Zim is one of those characters whom comes off as either self centered or as stated in the series multiple times, a defective. Even his older self in one of the comic issues came off as such:
Now, too me I don’t think ZIM is an entirely ‘evil’ character as perceived, but he is definitely a force to be recognized and when pissed off can be your worst nightmare. He becomes destructive and more or less, borderline homicidal when angered:
A funny thing I noticed was, ZIM actually noticed his future self was taller. If you don’t know, in the series ZIM has always wanted to be respected by the Tallests or even have a sort of higher authority. Yet, when he finds out that there was only heals, the expression he has is rather..Interesting According to Wally Wingert during an interview with a fan he stated that the Tallests were going to later be revealed as just normal sized Irkens whom wore exo-skeletons to show make them seem taller. Just a little insight into this panel, it may have something to show more about Irken societal views:
Still, in the long run and even grown up, ZIM still longs for the recognition he wanted and ended up getting it. What he’s longed for all along has been recognition and being noticed by anyone of his society especially his leaders. And the quote “We didn’t think you could pull it off.” just goes to show how poor ZIM is viewed by his people. Now, I should note he is not completely hated by all Irkens and does have Skoodge as a sort of childhood ‘buddy’:
This is another small thing I kind of wanted to bring up, ZIM’s self doubt. This isn’t really brought up in other discussions but I think it’s extremely important to his character. Especially since his older self is calling him stupid in the panel, grant it could just be for petty fighting I still think it sheds a little more into the character. The main point here is his, “My plan was stupid. But it’s smart.” argument:
Next, is his relationship with Dib & Earth in general. I don’t think ZIM hates Dib at all, just my opinion however. I believe it’s an unusual friendship that both sides will probably never admit too. ZIM actually saves Dib in one of the recent issues. They both seem too understand one another too the point where even if ZIM is flubbering out nonsense, Dib understands:
Not to mention Dib and ZIM are the only characters (besides the Tallests) seen spending a lot of time together:
Now, another thing I saw was the fact that these two agreed. ZIM actually agreed with Dib on how ridiculous the aliens were. And it even shows that ZIM has a small affection for Earth by questioning, “Why are all other aliens that come here so stupid?” (ZIM despite the many antics, is an impressive engineer and builder. Don’t forget he was a scientist temporarily before Miyuki was suddenly killed by a monster HE invented.):
On another note, I thought this was interesting most of all. Dib points at Earth in the panel, meanwhile looking at ZIM. He said “/We’re/ back home! Where /we/ started!” Too me this is a small indication that Dib considers ZIM a part of Earth in a way. Probably since he’s been there for a long time. He refers to Earth as ZIM’s home also. ZIM has saved the Earth numerous amounts of times during the series and now in the comics. Dib, a native to Earth and human being, considered ZIM to live on Earth. This is a HUGE development if Dib really believes this:
More than anything, I think ZIM just wants a true friend (Cough, DIB, GAZ, SKOODGE, GIR, MINIMOOSE.) I mean, look how happy the poor fellow looks in this panel. He thought he was riding with another alien friend:
And the biggest reveal of all, ZIM opening up about himself to Dib (in disguise). This is probably overlooked (This came from a Tumblr post, I searched everywhere to find the actual comic panel.) by many people. ZIM has never really opened up very much about his emotional state. “I come out here when I want to be alone..” It just goes to show that you really can’t doubt ZIM. He IS an emotional character and DOES have feelings. Even if they rarely show, much like this panel, it shows the reader that ZIM does have extreme doubts about himself. “And just think about what it all means.” I interpret this as him not knowing where he stands in life. He’s tried for years to find his place. This galaxy means probably, mind the unintended pun, the world too him and he hasn’t destroyed it because it might just be one of the only true things that makes ZIM happy and realizing that there’s small things in life that can make him truly feel happy. Where he can’t be judged. Where he can be himself and where he can think about himself.
Thank you for reading! I’ve been wanting too make this post for quite a while now! I definitely want to hear what others think on this. This was just my contribution to ZIM’s character analysis.