|Come, GIR. Let us rain some doom down upon the heads of our doomed enemies.
— Zim declaring his mission.
|Assignment||To conquer/destroy Earth.|
|Eye Color||Ruby Red|
|First appearance||The Nightmare Begins|
|Voice Actor(s)||Richard Steven Horvitz (Billy West in the Original Pilot, Melissa Fahn as a smeet)|
Magda Giner (Latin American)
Nao Nagasawa (Japanese)
Bjorn Schalla (German)
Shihab Ibrahim (Arabic)
Zim is a member of the alien Irken race and a former Irken Invader; however, since his actions usually lead to disaster (having nearly destroyed the Irken homeworld during Operation Impending Doom) his leaders, the Almighty Tallest, banished him to Foodcourtia. While there, however, Zim heard of Operation Impending Doom II, and - obviously not understanding the purpose of his previous exile - "quit being banished" and ventured to Conventia in the hope of getting an assignment. Chagrined, the Almighty Tallest sent him on a "secret mission" to Earth, in order to keep him occupied and away from the real Operation Impending Doom II. After arriving on Earth, Zim enrolled in the nearest elementary skool to begin his infiltration and gather information about the indigenous races. There, he became quick rivals with Dib. Zim's primary desire is to conquer Earth, mostly to prove his superiority and impress his leaders.
However, as mentioned by Gaz in "Bloaty's Pizza Hog", "He's so bad at it." As the protagonist, he often has much more screen time than GIR and Dib. Despite this, Zim is considered a villain morally and ethically. The debate about him being a sympathetic villain is ambiguous because he is seen as evil but has been mistreated and ridiculed by his species for almost annihilating their entire civilization and his obliviousness to their hatred. He usually only causes chaos and destruction for either himself, his own race, or Earth. Despite all this, he occasionally shows some kindness towards certain characters (such as GIR in "Walk of Doom" and "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy").
Zim, like most of the Irken race, seems to be based on the typical "little green men from outer space" stereotype.
Many Irkens are about the size of a preteen schoolchild, but Zim is exceptionally short, earning him ridicule from his fellow Irkens, who are respected only if they are tall in height.
In "The Nightmare Begins", Zim was shown to be even shorter than the notoriously diminutive Skoodge. In addition to his short stature and green skin, he also has round teeth (resembling gums more than actual teeth), and a long, worm-like tongue.
Zim also has ruby-colored eyes; a very common trait in Irkens. It was also mentioned in "Walk of Doom" that Zim's eyes contain ocular implants.
As he considers himself to still be an Invader, he continues to wear the standard uniform: a red tunic-like garment with three black stripes and a triangular pink collar and sleeves, as well as black boots, leggings, and gloves. His PAK is light gray with pink spots.
He also possesses a pair of antennae, however, their exact function is unclear. His antennae visibly pick up vibrations in "Battle of the Planets". In Enter the Florpus, Zim's antennae convey emotion by either standing alert or drooping while he "schmoops".
While most Irkens are expected to be ruthlessly loyal to the Empire, Zim is considered overzealous even by their standards: Brash, arrogant, and overconfident, Zim's tendency to cause wanton destruction makes him a danger to himself and his own people, yet he still considers himself a mighty Irken warrior. In addition, he is acutely narcissistic and megalomaniacal, congratulating himself on even the smallest of successes; these, however, are few and far between.
Despite his self-proclaimed greatness, Zim rarely succeeds in his attempts and is held up as a complete laughingstock by his own people - a fact that he is either oblivious to or simply chooses not to notice. Zim is cluelessly loyal and obedient to the Tallest, the Irken Empire, his planet and his people, and is willing to go to ridiculous lengths to please his leaders. However, his self-absorbed nature prevents him from acknowledging any of his failures, and he chooses only to speak about the better things that came from each incident.
Zim's laugh and mannerisms are overly theatrical, which is fitting for his dramatic personality. As seen in "Future Dib" and "Bolognius Maximus", he can let his maniacal laugh linger for too long and be unaware of the disturbance he causes.
Despite his frequent displays of stupidity and insanity, it is clear that Zim is highly intelligent in some respects - being a keen user of tools and devices - but hardly ever thinks things through, and wastes much of his time fretting about or dealing with unimportant "threats." Moreover, it is evident that he is more than capable of conquering the Earth, yet he hardly ever uses this capability properly and has often been very close to taking over the planet, only to be thwarted by his own negligence.
One of Zim's abilities is his somewhat inconsistent skills at piloting; while in a tense situation he flies masterfully but seems to crash on most other occasions, and his skills pale in comparison to opponents adept at hand-eye coordination or overall agility (such as Gaz). Zim also has admirable engineering ability; in "Walk of Doom" he singlehandedly improved the SIR Unit guidance system chip, and in "Walk for Your Lives" he hand-built a variable time stasis field capable of altering individual time-fields. He is immensely proud of anything he creates, yet is often frustrated when his devices fail to live up to his grandiose expectations.
Even though Zim often affirms that he wishes to conquer Earth, it has been hinted that he would not actually want to enslave humanity or rule the planet himself. In "Attack of the Saucer Morons", Zim gained a group of human worshippers who would be willing to do his bidding, yet his only thought was escaping them, though this may have been his paranoia as he feared being vivisected by them.
Zim is most comfortable in ensuring destruction rather than gaining power and when he does gain power, he seems not to care much for it, treating it more like a means to an end since it has been heavily implied that he only seeks to take control of the planet to mainly earn the praise and respect of his leaders. An example of this was seen in "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever", where he easily got the entire human race to worship him when he disguised himself as Santa Claus, but rather than to build an empire for himself, he cared more about sending the humans away to the Tallest and thus, their own doom. Towards the end of Enter the Florpus, Zim grows bored of the humans' panicking at the Florpus Hole, saying "why don't you bow down before me or something?".
Zim usually shows little to no affection, often claiming to "need no one", but he occasionally lets a softer side of him slip by accident. In "Parent Teacher Night", when Zim thought back to when he was born, he remembered the first thing he ever said was that he loved the "cold, unfeeling robot arm" that "hatched" him from his incubation capsule and activated his PAK. In "Walk of Doom", he yells at GIR for leaving behind his guidance chip and stranding them in the middle of the city but when GIR starts to cry, he forgives GIR (despite the fact that he was crying because he missed the cupcake he ate).
Strangely, it would seem that Zim also relies on the presence of his mortal enemy, Dib, for motivation. He said in "A Room with a Moose" that his mission might not be as "exciting" without Dib around to "annoy him", but also seems to dwell on the big-headed human quite a bit, sometimes more so than his actual mission.
In fact, Zim enjoys tormenting and humiliating Dib even if it is unprovoked that he would just do it for the fun of it, making Dib's hatred for him real and his efforts to beat the Invader all the more personal. This importance was particularly highlighted in "Mopiness of Doom": When Dib briefly decided to give up his pursuit of Zim, the Irken lost all motivation to take over Earth or do anything in general.
In Enter the Florpus, it was shown that Zim has the potential to be an actual threat if he puts his mind to it, as he successfully hijacked Professor Membrane's Peace Day ceremony, but only after Dib unintentionally inspired him (and he even rubs it in his face about it).
Earth was moments away from being destroyed and taking humanity with it, Zim showing a complete indifference towards his own life because his mission, even if it was his last one, would've been complete.
Zim sounding so triumphant while stepping into his own doom is quite fanatical because his loyalty to the Irken Empire knows no bounds and he is no doubt willing to go out like a soldier doing his duty.
Zim, like all Irkens, was fused at birth with a mechanical device called a PAK. Zim's PAK provides him with life support, all the necessary nutrients for survival, and an array of different weapons and tools.
These tools include a set of four spider-like mechanical legs, an organ harvester, scanner pads, hand-held communicators, memory drive, charging cell, atmospheric processor, high tech infrared/night vision binoculars, holographic transmitters, and four rocket boosters, as well as a sort of biomechanical rebreather mask used in no air or bad air environments. It can also be 'rebooted' and revive Zim after a sudden shock to the system (like the wave of raw stupidity in "Plague of Babies").
Zim's PAK, due to his actions after Operation Impending Doom I, has him re-encoded as a Fast Food Drone; this was part of his banishment to the Irken snacking planet of Foodcourtia, and is confirmed by Frylord Sizz-Lorr during the episode "The Frycook What Came From All That Space." Interestingly, the episode "Career Day" also shows that the job that is the most suitable for Zim is fast food services.
As said by Tallest Purple in the canceled episode "The Trial", an Irken PAK contains all of a single Irken's memories, personality, and high scores. An Irken assigned to a specific task has their PAK 'encoded' for that task by an Irken Control Brain, similar to formatting a hard drive.
In the same episode, Zim's true status was determined to be "Defective". Although a Defective is supposed to be an individual with a flawed PAK, and Zim's PAK was undoubtedly as the most defective as Smeet Zim stated that it had "40 shmillion mistakes" and the unawareness of his destructive actions is most likely the result of him being a "defect", however, it can be seen in the episode that the process of determining an Irken's 'defectiveness' is highly subjective.
In another scripted, but never completed episode by Rob Hummel, "Ten Minutes to Doom", Zim accidentally loses his PAK, which is then stolen by Dib. Zim himself begins to quickly deteriorate and it is revealed that Irkens can only survive ten minutes without their PAK.
The PAK attaches itself to Dib and begins to assert Zim's personality in Dib. Although Zim is almost dead by the time he retrieves his PAK, once he has it back on he is very quickly rejuvenated. As Dib states in the episode, "This device... it IS ZIM. It's his brain and his life support. That means his body is just... something to carry his PAK around."
It should be noted that only Irken biology is compatible with the PAK. When Dib wears the PAK the madness of Zim's personality is far more overstated than usual. Zim later states that the PAK would have destroyed Dib if he had worn it for more than ten minutes.
In a deleted scene from the episode "Abducted", Zim is falls through a hole with fire, knocking him unconscious. His PAK automatically releases its spider legs and catches on to a railing. It then carries his body to another room and places him safely on the ground. This reveals that Irken PAKs are sentient and will work even when the Irken is unconscious. In "Ten Minutes to Doom", Zim's PAK attempts to find and re-attach itself to Zim (although it was most likely programmed to).
In the unfinished and unaired episode "The Trial", it is shown that Zim is essentially the cause of most of the planet Irk's disasters: a few minutes after his birth he jammed up a chute with another baby Irken that created a blackout (Horrible Painful Overload Day) plunging Irk into darkness for five years. Later, an accident with a security robot caused another blackout (Horrible Painful Overload Day Part II), this one lasting for four years.
Trying to channel Zim's destructive tendencies, the then-Tallest reassigned Zim to the military station on the Planet Vort, where he dismissed the design of the Massive as unworkable and then created an energy-absorbing monster that ingested an infinite energy source which proceeded to eat then-Tallest Miyuki. Years later, it returned to get its collar and devoured Miyuki's successor Tallest Spork.
Zim plunged half of the military planet Devastis into darkness when he used a maim bot on a malfunctioning snack machine, as seen in "Tak, the Hideous New Girl." During Operation Impending Doom I, Zim was placed in a small circle and told to watch it, but the will to destroy was too great and deciding that the "Empire needed him" he stole a Frontline BattleMech and, out of overzealous excitement, proceeded to destroy half of Irk without realizing that he was still on his own planet - as seen briefly in a flashback during "The Nightmare Begins." Sometime after this, he scratches his butt, causing the planet he's on to explode.
Incredibly, Zim is proud of all these "achievements" and mistakes his Existence Evaluation for a party thrown in his honor, though soon realizes his mistake. When he is finally declared defective, the Control Brains attempting to delete his PAK's data are themselves corrupted by Zim and go insane themselves. Zim is rewarded with ten free minutes of piloting the Massive and declared 'the most incredible Irken ever' by the insane Control Brains.
Powers and Abilities
Despite his incompetence, Zim is actually shown to be intelligent. He is an excellent engineer, being able to tool with many devices and equipment. He has a very impressive arsenal, and he was able to fix GIR's behavior using a behavioral modulator and enhance his guidance chip. He also created Minimoose, who has been known to be very powerful and dangerous (although Zim doesn't know how to use him properly).
Zim is a very skilled pilot. However, in some episodes, he is shown crashing and his ship in flames, which hints at the possibility that while he can pilot certain ships, he is prone to accidents.
Throughout the show, there are subtle but noticeable hints about Zim's biology. He is shown to do many things that no human could do, hinting that he might have powers or inhuman abilities of some sort. Zim has been shown to have super strength - in "Attack of the Saucer Morons", he body slammed a woman who was twice his size and overweight and knocked her over, while in "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars", he is shown throwing a child into another person hard enough to knock them off their feet. However, Dib was easily able to pin him down for a short moment in "Megadoomer", though this could have been because he was caught off guard.
He is shown to be very fast and agile. In "FBI Warning of Doom", he is able to evade most of the booby traps set in the mall, in "The Frycook What Came From All That Space", Zim was able to outrun Sizz-Lorr, and he was also able to outrun Dib in "The Nightmare Begins".
He also seems to have inhuman stamina as he doesn't need to sleep (thanks to his PAK). However, he still eats food.
Zim is also shown to have incredible durability, as he is shown taking hits from stronger enemies such as Oog-Ah, Sizz-Lorr, and Sergeant Hobo 678. In many episodes, GIR has been shown falling directly on his head, but he's usually fine afterwards. He has also survived falls from heights, such as in "Battle of the Planets" and "Walk of Doom". He also has been seen surviving crashes; in "Attack of the Saucer Morons", Zim survives two crashes (the first in his Voot Runner, the second in the Voot Carrier) and he also survived an even more disastrous crash in "Hamstergeddon". In "Zim Eats Waffles", Zim was attacked by a demon flesh eating squid and zombie soldiers and was only covered in bruises. In "Tak the Hideous New Girl", he and GIR are thrown into the Voot Runner, causing it to fall from the sky, and he walks away unharmed. In "Battle of the Planets", Zim is shown to be impervious to fire (or at least physically resistant to it). He also survives an explosion which decimated the entire city in "Walk for Your Lives". At the end of Enter the Florpus, Zim's head is caved in by a puppy GIR had recently shot into space. While not shown, he most likely survived this and was only knocked unconscious.
Zim is shown to be extremely lucky, as he has survived countless incidents that would have ended in certain death, as exampled above.
Zim has been shown to have regenerative powers, as he's been shown to heal from bruises, broken skin (or skin deformities), and broken bones. He has healed from a popped zit, meat fused to his head, and his skin torn off his head and body ("Rise of the Zitboy", "Bolognius Maximus", and "Lice"). In "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom", Zim is left with a broken spine, and implies it will heal soon. It is unknown how powerful Zim's regeneration powers really are, it should be noted however that this is all possible as a result of his people's genetic engineering, so these abilities are more than likely common among the Irkens.
Weaknesses and Immunities
Zim is severely allergic to several Earth substances, including meat, barbecue sauce, beans, pizza, and most school lunches. The last item may not be considered a weakness exclusively to Zim, as the food in the cafeteria has been shown to be harmful to humans as well. Exposure to excessive grease leads to the creation of an enormous transparent, semi-permeable, hypnotic pimple, known first as Pustulio.
It's unclear whether these effects are due to Zim's alien biochemistry or because the Earth itself appears to be, in the timeframe of Invader Zim, excessively polluted. The episode "Bolognius Maximus" offers an additional suggestion that the Irken body may be physiologically and biochemically much more delicate than a human's. Zim's genetic structure breaks down and turns into bologna much faster than Dib's after exposure to an identical infusion of bologna-DNA.
However, for each weakness Zim has found a compensatory mechanism, he discovered that germs could be repelled by covering his body in "space meat" and using conventional Earth disinfectant sprays (despite the meat then fusing to his flesh). He also discovered his pimples have hypnotic properties over humans. In the episode "Zim Eats Waffles", he thinks that eating enough Earth food will allow him to build up an immunity to it. Whether it has or not wasn't seen.
In addition, in "The Wettening" after Zim found out about bathing in the school glue, he could be protected against water, at first it appears that he developed a layer of glue that permanently fused to his outer epidermal layer, but it was revealed that Jhonen Vasquez planned to have more scenes where Zim would be seen bathing in paste to have the viewer remember that he needs protection against water but couldn't due to time constraints.
It is first seen in "Door to Door" that Zim can withstand a large amount of water (when the character who Zim asked sprays him with a hose). This was seen in "The Frycook What Came From All That Space", where Zim crashes and has a small splash of water from a hose. In the DVD, Jhonen commentates that "Zim is resistant to water, but he's exposed to polluted water only."
Zim also has an intense fear of germs and anything "filthy." In the episode "Germs", Zim orders a pair of "microgoggles" that allow him to see germs, portrayed in the usual cartoonish fashion of large, pulsating green blobs. Zim panics when he realizes that germs are almost everywhere and begins to spray them with disinfectant. In "Rise of the Zitboy", Zim obsessively rubs his face with soap after being hugged by a grease-soaked GIR.
An unknown substance secreted by his skin kills lice almost instantly, this could mean that he is also immune to other pests on Earth.
His biggest weakness, however, would be his immense ego as it makes Zim do incredibly reckless things almost all the time. This is best shown by Issue 12, as in the future a more competent Zim has conquered Earth.
Disguises Worn in Public
- Main article: Zim's Disguises
To blend in with the inhabitants of Earth, Zim has made a series of creative disguises. Zim often wears disguises to try to conceal his identity from the "earth-monkeys" that he plans to eventually conquer; they are often unconvincing and hastily constructed, but he knows that the humans are too oblivious to recognize that he is an extraterrestrial visitor anyway.
Zim's school disguise consists of some contact lenses and a bouffant wig. The contacts give his eyes a human appearance, and the wig covers his antennae; however, everything else about him, including his uniform and green skin, is left unchanged.
He explains away his skin color and lack of ears as a skin condition in the "The Nightmare Begins", and has passed off being caught without his contact lenses as a bad case of pinkeye. It was discovered in the first episode that the sleeve of his right glove can become a self-destruct device, most likely to get rid of an Irken soldier if they believe their mission has been compromised.
He occasionally wears an old man disguise, such as in "Walk of Doom" and other episodes, which he used throughout the first season. This disguise consists of a flowered hat and a white fake beard. It makes him resemble a short, crazy old man; in the same episode, he was mistaken for a hobo and later for a bank robber. Ironically, this is the only disguise Zim wore that nearly got him arrested and even discovered, as was the case in "Attack of the Saucer Morons."
In the second season of the show, Zim added another disguise to his arsenal: a floppy, huge-headed human suit with a cape, a sewed-on handbag and stuffed puppy, and a name tag reading 'human'. His face was undisguised, but no one saw through it as it was revealed humans saw a human face. This disguise was first seen in "The Girl Who Cried Gnome" and briefly during "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever".
A similar disguise was seen in Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, where Zim kidnaps Professor Membrane and takes over his labs for his new evil plan. The only differences from the above human disguise were that Zim was dressed as a scientist of sorts and was using his contact lenses.
Other costumes worn include a fat lady outfit used to hide the time field explosion in "Walk for Your Lives"; a bear suit (use unknown, possibly an I Feel Sick reference) in "Battle of the Planets", a "Baby Inspector" disguise for interrogating "Noogums" ("Plague of Babies"), and the Santa Claus suit and Easter Platypus disguises used to manipulate the public in "The Most Horrible X-mas Ever"; the former was by far one of Zim's most ambitious and advanced disguises, being made from a Vortian liquid substance.
The Pilot also featured an over-sized robotic battle-suit shaped like Zim's school disguise for use in the food-fight that occurred.
Brief on-screen appearances of other Invaders in "Walk for Your Lives" and "Planet Jackers" showed that almost all other Invaders use even shoddier disguises, so Zim's ineptitude in this regard is not unique.
Zim's name is still remembered two million years after the events of "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever", in which he created a Santa Suit in hopes of finally conquering the Earth and enslaving the inhabitants in the name of the Irken Empire. Even though he was not successful, the consequences of his actions had a profound effect on the planet for centuries to come as his desire to destroy humanity became a yearly event taking place on Christmas, as people tried to keep the feral Santa at bay, ruining the holiday forever.
Meanwhile on Irk, Zim is remembered for several atrocities, including the deaths of two Tallest, creating monsters, and even his birthdate is remembered as "Horrible Painful Overload Day" due to the planetwide blackout he caused a few minutes after activation, so he's viewed as a figure of contempt in Irken History.
|21. "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars":||Appears|
|22a. "Mortos der Soulstealer":||Appears||22b. "Zim Eats Waffles":||Appears|
|23a. "The Girl Who Cried Gnome":||Appears||23b. "Dibship Rising":||Appears|
|24a. "Vindicated!":||Appears||24b. "The Voting of the Doomed":||Appears|
|25. "Gaz, Taster of Pork":||Appears|
|26. "The Frycook What Came from All That Space":||Appears|
|27. "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever":||Appears|
|1. "Roboparents Gone Wild":||Confirmed||2. "Simon Sez Doom":||Confirmed|
|3. "Invader Poonchy":||Confirmed||4. "Nubs of Doom":||Confirmed|
|5. "Ten Minutes to Doom":||Confirmed||6. "GIR's Big Day":||Confirmed|
|7. "Return of Keef":||Confirmed||8. "Day of da Spookies":||Confirmed|
|9. "Mopiness of Doom":||Confirmed||10. "Those!":||Confirmed|
|11. "Top of the Line":||Confirmed||12. "The Trial":||Confirmed|
|13. "It Feeds on Noodles":||Confirmed||14. "When Pants Ruled!":||Confirmed|
|15. "Squishy: Hugger of Worlds":||Confirmed|
|1. Issue 1:||Appears||2. Issue 2:||Appears|
|3. Issue 3:||Appears||4. Issue 4:||Appears|
|5. Issue 5:||Cameo||6. Issue 6:||Appears|
|7. Issue 7:||Appears||8. Issue 8:||Appears|
|9. Issue 9:||Appears||10. Issue 10:||Appears|
|11. Issue 11:||Appears||12. Issue 12:||Appears|
|13. Issue 13:||Appears||14. Issue 14:||Appears|
|15. Issue 15:||Appears||16. Issue 16:||Appears|
|17. Issue 17:||Appears||18. Issue 18:||Appears|
|19. Issue 19:||Appears||20. Issue 20:||Appears|
|21. Issue 21:||Appears||22. Issue 22:||Appears|
|23. Issue 23:||Appears||24. Issue 24:||Appears|
|25. Issue 25:||Appears||26. Issue 26:||Appears|
|27. Issue 27:||Appears||28. Issue 28:||Appears|
|29. Issue 29:||Appears||30. Issue 30:||Appears|
|31. Issue 31:||Appears||32. Issue 32:||Appears|
|33. Issue 33:||Appears||34. Issue 34:||Appears|
|35. Issue 35:||Appears||36. Issue 36:||Appears|
|37. Issue 37:||Appears||38. Issue 38:||Appears|
|39. Issue 39:||Appears||40. Issue 40:||Appears|
|41. Issue 41:||Appears||42. Issue 42:||Appears|
|43. Issue 43:||Appears||44. Issue 44:||Appears|
|45. Issue 45:||Appears||46. Issue 46:||Appears|
|47. Issue 47:||Appears||48. Issue 48:||Appears|
|49. Issue 49:||Appears||50. Issue 50:||Appears|
|Q1. Quarterly 1:||Appears||Q2. Quarterly 2:||Appears|
|Q3. Quarterly 3:||Appears||Q4. Quarterly 4:||Appears|
|SP. Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus:||Appears|
Zim has had several voice actors before the series had officially started. In Jhonen Vasquez's original pilot episode, Zim's voice was provided first by Mark Hamill and then by Billy West. According to his DVD commentary, Vasquez ultimately rejected him because Futurama was still on the air and he did not think there should be two sci-fi/humor cartoons with the same lead actor.
The pilot episode with West's voiceover track is available as an extra feature on the second disc of the Zim DVD set. Hamill was not cast because Vasquez considered he was unsuited for the role upon hearing his recordings while Nickelodeon considered that he sounded too old.
Richard Steven Horvitz, who voiced Daggett from The Angry Beavers, revoiced Zim as a tester on the third pass of the pilot and was finally chosen to be the character's permanent voice for the remainder of the American series.
If The Angry Beavers had not ended by the time Invader Zim aired, Andy Berman, the voice of Dib, would have voiced Zim. This final version of the pilot was unavailable to the public until Christmas Eve, 2011 when the pilot aired on Nicktoons. At this point, the late Gary Coleman was considered to voice Zim, but according to his blog, Vasquez didn't want to cast a celebrity to voice the show's titular protagonist.
Horvitz's style of voicing Zim was influenced heavily by Vasquez's own inflections and those of Vincent Price. Interestingly, Horvitz played a similar character (Orthopox) in the video game Destroy All Humans!, with similar inflections and personality. On behind the voice actors, it was shown that Melissa Fahn had voiced Zim as a smeet in "Parent Teacher Night"; her only line as Zim was: "I love you, cold unfeeling robot arm."
Facts of Doom
- Zim is fittingly the first Irken to appear in the series, albeit only the upper part of his face is seen in "The Nightmare Begins."
- Zim could've been considered the first Nicktoon villain to have ever killed anyone onscreen had the show not been canceled, since the unfinished episode "The Trial" confirms that he doomed two previous Irken leaders by accident; and, during a flashback in "The Frycook What Came from All That Space", it was shown that he blew up all the other Invaders at the beginning of Operation Impending Doom I, and considering that Sizz-Lorr said Zim nearly "destroyed their civilization" it's heavily implied that he is responsible for the death of thousands maybe millions of Irkens, or perhaps the near-death. However, "Invader Dib" was going to show Zim wanting to protect his people from further deaths and atone for the crimes he has been said to have committed.
- Zim may have appeared in Jhonen Vasquez's comic book Squee! before the start of the series. A poster featuring an alien that looks Irken and wearing a wig like Zim's bouffant wig appears above Todd's bed. The image looks less like Zim, though, since the head is rounded and has mere stick figure hands.
- Zim has been seen in a commercial on Nickelodeon holding a sandwich, to which he has bad allergic reactions. In it, he was knocked off a wire he was sitting on and thrown into a light, making it explode. This commercial was a crossover of other series on Nickelodeon. After the cancellation of Invader Zim, Zim was replaced with Jenny from My Life as a Teenage Robot, which was also canceled. However, Jenny wasn't knocked into the light.
- Zim's personality is based on the part of Jhonen Vasquez that refuses to listen to anybody that has ever tried to hold him back from achieving his goals, like those who told him that he would never make a living out of drawing cartoons. The only difference is that Vasquez's relentlessness benefits him while Zim's is purely self-destructive.
- Vasquez also said that Zim is that version of him "highly concentrated", where his greatest superpower is his inability to understand why he might fail.
- Contrary to what a handful of people have thought, the name “ZIM” wasn’t inspired by the character Sergeant Charles Zim from Starship Troopers, who was portrayed by Clancy Brown (the voice of Mr. Krabs on SpongeBob SquarePants). Brown came across Jhonen Vasquez during a recording session and asked if there were any connections between the Zims, but as it turns out Zim's name came from a Tamagotchi Vasquez had given to a previous girlfriend.
- Zim is known to smell things and scents even though he does not have a nose, or his nostrils are so small that they're not visible, as evidenced in "Germs", when he is seen sniffing the scent saying it was the "stink of clean."
- In Jhonen Vasquez's Meanwhile... comic "Jhonen Vasquez V.S The Devil," there are aliens flying a ship similar to Zim's Voot Runner, though the aliens inside the ship look nothing like Irkens.
- It's revealed in "Tak: The Hideous New Girl" that he promised the moon to GIR.
- In one episode of Fanboy & Chum Chum called "Dollar Day", Zim can be seen on a comic cover in the background. His skin is faintly green and he is wearing his disguise, so one must be careful when looking for him.
- At some point in the series, Zim had learned to read human writing, as he is seen reading the newspaper, and understanding what it says, in "Zim Eats Waffles".
- Zim is a playable character in Nicktoons MLB alongside Gaz; best used as a first base-Irken, his bat is one of the strongest in the entire game if Turbo Hit is activated and he maintains his concentration. His clothes and overall body rendering are the same as in the show, only he wears a pinkish baseball cap that transforms into a first baseman's helmet when he is in first base. He also has a collectible card that mentions that he was almost cut from the roster when it was discovered that he was pulling a prank on fellow team players (tying their shoelaces together). His 'up to bat' pose is an action movie-style jump. Everyone in the stadium cheers him on (including Gaz and Dib) when he gets a home run, as do the hundreds of Irkens in the stands when he knocks the ball out of the park.
- Despite Zim being widely hated within the universe of the show, he is also quite respected by some, such as Keef, Professor Membrane, Invader Skoodge, Sergeant Slab Rankle, the Plim, Mooshy, and Spoopty among others. He is also quite really beloved in the fandom.
- The fact that Invader Tenn looks quite a bit like Zim may hint at the possibility that the two of them may actually be related since its possible that the Control Brains used similar DNA to create them.
- Ironically, Zim is the closest thing Dib has to a friend.
- Only three people during the whole series have been shown to intimidate or frighten Zim; which is Sergeant Hobo 678, Sizz-Lorr and Gaz.
- Zim's name is spelled in capital letters in the official voice scripts.
- Other media forms stylize his names in the same fashion, and some people consider it the canonical way of writing his name.
- Jhonen Vasquez stated that Irkens write in all caps "because they are annoying"
- Whenever Zim writes his name in the show, he writes it as "ZiM", capitalizing the "Z" and "M" but leaving the "i" lowercase. This is how his name appears in the show's title card as well.
- In the Japanese and Latin American dubs of the show, Zim is voiced by a woman. In the latter, his Spanish voice actress's voice is pitched down to sound more male in initial episodes.
- In Japanese, Zim's name is pronounced as Jim, as the language technically lacks a "zi" sound.
- Zim's Latin American voice actress, Magda Giner, also dubbed Lois Wilkerson from "Malcolm in the Middle". Coincidentally, both characters are known to scream a lot.
- As hinted in "Nubs of Doom" and confirmed by Jhonen Vasquez, purple is Zim's favorite color.
- In some rare cases, Zim has a habit of procrastinating on his mission as seen in Issue 1, Issue 20 and the canceled episode "Mopiness of Doom."
- Jhonen Vasquez, who is an avid gamer, has said that Zim likes video games. This was proven as he was seen in the pilot playing "Pain Piggy" in his base, while in "Bestest Friend" he told Keef he had video games, and in the unfinished episode "The Trial" the script had him playing video games during his existence evaluation. This makes Zim the only other character besides Gaz (on a regular basis) and the Shadowhog (in "Gaz, Taster of Pork") who is seen playing video games in the series.
- The unfinished episode "The Trial" implies that Zim may have an actual disorder, as the titular trial amounts to a process of Zim being declared legally insane or suffering from paranoia and mania.
- Zim is the only known Irken defective to not be deactivated seeing as the Control Brains themselves became insane from all the bad data in his PAK.
- Interestingly, the Control Brains can re-encode Zim's PAK from an Irken Invader to a Fast Food Drone without any problems but as mentioned above are unable to erase his PAK.
- In "The Nightmare Begins", Zim draws his base on a tablet first. If you watch closely, this shows that Zim draws it with his left hand. Yet in "Career Day" while taking the ink-blot test, he writes with his right hand. So Zim is ambidextrous.
- In some earlier episodes, Zim has four fingers, but later he has only three, this was probably done so as to make him appear more alien.
- Since Zim is already an adult by the beginning of the series, it's unlikely that he will grow in height unless Irkens have a growth spurt outside of their home planet, which is something fans have used in fanfics quite a lot.
- In the game "Don't Starve Together", he is shown as a character mod. He is also a model in Gmod.
- Ironically despite Zim wanting to enslave or destroy the human race, he seems to have a decent amount of "popularity" among not just the Skoolchildren but with a few citizens as people often side with him rather than Dib even when it is painfully clear that he hates humanity, at least for the majority of episodes that were completed before cancellation.
- Zim met President Man in "The Girl Who Cried Gnome" and again in Issue 32. This is the only time in the series and comics, respectively, that he comes across one of Earth's world leaders.
- In the episode "The Girl Who Cried Gnome" it was shown that Zim can whistle, what was odd was that he knew the lyrics of "If You're Happy and You Know It" which may hint he's getting familiar with human culture.
- In an interview with IGN in 2004, Jhonen Vasquez said that he "always imagined Zim as just being utterly unaware of his shortcomings, to a dangerous extent even. He's not really stupid, but he's got some problems getting priorities straight. He's this alien from an incredibly advanced race (technologically anyhow), with access to a universe of power. And yet he stays in school all day, enduring it, hating it, fearing it and freaking out about it. The thought of sneaking out or setting a robot in his place never crosses his mind. He gets so caught up with the most unimportant details, he ends up getting nothing done; He gets a giant robot, and his plan is to go beat Dib up. It was cool to remind people that he really was in control of some impressive stuff, but that his sense of control was so horrible that it didn't matter if his plans were foolproof."
- Interestingly since Zim accidentally discovered Earth, other aliens may be aware of his discovery. One clue can be the fact that mail delivery services are seen sending him stuff to the planet.
- Zim is the first Irken to have set foot on both Earth and Mars.
- Zim has the most appearances of the four main characters in both the TV series and the comics. This is unsurprising since he is the main character.
- The only episodes where Zim doesn't appear in were "Battle-Dib", "Game Slave 2" and "The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot", though he was mentioned in "Battle-Dib".
- His voice actor, Richard Horvitz, claimed those episodes were his least favorite because Zim doesn't make an appearance in them.
- So far, Zim is the only character to have appeared in every issue of the comics.
- Recap Kid did appear in every Issue of the monthly comics until the character was apparently retired for the Quaterly issues.
- The only episodes where Zim doesn't appear in were "Battle-Dib", "Game Slave 2" and "The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot", though he was mentioned in "Battle-Dib".
- In Issue 7, when Zim landed on a previously lifeless planet, the Voot Runner's leaking fluid started the fast-paced evolution of life on the planet and he accidentally created life. At one point, Zim also spits in the fluid, creating a smeet similar in appearance to him, that refers to Zim as "papa". This technically makes Zim a parent, which would be the first time that has happened with an Irken in hundreds, if not thousands of years, as currently, the species as a whole has no families.
- In Issue 13, Zim admits that he has trouble telling human genders apart. He's shown making this mistake in Issue 17 when he refers to Dib as a lady. However, this could simply be a gag, since several times in the series he correctly calls Dib "Earth boy" and the joke could be a possible reference to Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama since he is also an alien who makes the same mistake all too often.
- Coincidentally, Billy West, who voices Dr. Zoidberg, voiced Zim in the pilot and almost voiced him for the entire series had Richard Horvitz not landed the role.
- Zim has been able to create life from scratch, as in the above mention of Issue 7 he accidentally terraformed a previously dead planet and even fathered a smeet for a few seconds, however, this may be a less than impressive achievement as it has been hinted that Irkens can create blobs, which are another sentient and non-sentient lifeforms as seen in both the series and comics.
- Zim has only cried twice during the duration in the series, first in "The Frycook What Came from All That Space" and then in Enter the Florpus.
- Assuming that everything in the comic series is canon, Zim will eventually grow out of his "Defective" nature, finally conquering Earth and succeed in earning the Tallest respect as seen in Issue 12. This can possibly be a result of his PAK finally getting those "40 shmillion mistakes" fixed.
- In an interview when someone asked Jhonen Vasquez if Zim would ever conquer Earth, he laughed and said yes. The episode "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever", may suggest otherwise.
- Issue 25 shows some of Zim's backstory as an Invader in training. But at the moment, it's unknown if future issues of the comic will show more of Zim's past.
- Issue 28 reveals that Zim doesn't know what hot dogs are made of and claims that "No one knows."
- In Issue 34, Zim believes that he and Prisoner 777 are "old friends" despite the fact that he has his children hostage on Earth, as revealed in Issue 1.
- In Issue 40, it was revealed that across the multiverse, in universes where both Zim and Dib exist, they always end up meeting and are destined to be enemies.
- Also, Issues 5, 32, 46 and 47 also show that there are different versions of Zim but only the last one showed that some are more incompetent or a bit more competent than him and only one Zim was smart and ruthless enough that he has conquered the Zimvoid and possibly his version of Earth. (Although he was revealed to be a Dib disguised as a Zim.
- Issue 47 also reveals that in one universe Zim is named Carl.
- It was revealed in Issue 44 that Zim sometimes makes questionable business deals with other aliens. This would explain how he has monies since it's unlikely that the Tallest pay him.
- In Issue 45 it was shown that Zim surprisingly knows how to drive a car, as he stole a weenie mobile from the Deelishus Weenie restaurant and even more shockingly took a road trip despite hating everything about Earth.
- In the same issue, it was seen that Zim is actually capable of feeling love, as he comes to care for Li'l Meat Man as if it really were his child. However, once it fully registers with him that Li'l Meat Man is just a wad of meat, he stops caring about it.
- Also, as previously seen in "Parent Teacher Night" Zim has an affection for his cold unfeeling robot arm. This shows that Irkens can feel love as Jhonen Vasquez claimed.
- In Issue 46, it's revealed that Zim doesn't remember Tak and Skoodge even when they're the Irkens that Zim has talked to the most next to the Tallest.
- Vasquez confirmed that only polluted water can harm Zim, this is most likely because realistically, there is also water in Earth's atmosphere and if Zim kept breathing the planet's oxygen, it would only be a matter of time till it killed him.
- Zim has been shown to have memory lapses in many instances, such as in "Gaz, Taster of Pork", when he said that Dib was "making it up" when Dib brought up the events of "Bolognius Maximus"; in "The Frycook What Came from All That Space", when he initially didn't remember working on Foodcourtia (although he could possibly have simply blocked out his time at Shloogorgh's Flavor Monster as the abuse he received from costumers and Sizz-Lorr alike traumatized him); and in the end panel of Issue 3 where he didn't remember the events of that issue. This is often used to play with the series' floating timeline, as other characters can remember certain events, but Zim can't. Alternatively, Zim does remember but pretends not to out of pride.
- Amazingly, Zim is at the same time capable of remembering things he's not even present for, as he's able to remember something Sizz-Lorr said when Zim was nowhere in sight. Additionally in "The Nightmare Begins", Zim apparently remembered something Dib did despite just arriving on Earth, though this might just be him pretending in order to make Dib look crazier.
- This hints at the possibility that his damaged PAK is somehow responsible for this ability.
- Ironically, Zim is arguably a better defender than an Invader seeing as he has saved the Earth a handful of times both in the show and the comics.
- As shown in Walk of Doom, Zim may have claustrophobia, germophobia, and agrophobia.
- According to Jhonen Vasquez, Zim is older than any living human and arguably any living being on planet Earth.
- Vasquez later confirmed that while he himself doesn't know Zim's exact age. He's canonically a young adult by Irken standards but quite old by human standards, and he simply likes spending his free time fighting human children since they're the only thing getting in the way of completing his mission.
- There was the possibility of Zim's age originally planned to be around 160 Earth years and 16 in Irken years, but was most likely scrapped; similar to what happened to Dib's last name to be unknown but was later changed to "Membrane" in the comics.
- Vasquez has stated that the four main characters aren't evil and that Zim and Dib are both "good guys" but on "different sides". This makes sense in Zim's case, as he is a "defective" and can't tell the difference between right and wrong.
- However, Zim has explicitly proclaimed himself to be “evil”, notably in the episode "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars" when he said, “With this, I can pilot the Massive and bring the Almighty Tallest here to witness my ingenious evil!”
- Despite Zim presumably having over a century of military training he is unable to defeat or kill Dib and Gaz who are mere children or "smeets" in Irken terms and theoretically shouldn't be considered a threat to his "mission", this could be due in part to his questionable sanity or maybe that Zim himself has yet to actually reach a level of mental maturity since he has remained the same personality-wise for most of his life.
- At San Diego Comic-Con 2018, Jhonen Vasquez said he believes that Zim is hard of hearing, which would explain why he screams so much.
- Issue 34 reveals that Zim pays to have his enemies (and people he just doesn't like) locked up in the space prison Moo-Ping 10.
- Zim can actually tell when other species are disguised as an Irken, unlike other Irkens, as seen in Issue 43 when he was the only one that recognized Dib even when he was wearing a terrible disguise. This is an ironic reversal of their standard dynamic, where Dib is one of the only humans who can tell Zim is an alien in an awful human disguise.
- Steve Ressel once said that if the Tallest ever told Zim the truth about his "mission", he wouldn't believe them as he is too arrogant, interestingly the Tallest never told him and Zim realized the Tallest had no intention to come to Earth by himself.
- In Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, it's revealed that Zim knows some Spanish, as he says "Vamonos" which translates to "Let's go", at one point (Which is what Zim says in the Latin American version of the film). This could be because he and GIR were stuck in Mexico at the end of the episode "Walk of Doom", and were stuck there presumably for some time, perhaps long enough for him to learn the language.
- In the movie its also revealed that Zim's antennae resemble Johnny C's "Bunny hairstyle" when they're bent forward.
- In a daydream Zim had in Enter the Florpus, it was revealed that he still believes that he holds the Invader rank despite being demoted to a Fast Food Drone.
- In the film, it's shown that Zim believes that the Tallest are his "biggest fans", highlighting the extent of his delusions about how they really feel about him.
- The YouTube video "Evil to Most Evil" voted Zim as the second most evil Nicktoon villain, only losing to Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: the Last Airbender.
- In another YouTube video by the same contributor, "Cartoon Scientists: Dumb to Brilliant", Zim was ranked lower than Professor Membrane.
- Zim's mechanical spider legs are similar to Spider-Man's Iron Spider's waldoes or Superior Spider-Man's mechanical spider legs.
- Despite his "evil" but childish attitude, most people in the fandom find Zim to be quite lovable.
- Zim is indirectly responsible for the deaths of four tallests.
- An old bumper said that Zim is around 3 feet tall. However, whether or not this is true is unconfirmed. The bumper can be watched here.
- Almighty Tallest and Zim's Relationship
- Dib and Zim's Relationship
- Gaz and Zim's Relationship
- Ms. Bitters and Zim's Relationship
- Sizz-Lorr and Zim's Relationship
- Zim and GIR's Relationship
- Zim and Minimoose's Relationship
- Zim and Tak's Relationship
- Zim and Keef's Relationship
- Zim's House
- Zim's Space Station
- Zim's Orbital Water Balloon
|Almighty Tallest Miyuki • Almighty Tallest Purple • Almighty Tallest Red • Almighty Tallest Spork • Gashloog • Rarl Kove • Sizz-Lorr • Invader Skoodge • Tak • Zim|
|Characters of Invader Zim|
|Zim • GIR • Dib Membrane • Gaz Membrane|
|Almighty Tallest Purple • Almighty Tallest Red • Ms. Bitters • Professor Membrane|
|Invader Skoodge • Keef • Minimoose • Tak • President Man • Roboparents • Lard Nar • Skool Principal|
|Adult Dib • Old Kid • Hobo • Alan • Meef • Skoolchildren|
|Mortos der Soulstealer • Sergeant Slab Rankle • Sergeant Hobo 678 • Shadow Hog • Chickenfoot • Sizz-Lorr • Gashloog • Willy • Iggins • Walton Chunky • Pigboy|
|Louie • Digestor • Almighty Tallest Spork • Almighty Tallest Miyuki • Bloody GIR • Cthulu • Cybernetic Kitten • Dinky • Little Timmy|