Zero Desigze: Feeding the Dossier
I’m onto you. I know you’re onto me. I’m onto you being onto me, like a fox! You knew I was going to write another post about Zero Desigze soon. How could I resist? Every scrap of information is titillating
to me and must be exposed to the world of people who actually care. It is my self-imposed duty and my passion, and you cannot stop me. No, you cannot stop me. Though I guess you can ignore me 😦
FIRST, A CAVEAT:
Here’s the deal: we have a Zero Desigze project. This project is to culminate in an anime of some form. The first incarnation of this project, however, is as a pachinko slot game. It is impossible for us right now to determine what features of the pachinko story will feature in the anime. But let me also say this. We first heard of the project over two years ago, and yet the character designs back then are essentially the same being used in the game now, right down to the outfits! Everything that Matsumoto has said this month points to the fact that this project is very mature, and that the pachinko game can be taken as a relatively faithful harbinger of the anime. The story behind this game is already about as canonical as you can get.
NOW, THE SCOOP:
The story takes place in the year 2222 in the “Imperial reckoning”, according to the documents. We cannot take this to mean the traditional Japanese Imperial calendar because our year 2012 is actually 2672 in that calendar. If we followed that, then this story wouldn’t be science fiction but a samurai drama.
The year 2222 has significance for Leiji Matsumoto, because it is the year when the events of his seminal manga Sexaroid are supposed to take place. At first, I thought the use of 2222 was random here, but I’ve come to realize that it’s very deliberate. There is an important Plan in the Zero Desigze story, one we know pretty much nothing about it except its name and its three stages. Thus:
SOLAR SYSTEM REORGANIZATION PLAN
First Stage: Royal Trinity Plan
Second Stage: Himiko Plan
Third Stage: Korema D4 Plan
It looks like as you play the game you run through these stages. The important thing for us is that this framework replicates Sexaroid, which deals with a series of plans (3 in all) implemented by the Japanese government to reorganize and save Japan [go here for more details]. It’s just that now the plan’s scale has expanded from a single nation to the entire solar system.
Royal Trinity is a reference to the Trinity ore, which seems to lie at the center of the story and is apparently the main or best source of energy around [possibly equivalent to the cosmonite or iscandarium of earlier Leiji tales].
Himiko is the name of the (Yamatoesque) space battleship in the story. Himiko was a semi-legendary queen in Japan long, long ago. She is referenced in Sexaroid, Wadachi and elsewhere in Matsumoto’s oeuvre. One of the three plans in Sexaroid is the Yayoi Plan, and Yayoi is the name of the historical period in which Himiko was queen. The captain of Himiko in Zero Desigze is a woman, so the name is very appropriate. [The Imperial Japanese Navy as a rule named battleships after provinces, though many of the most famous battleships ended up having mountain names, simply because they were originally battlecruisers only subsequently converted into battleships, and battlecruisers were usually named after mountains].
As for Korema D4, I have absolutely no clue…
The question of who is implementing the Plan is difficult to answer. Let me first introduce the three factions in the Solar System of Zero Desigze:
1. Earth Central Government
This faction rules over Earth, the Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. In other words, it holds sway as far as the asteroid belt separating Mars from Jupiter. The government is ruled by a Generalissimo Wogner. As is typical in the Leijiverse, this Earth government seems to be corrupt and evil.
2. Planetary League Government
This faction rules over Jupiter and Saturn, and is headquartered in the former planet. It is unclear from the material we have whether its power reaches beyond Saturn or is confined to just these two planets.
3. Space Pirate Fleet
This faction apparently roams the asteroid belt that separates the two main territorial factions.
The asteroid belt contains the Trinity ore that everyone is after. It also has a Planetary Supership named Wogner, which we can assume is controlled by the Earth faction. The supership seems to be a Death Star-like contraption, and it might very well be involved in the search and extraction of Trinity ore in the belt.
The protagonists of Zero Desigze are Ichiro Haya (a.k.a. Zero Desigze) and Itsuki Almighty, captain of space battleship Himiko. Do they belong to the Planetary League or are they Pirates? A lot is riding on this question. The Solar System Reorganization Plan includes a Himiko stage so it’s likely that whichever faction Almighty belongs to is the one activating the plan, but which one is it? Leiji anime is known for its pirates, but there are also series where the protagonists belong to non-pirate factions even when pirates are around (Cosmo Warrior Zero instantly comes to mind). We just can’t tell.
All of the data here has been culled from promotional videos, brochures and images found [here].