Otherwise Known As: Zero
Titles: Royal Knight of Victory
Realm: The Digital World (V-Tamer)
Featured in: Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01
Voiced By: Non-Applicable
Before I get into the history and traits of Zeromaru, or less formerly known as Zero, a large bit of backstory is in order here. First and foremost, to those unaware, Digimon is a franchise created in the early nineties as a form of virtual pet where kids could not only take of it and watch grow and evolve based on how they raise it, but can also combat against other kids’ digital monsters as well. While the initial virtual pet series didn’t become that popular in America, it became a smash sensation in Japan with its only rival being Pokémon, due mostly to the common belief of similarities between the two.
As to what Digimon actually is currently… I cannot say. Unlike Pokémon which has had something of a steady progression with its storylines and new additions, Digimon is more akin to actual computers insomuch that every new generation has an entirely separate, and distinctive, story to tell though many similarities are common throughout the generations. First and foremost is the case of the digimon themselves, which are almost always creations based on electronic data given physical form that can grow and evolve from cute and tiny babies to massively horrific monsters of incredible power and potential. These stages of evolution, or digivolution as was coined in the American dub of the anime, are as follows…
Fresh: Otherwise known as the baby stage, it is the form all digimon possess upon hatching from their eggs and as a whole, have no actual combative abilities.
In-Training: Otherwise known as the toddler stage, it is in this form that a digimon can speak but with an otherwise childlike innocence behind their actions and are still not combat ready.
Rookie: Otherwise known as the child stage, this is the first form that any digimon can actually be thought of as capable fighters and often portray hints towards their distinctive evolutionary lines based on this form.
Champion: Otherwise known as the adult stage, this is the most common form any digimon can reach and where they truly earn the name of monster. It would take a team of seven rookie-level digimon working together to beat a champion and even then, victory is not assured.
Ultimate: Otherwise thought of as the “perfect” stage and one that is far more difficult for most digimon to reach. It is almost impossible for a single champion to beat an ultimate as an ultimate can often possess to completely destroy rookies with a casual gesture.
Mega: Otherwise known as the “ultimate” level, this is the form that all digimon strive to reach though few ever manage to do so. A mega level digimon has enough power to completely destroy a city in a single blow and though uncommon, many of them form allegiances based on similarities of their nature such as the Royal Knights or the Demon Lords.
Ultra: Otherwise known as the “true ultimate” level that only a few digimon have ever reached, this is the form thought to exist beyond the mega level and thanks to its rarity, is considered as a legend by most. It is said that an ultra level digimon can completely destroy the Digital World.
Speaking of the realm that digimon call home, the Digital World itself is an entirely separate dimension from our own, with some manner of intelligence behind its running and maintenance. This intelligence varies by the generation from being just a vague concept to an actual living thing, but is almost always in possession of a strange sense of humor. I say this because it is quite common for one to find such things as hunks of meat growing on trees or waterfalls that flow backwards in the Digital World.
In the case of Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01, or simply V-Tamer 01, it is the first and thus far longest running, manga series of the Digimon franchise, running from 1998 all the way to 2003 with nine volumes in total making up its storyline. The manga was created a year before the anime series and features the main character of Taichi Yagami as the protagonist with a, then strange, digimon partner named Zeromaru.
As Zeromaru is a digimon and thus prone to evolution, or digivolution, throughout the manga’s run, I shall touch lightly upon each of his forms shortly after I talk about whom he is as a character. Though cliché, Zero is quite possibly the most living thing I’ve ever seen to come out of a franchise based on monsters of a digital nature. True, the anime series did their best, particularly the first three seasons with the third ranking highest amongst them as far as character development is concerned, but you can almost tell instantly upon meeting him that Zeromaru is an actual individual with his own thoughts and feelings, going from cool and battle hardened to silly and whimsical as the mood calls for it. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw Zero go from experienced fighter with an equally wise tamer, the term used for human partners amongst digimon, to doing a victory dance with said tamer whilst proclaiming they were the champions.
As to Zeromaru’s species… Zeromaru is first seen in his champion form of a Veedramon, an incorrect Americanization of the Japanese name of V-dramon. As a whole, the names of most digimon translate to what they specifically are and in Zeromaru’s case, V-dramon translates to “Victory Dragon Monster.” Still, I’ll stick by the Americanized version as it was the one I grew up as a kid. Veedramon, as a species are incredibly rare and in the manga itself are all but extinct with Zeromaru being the sole exception. As a Veedramon, Zeromaru’s chief attack was the “V-Breath Arrow,” an energy blast shaped like an enormous V that flew like an arrow through the air.
When Zeromaru reached his ultimate form, he became what is commonly referred as an AeroVeedramon, which translates to Air Victory Dragon Monster. Ironically enough, it wasn’t until Zeromaru fought against Ghoulmon, a mega level digimon, that he was able to achieve this form. With his new wings, Zeromaru was able to take his fights to the skies and easily overwhelm any foes still locked on land, especially with his new and improved “V-Breath Arrow” attack and the far more devastating “V-Wing Blade” that fires an energized beam of energy from his wings.
Yet what makes Zeromaru a truly formidable foe, and one of the coolest humanoid dragons I’ve ever seen, is his mega form of UlforceVeedramon, which loosely translates to “Ultimate Force Victory Dragon Monster.” While not the first of them to appear, both in the manga and in the anime series itself, Zeromaru had, by his very evolution, become a member of the powerful group of mega level digimon known as the Royal Knights. As a Royal Knight, Zeromaru gained a form of specialized armor that is stronger than titanium but is light as the very air itself, able to reach speeds that a digimon of his size and power should be incapable of achieving. Though Zeromaru achieved this form in order to combat against an artificially created digimon, he used his new body to its full potential and beyond against the monster’s maker, Daemon, one of the Seven Demon Lords of the Digital World, digimon whom are based on the data of the seven sins.
I shan’t say what occurred next but I strongly suggest that any fan of the Digimon franchise find the translations of the manga and give it a read. You won’t be disappointed. I say the same for those who aren’t as well for if ever there was a manga series that truly embodies the partnership between man and dragon, this is it. Even if that dragon is something of a goof at the worse moments…