with Billy West's voiceover track is available as an extra feature on the second disk of the Zim DVD set.
Richard Horvitz revoiced Zim as a tester on the third pass of the pilot and was finally chosen to be the character's permanent voice for the remainder of the American series. If the Angry Beavers had not ended by the time Invader Zim aired, Andy Berman, the voice of Dib, would have voiced Zim. This final version of the pilot was unavailable to the public until Christmas Eve, 2011, when the pilot aired on Nicktoons.
Horvitz's style of voicing Zim was influenced heavily by Vasquez's own inflections, and those of the actor Vincent Price. Interestingly, Horvitz played a similar character (Orthopox) in the video game Destroy All Humans!. On behind the voice actors, it was shown that Melissa Fahn had voiced Zim as a smeet in "Parent Teacher Night;" her only line as Zim was: "I love you, cold unfeeling robot arm."
In the Japanese dub, Zim is voiced by Nao Nagasawa, and by Bjorn Schalla in the German dub.
Facts of DoomEdit
- Zim could've been considered the first Nicktoon villain to have ever killed anyone onscreen had the show not been cancelled, since the unfinished episode "The Trial" confirms that he doomed two previous Irken leaders by accident; and, during a flashback in "The Frycook What Came from All That Space," it was shown that he blew up all the other Invaders at the beginning of Operation Impending Doom I.
- Zim may have appeared in Vasquez's comic book Squee! before the start of the series. A poster with featuring an alien that looks Irken and is possibly Zim due to the fact it was wearing a wig like Zim's bouffant wig appears above Todd's bed. The image looks less like Zim, though, since the head is rounded and has mere stick figure hands.
- Zim has been seen in a commercial on Nickelodeon holding a sandwich to which he has bad allergic reactions to unless it is an Irken sandwich. In it he was knocked off a wire on which he was sitting on and thrown into a light, making it explode. This commercial was a crossover of other series on Nickelodeon. After the cancellation of Invader ZIM, Zim was replaced with Jenny from My Life as a Teenage Robot. Jenny wasn't knocked into the light.
- Zim is known to smell things and scents even though he does not have a nose, or his nostrils are so small that they're not visible, as evidenced in "Germs," when he is seen sniffing the scent saying it was the "stink of clean."
- In Jhonen Vasquez's "Meanwhile..." comic "Jhonen Vasquez V.S The Devil", There are aliens flying a ship similar to Zim's Voot Cruiser, though the aliens inside the ship look nothing like Irkens.
In one episode of FanBoy and Chum Chum called "Dollar Day," Zim can be seen on a comic cover in the background. His skin is faintly green and he's wearing his disguise, so one must be careful when looking for him.
- At some point in the series, Zim had learned to read human writing, as he is seen reading the newspaper, and understanding what it says, in "Zim Eats Waffles."
- Zim is able to whistle, as seen in "The Girl Who Cried Gnome," "The Nightmare Begins" and "The Wettening."
- Zim's weaknesses have little consistency within the show. For example, in "The Wettening," it is made obvious that he gets burned by water, but in many other episodes he comes into contact with water and is just fine.
- One of the dubious plot ideas for the series finale Invader Dib would have had Zim defeating Dib and Tak and becoming Almighty Tallest soon thereafter, deposing Tallest Red and Purple from the throne; knowing that he must have a queen to rule he would have chosen Gaz, with whom he had teamed up with after she (cloaked in a hood) encouraged him to fight on to save his people from certain death. Additionally, he would begin to lose his desire to conquer Earth and, as Jhonen claims, see the beauty in Earth life and thus completely lose his desire to destroy the planet.
- Zim is a playable character in Nicktoons: MLB alongside Gaz. Best used as a first base-Irken, his bat is one of the strongest in the entire game if Turbo Hit is activated and he maintains his concentration. His clothes and overall body rendering are the same as in the show, only he wears a pinkish baseball cap that transforms into a first baseman's helmet when he is in first base.
- Zim's name is spelled in capital letters in the official voice scripts.
- In The Invaded World of Zimball, this feature Zim and Gumball's named in the corssover episode title.
After the Meekrob WarEdit
ZIM traveled back to Irk to overthrow the previous Tallest and reform the Irken society. He had decided to take Gaz, his future empress, with him so she could live a better life than the one she already had on Earth. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Irken Empire and the rise of the Irken Republic. Upon ascension to the throne, many reforms were commenced under his and Gazlene's rule, such as the abolition of the thumb-cutting ceremony in favor of a traditional coronation, and the creation of the royal senate. His empress, over time, bore him seven smeets, after an unforeseen event caused the Irkens to be able to reproduce naturally once again after so many eons of bitrths in the smeeteries. He appointed Skoodge, Larb, Tenn and Zee to serve as his protectors upon his ascension. A new palace was immediately constructed following the death of Tallest Red. Upon Tallest Purple's return, he [Purple] was immediately ordered to stand trial for crimes against Irkenkind, and after being found guilty he was banished to Foodcourtia for the rest of his natural life. In this capacity, ZIM notably pursued peaceful relations between the Irken Republic and the United Conglomerate of Planets. He attended the Furon Conference allowing for successful negotiation of the Furon Accords, which eventually normalized relations between the two governments after years of hostility. ZIM's peace initiatives were met with open arms by the Conglomerate Council, but there were those on both sides who objected. A plot was forged between individuals associated with the Conglomerate in an attempt to sabotage the peace conference. ZIM traveled to rendezvous with the MSS Magnus-A aboard his flagship, Massive and, along with his empress, his oldest children and two of his guardians, attended a formal dinner aboard the Magnus with Captain Spalding and his crew. While there, ZIM expressed his joy for Spalding and his crew who he termed "new friends and allies" and for peace between the Republic and the Conglomerate.