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Episode Zero: The Beginning

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Kyoko: River City Girls Zero? What's that?
Misako: It's a new game featuring us and our boyfriends. Well... not exactly new...
Kyoko: But I thought games started with the number 1 then went to 2...
Misako: It's our very first adventure together, released way back in 1994.
Kyoko: Woah, that's hecka old! How come I never heard about it?
Misako: It was only released in Japan until now.
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Putting "Zero" in the title of a work, or episode of that work, can be a good shorthand that a work is a prequel, prologue, or even a remake of a first chapter. Some comic book origin stories are shown in issues numbered 0.

Subtrope of Numbered Sequels. Compare Title 1. See also Unusual Chapter Numbers, Year Zero.

Note: If "Zero" is in the title for any other reason, it doesn't count (as it wouldn't be the beginning). So works like Mega Man Zero and Phantasy Star Zero wouldn't be an example. Also, the names have to be official, not fan nicknames.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Flash: Season Zero is a comic book prequel to Season 1 of The Flash (2014).
  • Marvel Comics had a "Flashback Month" in which every comic published an #-1, set before the origin stories.
    • More specifically, in most cases they were set before Fantastic Four #1, which started the Silver Age of Marvel.
  • "Chapter 0: Of Ducks, Dimes, and Destinies", part of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. It covers the same events as Chapter 1, showing Magica's involvement via time travel; it was actually written earlier, but not published for some time to avoid having such similar stories come out too close together.
  • Ninja High School received a Chapter 0, many years after it first began. It was an Interquel for Ichi-kun (after her grandfather defeated her in Chapter 1, but before her trip to America) and Asrial (after she was made aware of who she was being sent to marry, but before being transformed into a human form), but a Prequel for Jeremy (showing him the day before his introduction in Chapter 1).
  • Paperinik New Adventures started with no less than three number zeros, titled 0, 0/2 and 0/3 respectively, which introduced the series' main characters and concepts. A few years later issue 0/1 was also published, detailing how Paperinik adjusted to his new life after the events of issue 0.
  • In an interesting use of this trope and Unusual Chapter Numbers, every volume of Resident Alien begins with an issue #0 normally, as if #0 were the actual #1.
  • Spider-Girl's first issue was numbered 0, and was a reprint of What If? v2 #105, the issue she first appeared in.
  • Robert Crumb's Zap Comix came out with an issue 0: he had lost the art to the first issue and made a new one, then discovered the missing artwork and released it later.
  • "Zero Month" following DC Comics' Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! is a borderline case; the #0s all retell the heroes' origins, but in Flash Back, with a Framing Story in the present.
    • There was another "Zero Month" for the one-year anniversary of the New 52 reboot.
      • Before the New 52, there was an Issue #0 of Batwoman, which consists of Batman observing the heroine to get confirmation on her identity, eventually deeming her a worthy candidate for Batman Inc. It is included in the collected edition of the comic's first storyline. Funnily enough, this means that Batwoman has two Issue #0s in this continuity.
      • Averted with in Green Lantern #0 and Green Lantern: The New Guardians #0; featuring new present-day origins (of Earth's newest Green Lantern and an overhauled New Guardians roster) instead of flashbacks.
    • The New 52 version of Bruce Wayne first taking on the Batman identity is titled Batman: Zero Year.

    Fanfic 
  • Psychedelic Epiphany Series: Yearly Epiphany: The first chapter, Year 0: Hearthswarming Epiphany, about the beginning of the first year, or zeroth year, of Epiphany's life.
  • Vow of Nudity: A prequel story starring Haara's mother is numbered 0 despite being the third story published. Spectra's first story is also labeled 0 because it takes place before she becomes a level 1 warlock.
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    Film 

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • 24: Day Zero. A series of animated webisodes. It's a prequel series, focusing on Jack Bauer's first 18 months at CTU.
  • TOME has Episode 00: /File:Zero. It focuses on the Netkings rather than the main players and showcases the Netkings as they first make the game and inadvertently play a hand in the creation of the Forbidden Power by introducing negative emotions to the core of the game, SOFDTI.

    Webcomics 
  • On the Origin of PCs, the first The Order of the Stick prequel, was published as issue number 0. Start of Darkness, the second prequel, takes place even earlier, so it's issue number -1.
  • Station Square's prologue chapter is Episode 0.
  • xkcd's print edition starts with volume 0. It's not a prequel, the author just likes zero-indexing.

    Web Videos 
  • Carmilla has a prequel season, Season 0, set in 2012, before Laura comes to Silas in the first season proper, set in mid-2014 (when the webseries actually started airing).
  • Freeman's Mind released an Episode 0 between 34 and 35, showing Gordon going through the hazard course and refusing to finish after being told to jump two stories onto concrete.

    Western Animation 

    Other 
  • Sometimes, video streaming platforms will place collections containing pilots or bonus material of a established work in its own tab and label it as "Season 0" of said work.


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