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It was so nice of Konami to provide a free game with the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo.
Message of the blowing wind
Erasing memories
Stars are the witnesses of our existence
Change is what the world awaits
Could that be peace or war?
The answer no one knows
Trusting the break of dawn
The blue bird flies away
— The lyrics of Beyond the Bounds, the opening of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner.

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Zone of the Enders is a Humongous Mecha series published by Konami and produced by Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear franchise as well as the director of Snatcher and its Spiritual Successor, Policenauts.

The original, eponymous game (more distinctly titled Zone of the Enders: Z.O.E. in Japan) was a high-speed mecha combat game released in 2001 for the PlayStation 2. Leo Stenbuck, a kid living in a space colony orbiting Jupiter, falls into the cockpit of a Super Prototype Orbital Frame named Jehuty when the colony is attacked by the Martian rebel group, BAHRAM. Leo quickly discovers that BAHRAM has come to the colony for Jehuty, but realizes that their reign of terror won't end if he hands over the machine. With the help of Jehuty's A.I. program, ADA, Leo sets out to break through BAHRAM's forces, save his fellow colonists, and deliver Jehuty to the UNSF on the other side of the colony.


Zone of the Enders for PS2 had brisk initial sales, mostly attributed to the fact that the game was packaged with a demo for Metal Gear Solid 2. For many players, Z.O.E. was "the free game" that came with their demo. Nonetheless, the game sold well enough to gain a cult following of its own.

This game was accompanied by a sort of franchise-building initiative with several tie-in products. Zone of the Enders: 2167 IDOLO, a prequel anime OVA starring Viola Gyune (The Dragon of the game) and Radium Lavans, was released just before the game's launch. The protagonists join a resistance movement against the Earth using Idolo, the first Orbital Frame. This was followed by a full TV Series, Zone of the Enders: Dolores, I, where a space trucker named James Links receives the Orbital Frame Dolores from his estranged wife Rachel, one of Idolo's designers and a casualty of the OVA's events. The frame curiously thinks of the trucker as her uncle, spurring James to seek out and reconcile with his children. Both the OVA and TV series received DVD releases, and later in 2012 (in Japan), re-released on Blu-ray.


A sequel, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders in Japan), was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2003. Miner and former BAHRAM soldier Dingo Egret finds Jehuty hidden on Callisto. Hostile BAHRAM soldiers arrive and Dingo is forced to fight his way to their command ship, where he meets his old colleague and BAHRAM's leader, Nohman. Dingo refuses an offer to rejoin the group, so Nohman shoots him. Dingo wakes up hardwired to Jehuty's life-support systems, unable to leave the cockpit. Ken Marinaris, a soldier Dingo fought on Callisto, explains that she's a UNSF spy and requests his assistance in exchange for having saved his life. Dingo escapes to Mars, battles BAHRAM forces, and clashes with Leo Stenbuck in the Vic Viper. He steels himself to settle the score with Nohman and finish the destined battle between Jehuty and its Evil Counterpart, Anubis.

A Turn-Based Strategy Spin-Off game, Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars (Z.O.E. 2173 Testament in Japan), was released for the Game Boy Advance as well. A boy named Cage Midwell finds a strangely powerful LEV hidden on a cruise liner. He climbs aboard along with a mysterious girl just before the ship is destroyed. The duo falls in with the rebel group BIS, which seeks to free Mars from UNSF oppression. Fist of Mars plays similar to the Super Robot Wars series, but changes the formula with a crosshair-aligning gameplay system that determines whether attacks hit or miss. Although stats determine how difficult this is, any unit can hit any enemy and dodge any attack if the player plays skillfully.

Despite middling sales, Zone of the Enders continues to be a cult favorite and was a bit of a pet project for Kojima. A sequel was announced in 2012, showing off Darker and Edgier looks for Jehuty and Anubis and promising more fantasy elements. An HD Collection of the first two console games was released in October 2012 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (and came with a demo for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance). Unfortunately, the ports were poorly remastered and ended up running at worse frame rates than the PlayStation 2 versions. In response, Kojima Productions and Hexa Drive (the same folks behind the HD re-releases of Rez and Ōkami) created a patch to fix the errors made by the original porting team, High Voltage Software. The patch was released in July 2013, rectifying the PlayStation 3 version of The 2nd Runner while the Xbox 360 version and both versions of the original game went untouched. The Play Station Vita version of the HD Collection and the would-be-sequel were put on hold in response.

Another remaster of The 2nd Runner, titled "Zone of The Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS" was announced at Sony's TGS 2017 Press Conference. Developed by Konami in conjunction with Cygames, this new remaster includes 4K graphics, remastered High-Def Sound, and the ability to play through the entire game in VR, from the perspective of the inside of Jehuty's cockpit (hence why the A in "M∀RS" is upside down in the logo). It was released on PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam on September 4, 2018.

This series has nothing to do with Ender's Game. Or the Zone of the Endermen, for that matter.

The franchise provides examples of:

  • A Father to His Men: Deckson from The Fist of Mars.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Orbital Frames and LEVs. To further distinguish them from one another, Orbital Frames being immeasurably superior to LEVs in pretty much every way possible. The only thing LEVs have on frames is they can be manufactured with common materials. Although by The 2nd Runner, commercial LEV technology, as with the Vic Viper, had just about caught up with Orbital Frames, at least with a decent pilot who can give an Orbital Frame a run for its money.
  • Ace Pilot:
    • Radam and Viola qualify. Also, Dingo used to be one.
    • Leo became one in the second game, piloting the beefed-up LEV, the Vic Viper (but still considered weaker than Orbital Frames story-wise). He could fight Dingo in the second game to a stand-still in an inferior suit.
  • Absent Aliens: The conflict is strictly between various human factions.
  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: In the first game, you cap at Lv. 9. The second is probably not as strict, but by the time you reach the end of the game, you're probably at Lv. 15-20.
  • Action Girl: Semil and Mebius from The Fist of Mars. Ken from The 2nd Runner is supposedly one but she doesn't get much of a chance to show it.
  • Actionized Sequel: The 2nd Runner compared to the original game. The 2nd Runner ditched the open-exploration gameplay of the first Zone of the Enders and went with a more linear approach of progression. The first game also involves lots of backtracking and looking for certain items or perform certain tasks to progress further into the game whereas the sequel emphasizes much more on action and fighting (for the most part), while at the same time, making much better use of the improved grabbing mechanics.
  • Actually a Doombot: When Dingo confronts Anubis in the Aumaan facility, it turns out he was beating up a fake with Ken inside it, as if a strangely wingless Anubis didn't give it away.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: It is implied that the A.I. in this series is more or less a reflection of the frame runner's psyche, so this trope gets played with a lot:
    • The A.I. of Hathor and Anubis are decidedly evil, while Hathor's twin sister Dolores is a bubbly and innocent Robot Girl. By contrast, Dolores's alternate identity, Isis, while seeming evil at first glance, is really just a neutral Combat Pragmatist who will readily relinquish control to the pilot or Dolores... as soon as any perceived threat is eliminated with EXTREME and unrestrained prejudice.
      • Dolores is actually a unique example, as she turns out to be a remnant of Dolores Hayes's persona, which became imprinted on Idolo when she died.
    • Viola's A.I. from The 2nd Runner is a full-on psycho.
    • Though initially neutral, ADA evolves into a compassionate computer, as does Pharsti from The Fist of Mars.
    • In Dolores, I one Raptor goes rogue and ends up becoming friends with Dolores.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Viola in the first game. The music that plays during her death will most certainly not help.
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • Dingo, a former BAHRAM military pilot, and is a genius runner to the extent to be rumored to be the only one that can match Nohman in one-on-one battle. And that's probably the reason why the Jehuty in the second game is far stronger and more useful than the first game Jehuty. (There's also the fact it gets upgrades in the second it never had in the first.)
    • James Links, main protagonist of the anime, is just a lowly truck driver . . . and a former decorated, highly skilled LEV military pilot. Even if his mech's AI is keeping watch over all the complex background sub-systems, she is very much NOT suited for fighting, which means all that brutal ass-whooping that gets dealt out over the course of the series? That's all James. And then there's the "Die Hard" episode . . . .
  • The Anime of the Game: Zone of the Enders: 2167 IDOLO, an OVA prequel to the first game; and Zone of the Enders: Dolores, I, an anime TV series that follows on 2167 IDOLO's story.
  • Anime Theme Song:
    • In Dolores, I, "Zone of the Enders" by LAZY.
    • A new opening sequence was made for the HD Collection. The animation was done by Sunrise, the same studio that brought us the Zone of the Enders anime OVA and TV series, while using "Beyond the Bounds" from The 2nd Runner for the background music.
  • Antagonist Title: The Japanese title of The 2nd Runner is known as ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders. The title refers to Jehuty's rival Orbital Frame, piloted by the game's main antagonist Nohman.
  • Anything That Moves: Yukito.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Metatron can be used to do almost anything. Nohman takes this and runs with it, even implying that Metatron has a will of its own.
  • Apocalypse How: Pretty high on the scale: it turns out Aumaan's ultimate weapon will simply compress space all over the solar system, crushing all the planets and the sun itself as though it were a massive fist.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Viola to Leo and Nohman to Dingo.
    • In the anime, Baan considers James Links to be his nemesis. Links sees Baan as little more than a pest, for the most part. The audience sees Baan as comic relief . . . until he starts shooting children.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In the episode "Die Hard" of Dolores, i, James Links comments that the air on Mars has a 0.04% oxygen content, but that the air around the oxygen plant has a 30% oxygen concentration, enough to live, but not stay conscious without a mask. Earth only has a 20% oxygen concentration. This might be chalked up to a thinner atmosphere (where higher oxygen concentration would be necessary to be breathable), except that the characters have already stated on several occasions that the Martian atmosphere is three times denser than Earth's. This COULD be hand-waved as indicating that there's actually too much oxygen in the local atmosphere, at too high pressure, resulting in hyperoxia and oxygen toxicity, which could certainly result in Noel fainting. And to be fair, James merely describes the air as "almost breathable," without indicating whether that means too little or too much oxygen. Still, the implication is clearly "too little," and Noel's collapse is rather too sudden to indicate hyperoxia, so it's a weak explanation at best.
  • Attack Drone: Ken's Ardjet has a cape made of tiny wisps, some of which it gifts to Jehuty (see also Morph Weapon below). When Jehuty upgrades to Ver.2, the much bigger and more useful "tail feather" objects on Jehuty detach and become additional firing points. Naturally, Vic Viper comes with the iconic Options from it's parent series.
  • The Atoner: Easily all the good guys in The Fist of Mars, in one way or another.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Vector Cannon, outside of the fight against the BAHRAM battleships or as a Finishing Move against Aumaan Anubis.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Rock Thunderheart from the first game.
  • Background Halo: On Viola's frame, Neith and its successor (piloted by Viola's psychotic A.I.) Nephtis.
  • Badass Crew: The members of BIS (Born In Space), half of whom regularly take on several Orbital Frames by the end of the game in little more than Ace Custom LEVs.
  • Badass Normal: Leo in the second installment. Despite not piloting a true Orbital Frame, he's still able to keep up with Jehuty. Also, James Links, who make up for his lack of skill with an Orbital Frame with the experiences he gained as a hardened UNSF veteran to overcome many obstacles.
  • Bag of Holding: Vector Traps, "pocket dimensions" of folded-over space enabled by Metatron's space-bending properties. A Vector Trap can hold a theoretically limitless volume, but mass is still a factor for the device carrying it. This is what enables the Hyperspace Arsenal of Orbital Frames, and the Clown Car Base of Cellars that deploy unmanned frames.
  • Battle Butler: Twede from The Fist of Mars. Battle Secretary would be more accurate though.
  • Battleship Raid: The train and battleship fights in The 2nd Runner.
  • Beam Spam: The homing laser attacks used by several Orbital Frames.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Much of The 2nd Runner centers on finding the Zero Shift so that Jehuty can fight on par with Anubis.
  • Beginner's Luck:
    • Leo and Cage, helped by the fact that they have some stupidly-powerful mecha with good A.I..
    • The exception is in Dolores, i, since James is a UNSF veteran, but the Dolores' A.I. is, well... not suited for combat. Then again, James isn't too good at the beginning either, as he's never piloted an Orbital Frame before. He actually improves fairly slowly (and on paper isn't a match for any of the "elites", though he generally muddles through with sheer pluck and the fact that his new "niece" is a Super Prototype).
  • Berserk Button: The only thing Baan Dorfloum hates more than Martians is being insulted by an Martian for being from Earth. It's enough for his to divert his laser focus away from the Links family and onto Radium.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Push Dolores enough and you run the risk of waking her ISIS mode, which will terminate you in the most efficient manner possible.
  • BFG: The Vector Cannon.
  • Big Bad: Nohman, even more so in The 2nd Runner.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Amante from The Fist of Mars
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In the first game, Viola has been defeated, Celvice is safe, the space colony is okay, but BAHRAM still exists. Furthermore, ADA informs Leo she is programmed to self-destruct to destroy the fortress Aumaan, which leaves Leo distraught.
    • In The 2nd Runner, Dingo destroys Anubis and Nohman, but the latter activates Aumaan, resulting in the destruction of Phobos, the largest moon of Mars. Lloyd was killed in a previous battle, though the rest of the cast manage to escape the explosion. When all is said and done, Dingo is finally treated so that he can leave Jehuty without any risk of dying.
  • Blackout Basement: During the second phase of Inhert's boss battle, Lloyd cloaks the entire area in darkness and you have to find him with ADA's help while avoiding all the surprise attacks he throws at you.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Jehuty, Dolores and Testament have this. In Dolores' case though, her arm morphs into an arm-blade.
  • Blade on a Stick: Anubis' Weapon of Choice.
  • Bleak Level: In The 2nd Runner, in the area just before fighting Nephtis, you come across an area where are broken LEVs as far as the eye can see, some of which have been ripped apart or have their upper bodies destroyed. The music in the area is also almost non-existent and very foreboding.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • The 2nd Runner is rife with it, but it doesn't really hurt the game overall.
    • Dolores, i also suffers from this in the early episodes, featuring translations like "Orbital Flame". While this was fixed by the end of the series, the damage was already done. Though it should be noted that the DVD release fixes this mistake from the start.
    • A small but egregiously noteworthy one in Dolores, i states, at the end of the series, that the plan to crash the orbital elevator onto earth will wipe out the entire population of the planet . . . 120 million people. Wait, WHAT? Why is the population of the Earth in the 22nd century less than two-hundredths of the current population? This is generally accepted to be a translation error of two decimal places, and the intended number was 12 billion.
  • Body-Count Competition: There's one in The Fist of Mars. What's particularly strange is that this competition determines which story path you go on, and what ending you get.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Rather blatantly implied for Robin and Twede.
  • Boss Rush: In The 2nd Runner, there's an Extra Mission where you have to fight every boss you encountered throughout the game quickly as possible.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Gauntlet subweapon. It isn't anything flashy, being a simple projectile that knocks back whatever enemy it hits. However, it's incredibly flexible; it stops a foe from attacking, breaks its guard, causes a lot of damage when said foe slams into a wall, is very energy-efficient, and you get it early in the campaign. The Gauntlet is a tool you'll be relying on a lot.
  • Brain Uploading: A partial, unintentional example, Upon her death, Dolores Hayes's persona becomes partially imprinted on Idolo, eventually becoming the Dolores A.I. when the remains of Idolo were used to construct the Isis frame.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Ares and Myona suffer through this in The Fist of Mars.
  • Broken Bridge: The microwave force-field in the first game.
  • Broken Pedestal: A minor example: Isaac Barrett, the author of the book How To Be A Daddy whom James Links practically worships as an epitome of great parent, turns out to be a worse father than James himself. However, Isaac does manage to reconcile with his son at the end of the episode and James just gives Isaac's book back to Isaac, telling him that it is time for Isaac to follow what the book says.
  • Bullet-proof Mecha Shield: You can grab enemies and use them as a shield. The enemies will still shoot, causing them to hurt their allies instead of you. This comes in really useful, especially in the second game, where those enemies are your only defense against a difficult boss.
  • Bumbling Dad: James Links from Dolores, i. He's trying to work things out with his kids, though.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The BIS is made up of these.
  • Cain and Abel:
    • The Orbital Frames Jehuty and Anubis.
    • Dolores and Hathor. As well as Testament and Iblis. This series loves invoking this trope.
  • Can't Live Without You: In the sequel, Dingo can't live outside Jehuty.
  • Caped Mecha:
    • Weird variation, Dolores takes some sheets and wears them as a dress.
    • Ken's Ardjet also has a "cape" that can shapeshift into a variety of weapons and defenses.
  • Charged Attack: Frequently:
    • The Burst Shot, where Jehuty pushes a lot of its shot energy into a "bubble" of compressed space, then projects it all at once at a target.
    • The Vector Cannon can only be fired this way:
    ADA: "Shift to VECTOR CANNON Mode. All energy lines connected. Landing gear and climbing irons locked. Inner chamber pressure rising normally. Life-ring has started revolving. Ready to fire."
  • Cherry Tapping: Forced upon you in The 2nd Runner when you fight Anubis for real Jehuty has been damaged, leaving the only things it can do is blade, dash, grab, burst-blade and Zero Shift. No shield nor long-range weapons of any kind. Needless to say, it makes Anubis insanely hard on your first attempts.
  • The Chessmaster: Nohman is shown to be one in the Expanded Universe.
    • In Dolores, i, he allows Radium to go through with his plan because he knows it's a suicide mission that will take Hathor off the table, and even if he succeeds, it will destroy the Space Force, which is the only real opposition to Project Aumaan. Also, the chaos created by Radium's plan had crippled the leadership of BAHRAM.
    • It is revealed in The Stinger at the end of The Fist of Mars that the entire game's plot was a ploy to get rid of his opposition within the leadership of BAHRAM.
    • Both of these events events allow him to take complete control over BAHRAM and Mars in the time between Zone of the Enders and The 2nd Runner
  • Childhood Friends: Leo and Celvice.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Quite possibly the case for Leo and Celvice.
  • Child Soldiers: The I.D.O. Mindflow System, which subdues the will of a pilot to enhance the performance of Orbital Frame, works better with children, making them ideal for soldiers. The party even fights an army consisting of child soldiers in the game.
  • Christmas Cake: Mebius from The Fist of Mars.
  • Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder: All the antagonists in The Fist of Mars seem to suffer from this.
  • Classic Cheat Code: In the first game, inputting the Konami Code restores Jehuty's energy gauge and sub-weapon ammo, at the expense of lowering its level. Also, the Versus Mode in the first game can be unlocked with the Konami Code as well. The 2nd Runner also featured the Konami Code as an alternative method to unlock Zoradius.
  • Cleavage Window: Elena Wienberg's outfit in the first game featured this.
  • Cliffhanger: The end of the first game. While what's left of the Antilia Colony is saved and BAHRAM's invading army has been repulsed, the organization itself is still out there, Nohman has accomplished his primary objective, and the heroes are left knowing that the real fight is just beginning.
  • Clingy Jealous Guy: Phil, a rare male example of this trope.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: Dolores.
  • Cool Shades: Warren never takes his off. Neither does Twede.
  • Cool Sword: Ken's Ardjet uses a rapier.
  • Colony Drop: The attempted destruction of Earth's Space Elevator.
    • Was attempted by BAHRAM for Antilia in the first game. Would have dropped it into Jupiter if it had succeeded.
  • Competitive Multiplayer: In the main games, a Versus Mode can be unlocked by beating the game. In the first game, players can choose between Jehuty, the enemies, and Neith as well its final form; in the sequel, players play as the characters' Orbital Frames.
  • Computer Voice: The A.I. of an Orbital Frame.
  • Cowardly Lion: Taper in The 2nd Runner.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Done in Fist of Mars, where halfway through, the storyline splits depending on whether you destroy more or less enemy units than a trio of NPCs. However, while the routes are notably different, the ending is more or less the same for both routes.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The Phantomas, and the Raptors and Cyclops.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Happens to Ken twice in The 2nd Runner; first when Viola's A.I. possesses her Ardjet, then she gets captured by Nohman by time Dingo gets to the Aumaan facility.
    • Myona Alderan from Fist of Mars is also targetted by the villains because of her special ability.
  • Dark Action Girl: Viola.
  • Death by Racism: Baan Dorfloum, a blatant racist who thinks nothing of insulting and attacking innocent people just because they are not from Earth, tries to attack Radium for daring to insult him about being from Earth. Radium was in an Orbital Frame, Baan was not. This ended poorly for him.
  • Death from Above: Slash's Tempest when turning red.
  • Death Seeker: Viola. She pretty much lost everything she ever wanted to live for as a BAHRAM soldier, and the only thing that give her life meaning was fighting.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: ADA, especially by the second half of the first game. She noticeably comes to care for the life of her young Runner.
  • Deflector Shields:
    • Whenever a mech goes into its guarding stance.
    • In The 2nd Runner, Jehuty's upgraded forms get a 'Passive' version. Ver. 2's stops basic shot attacks, while Naked Jehuty's stops all ranged attacks (except for the Final Boss).
  • Degraded Boss: Nephtis's final appearance. A bunch of them respawn infinitely near the entrance to the Final Boss, and the fact that you can cut them down like flies certainly feels like this trope. Then you can replay the game and discover that no, they weren't downgraded, Naked Jehuty is just that friggin' powerful.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Leo goes from being the main character in the first game, to a supporting character in The 2nd Runner.
    • Early on in the The Fist of Mars, if you decide to spare Nadia, you begin a process which will lead to her having a Heel–Face Turn. There could have been a virtual goldmine of tension between her and the Eviler Than Thou newcomer Amante, or at least something about her learning and growing. Unfortunately, she doesn't even get twenty more lines in the whole game.
    • Nohman is the Big Bad of the entire series, serving as a Post-Climax Confrontation Hopeless Boss Fight in the first game, and the primary antagonist for the whole of the sequel. But in Dolores, i? He's just some cocky jerk who shows up to mock Pleminger's BAHRAM unit. It's revealed in backstory materials that Nohman was running his own gambit to take over Bahram via the chaos Radium's plan created.
  • Developers' Foresight: When playing through New Game+ with Damaged or Naked Jehuty, the section of the game where the player has to look for Taper by tapping on containers with basic shots will be skipped. Damaged Jehuty has no basic shots to use, and Naked Jehuty is so powerful that it's impossible to attack the container and not destroy it.
  • Die, Chair, Die!:
    • What you're trying to prevent in the first game to leave Antilia with minimal collateral damage; going around mindlessly wrecking things can impact the ending. In The 2nd Runner, however, it's the complete opposite as long as you're not breaking something important to complete a task (like shooting a container to find Taper with a Burst Shot).
    • In the episode "Final Countdown" of Dolores, i, James became worried when Noel, who was working with an old astronaut retiree at the time, and took his frustration out on a bench considering the impression he left on him towards Noel after he tied up James and his family when they first met.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: On an oxygen plant in Dolores, i. The title of the episode is even named Die Hard.
  • Difficulty Levels:
    • The first game: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard.
    • The 2nd Runner: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard. The Special Edition later adds Super Hard (Japanese PlayStation 2 version only until the later re-releases) and Extreme, then M∀RS also added a Very Easy difficulty.
  • Disney Villain Death: Baan.
  • Determinator: Baan walks on the surface of Mars without a space suit just to attack the Links family.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Dolores sure does.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The control cockpits for the humanoid Orbital Frames and LEVs are located on the front, right between the mech's legs.
    • Played for laughs in the episode "Final Countdown" of Dolores, i. When James went to check up on Noel who was working with the old man, he overheard them doing something that sounded rather suggestive. It turned out Noel was just polishing pipes for the rocket's repairs, much to James' embarrassment.
  • Downer Beginning: The first Zone of the Enders opens with Leo running away from a traumatic experience of witnessing his friends being crushed by a fallen Phantoma LEV when BAHRAM began their attacked on Antilia. Just before that, Leo and his friends where taken captive by a Martian woman who labeled them as Enders. Leo was given a choice to either try and fight back to rescue his friends or run away. He choose the cowardly decision and his friends were killed by the Phantoma that was wrecked by Viola's Neith.
  • Dysfunctional Family: James' family starts out as one. One of the main sources of comic relief from Dolores, i comes from James' attempts to change this.
  • The Dragon: Viola and her A.I. copy.
  • Dual Mode Unit: Every mecha in the main games are one, as they switch between long-range and close-range modes akin to a mecha-fighting game from Sega.
  • Dual Wielding: Lloyd's Inhert, as well as Dolores, both dual-wield arm blades.
  • Dueling Player Characters: In The 2nd Runner, Leo fights Dingo with his own LEV, the Vic Viper.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Aumaan, designed to wipe out the entire solar system. Thankfully this was averted.
  • Easier Than Easy: M∀RS added a new "Very Easy" difficulty in The 2nd Runner, which not only makes the game even easier, but also simplifies combat by having the game handle the fighting for you similarly to Devil May Cry's "Easy Automatic" mode.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: We get to see Nohman before his exposure to Metatron completely changes him in Dolores, i.
  • Escort Mission: Two in The 2nd Runner. The first one have you trying to bring Taper to a catapult on the BAHRAM battleship to get to Mars, then later you have to carry Ken's Ardjet out of a tower leading into Air's Cliff after frying her Orbit Frame's A.I. to erase Viola.
  • Evil Knockoff: The mass-produced Ifrits are this to the Orbital Frame "Testament" that Cage pilots.
  • Expy:
    • For his emotional issues, Cage from The Fist of Mars has been compared to Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Fortunately, Cage has more backbone and friends who actually trust him than the poor Butt-Monkey from Evangelion.
    • Task Force ACEMOS is highly similar to the Titans from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, especially in their racist beliefs. They're also led by a corrupt, schemer with serious ego issues.
    • And of course, Leo and Celvice are obviously Amuro and Frau Bow.
    • Ken resembles Elly and her Orbital Frame, the Ardjet, resembles Elly's Gear, the Vierge/El Regrs.
  • Eye Lights Out: Happens to "Mr. Raptor" in Dolores, i.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Leo (literally) in the first game, Cage in The Fist of Mars, and Dingo (again, literally) in The 2nd Runner. James in Dolores, i may also count.
  • Fanservice:
    • With Ken in The 2nd Runner. If the player holds Ken's Ardjet near the lava long enough after rescuing her from Viola's A.I., the anime cutscene that follows changes to show her without the top half of her spacesuit and revealing her tank top. Oh Kojima, you scoundrel!
    • And there's the opening for the HD Collection, which fans can finally see Ken in all her naked glory! Those who also got the artbook from the Limited Edition can find an artwork of Viola showering.
  • Fantastic Racism: One of the central themes in the series. The eponymous term "Ender" is actually a degrading word in the in-game universe. People from the Earth look down on Martians, while Martians oppress the people who are living further away from the Earth than they do (i.e. Jupiter); each refers to the next as "Enders".
  • Faux Affably Evil: Nohman in the first game and the opening moments of The 2nd Runner until his exposure to Metatron.
  • Faux Action Girl: Ken is a Frame Runner, and apparently a rather highly ranked one considering she works directly with Nohman. However, she spends most of the game offscreen or being a Damsel in Distress.
  • The Federation: The UNSF.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Dingo never wanted Viola to be one of his enemies. Unfortunately, he has to deal with Viola in the form of an evil battle A.I..
  • Flash Step: Zero Shift, which allows Jehuty to instantaneously warp to locked targets, even from long distances.
  • Foreshadowing: Arguably seen on The 2nd Runner's tutorial, where Jehuty's attacks are far slower than the rest of the game, just like whenever the player engages in combat with Anubis.
  • Full Potential Upgrade: Jehuty Ver. 2, which you get after the 'Zero Shift' program settles.
  • Gambit Pileup The plot of The Fist of Mars.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The first game on the Playstation 2 has a very nasty bug that occurs if the system's internal clock isn't set: saving at any moment in the map not only crashes the game, but also kicks the game back to the system's Browser menu. And while a save file is created, the game will fail to recognize it, as if the file is corrupted. The only way to fix this issue is by setting the time and date of the internal clock.
  • Game Within a Game: Zoradius in The 2nd Runner. It can be unlocked by the Konami Code.
  • Gameplay Grading: In the first game, you are graded during civilian rescue missions based on the percentage of survivors remaining and the destruction of the area, and graded between a rank of E (if anything is destroyed and no survivors are left) to A (no buildings were destroyed and less than 10% of survivors were lost). The game gives you an overall ranking at the end based on how long it took to finish the game, how many times you saved, difficulty level played, continues used (if at all), enemies defeated, and your ranking for the survivor rescue missions. The 2nd Runner uses a similar grading system for the Vascilia and BAHRAM sequences, and the overall ranking at the end of the game grades you based on score and highest combo along with the previous factors sans the difficulty level.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Rezma pulls this on Cage, Cage even reacts exactly the same way as Amuro did
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Inhert in The 2nd Runner. It will actively run away from Jehuty during almost all of the battle, except on the second part when it'll attack once you get closer enough.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The Cyclops fights (mostly) with their fists. Their Burst Attack has them performing a powerful punch that sends its enemies flying.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: A subversion with the Wisp in The 2nd Runner; it's not a pistol, but it does everything a Grappling-Hook Pistol can do.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Phil from The Fist of Mars has a million different misgivings with Cage and they all tie back to this, namely that the girl he has a crush on is attracted to Cage, and that Cage gets to take the helm of every sortie despite being the newbie while Phil himself is marginalized and stuck in a support role. Depending on which route the player takes, he may even pull a Face–Heel Turn because of this trope. Fittingly enough, Phil even has green eyes.
  • Green Rocks: Metatron.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Jehuty can grab enemy mechs and whack more enemies with the one it grabbed. Of note is during The War Sequence, where the Vic Viper has infinite health, so a sound strategy is just to grab it and whack away until everything that is not your friend dies.
  • Groin Attack: Baan Dorfloum does this twice to James Links when they first meet. James returns the favor enough that Baan should be a eunuch.
  • Hammerspace: Vector Traps, and almost every sub-weapon in the second game (which are stored in a portable Vector Trap on Jehuty). It's especially noticeable with the Vector Cannon, which is larger than Jehuty itself!
  • Harder Than Hard: The first two games has a "Very Hard" after clearing the game, while the sequel added even higher difficulties in later releases with "Super Hard" and "Extreme".
  • Have a Nice Death: Bosses in both the original and The 2nd Runner taunt you on the Game Over screen if you lose to them.
  • The Heavy: Viola is this in the first game. Despite being The Dragon to Nohman, she's the one who drives most of the plot, while Nohman doesn't appear until a Hopeless Boss Fight right at the very end.
  • Heavy Worlder: Due to the differences in gravity between Earth and Mars, Martians are physically weaker than those from Earth. For comparison an earth man was able to knock out and seriously hurt a martian with a light punch, while that same man barely felt a punch to the face from Radium.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Sameji finally has enough of his superior when he approaches the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Hellish Pupils: Nohman in The 2nd Runner sports them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Deckson and Pharsti in The Fist of Mars. Depending on the route, Phil might also pull one.
    • Dolores' friend Mr. Raptor in Dolores, i.
    • Dolores and Radium Lavans in Dolores, I. For Dolores' case, she survived at the end.
    • Also Lloyd in The 2nd Runner.
  • Homing Lasers: A version that not only arches and curves, but takes that trope Up to Eleven, with the beams zig-zagging, and even turning 180° to get at their target.
  • Homing Projectile: In the second game, there's Comet, a sub-weapon that slowly homes in on its targets and breaks through their defenses.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Any battle against Anubis prior to the climax of the second game. While it's technically possible to inflict some damage on it if you're really good or lucky, there is no chance of actually winning against it.
  • Hot-Blooded: Leo in the original Japanese version of The 2nd Runner when you fight him. No, really; see here.
  • Hot Scientist: Rachel Links and Dolores Heyes.
  • Humongous Mecha: Many of the Orbital Frames and LEVs, and since Dolores is a sentient frame, she also doubles as the biggest Robot Girl there is.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Justified by aforementioned Vector Traps.
  • I Read It for the Articles: A non-pornographic example. Several of the people who got the first Zone of the Enders infamously only bought it to get the Metal Gear Sold 2 demo included in it, something that was also lampshaded in a Penny Arcade comic, which also acts as the text for the trope picture.
  • Implacable Mecha: Nephtis in The 2nd Runner. No matter what you do to it, it will not stop hunting down Jehuty. It. Will not. Freaking. Die! Until Viola's A.I. was finally deleted after possessing Ken's Ardjet.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Nohman's pilot suit has a tail.. for... some reason? Seems it's only there to match Anubis, which also has a tail.
  • Improvised Weapon: One of the things The 2nd Runner encourages you to do is using objects around your surroundings to fight enemies. If there's an iron beam around, smack a couple of Raptors and Mummyheads around with it! If you see a solar panel nearby, grab it and protect yourself from attacks that are normally unblockable! If you can't find anything useful, then use your enemies instead!
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The name of Naked Jehuty may sound stupid, but there is only one Orbital Frame that can withstand it's one full blade combo, and that one foe, is the Final Boss itself. Naked Jehuty also has infinite sub-weapon energy, allowing it to spam Homing Missiles to wipe out everything in seconds, and use Mummy to recover its energy gauge while blocking virtually everything the game throws at it. For the full run-down: It's basic shot attack will One-Hit KO any non-boss, most non-boss attacks won't do any damage, the only attack it can't guard against is the Final Boss's burst attack, simply using it's burst mode will destroy enemies in melee-range and it has Infinite SP energy. Justified since it's Jehuty after absorbing Anubis' energy. It is the combination of the two most powerful Orbital Frames ever created, so what do you expect?
  • Interface Screw: Sometimes when Jehuty runs through a field that interferes with the interface or when getting it handed to it.
  • Invulnerable Attack: In the second game, performing a spinning throw will make you invulnerable while spinning your hapless victim.
  • Telephone Polearm: In The 2nd Runner, you can grab iron beams to swing them around to strike enemies or throw them like a javelin.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Myona in The Fist of Mars falls into this line of thinking after regaining her memory. She even tries to die in the facility where she got turned into a Tyke-Bomb so her friends do not get hurt by people who may come after her in one of the two possible scenarios.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dingo's a good friend and ally, but getting made into the Runner of Jehuty by accident, filled with lead by Nohman and put on the brink of death, and then being forced to fight BAHRAM with no real choice in the matter for the sake of humanity doesn't really put him in the greatest of moods. Still, he pushes on to do the right thing and get some payback on Nohman.
  • Kid Hero: Leo Stenbuck in the first game. Despite having zero combat experience let alone in the military, he's able to pick up on the controls and flow of Jehuty's mechanics rather quickly, being able to lay waste to the more experienced Orbital Frame Runners such as Viola. And it grates on her every nerve with their each encounter.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Viola in the first game, until she was remade as A.I. for her new Frame in the second.
    • Nohman also got his just desserts at The 2nd Runner's climax.
    • Deckson and Phil from The Fist of Mars, altrough the latter survives in the 24s route.
  • The Lancer: Warren would qualify, but aside from the fact he has some Unresolved Sexual Tension for Mebius, who likes Deckson, he's actually fairly respective of Deckson, though he's somewhat more pragmatic at times. It also helps that all three parties like each other so much that no one thinks about Murdering the Hypotenuse.
  • Large Ham:
    • Nohman:
    Since the dawn of history, human beings have realized various forms of energy. Civilisations have progressed with them! So where does such energy like Metatron lead our civilisation!? Destruction! Destruction to end all! The Universe, and human subconscious, are willing their own end!
    • Baan Dorfloum in Dolores, i, full stop. That guy is *really* enthusiastic about his job.
    John CARTER is perpetrating EVIL on MAAAAAAAAAAAAARS!
    • Minor 2nd Runner antagonist Lt. Volkovo, the head pilot of Zakat, shouts every last one of his lines, boasting of his Orbital Frame's might with extreme enthusiasm.
    JEHUTY! FEEEEEELL the power of Za-KAT that scorched Mars!
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Myona in The Fist of Mars.
  • Latex Space Suit: Viola Gyune (and her A.I. copy), Dingo Egret, and Ken Marinaris wear one. Interesting to note that Ken and Viola's spacesuits have faux Zettai Ryouiki and Stocking Filler appeal.
  • Lawful Stupid: Baan. Ostensibly a law enforcement officer, he seems to just abuse his legal authority to perpetrate his racism against Enders.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • The Single-sword Raptor in the first Zone of the Enders' Versus Mode. You have to beat the game twice to unlock it and Zombie Neith (which is itself a powerhouse), but from all outward appearances, it's only a weaker version of the already anemic Raptor. Then you realize the third strike on its 3-hit combo completely bypasses shields...
    • Damaged Jehuty, normally used only during the Compression Space battle against Anubis, is available to play for the entire game on New Game+. While it doesn't have a shield or any normal ranged attacks, it has infinite subweapon energy.
  • Level Scaling: Enemies in the main games are usually around your level range. In the first Zone of the Enders, the highest level enemies can be fought is Lv.7, which by that time Jehuty is about Lv.7-9.
  • Life Meter: The Energy (NRG) gauge.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Vic Viper is the most overpowered machine in the game with its ability to outfight nearly every Orbital Frame in the game without breaking a sweat. At maximum power and speed, the machine becomes a monster and it doesn't matter how much HP it has, as long as it is not 0, it WILL kick your ass. Not that Naked Jehuty or Testament are slouches, either.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Radium Lavans, period.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Razma. It's mostly a facade.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Jehuty can obtain a sub-weapon called Mummy, where it creates a shield that not only protect it from unblockable attacks, but also replenish its Energy Meter while its up.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The homing lasers, and also Jehuty's Homing Missile attack. This reaches ridiculous heights if you do a New Game+ with Naked Jehuty, which has near-infinite subweapon energy. So ridiculous, in fact, it borders on More Dakka if you use some of the rapid-fire secondary weapons.
  • Mana Meter: The Subweapon (SUB) gauge in the sequel.
  • Market-Based Title: The sequel in Japan is ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders where it was dubbed as Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner overseas.
  • Mad Scientist: Zephyr in The Fist of Mars. Lloyd in 2nd Runner is said to be one, although it probably was just Dingo being snarky.
  • Man in the Machine: Dingo, on-board Jehuty.
  • Matrix Raining Code: The tutorial area in The 2nd Runner.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Ares is the Greek god of war, also known as Mars.
    • Amante means lover in Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: Raptors have two: Mummyheads and Clods.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Both the one-eyed UNSF Phantoma and the mass-produced Raptors from Mars. The former are piloted, the latter usually automated.
  • Megane: Leon Links, mainly when he's working.
  • Meganekko: Dr. Rachel Links and Robin O'Connell.
  • Missing Mom: James' wife in Dolores, i.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Noel and Leon Links are the children of James Links (Earth) and Rachael Links (Mars).
  • Mobile Shrubbery: Dolores' "Stealth Mode" is essentially her carrying a tree around so as not to show up on satellite photos.
  • The Mole: Ken is a spy from the Space Force sent in to keep tabs on BAHRAM's activities. Although that was a lie; she's just a BAHRAM soldier revolting against Nohman for being responsible for her father's death.
  • Morph Weapon:
    • The Wisp from Ken's Ardjet. They can be used as a swarm of missile-drones, form an impenetrable coffin-like shell and fire a powerful laser beam, grab things from a distance, and providing a stylish cape for her Orbital Frame.
    • In Dolores, i, we get to see Dolores' arm morph into an arm-blade and an arm cannon.
  • Mood Whiplash: Nohman is generally calm and soft-spoken in the first game and when Dingo first confronts him in The 2nd Runner (even while pumping the latter full of bullets). By the next time you meet him, he's clearly gone off the deep end. The reason for this is never fully explained. It is however implied that his exposure to Metatron piloting the Anubis between the first game and The 2nd Runner causes him to lose his sanity and turn him into a creepy albino. He appears in Dolores, i looking like a normal human being and still thinking rationally.
  • Mook Commander: In 2, some enemies have a glowing "COMMANDER" designation, which allows them to activate a party formation with nearby units, giving the other units a noticeable boost in attack and defense power (and overall aggressiveness).
  • Mook Debut Cutscene: The main games are particularly fond of showing you the next enemy you'll encounter throughout the game.
  • Mook Medic: Mummyheads, they can heal near-by enemies. Needless to say you gotta wreck them first.
  • More Dakka: The Phalanx sub-weapon, a sub-weapon that sprays bullets. In the second game, you can adjust the diffusion range of the shots by how strongly you hold the button.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ken, and to a lesser extent, Viola. See Fanservice above for details.
  • Multiple Endings: The first game featured two possible endings based on how you performed on the survivor missions and how much damage was caused to the colony. The "Good" ending is earned by leaving as little damage to the colony and saving as many survivors as possible. The "Bad" ending, doubling as a Non Standard Game Over, is earned by destroying the colony and letting the survivors die.
  • Mysterious Waif: Myona in The Fist of Mars.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: BAHRAM.
  • Nerf: Mosquitoes went from being a relative threat in large numbers in The Fist Of Mars to literal cannon fodder only there to show off the new bullet spam attack in The 2nd Runner.
  • New Game+: Of sorts in The 2nd Runner. After clearing the main story, you can chose if you want to start the game with every sub-weapon in the game and the form of Jehuty you want to start with if you have a cleared game save, including Naked Jehuty.
  • No-Gear Level: In the first game, while remote piloting a Raptor.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • Zakat, unlike all the other Orbital Frames, it is a freaking battleship!
    • The Inhert is also a case of this looking more like something straight out of the Shin Megami Tensei series. But considering who designed it, it makes sense. To elaborate, it is the only Frame that has the cockpit on the head, cockpit itself being shaped like a statue of a woman with a sword and angelic wings, which is white in contrast to the rest of the Frame being covered in some sort of black shielding.
    • Tempest and Tyrant from the first game are also this, being as though the former is easily the size of a small mountain and has multiple octopus-like arms (that have flamethrowers) and the latter being a huge crab... egg... ship-like thing. Nebula looks like both a common spaceship and transforms into some sort of giant squid. It Makes As Much Sense In Context.
  • Non Standard Game Over: The first game has one, but it is so hard to get that most players are unaware it even exists. If you fail all SOS missions, Thunderheart is suddenly killed by a random explosion as soon as you contact him, without any foreshadowing whatsoever. ADA confirms it was caused by Jehuty hitting an underground power line, meaning that Leo is directly responsible for his death. The game then ends just as ADA flatly asks "Are you happy now?"
  • Obfuscated Interface: Don't try to drive your Orbital Frame without AI's help
  • Old Save Bonus: It can only be done with the original Japanese ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders (a.k.a. The 2nd Runner), however. If you have a cleared save file from the demo included in The Visual Works of ANUBIS artbook stored in a memory card, upon running the full game with the demo's cleared game save will unlock the Versus Mode and Extra Missions mode without spending hours playing through the main story to unlock them normally.
  • Older and Wiser: Leo Stenbuck in The 2nd Runner.
  • Older Than They Look: Possibly Amante in The Fist of Mars.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • Nohman, who wants to annihilate the Solar System because... um... well, he's crazy, and that's all the information we get.
    • Bolozof slides into this due to overexposure to Metatron.
    • Radium in Dolores, i, his plan would essentially make the Earth uninhabitable and as a result would cause Mars to slowly starve to death due to lack of supplies.
  • One-Man Army: Jehuty is a giant mecha. Well, a giant mecha fighting a whole army of giant mechas, battleships, and mecha designed as a battleship! In the second game it even fights an army of giant battleships protected by armies of not-that-giant mechas.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Nohman, whose real name is Ridley Hardiman, but no one calls him that.
  • Orphean Rescue: How James brings Dolores out of her "coma" once Hathor forcibly took part of her Operating System.
  • Patrolling Mook: In the first game. In the map screen, you can see their patrolling routes and where they are.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Dingo's bangs obscures his right eye.
  • Playing with Fire: Slash's Frame Tempest from the first game.
  • Power Crystal: On every Orbital Frame, coupled with Power Glows, Tron Lines, and motion blurred streaks of light, looked really cool.
  • Power High: Seems to be the early symptoms of Metatron poisoning.
  • Press X to Die: You get a mission to protect one of the structural support pillars of the colony.
  • Psycho Serum: Any human who is in contact with Metatron or Metatron-powered machines too long becomes decidedly insane and gains freaky powers. Radium Levans managed a last minute Heroic Sacrifice once his ships' evil A.I. was killed, while Nohman died as evil as he lived.
  • Puzzle Boss: Nephtis in The 2nd Runner. All four times you fight it.
  • Reality Ensues: Baan Dorfloum's is relieved of his authority by Sameggi when the man proves to be abusing his authority.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: In the main games, you can change your sub-weapons in-game with the D-Pad. Alternatively, you can select them in the pause screen, and in the second game, hold the L1/LB button or the Q key to pause the game while you pick out your sub-weapon. The M∀RS remaster's "PRO" control style also assigns the the D-pad to a set of sub-weapons that can be changed on the fly on each of the D-pad's directions.
  • Recurring Boss: Viola is one in both games, well... one could argue about the second, and Nohman is also one in The 2nd Runner.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Bolozof in The Fist of Mars due to his overexposure to Metatron.
  • Redshirt Army: Earth's Phantoma pilots are outgunned in every way imaginable. It's like putting World War II era tanks up against modern MBTs. They can fight evenly against Orbital Frames, but only the unmanned models, of which BAHRAM has thousands. Against Frames with human pilots like a Tempest or Nebula, it takes about thirty Phantomas to take down one.
  • RPG Elements: As you destroy enemies, you gain experience points to level-up Jehuty, increasing its Energy gauge as well as its Subweapon gauge in the sequel.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Leo after Viola nearly killed Celvice in the end.
    • Ares in The Fist of Mars against the Mad Scientist who turned him and his sister Myona into Tykebombs.
    • Also Viola A.I.'s grudge against Jehuty, in a nutshell.
  • Robot Girl: Dolores, and the biggest one on record!
  • Roboteching: Many of the homing projectiles do this. Anubis' Homing Lasers takes this a bit further as they literally zig-zag oppose to arching.
  • Running Gag: Baan referring to James Links as "John Carter of Mars", which James eventually decides to run with.
  • Satellite Implied Love Interest: Celvice. She doesn't have much characterization outside of being a companion of Leo's. You can pretty much remove her from the first game and the plot wouldn't be affected at all. Well, just barely. She all but disappears in the second game.
  • Scars Are Forever: Baan gets hit by shrapnel in the temple and a good portion of his face is black and scarred.
  • Sdrawkcab Name:
    • Nephtis' boss theme is named "ALOIVIA", a backwards anagram for "Viola A.I.".
    • In Dolores, i, James and Rachel Links named their son and daughter "Leon" and "Noel" respectively.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Phil killed his step-father in self-defense in his backstory, in an incident that left his entire family dead.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Dingo Egret, though surprisingly well adjusted, is a war vet and carries a lot of old grudges. Surprisingly Leo Stenbuck manages to turn into a bit of one between games.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Mummyheads, which are basically Raptors with a huge shield and long-ranged weapons.
  • Shorttank: Semyl in The Fist of Mars.
  • Shout-Out: In The 2nd Runner, Leo appears piloting a Transforming Mecha featuring up to four "Options" that trail behind him duplicating his attacks, a ringlike "Aura Bolt" attack, and a distinctive energy barrier that changes color as it wears down. The mech's name? Vic Viper. Its aircraft design is even inspired by the original ship. Leo's Battle Theme Music is a shout-out as well. This goes beyond this in earlier design sketches that showed the Vic Viper being far closer to the original Gradius design. Presumably the design changes were made to better animate its transformation and bipedal form.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Jehuty and Anubis.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: In The 2nd Runner Dingo and Ken first fought at Callisto, then Ken punched him when he boarded Nohman's ship, then they bickered their way through most of the game, became allies later on, and finally a couple by the end of the game.
  • Smug Snake: Most of the villains.
  • Space Trucker: James Links runs a cargo ship around the Solar System. He copes with the boredom of weeks-long journies with beer and reading.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Between the games and the OVA/anime series, the dub translators seemed to get their notes mixed up on the pronunciation of several names: Nohman/Norman, Radham/Radium, BAHRAM/BUFRAM, not to mention a number of the Martian cities and territories mentioned in both 2nd Runner and Dolores, i.
  • Spider Tank: The aptly-named Spiders, although they're really small (compared to an Orbital Frame).
  • Spoiler Opening: The 2nd Runner's intro manages to spoil numerous twists from the game, including Viola's apparent return from the death and the fact it was really an A.I..
  • Storming the Castle: The final act of The 2nd Runner is Dingo and Leo, along with several UNSF soldiers staging an assault on Aumaan.
  • Suicide Mission:
    • When Dingo was a BAHRAM soldier, Nohman sends him and his allies to a suicide mission against the Space Force's attack where they took many casualties with Dingo being the lone survivor.
    • ADA's goal is to destroy Aumaan by self-destructing Jehuty. Thanks to the efforts of Dingo, he not only saved the Solar System, but ADA as well.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Dolores' ISIS Mode, although it was implied that the ISIS Mode is Dolores' A.I. of the Isis frame.
  • Super Prototype: Jehuty, Anubis, Idolo, Delores, Hathor, Testament, and Iblis. Idolo was destroyed in the movie it was introduced, and went on to form the fuselage for Dolores and Hathor, both far stronger than the original, as were (arguably) Jehuty and Anubis which were made from scratch.
  • Survivor Guilt: Myona and Ares as they were the only ones who survived from Zephyr's experiments.
  • Team Mom: Semyl and Mebius share traits of this.
  • Tech Demo Game: Zone of the Enders is generally considered this, not specifically from the player's perspective, but from the developer's perspective, seeing as it uses the same game engine as the higher-profile game Metal Gear Solid 2, so it's easy to think of Zone of the Enders as Kojima Productions' warm-up game before they tackled MGS2.
  • Teleport Spam: Zero Shift. Initially exclusive to Anubis, Jehuty gets it later on, as it's implied that it was supposed to have it originally as well.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Most of the important mecha in the series are named after Egyptian deities. Even Dolores from Dolores, i fits this: the unit's real name is Isis.
    • A tentative example in the names of the main protagonists: ZOE's hero is named Leo ("Lion"), 2nd Runner's is named Dingo, and Dolores, i's is named James Links (i.e. "Lynx"). One might even stretch the concept to include Fist of Mars by saying such animals belong in a 'Cage,' but that's a reach. And there's no real connection at all to Idolo's Radium Lavans. Of course, seeing how the movie is a glorified pilot for Dolores, i, and Radium is actually the villain of the series, that could be excused.
    • In The Fist of Mars the main character's mech are called the Testament and the main antagonist's mech is called the Iblis (which is the name of the primary devil in Islam). Also, the Testament's Evil Knockoff is called Ifrit.
    • Barring Testament, all of the BIS' LEVs & OFs are named after weapons: Edge, Blade, Calibur, Caliburnus, Durandal, Orcrist, Vjaya (a mispelling of Vajra,) Dreizehn (real name "Toradar,") & Justeen (real name "Francesca.")
    • Vic Viper is the Odd Name Out, for good reason. More formally, that model of LEV is referred to as a "V2 Unit".
  • Tin Woman: ADA. Repeatedly claims to be incapable of feelings and the like yet she noticeably grows attached to her young Runner, Leo, in the first game going so far as to tell him that she needs him and that she does not want him to die.
  • Tomboy: Noel Links. Her personality more closer to James and can relate to her father and his problems more than her brother Leon. She was also working as a construction worker until she got fired when James got framed for the murder that occurred when he was carrying Dolores.
  • Tomboyish Name: Ken Marinaris from The 2nd Runner, who is otherwise very girly. Also note that Ken can be a female name in Japan.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Leo in The 2nd Runner, and Cage in The Fist of Mars.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Metatron is heavily implied to be this with early symptoms being drunk on power. Continued exposure to it seems to turn the affected into an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • True Companions: Dingo goes into a BAHRAM ship in order to draw BAHRAM away from Callisto so his miner friends do not get hurt. Also, his main motivation to fight against BAHRAM is to avenge his comrades who were unknowingly sent on a suicide mission to be used as a decoy. Dingo was the only one who survived from the UNSF's assault.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Cage in The Fist of Mars thinks Philbright Westriverside Warehouserock XXVI is a girl in their first meeting.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • The 2nd Runner received a re-release in Japan and PAL regions (North America was left out) with the Special Edition, which irons out the frame-rate of the game, added new battle sequences to the main storyline, expanded the VR Missions mode, added new difficulty levels, and featured tutorials for the sub-weapons.
    • The HD Collection, available for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, compiles both of the main games in the series with HD visuals; this is also the first time that the Special Edition of The 2nd Runner saw a North American release. Unfortunately the games, most notably The 2nd Runner on PlayStation 3, went against Konami's intentions of bring these games in 1080p with 60 FPS; the games were upscaled for 720p and had frame-rate stability issues. Konami and Hexa Drive later released a patch exclusively for the PlayStation 3 version to rectify the issues.
    • Another remaster of The 2nd Runner was released on PlayStation and PC through Steam in 2018 as Zone of The Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS, which further enhances the visuals to 4K, features remastered sound design, revised tutorials, added a new "VERY EASY" difficulty for beginners of Zone of the Enders, a new "PRO" control layout, and revamped the ZORADIUS mini-game. It's other new feature is being able to experience the game in VR through Jehuty's cockpit. The PC version also features some extra optional visual tweaks such as screen-space reflections and occlusion, adjustable film grain, and motion blur.
  • Variable Mix: Every single mission area in the first game, which featured a considerable array of musical stings and lines depending on the situation. Essentially, the only time the track wasn't being altered in some way was if you were idling outside of combat.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Nohman gets worse as time goes by. In his final battle with Dingo, he's Drunk with Power, growling like a rabid beast.
  • Villain Teleportation: Anubis. It will warp from one area to another at will, often to keep Jehuty from touching it. Hathor has an inferior version of the same system as well.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: A lot of the dialogue in the games.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: Essentially what the whole series is about.
  • The War Sequence: After a stirring speech, Dingo and Leo convince the UNSF army remnants to join forces for a final assault on BAHRAM HQ. Charging through artillery fire Jehuty, Vic Viper and around fifty Phantoma LEVs face off against THOUSANDS of mass-produced Orbital Frames. And it is possible, although difficult to defeat the entire army with zero casualties.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Slash's Tempest in the first game and Ken's Ardjet in the second.
  • Wave-Motion Gun:
    • The Vector Cannon, as a BFG for Orbital Frames. It takes approximately twenty seconds to charge, and when it fires shoots a blast that damned near eclipses Jehuty in size and will rip through anything and everything in its path. It's capable of tearing apart battleships in a single blast. The Vector Cannon is the only weapon capable of punching through "Compressed Space", the games term for super-invincible force-fields.
    • Dolores can use one by using the Wave-Motion Tuning Fork that can extend and retract from her body, doubling as a Chest Blaster, oddly enough.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Several members of BAHRAM and the UNSF.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We haven't seen anything of the characters from The Fist of Mars since the end of their game.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: ADA, Dolores, and Pharsti.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: ADA chews Leo out in the Non Standard Game Over. The way it's written makes it double as a What the Hell, Player? moment:
    ADA: Are you happy now?
    Leo: I was... just playing...
  • Wicked Cultured: Lance Jimmer from The Fist of Mars.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Jimmer might be a prick, but apparently has a policy on being respectful to women he actually takes somewhat seriously.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Celvice from the first game has blue hair. Leo also has blue hair albeit its darker. Nohman, as mentioned before, used to have purple hair. Viola's A.I. copy also has purple hair.
  • You Monster!: In The 2nd Runner, whenever Dingo and Nohman are onscreen, there's a guarantee Dingo will call Nohman a "devil".

Alternative Title(s): Zone Of The Enders The Fist Of Mars, Zone Of The Enders The2nd Runner


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