The Liger Zero (ライガーゼロ Raigā Zero ) is a Lion/Tiger type Zoid, one of over 200 fictional species of biomechanical life forms that provide the basis for TOMY’s model kit, anime, and comic based Zoids franchise. The Liger Zero is the main characters' Zoid of Zoids: New Century Zero (the first Zoids anime series to be dubbed into English), and Zoids: Fuzors, was featured in both the Chaotic Century and New Century manga series, and was the centre of Hasbro's New American Release marketing campaign. All this has contributed to making the Liger Zero one of the most recognised Zoids.
The Liger Zero is a Liger type Zoid, used primarily by the Helic Republic. Some Liger Zero variants are used by the Guylos Empire. Unlike the Blade Liger, the Liger Zero is not a derivative of an older design, but rather a completely new Zoid.
Its signature attack is the "Strike Laser Claw", which is utilised by supercharging its claws with laser energy to enhance the power of a claw swipe, allowing it to smash and tear through thick enemy armor.
Because it is derived from a wild Zoid, the basic chassis does not carry any significant ranged weapons, though it is equipped with a twin-barreled shock cannon, fixed forward and mounted to the underside of its torso, and a gun on the tip of its tail. To overcome the limitation caused by its comparative lack of firepower, the Zoid was designed to allow its external armor to be swapped out and replaced with other components. The different armor types, known as Changing Armor System (or CAS) Units, allow the Zoid to take on different characteristics and adapt to different roles. (CAS was changed to stand for "Conversion Armor System" in the dub of New Century Zero.)
After the success of the Gairyuki's 'Blox Changing Armor System', the exiled Helic Republic chose to adapt the Blox-CAS technology to the Liger Zero platform. Unlike the three Support Zoids that make up the Gairyuki's Blox-CAS, each CAS Unit for the Liger Zero is designed to function as an independent Blox Zoid, and only one Blox-CAS Unit can be used at any time.
The Liger Zero was initially developed in ZAC 2100, by the Guylos Empire. However, the Helic Republic stole the design and the prototype, and were able to put the Zoid into production before the Empire could. The first Liger Zeros were deployed in ZAC 2101, and were essential in the defeat of the berserk Death Stinger.
A special unit of Liger Zeros, the Ray Force, was established and used to spearhead the Helic assault on the Dark Continent of Nyx. The Ray Force, led by Ray Gregg, was confronted by the Eisen Dragoons, and was nearly destroyed by their new Zoid, the Berserk Führer. Only the arrival of Helic reinforcements saved the unit from annihilation.
Despite losing the prototypes, the Guylos Empire eventually created their own version of the Liger Zero, known as either the Liger Zero EM or Liger Zero Imperial. While this version was identical in all regards to the Republic Liger Zero, excluding colour, it also had its own CAS Unit, the Liger Zero X. The X was used against the Republic forces in an attempt to prevent them from deploying the Madthunder, an effort that proved unsuccessful. Later the Liger Zero X units were used by Gunter Prozen's forces during his coup attempt, only to be destroyed by the combined Helic and Guylos militaries. Information gathered from the creation and deployment of the Liger Zero X was later used to develop the Energy Liger.
The surviving elements of the Ray Force were later re-equipped with Zero Phoenixes and sent on a near-suicidal assault to recapture a Republic base. They nearly succeeded until Seismosaurus appeared, destroying them as they bought time for the Gairyuki they were escorting with their lives.
When the Republic returned to the Central Continent and set about retaking their capital, Ray Gregg confronted emperor Wolf Muroa's Energy Liger in a Zero he'd disguised as an X. Combining with a smuggled-in Fire Phoenix, he proved no match for the superior Energy Liger...until Jet Falcon arrived in time for a second fusion. In the ensuing more even battle, the Zero Falcon ran through the Energy Liger's core, leaving its charger on overload. Neither of them wanting to see the city destroyed and civilians from both sides killed, Wolff and Ray cooperated long enough to link the two Zoids, using the Falcon's Buster Claws to fire the energy into the sky. 
The Liger Zero first appeared in Zoids: New Century Zero as the Zoid belonging to the main character, Bit Cloud. He acquires it in the very first episode and it remains his Zoid for the entire series; Bit is one of the few characters whose Zoid is not destroyed and replaced with a new one, though it does receive numerous upgrades, transforming into the Jager, the Schneider and the Panzer. Steve Toros was conned into buying it from a cheap dealer on the basis that white Ligers like it are very rare. Unfortunately, the Liger Zero proved to be temperamental, not allowing anybody to pilot it. Bit is the only one capable of piloting the Liger Zero, and he forms a deep bond with the Zoid.
The Liger Zero is a legendary Ultimate X Zoid, meaning it is equipped with an Organoid System which allows it to adapt quickly to changing combat conditions. It is very fast, maneuverable, and capable in close combat, its signature attack being the "Strike Laser Claw", where it channels laser energy into its claws to tear through enemy armor. It also has a "Changing Armor System", (called the "CAS" for short), which allows it to transform into more specialised sets of armor for specific combat sitiations.
During the course of the series, Bit and the Liger Zero are challenged by and defeat numerous opponents; among them Harry Champ and his Dark Horn, Jack Cisco and his Lightning Saix, and Leon Toros and his red Blade Liger. Bit and the Liger Zero would also face off against the Backdraft group's Fuma team and their War Sharks, as well as Stoller and his Elephander on numerous occasions. Their greatest rival, however, would be the Berserk Fury, a powerful Tyrannosaurus Rex type Zoid piloted by the child prodigy Vega Obscura. An Ultimate X like the Liger Zero, Vega and his Berserk Fury would battle against Bit and the Liger Zero for the royal cup championship.
In Zoids: Fuzors, RD used a Liger Zero; unlike in New Century Zero, the Liger Zero was not a unique Zoid, and was actually considered to be low-tech (No other Zeros were seen during the series, but the dialogue indicated that there were others like it). Scenes in episode 24 imply that the Liger Zero was piloted by RD's father.
During the course of the series, the Liger Zero gained the ability to fuse with a wild Zoid, the Fire Phoenix. With the Phoenix, RD and the Zero became near unbeatable; with only other Fuzors, Blake's Buster Fury and the Matrix Dragon being able to equal it. Despite this, the Fire Phoenix was destroyed in episode 14 by Blake's Gairyuki during a battle, sending RD and the Liger into a severe depression. In episode 16, RD encountered an ancient Zoid in a ruin. The Zoid, once revived, revealed itself to be the Jet Falcon, and combined with the Liger Zero. RD and Liger Zero Falcon played a role in several major events leading up to the conclusion of the series.
In the final episode, Liger Zero Falcon is the only Zoid left standing against Aplha Richter and his Seismosaurus. Responding to RD's determination, Liger Zero Falcon powers up beyond anything seen before,and is able to destroy the Seismosaurus.
RD's Liger Zero was slightly different from the one used in the previous series; the cockpit had a second seat, and the black detail on the canopy is changed to white. Also during its fusion with the Fire Phoenix, the facial armor of the Zero remains, with the facial armor of the B-CAS layered over the top.
After Zoids: Fuzors, the Liger Zero would not be seen in the anime series again, save for a brief cameo in a flashback sequence in episode 10 of Zoids: Genesis, in which the role of central Zoid was taken over by the similar-looking Murasame Liger.
Multiple Liger Zeros appear in the latter issues of the Chaotic Century manga. After sustaining serious damage fighting the Death Stinger, the Zoid Core of Caesar (Van's Blade Liger) is transplanted into the next-generation Liger Zero chassis. Several other Liger Zeros appear, two piloted by Viola and Rosso. These Zeros were produced normally.
Just prior to fighting Raven's Berserk Fury Shadow Edge, the Liger Zero is upgraded further, resulting in Liger Zero Caesar The King.
The Liger Zero stars in the manga adaptation of Zoids: New Century Zero. As in the anime series, it is a Zoid of the Blitz team piloted by Bit Cloud. Initially, it disobeys him, but when Leena is kidnapped by team Mord, Bit and the Liger bond and unlock their potential. Over the course of the Manga's four chapters, Bit and the Liger Zero would equip the Schnieder, Jager and Panzer units in combat against the Elephander, Storm Sworder and Berserk Fury, respectively.
The depiction of the Liger Zero of the NC0 manga differs somewhat from the anime. Though it is still considered an extremely powerful Zoid, no mention is made of it being an Ultimate X. Furthermore, it appears unable to transform in mid-battle, as the CAS installation system seen in the Hovercargo in the anime is absent from the manga adaptation.
The Liger Zero X's sole appearance is in the obscure comic Zoids: Galaxy Quest Planet Zi. The Zoid was used by Maya, one of the chief protagonists.
The Liger Zero kit comes on ten frames, along with a battery-operated motor, two jaw pieces, a semi-transparent canopy cover, sixteen rubber caps and a small grey pilot figure. The Liger Zero is moulded in white, grey and black, with gold teeth and claws and an orange canopy. The Zero features paint details on the canopy, body, teeth and boosters. To reflect the fact that the Liger Zero was a Guylos design stolen by the Helic Republic, stickers for both factions appeared on the sticker sheet.
The Liger Zero’s construction isn’t overly complex or difficult, putting it roughly in the middle of the range for Zoid complexity. Despite having a similar leg design and motion to the Shield Liger, it does not reuse any parts from older kits. The Liger Zero uses a pair of "AAA" sized batteries for motion. Once activated, the Zoid walks forwards with its jaws chomping. The Liger Zero features a pair of opening boosters on its back, as well as poseable claws and deployable stabilisers.
TOMY also released thee upgrade kits for the Liger Zero, the Schneider, Jager, and Panzer CAS Units. Each upgrade kit took the form of an additional set of armor that could be connected onto the Liger Zero's body in place of the Zoid's existing armor, drastically changing its appearance and fictional capabilities.
The Liger Zero was released in 2001, with production continuing semi-regularly until about 2004.
A second version of the Liger Zero was released by TOMY in 2001, as a Guylos Zoid. It was moulded in grey, with dull gold structure components, red armor, green eyes, and silver claws. The caps were recoloured black, and a blue pilot was included.
In addition, a new CAS Unit, the X armor, was included in the release. It was moulded in black, blue, and dull gold. Four translucent blue 'hatches' were incorporated into the shoulder armor. The small pegs on the shoulder armor panels made it difficult to keep the components on the Zoid.
The Liger Zero was re-released in North America by Hasbro, in 2001. This version is identical to the NJR version, except for the packaging. In 2003, the Zoid was re-released in the updated packaging used by the Hasbro range, but no other changes were made.
The 2001 release of the Zoid was also released in the first wave of the New Pacific Release, in near-identical packaging.
Hasbro released the Liger Zero X in North America. Like the NAR Liger Zero, this version was identical to the NJR version, and was later released as part of the New Pacific Release.
The instruction book for the NAR Liger Zero X indicated that the Zoid belonged to the Helic Republic. The label sheet is unchanged from its Guylos Empire version, and photographs of the Zoid on the box display the Guylos stickers. This contradiction was also present in the New Pacific Release, which used the new box art style, and displayed the Helic Republic’s symbol on the box. Again, the insignias on the label sheet and in the photographs remained Guylos.
Hasbro released a third version of the Liger Zero, as an American Toys "R" Us exclusive in 2003. This version included both the Liger Zero and the CP-17 Schneider armor, with the Liger Zero’s white components altered to a light tan colour. This is the only time a Customise Parts upgrade was released in the United States.
A fourth Liger Zero variant was planned for release by Hasbro in 2003. This version featured white frames moulded in clear plastic, and removed some of the paint details. The New American Release was cancelled before the Holotech Liger Zero reached production.
TOMY released a new version of the Liger Zero in 2003. Known as the Liger Zero Phoenix, this version was recoloured with light blue armor in place of the white, and also included a display stand. The model kit also included a blue version of the Fire Phoenix, and along with the Battle Story and technical details, information regarding the Liger Wild Zoid was printed on the box.
Another version of the Liger Zero Phoenix was released in Japan in 2004, as a part of the Fuzors model line. This version reverted back to the original black and white colour scheme of the Liger Zero, but lacked the painted details on the head. The Phoenix was recoloured in metallic red and clear yellow, and renamed Fire Phoenix to match the anime. Additionally, the Zoid came with a small R.D. figure in place of the standard pilot figure.
A second Liger Zero version was released as a part of the Fuzors line. This version was identical to the Fuzors Liger Zero Phoenix, but included the Fuzors-version Jet Falcon in place of the Phoenix.
A CAS resin armor for a special version of Liger Zero Falcon was also released. It is also called mass production type Liger Zero Falcon.
Another Liger Zero was released as a Dengeki Hobby Magazine exclusive at the C3xH expo in August 2005. This version was based on Midori's Zoid in the "Zoids Generations" side story (partially published in the magazine), and had light grey armor, blue structure, and bright green caps. The sticker sheet featured a battle damage 'scar' to place over the model's eye, as well as stylised "Souga" stickers with the Zoid's name in kanji (青牙).
Additionally, a new samurai-esque CAS, known as Gusoku Myoko, was available for this Zoid as a mail-in offer. It was cast in resin and came unpainted. The Liger was limited to a thousand items, the CAS to only a few hundred.
The Liger Red Hiou (with 緋桜 Hiou meaning "scarlet cherry blossom") was released as a Dengeki Hobby exclusive in 2008. It features entirely transparent pink armor over a crimson underbody with white painted trim. The claws and other trim are two shades of silver, and the caps and eyes bright blue.