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My Hero Zero
They say that one is the loneliest number.
Zero is even lonelier.

"Sigma, you should have studied the blueprints closer! There is only one Zero!"
Zero, Mega Man X2

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:

    open/close all folders 

    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 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 Nunally, 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 a Messianic Archetype 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 Type-0 Cyborgs from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.
  • Gundam Wing has Wing Gundam Zero, the Mid-Season Upgrade slash Super Prototype; it also bears the unit code XXXG-00W0. It and the Epyon have the so-called ZERO System (Short for Zoning and Emotional Range Omitted), which enhances the pilot's abilities tenfold 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.
    • SD Gundam Force has its expy named Zero, the Winged Knight of Lacroa.
    • The first Gundam to appear in 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.
    • The trope 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 Bad Ass shinigami.)
    • Bleach also offers us the nihilistic villain Ulqiorra Cifer, who actually seems to work most closely with Yammy.
    • There's also the Cero, a powerful class of energy blast. All the characters who can use itnote  have some connection to Hollows, so the name is fitting.
    • 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 The Familiar of Zero is a Double Subversion. Her nickname comes from her apparently non-existent magical prowess, and nothing about her implies any level of Bad Ass... 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. The Big Bad of the third season, Yubel being the most obvious example.
    • Yu Gi Oh Zexal takes this Up to Eleven in the final duel between Yuma and Astral. When Yuma is on the verge of losing, he manages to activate a trap which overlays two of his Xyz Monsters to create Future Number 0: Hope, King of the Future, a Rank zero Xyz Monster with zero attack and defense. The amazing part? Yuma wins using this new monster.
  • 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~S.ifr~ 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 Sgt. Frog 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 Jetters.
  • A villainous Zero is Mr.0 aka Crocodile in One Piece.
    • Also, the real Bartholomew "Tyrant" Kuma is PX-0.
  • 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 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: When They Cry 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 all 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.note 
  • Fairy Tail: Zero, the most powerful member and Superpowered Evil Side of Guildmaster Brain of the Oracion Seis. In this case, his name is most likely intended to bring to mind 'nothingness' because he explicitly wishes to destroy all of creation.
  • In Six Six Six 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.
  • Rei Kiriyama from Sangatsu No Lion uses the kanji for zero and nothingness. This case is subverted in the sense that this hasn't been played for the Rule of Cool. The story has yet to tell his parents' reasons for giving him the name. In fact, it just gives Kyoko more fuel to taunt him with.
    Kyoko: "You're name is Rei? What a weird name! But it suits you...'No home. No relatives. No school. No friends."'
  • Parodied in the anime adaptation of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! - every member of the club is member number zero, because other numbers aren't as cool.
  • Iris Zero. In-universe, the title refers to the 1% of the non-adult population who, like the protagonist, don't have superhuman Augmented Reality powers.
  • Cyborg 009 and his comrades.

    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 necessity of the rest of the team not knowing Mutant Zero's identity, but the point is that she kicks it hardcore.
  • The Batman villain Mr. Freeze was introduced in 1959 as Mr. Zero.

    Fanfic 
  • Okay, Cure Cipher in Puzzle Hunt Precure is themed after the code type of cipher — but the pun is still there, seeing as how her civilian name is Rei, which also means zero.

    Film 
  • Zero from Holes. Also in the novel of the same name.
  • In 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.
  • There are agents in the James Bond books and films 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. Inverted with the villain of '"Casino Royale'', Le Chiffre.
  • 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.
  • Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends: "ZERO! Ultraman Zero! Son of Seven!"
  • 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. * The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack Skellington's heroic ghost dog is named Zero. His glowing nose assist the protagonists many times.
  • 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!"
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: Zero Moustafa, the last owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel, who started his life as a humble lobby boy with "zero" experience.

    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, 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 Bad Ass 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 lampshades the Bilingual Bonus in his first appearance.
    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.

    Video Games 
  • In the Fatal Frame series, Type-Zero film is the most powerful.
  • Mega Man
    • In Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero, Zero is a nigh-unstoppable, lightsaber-wielding, 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. The name is appropriate for a host of reasons: he knows nothing about his past, his best friend is X (making the classic "X and O"), and his ultimate role in the first game is a kamikaze attack (see Real Life for why that's significant). It's also a good name for a character who dies every other game.
    • Keiji Inafune, father of the franchise, wanted Zero to be the main character. Capcom only made him change his mind, though 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 Dark Horse and future main guy. It worked.
    • Blues/Proto Man in the original Mega Man series has the codename DLN-000. Justified as 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 then appears in his "true" body, and telling his codename, DAN-000 "The Original".
    • As of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Zero shares an English voice actor with…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. The same idea is re-used in Persona 4.
  • 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.
  • Antagonistic video game example: In some of the Kirby games, the pink hero faces Dark Matter, whose core is called 0.
  • 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 badassery. (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.
  • Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat. He's actually less than Zero; it says so in his name!
  • 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. Element Zero might also count.
  • 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.
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the characters are all kidnapped by someone who calls themself Zero, to participate in the Nonary Game. The nine players are numbered one through nine, while Zero is the mastermind behind it all. With the release of the sequel, Virtue's Last Reward, the series has been renamed Zero Escape; the second game removes most of the numerical motif but keeps the mastermind's name Zero.
  • 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, which leads him to declare himself "Destroyer of Math".
  • The Assassin in Borderlands 2 is named Zer0.
  • The villainous "Cipher" variant shows up in Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.
  • A villainous example shows up in Anarchy Reigns, who is a Ninja in a nanosuit who seeks data for development of the Drone army's latest weaponry. Did we mention that he's also a Captain Ersatz of Raiden?
  • Bayonetta features a group known as the "Little Devils" that you can summon to aid you in battle at times. Each of the devils are named by number (One, Two, so on), and they are loyal to their leader, "Little King Zero". Zero can be unlocked as a playable character, and he lives up to his name: upon taking damage from ANYTHING, his health will immediately be reduced to zero. Another hit will kill him.
  • The protagonist of Drakengard 3 is the Intoner known as Zero. She's the eldest of her sisters, who are numerically named from Zero to Five.

    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.
  • 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). Also done as a subversion in a Rocky and Bullwinkle story arc, about a masked antagonist who calls himself Zero and defaces all the buildings in a sleepy town with zeroes.
  • 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 Bros., 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 - in Wacky Races Dick Dastardly 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.
  • In Fireball XL 5, an early Gerry Anderson puppet show, Steve Zodiac's boss was Commander Zero. (They also had a Lieutenant Ninety so presumably they were going for the number theme...)
  • The boss of The Robonic Stooges is 0-0-0.

    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.
  • 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 in Allied nations due to its being Japan's primary naval fighter in World War II. In particular, it was the standard plane for kamikaze missions.
  • Zero Mostel may not have been a hero, but he was a good enough actor that he deserves mention here. His testimony before Congress and his defense of his fellow blacklisted actors should make him one.
  • 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 separated 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 Formula One, 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.
  • Other motorsports examples of the number zero:
    • NASCAR allows for the assignment of both #0 and #00.
      • An example of the former would be Gene Haas' original entry into the Sprint Cup Series in 2003, which carried the #0 due to sponsor NetZero, an internet service provider. Unfortunately, driver Jack Sprague, a three time Truck Series champion, proved so ill-suited for the Cup cars that he was fired after a half-season, and Haas CNC in general struggled mightily for a long time. When NetZero left the team (and NASCAR) after 2005, they switched to #66 in tribute to new sponsor Best Buy. When Tony Stewart bought into the team in 2009, this team became the #39 for Ryan Newman, and as of 2014 carries the #4, with Kevin Harvick behind the wheel.
      • The #00 was used by Buckshot Jones in the late 90's and early 2000's, as a play on his nickname. He eventually left it with Michael Waltrip Racing, the last team he drove for in the Cup Series, who themselves continued to use it to only minor success (a pair of wins with David Reutimann) until 2011. Since 2012, this car has borne the number 55, and as of 2014 is driven by Brian Vickers.
    • In the United Sports Car Championship, the #0 is used by the Deltawing team, and they also stick out from the pack due to the particularly unique design of their car - the front wheelbase is significantly narrower than the rear base, and by extension the wheelbases on the other Prototype class cars. They also field the only female driver in the 2014 USCC field, Katherine Legge. Sadly, much like the NASCAR examples, the Deltawing is usually slower than other prototypes, and often drops out with mechanical issues.
  • 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").
  • During his pre-season stint with the Detroit Lions, writer George Plimpton wore number 0. His experiences with the team are chronicled in the book Paper Lion, and was made into a movie starring Alan Alda as Plimpton.
  • 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.
    • We can be a little more specific than that: the payoff on a single number is 36 for 1 (your original chip, plus 35 more like it), but completely fair odds would be 37:1 on a single zero wheel and 38:1 on a double zero wheel. This carries over to the red/black payoff, which pays even money but doesn't pay either bet if a 0 or 00 comes up. It may not sound like much, but the net result is that most bets on a double-zero roulette table have an expected payoff of just under ninety-five cents on a dollar (making it one of the most profitable games for the house, and the "first five" bet is even worse).

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 often 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 Works 
  • 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 
  • Ring 0 Birthday
  • Cube Zero.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, all of the "eight evil exes" are visually associated with their number in the list. Scott himself is associated with the number zero. For example, at one point he wears a sports jersey with "0" on it, and Coke Zero is his beverage of choice.

    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 Mox Opal (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.

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has its infamous "Zero becomes one, one becomes 100" navelgaze during the ending by Big Boss when he euthanizes Major Zero.
  • The Japanese tend to do this in titles of prequels, especially for video games: Ace Combat Zero, Street Fighter Zero, Resident Evil 0. (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 complete-but-unreleased English translation to MOTHER was leaked, it was dubbed EarthBound Zero, to avoid confusion with the sequel.

    Web Comics 

Morally Ambiguous DoctorateNames to Run Away From Really FastName of Cain
Mutilation InterrogationSublime RhymeMy Way or the Highway
You Are Number SixNumber TropesNumber One Dime
Mr. SmithNaming ConventionsMy Nayme Is
Schoolhouse RockImageSource/Western AnimationBlind Without 'Em

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