Z-one (pronounced, and sometimes spelled as, Zone), is a survivor of the Meklord Emperor Genocide who serves as the main antagonist of the Ark Cradle arc and the final antagonist of the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's anime. He is the founder of Iliaster and is revered by its members as a god, or "The Ancient One", or "The Creator" in the dub. Along with Aporia, Antinomy, and Paradox, Z-one is effectively the central antagonist of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, being responsible for all of its other main antagonists in one way or another, as well as for the first Zero Reverse that split Satellite and New Domino City apart. Like the other main members of Iliaster, he is from an alternate future about 200 years after the present day events of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.
Z-one comes from an apocalyptic future where he assumed the identity of Yusei Fudo to try to protect humankind from extermination by the Meklord Emperors, but failed to stop the Zero Reverse that destroyed the planet. With the world in ruins and humans nearly extinct, Z-one sends robotic copies of his associates Antinomy, Paradox and Aporia back in time with the mission of changing history and averting the disaster. Though their agenda is noble, the four are willing to go to any lengths to succeed, massacring thousands of innocents. During the Ark Cradle arc, Aporia's incarnations as the Three Pure Nobles plot to bring Z-one's lab, the Divine Temple, into the past to fall on and crush New Domino City. By this, Z-one believes that the discovery of Ener-D can be erased and the end of the world they have lived through will be averted.
One by one, Z-one's contemporaries were either defeated, or in the case of Aporia, turned against him upon seeing that the future could be changed. Z-one defeated Aporia to show Team 5D's that having a sense of hope was useless. He then faced off against Yusei, in which he was defeated and heavily damaged. He then redeemed himself, colliding with the Arc Cradle and stopping it from destroying New Domino City, albeit at the cost of his own life.
Z-one is contained in a machine shaped like either a comma, the number six, or a Japanese magatama (depending on its position) which prolongs his life and appears to make his voice sound mechanized. The back and front sides resemble the Yusei Go, with all markings identical to that of the Duel Runner, albeit in the exact opposite color scheme (white with red instead of red with white). Leo & Luna were the first to notice the resemblance before Z-one revealed himself. His human body is inside the machine, with only his head coming out of the machine, but he covers it with a mask. His left eye is still visible, which is the same color, shape, and position as Yusei's eye. The figure has a marking on his mask similar to Yusei's criminal mark. Z-one's helmet is similar to Yusei's helmet (including the yellow diamond in the center front), but also opposite color scheme (white instead of red).
His human outfit also shares design with Yusei's jacket, for instance the two gem-like garments on it's collar. A notable fact is when he is upside down, in his comma form, he appeared to help Yusei and co. He saved Yusei, Bruno and Sherry LeBlanc from being blown up in Sector Security. He also gave Yusei his "Shooting Star Dragon" in order to defeat Primo. Since then, he has been shown in his right side up position, plotting to erase New Domino City and kill the Signers, along with Aporia and Sherry. Z-one appears to have Duel Monsters cards in the blue canisters that are on his machine body.
Z-one has also taken the form of Dr. LeBlanc.
Following the apocalyptic future, Z-one modified his body in the form of Yusei Fudo and rides the Yusei Go. However, the red design on the inner shirt is altered somewhat from Yusei's usual design (the alteration being that is still the same design in every way except "completed" with the "missing leg" forming a gateway-like design rather than the half-circle it normally is), as well as the orange patches on his collar that are normally round were square. His red helmet is also missing the white arrows on the sides. His version of the Yusei Go possesses similar small differences, with different coloring for the Duel Disk arm, different framing over the wheels, and what appears to be a gun-type weapon mounted on the seat on the right side. He also dismounts from the left side, whereas Yusei usually dismounts from the right.
Some time after his failure trying to correct humanity by himself, he covered his face with a mask. When the mask was broken, his face is revealed to be a very old version of Yusei's face, due to his life prolonging device not preventing him from aging.
Z-One's name is a reference to the fact he is the very last ("Z" being the last letter of the alphabet) & only human ("One") left in the ruined future. Coincidentally, his final words before dying were "At long… last…".
Ever since Z-one was a researcher during that time, he was always lonely and dependent on his work figuring out how to stop the Ener-D and the Planetary Particle from going out of control. When he discovered how Yusei saved the city from disaster, he became obsessed with becoming like him by changing his appearance and his personality into a form of Yusei Fudo.
When he became Yusei, he shows a focus and a clear-minded attitude similar to Yusei when he tells the survivors that the Ener-D cannot be controlled as long as the people continue to seek evolution at such a greedy pace. After that, Z-one became more at ease when he finally saved them from their own demise; however it only lasted for a short period of time. Because there were too many negative feelings in people, he couldn't save most of the remaining survivors on time before the Ener-D destroyed the world. As a result, he thought that saving people from their own demise is impossible and lost all hope of changing people's ways.
Over time he met a group of survivors; Aporia, Antinomy, and Paradox; since then, he became determined to change the future by destroying New Domino City's Ener-D along with the city itself. After the death of his three companions, he became once again lonely and dependent. During the Duel with Yusei, he believed the power of Yusei couldn't save everyone in the future because he already failed trying to be Yusei and tried to destroy all the possibilities that Yusei believed in. After his downfall against Yusei, Zone was in a state of guilt and shame, and realized he was blinded by his own insanity of destroying New Domino City when all he just wanted was to save his future. He then admitted that he wanted to see the new future created by Yusei, and decided to stop Yusei from sacrificing himself to stop the Ark Cradle while doing it himself, finally ending his life.
He is rather close to his subordinates, as evidenced by how he has engaged in friendly talks with the damaged Aporia and with Sherry LeBlanc, and supports them by giving them enhancements, but can quickly throw this attitude if they turn on him, which both did. After his defeat against Yusei, he tells him that having a bond with his comrades is pointless and tries his best to fight alone; but, in a state like this, he claims that he is tired. Before his death, while crashing right into the old Ener-D reactor, he wishes to meet his friends in the new future Yusei creates.
Z-one has a habit of not only utterly defeating his opponents, but also holding back just enough to give them a chance to win, only to have them learn how hopeless their situation is. A prime example of this is his usage of the Timelords, which have 0 ATK, making them seem harmless at first until his opponents witness their abilities.
According to Aporia, Z-one held onto some fragment of hope despite his failure to save the future because he erased Antinomy's memory to have him aid Team 5D's, which hindered their plan of destroying Neo Domino City. Furthermore, when Yusei pushed Z-one on why didn't he try a more peaceful approach by warning the people of the present about the future rather than take such destructive measures, Z-one replied he didn't have the time left to pursue such an endeavor. This implies had Z-one not been reduced to life-support and had more time to his lifespan, he would have pursued a peaceful pursuit to saving the future.
It is possible that the name Z-one is derived from the fact that he is the last human, Z being the last letter of the alphabet and having much the same connotation as the letter omega, and that he is the last one. Z-one could also be taken as symbolic of "alpha and omega", using the first number and last letter, a phrase reflecting Z-one's self-assumed position as a god.
Being the leader of Iliaster, Z-one has access to technology from the future. Z-one uses this technology to travel through time and change reality itself. He is essentially regarded as the source of the Three Pure Nobles' power, including supplying them with powerful cards in the form of monoliths send through time and space, which included the "Meklord" cards with the addition of Yusei's "Shooting Star Dragon".
Moreover his technology also allows him to harness Ener-D through Duels, which fuels the Grand Design to summon the Ark Cradle. He is also capable of creating androids in the appearance of his deceased friends, all of these androids are potent Duelists in their own right. He is also capable of changing his form as Primo and Lester have before, taking the form of Sherry LeBlanc's father and Yusei Fudo.
Sherry stated that he is capable of granting any wish, as he promised to change her past so that her parents can live again, however Sherry found this debatable and wasn't sure if he could actually do that.
He is capable of moving his mechanical arms even if they aren't directly attached to him. He is also capable of floating and flying using the technology he is strapped in, which allows him to Turbo Duel in the air even.
In Z-one's time when he was a scientist, humanity's accelerated evolution leads to a society that is cruel, greedy and corrupt. Then one day, an army of Meklord Emperors appear to attack New Domino City. Watching the chaos that was spreading, Z-one researched a way to stop the Meklord Emperors by stopping their power source, Ener-D and the Planetary Gear which responded to people's hearts. Knowing he himself would not be enough to inspire people to change their ways, Z-one remembered the stories of a legendary hero who had saved New Domino City in the past. Researching Yusei's defeat of the Dark Signers and Earthbound Immortals, Z-one resolved to become Yusei himself, believing that by copying his personality and appearance he could be the hero the people needed. Using footage of Yusei's Duels, he became an identical copy of Yusei, the result being identical to the real Yusei in every detail saved in a cybernetic plate over the right side of his face. To keep the plate concealed Z-one kept his helmet on at all times, only revealing the left side of his face which bore Yusei's criminal mark.
As Yusei, Z-one rallied the people of the world, telling them it was their accelerated evolution and greed that had lead to the rise of the Meklord Emperors by reversing the Planetary Gear, and only by changing their society could they make it turn in the proper direction again and hopefully destroy the Meklord Emperors. Achieving Clear Mind and Summoning "Shooting Star Dragon" to battle the Meklord Emperors, Z-one demonstrated that they could defeat the enemies by having the right state of mind. People took notice of his example and followed him, helping each other and learning to understand one another. With their negative feelings gone, the Meklord Emperors stopped attacking them. However, Z-one's efforts were too late, and there were still too many negative emotions in people - Zero Reverse occurred and society was destroyed, leaving few survivors. Z-one's cybernetic plate was damaged during the incident. Since then his outlook changed, as he believed his efforts had been in vain and that changing the hearts of humanity was impossible. Thus, the only way to save his future was to do so in the past, before Ener-D became widely used and the Meklord Emperors appeared.
Z-one saw Antinomy, who having given-up on life, was about to let himself be killed by a Meklord Emperor, but Z-one intervened and blasted the Meklord Emperor away with a laser cannon, saving Antinomy.
Z-one also met Paradox at some point. In their old age, the two of them and Antinomy met Aporia. As the only survivors of the human race, the four of them believed it to be their mission to create a better future. They tried to dispose of the core power of Ener-D, which wiped out the world before and performed countless experiments to try and find a solution to restore the world to the way it once was. During their attempts, Z-one had his body mechanized in order to prolong his life and his companions began to die.
After Paradox died, Z-one sent an embodiment of him back in time as a trial to eliminate the root source of Duel Monsters, by killing its creator Maximillion Pegasus. However, this plan failed as Paradox ran into the likes of Yugi Muto, Jaden Yuki and Yusei Fudo, who banded together to defeat him.
Before Antinomy died, Z-one said that he was going to need his strength to save the world. Antinomy was confident that the day would come when the world would be saved, so to ensure this, he asked that he be put to work as Z-one's servant. After Antinomy died, Z-one sent an embodiment of him to the past, where he was given the mission to protect Yusei Fudo and aid in his growth.
As Aporia was about to die, he placed himself in a capsule and asked Z-one to do whatever it took to prevent their future from ever occurring. He insisted that Z-one split him into three embodiments based on the three despairs of his life. Z-one split Aporia into the embodiments Lester, Primo and Jakob and sent them back to the past, where they served as the Three Pure Nobles.
Pre-World Racing Grand Prix
Z-one primarily existed within a mysterious white dimension. Yusei Fudo, Sherry LeBlanc and the embodiment of Antinomy, who had been stripped of his memories and called himself Bruno, were transported here after they scanned the "Z-ONE" card at Sector Security. They saw Z-one and were then transported to the outskirts of the city.
World Racing Grand Prix
Later after achieving Clear Mind, Yusei found the "Shooting Star Dragon" tablet outside the city, upon touching it he was transported to location he saw Z-one earlier. It is there that Z-one gives him the respective card. Z-one gave a blank card to Yusei and explained that it had the possibility of Accel Synchro. He advised Yusei to believe what he thinks is right and then disappeared as Yusei returned to the location where the tablet landed.
Z-one met Sherry again, after she had been sucked out of a dimension shuttle when trapped in a wormhole. He appeared in the form of Dr. LeBlanc to Sherry, but explained that he only looked that way because that is what her heart was showing. He offered to tell Sherry the truth, but she must accept her destiny being altered.
Z-one showed Sherry a vision of the future where the world has been destroyed and blamed the destruction on Ener-D. He allegedly also showed her a vision where Yusei Fudo dies after boarding the Divine Temple.
Z-one told Sherry that he had the power to grant any wish and in exchange for her helping him, he promised to bring her parents back to life. He then gave her "Soul-Binding Gate" to help her fight for his cause.
After Yusei defeated Aporia, in the World Racing Grand Prix, the Grand Design was completed, allowing the Divine Temple to appear and begin its descent upon New Domino City. Z-one, along the human corpses of Paradox, Antinomy, and Aporia were within the Divine Temple. Z-one recovered the remains of Aporia's mechanical body, which had been damaged after Aporia's Duel with Yusei. Z-one informed Aporia that despite losing the Duel, he did not fail completely because the Divine Temple appeared. He said that they can continue their plan, but with a few changes. Z-one asked Aporia if he was willing to try to change the future again. Considering himself Z-one's eternal friend, Aporia agreed to help.
Z-one had Sherry inform Yusei of his plans to change history by destroying New Domino. Sherry also warned Yusei of his future death, but knew it wouldn't stop him boarding. Z-one questioned why she warned him, knowing it wouldn't make a difference. Sherry explained that it was courtesy and a testimony to her old friend, especially as she planned to kill him.
Once, Team 5D's and Antinomy arrived on top of the Divine Temple, Z-one opened a hole in the ground below them, causing the group split-up and fall onto three platforms, each leading to a different Planetary Gear. Z-one had Sherry fight Akiza and Crow at the first and Aporia Duel Jack, Leo and Luna at the second. In both cases, his servants lost.
When Yusei and Antinomy reached the third Planetary Gear, Z-one restored Antinomy's memory, so Antinomy proceeded to Duel Yusei at this Planetary Gear. Antinomy also lost and gave his life to save Yusei from the Death Course.
Once Team 5D's stopped all three of the Planetary Gears, they gained access to the Central Gear, which led them to a scrapyard-like area, where they faced Z-one. Z-one explained that Ener-D and Synchro Summoning are responsible for the future destruction of humanity and he plans on destroying New Domino City and its Ener-D to prevent this happening. He told them that he had sent Paradox, Aporia and Antinomy back in time as part of his plan. Enraged over how Z-one used Antinomy, who Yusei knew as Bruno, Yusei prepared to Duel Z-one, but was interrupted by Aporia.
Having found hope from Team 5D's, Aporia changed his mind. He tried to remind Z-one that he also once had hope in Team 5D's, which is why he had Antinomy help them grow. Z-one denied that that hope exists, so Aporia challenged him to a Duel to remind him. Z-one then equipped himself with a large set of mechanical hands and Deck holder. Stone Duel Monsters slabs in the arena flew into the holder and formed his Deck.
Aporia managed to reduce his Deck to zero cards and activated "Afterglow", which returned to his Deck. If Aporia could draw that on his next turn, he would win. However Z-one used his turn to shuffle thirty three cards back into Aporia's Deck and ready "Lazion, the Timelord" to inflict enough damage to defeat Aporia after drawing his next card. Effectively, this meant that if Aporia drew "Afterglow", he would win, but anything else, he would lose. This gave Aporia a 1/34 chance of winning. If hope truly was on Aporia's side, Z-one said he would win despite the odds. However, in ironic twist of fate, Aporia drew "Meklord Emperor Granel," the monster which also caused the major despairs of his life, and lost.
Aporia thought he had failed, but Yusei told him by teaching them of Z-one's "Timelord" cards, he has given them hope. Aporia then added wing modifications to Yusei Go, before dying. Leo angrily asked Z-one why he would harm his own friend, like this. However Z-one said that he did not consider the Antinomy and Aporia that Team 5D's knew as his friends, as they were only mechanical reconstructions of them. Yusei asked if Z-one ever considered that they may still be his friends and challenged Z-one to a Duel. Z-one agreed to the Duel and told Yusei to use his modified Duel Runner. Before the Duel, Team 5D's gave their Signer Dragons to Yusei and Z-one caused six monitors to appear around the Divine Temple, so that the citizens of New Domino could watch the Duel.
During the Duel, Yusei began Summoning the Signer Dragons and managed to damage Z-one's mask, revealing that his face resembles Yusei's. Z-one claimed to be the future version of Yusei Fudo, but Yusei refused to believe such, saying that he would never think to save the future by sacrificing the city. Instead, Z-one explained how he had became Yusei, tried saving people the conventional way and concluded that it wouldn't work. Z-one and Yusei continued the Duel and he proceeded to Summon five "Timelord" monsters. Z-one assaults Yusei with all five of his monsters, but Yusei endures and calls on the bonds of his friends to Over Limit Accel Synchro Summon "Shooting Quasar Dragon". "Shooting Quasar Dragon" destroys all five of Z-one's monsters along with itself, allowing Yusei to ultimately Summon "Shooting Star Dragon" and attacking directly to reduce Z-one to 700 Life Points. With his final move, Z-one summons "Sephylon, the Timelord" and revives four other of his "Timelords", raising the ATK of "Sephylon" to 20,000. Z-one destroys "Shooting Star Dragon", but Yusei uses the Trap "Converging Wishes" to Summon "Stardust Dragon" and raise its ATK to 23,000. Yusei then uses the second effect of "Converging Wishes" to force "Sephylon" to attack "Stardust Dragon" five times, depleting Z-one's Life Points.
Defeated, Z-one's machine spirals out of control and crashes, the rest of his mask falling away. Yusei drives down to him, and Z-one tells Yusei the machine that prolongs his life will soon shut down. Z-one thinks back on his bonds with Aporia, Paradox and Antinomy, and asks Yusei if his actions were wrong. Yusei denies this, telling Z-one that he merely wanted to save his future, and by telling the people of the present about it they now have a chance to change things for the better. However, the Divine Temple is still falling, and Z-one realizes Yusei plans to sacrifice himself to make it rise up again, using the Ener-D reactor in the Yusei Go to reverse the negative reactor in the Divine Temple. Yusei drives into the reactor and Z-one follows, telling Yusei his machine is equipped with an Ener-D reactor of its own. Telling Yusei the future is entrusted to him now, Z-one throws him back and crashes into the reactor. Before dying, he wishes to meet Antinomy, Aporia and Paradox in a changed future. Afterwards, Yusei developed the computer program Fortune, stopping the Meklord Emperor Genocide from occuring in the first place, so Z-one may have gotten his wish.
Z-one uses a "Timelord" Deck, focused on a Burn/Bouncing play style. His "Timelord" monsters are Level 10, but he uses "Nonexistence" and its upgraded forms "Endless Emptiness" and "Infinite Light" to Summon them from his hand en masse without the need for Tributes and Summoning his ace "Sephylon, the Ultimate Timelord". He also uses tarot-themed Trap Cards that activate directly from his hand. The names of his monsters are references to the archangels of Sephirot, and correspondingly there are eleven "Timelords", ten for each aspect of the Sephirot and one representing the entire group. Despite competing in both Ground Duels and Turbo Duels, Z-one was only shown using one Deck. In the apocalyptic future, Z-one was also shown to use "Shooting Star Dragon" while impersonating Yusei Fudo.
- When Z-one assumed the identity of Yusei, he used the pronoun "ore", as does Yusei. After he lost all hope in changing the hearts of people, he changed to the pronoun "watashi". It is unknown what pronoun Z-one used before assuming Yusei's identity, but it was most likely "watashi".
- Z-one ultimately never has a true impact on the Dub, as the Ark Cradle arc wasn't dubbed. Thus Bruno/Antimony and Paradox were never traced back to him.
- Z-one's name is similar to that of Zorc, the final villain in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series. Both start with "Z" and the last 3 letters are similar to the "orc" in Zorc. Later, Z-Arc from the ARC-V series (another odd numbered Yu-Gi-Oh! series) would share this similarity as well.
- Ish Kiq Goodwin is shown inside a vehicle resembling a darker version of his life support device.
- After defeating Rex in the manga, a mysterious voice offers Yusei any wish to be his, and one of the examples shows a single panel of Z-one.
- Duel Box 13 settei
- Katsumi Ono (4:20 February 24, 2011 GMT). "ゾーンが生身だったのが200年くらいの未来で現在のゾーンは、それよりすっごい先の未来から来たと想定してます。" (in Japanese). Twitter. https://twitter.com/katsuono/status/40627070610444288.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 149: "The Revived Hero"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 146: "The Last Human, Z-ONE"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 148: "Just One Chance to Turn It All Around"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 107: "Primo's Plan, Part 2"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 110: "Primo's Plan, Part 5"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 139: "The Enchanting Field! École de Zone"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 146: "The Last Human, Z-ONE"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 147: "A Hope Bound for the Future!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 144: "Beginning of the End, Struggle to the Death for the Future!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 135: "Fight for the Future"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D Bonds Beyond Time
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 93: "The Question of the Card"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 107: "Primo's Plan, Part 2"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 117: "The Distorted Past"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 131: "The Beginning of the End"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 138: "Suspension Bridge toward the Future, The Rainbow Bridge Bifrost"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 140: "Soul-Binding Gate! The Sealed Future!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 137: "An Approaching Terror - The Citadel of God, Ark Cradle"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 139: "The Enchanting Field! École de Zone"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 141: "Duel of Despair! Fortissimo the Mobile Fortress!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 143: "The Miracle of Life, Life Stream Dragon!!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 145: "Faster than Light!!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 147: "A Hope Bound for the Future!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's episode 151: "Converging Wishes"