I was absolutely wrong in my assessment of Ziggy and future <spoiler> in relation to the story and I don’t mind in the slightest because this has to be one of most affecting reveals I have experienced in Edens Zero. Everything from Ziggy’s inception, to the growing void in his heart, to the mission he was assigned with, to the Edens Zero’s origins. It all makes sense now. Why Ziggy began as such a character and why through the course of the expanding narrative, the shift occurred and entrenched Ziggy within the path he now finds himself on. It wasn’t nonsensical or illogical but a tragedy sourced from consequences of what came before.
The machines failed to factor in the depths of the human heart and the pull it still had on a mind longing for the connection it lost. As a result, once Future Shiki regained his memories, the void within his heart became a setting for darkness to foster. Future Shiki likely didn’t remember everything when he was operating as Ziggy and was only driven by his operatives. He found Shiki and raised him as his child. Ziggy passed on his feelings of a universe where humans and machines could coexist because that is what his mission assigned. It was only until after Rebecca moved to Universe 2 did Ziggy begin recall who he was and separate himself from the existence he embodied before. Once Ziggy recalled his memories of his past, he likely came to dread the emptiness overwhelming him and possibly concluded that life as a machine without his memories as a human was more peaceful which potentially could have founded his current goal of exterminating all humans.
Living life as a machine for several decades numbed Future Shiki’s human nature and memories and accustomed him to processes as machine. Eventually Ziggy became the champion of machines to save them from their inevitable end with the disappearance of mother but what never happened was Ziggy reconciling the two sides within himself. He may have had the heart of a human and a machine but those two sides were always separate and never got a chance to truly meld together into the form the machines of the future thought it would. That separation within Ziggy’s heart likely created the dissonance he is now driven by. The irony of the machines sending Ziggy back into the past could be the very action that dooms humanity to extinction. Just as Evil Ziggy created “Ziggy” (Future Shiki), he could be the reason that led to the machines sending Ziggy back into the past. The two pieces that can stop Ziggy are current Shiki and Rebecca. Unlike the future, Rebecca is still alive and the focal point of Universe Zero. She has experienced alternative futures and has the power to create miracles. Like with Shiki, Rebecca likely also has a close connection with Mother. Like with how Rebecca jumped 20,000 years into the future, she is capable of further surprising Future Shiki.
One element has yet to be explained and fully explored is Pino. Undoubtedly, she is a construct from the future but her role within the story has yet to be revealed. Unless, Future Shiki created Pino with materials from the future in order to destroy humanity or nullify Rebecca’s power when a moment where he could lose appears. The issue keeps coming back to the timing though. Future Shiki only regained his memories after the Drakken Joe incident. Prior to that Ziggy was the kind, helpful machine attempting to save humanity and bridge a path toward coexistence between the two. Pino was introduced before evil Ziggy was introduced. What purpose does Pino have and why has Mashima-sensei held it off for so long? Whatever is planned for Pino, the human elements build up within her character will be the determining factor in the choice she will have to make in the near future.
The manner in how this chapter ties so many threads together and reveals a new path forward is such an exhilarating rush. My brain made the connection between the numbers 20,000 in the antimatter bombs and the timeskip but it failed to establish any relation between the two. I thought it was just an arbitrary number Mashima-sensei liked. How basic I was. For something so straightforward to be hidden so well, I’ve got to give Mashima-sensei prompts for that. So many answers were staring us right in the face but the whole story was concealed so well. Diving into spacetime again and the importance of coexistence creates a very thrilling narrative for the upcoming story Edens Zero is set to cover. This has to be one of the best Edens Zero chapters I have read. The symbolism of Eden and Zero embodying the avenue toward a new beginning is also on point within this chapter. Very much looking forward to what happens next.
Enjoyment level: 10/10