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|Hair Color||None (natural)|
Black (disguise wig)
|Eye Color||Ruby (natural)|
Black (disguise contacts)
|Pets||GIR (cover disguise)|
|Occupation||Invader (self proclaimed; not officially recognized by the Irken Empire)|
|Interests||Taking over Earth|
delusions of grandeur, yet
overly dramatic and
|Behind the Scenes|
|Universe||Invader Zim Universe|
|Created by||Jhonen Vasquez|
|Designed by||Jhonen Vasquez|
|Performed by||Richard Steven Horvitz|
- "I love you cold, unfeeling robot arm!"
- ―Zim's first words
- "You see, if Zim hadn't been exiled to the far reaches of the galaxy, he would be here, with us, RUINING EVERYTHING!"
- ―Almighty Tallest Red on Zim to a crowd of Irken soldiers
Zim is a member of the alien Irken. Since his actions usually lead to disaster (having nearly destroyed the Irken homeworld during Operation Impending Doom I) 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 away from Operation Impending Doom II.
After arriving on Earth, Zim enrolled in the nearest elementary school to begin his infiltration and gather information about indigenous race. There, he became quick rivals with Dib, an avid preteen paranormal investigator. Zim wants 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."
Although he is the protagonist, Zim is morally and ethically a villain, being overall a fairly unsympathetic character, though he occasionally shows some kindness towards certain characters (such as GIR in Walk of Doom), and usually only causing chaos and destruction for either himself, his own race, or Earth.
Zim is an Irken with megalomaniacal, sadistic, emotionally unstable, sociopathic, paranoid, and narcissistic personality traits. He usually ends up being a danger to himself and his own people, but he still considers himself a mighty Irken warrior. Zim had Mysophobia, which developed when he ordered a pair of goggles that let him see germs and bacteria, though he has since faced this fear and overcame it.
Despite his self-proclaimed greatness, Zim is held up as a complete laughingstock by his own species throughout most episodes of the show. Unaware of that fact, Zim is cluelessly loyal and obedient to the Tallest and the Irken Empire, and is willing to go to great lengths to please his leaders. His self-absorbed nature prevents him from acknowledging any of his failures, choosing only to speak about the better things that came from each incident.
However, it is clear that Zim is highly intelligent in some respects - being a master of the mechanical - but has absolutely no apparent interest to think things through, wasting much of his time fussing or dealing with unimportant "threats."
Moreover, it is evident that he has the skill to destroy 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 crashes on most other occasions, and his skills pale in comparison to opponents adept at hand-eye coordination or overall agility (such as Gaz or Tak). Zim also has admirable engineering ability; in Walk of Doom, he single-handedly 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 enslave Earth, it has been hinted that he would not actually want to rule it. In Attack of the Saucer Morons, Zim gained a group of human worshipers who would be willing to do his bidding, yet his only thought was escaping them. In the Nickelodeon Magazine Special, in which Zim finally took over the world, he did not stay to rule for very long, instead leaving Earth forever to ride flying alien rabbits and drink soda.
Zim usually shows little to no affection, often claiming to "need no one", but he occasionally lets a softer side of him slip on accident. In Parent Teacher Night, when Zim thought back to when he was born, he remembered the first thing he ever said was he loved the "cold, unfeeling robot arm" that "hatched" him from his incubation capsule and activated his PAK.
Strangely, it would seem that Zim also relies on the presence of his mortal enemy, Dib, for motivation. He said 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, almost more so than his actual mission. This importance was particularly highlighted in Moppiness 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.