Zane Truesdale, known in Japan as Ryo Marufuji, or "Kaiser Ryo", is the top Duelist of Duel Academy in Jaden's first year. Zane serves as one of Jaden's rivals during the series' first season, though he takes a more brutal approach to dueling after experiencing a transformation of mind in the second. In subsequent seasons he develops fatal heart conditions and seeks an opponent worthy enough to give him his final and greatest duel before he expires, though he is later revived under unexplained circumstances during season four.
His Japanese given name means "Excellent". His Japanese last name means "Perfect Wisteria", with 丸(maru) meaning round, circle or perfection and 藤(fuji) meaning "Wisteria". His English given name means "God is gracious".
Zane's design incorporates multiple layers of clothing and a wide range of expressions. Depicted here is the duelist in full Obelisk Blue regalia from the front, rear and alongside views with views of his head from different angles.
Zane's character design was overseen by Kenichi Hara. His first season outfit (left) consists of the standard Obelisk Blue uniform with a more pronounced collar, tighter-bound sleeves, and pointed rims coming out the costume's lower back. His blue hair is sectioned in three layers, his blue eyes positioned directly beneath the bangs of the layer closest to his face. He carries an Academy-issued Duel Disk on his left hand. After graduating, he keeps his Obelisk Blue uniform and adds a black fingerless glove on his right hand.
Zane's second outfit consists of a black overcoat with white trimmings and sharp edges. The letter "R" is centered on his belt buckle, drawn from the first letter of his name in the Japanese version. (This feature has been occasionally removed from the English version). Zane's facial expressions also elicit more angered and/or sadistic nuances than those of his previous design.
17-year old Zane Truesdale is the stronger older brother of Syrus who stays in the Obelisk Blue dormitory. Zane is highly respected and a duel with him is reserved only for the elite. He is also good friends with Alexis and her brother, Atticus. In the original version of the series, he is nicknamed "Kaiser Ryo" (カイザー亮 Kaizā Ryō).
When Syrus was younger he almost used the card "Power Bond" without thinking during a duel. He was stopped by Zane who revealed that if he used it he would have lost the duel at the end of his turn because of the card's drawback. Paying off Syrus's opponent to end the duel, Zane sealed the card, stating that his brother could only use it when he was truly ready. Syrus, believing himself to be a disgrace to his older brother, did not unseal the card until much later after his friend Jaden faced off against Zane. Zane was selected by Camula, the second member of the Shadow Riders, as a victim of her shadow duel. Although he overpowered her easily the vampire forced him into an intentional loss by offering his brother's soul as payment for her "Illusion Gate" card. As a result, he was turned into a doll for a short period of time before Jaden managed to defeat Camula.
Zane is one of three people to have defeated Jaden in a duel during the anime, the others being Kaibaman, and Aster Phoenix. He later faces Jaden in a rematch, choosing him as his opponent for his ceremonial graduation duel. The duel ends in a tie after Zane and Jaden use a variety of cards to raise their monsters' attack strengths to astronomical levels but ended up taking damage equal to both monsters' attack points due to "Final Fusion". Zane goes on to compete in Duel Pro League after his graduation.
Zane's design incorporates multiple layers of clothing and a wide range of expressions. Depicted here is the duelist in the outfit he wears beginning partway through the second season from the front alongside views of his head from different angles.
A fan favorite in the Pro League, he suffers his first true loss at the hands of Aster Phoenix, who tells him that his defeat is "predetermined by destiny". The duel that the two engage in marks the first time Zane takes damage from "Power Bond". The battle takes its toll; from then on, Zane finds himself trapped in a perpetual losing streak. He is approached by Mr. Shroud, a promoter who offers him the chance to redeem himself, and although reluctant at first, Zane ultimately accepts.
Zane is pitted against Mad Dog in the "Underground Duel", a competition in front of a shady audience wherein both contestants are sealed inside a cage and forced to wear electrodes that shock them each time life points are depleted. Zane finds himself on the losing end again but realizes that his former philosophy of respecting the opponent above the desire to win has limits towards the end of the game. Frustrated and desperate, he resorts to cruelty and aggression and summons the "Chimeratech Overdragon", which wins the duel and practically destroys the dueling ring in the process. As the smoke clears, Shroud is amazed (he calls Ryo a "monster" in the Japanese version). The next time Zane is seen, he proves his strength to the dueling world once more. He is now addressed as "Hell Kaiser Ryo" (ヘルカイザー亮, Heru Kaizā Ryō) in the Japanese version. He has donned a dark outfit, and a personality to match. In English Yu-Gi-Oh! video games, this version of Zane is referred to as "Dark Zane" to differentiate him from his former persona, as both versions are possible opponents.
Zane returns to the Pro League and goes on a new winning streak and many of his opponents are left seriously injured at the hands of his monsters' direct attacks. In episode 83, Zane fires his promoter, Mr. Shroud and travels into the mountains to confront Chancellor Sheppard in the dojo where he was brought up dueling, hoping to acquire the forbidden Underworld Deck, known in Japan as Cyber-Style Reverse (サイバー流裏, Saibā Ryū Ura) Deck that existed opposite of his own "Cyber Dragon" deck. Although Sheppard manages to keep Zane at bay with his "Cyber Ogre" and various methods of manipulating his opponent's monsters, he is defeated by his own "Cyber Ogre 2" when Zane betrays his "Cyber End Dragon". Zane takes his prize but Sheppard believes that he will regain the respect he once held for others during the Genex Tournament so gives him a medal that allows him to participate.
Upon returning to Duel Academy to oversee the Genex Tournament, Chancellor Sheppard tells Zane's old friend Atticus Rhodes that Zane is no longer himself and has been controlled by darkness. Atticus confronts Zane to a duel but Zane's new Underworld deck overwhelms Atticus, eventually forcing him to give into the darkness and use his Nightshroud persona. Atticus believes that he will set the darkness free from Zane by beating him but Zane wins and reveals that he still has complete control over himself and is not being controlled or influenced by darkness like many characters think. He simply changed his personality because he felt being cruel and ruthless was the only way he could begin winning his duels again.
In episode 95, Zane approaches Aster Phoenix for a second duel. Syrus, however, intervenes and demands to be his opponent instead. Similar to his duel with Mad Dog, both players wear electrodes and are subject to the intense physical punishment of the "Hell Duel." It becomes clear that, in his current mindset, Zane spares no one; he is cold, ruthless, and sadistic, regardless of whom his opponents are and enjoys seeing others suffer, even if it is his brother he is torturing. Despite Syrus' impressive plays, Zane defeats him when he defuses "Cyberdark Dragon" back to its three original fusion components. He then makes his exit, saying that if there is anything he respects at all anymore it is only victory itself. He appears again in episode 102 following a brief run-in with the disguised Blair Flannigan, giving her his tournament medal as he is no longer interested in participating and leaves Duel Academy Island. Every single character that met him on the island is shocked by his change, including Aster. Up to this point Jaden was also revealed to have thought that Zane had just "tried on a new look".
He is not seen again until midway through the third year when he returns to duel Jesse Anderson to supply the energy necessary for the awakening of "Rainbow Dragon". Later, after hearing about Yubel, he designates it as his final opponent. Soon after, along with Aster Phoenix, he sees Jaden and company off on their journey to rescue Jesse in the different dimension, only to get sucked in as well with Aster. By this time, it is believed that prolonged usage of electrodes (later revealed to actually be his Underworld Deck) has left him with fatal heart conditions. In the dub he says that his heart is weak from the electrodes but he never says that his heart condition is fatal (although it is heavily implied).
While in the alternate dimension, along with Aster, he helps Jim Crocodile Cook and Axel Brodie in their effort to defeat The Supreme King after he possesses Jaden. After this task, he decides to restore a traumatized Jaden back to his old self but is unsuccessful as he didn't understand the extent of the trauma that being possessed had done to Jaden's psyche. He decides to duel a Yubel-possessed Jesse in order to fulfill his dying wish of being immortalized but is defeated and dies from his heart conditions. However, he manages to grant his wish by making his "Cyber End Dragon" an eternal symbol of his skill and strength. Zane's performance in the duel and last words along with the wisdom of the others allows Jaden to put his problems aside so that he may face Yubel.
Under unexplained circumstances, he returns to Duel Academy after washing up, unconscious, on the beach, with no explanation given to how he survived his heart failing. His heart is still in bad shape but he is put under the care of his brother to recover. It is revealed that his heart condition was caused not by the electrodes but by his Cyberdark Deck. Zane also appears to have a gentler personality than before as he shows care and appreciation for those around him once again. He later duels Makoto Inotsume, a practitioner of the Psycho-Style, who has made it his goal to destroy all those who use the Cyber-Style. The duel takes its toll on Zane, as he becomes so weak that he cannot even reach to his own deck to surrender. Syrus attempts to do it for him, then announces that his brother will not surrender but will merely pull out of the duel. Syrus then takes Zane's Duel Disk to finish the duel himself but comes to regret his decision as he starts to suffer the same heart problems as Zane, where the deck attempts to inflict damage more quickly on Syrus due to the cards realizing that Zane will no longer use them. Syrus overcomes this by "making the deck his own" by combining it with aspects of his own "Vehicroid" deck. After the duel with Inotsume, Zane allows Syrus to keep the deck with Zane saying he will start over with a new deck.
The article on Zane's exploits in America, where he appears alongside "Cyber End Dragon".
In the manga, Zane's role in similar to the role he plays in the anime. He is at the top of the class, and is described as "Number one ranked in practical skills". His "Kaiser" nickname is retained even in the English edition of the manga. When they were children, Zane gifted Syrus with "Transformation". He believed that Syrus was too nice to be a Duelist as a he cared for his opponents too much. He came to this determination after witnessing Syrus throw a Duel against a friend of his named Masao. Zane competed in the junior leagues when he was a child, alongside Atticus. The two "dominated" the title of Junior Champion. During this time, Zane and Atticus met American Duelist Aster Phoenix. When they departed for Duel Academy, the title would be won by Chazz Princeton.
Zane studied abroad in America with Atticus, where he represented Duel Academy well. He returned to Duel Academy months later alongside two American students - David Rabb and Reggie MacKenzie. A tournament was organized, with the winner being permitted to Duel Zane. He witnessed Syrus defeated in a Duel by David, with David coming to the conclusion that if the brother of the Kaiser is that weak, perhaps the Kaiser himself isn't a strong as his reputation implies. Syrus defended Zane, telling David not to insult his brother. Zane came to the conclusion that Syrus had done a lot of of growing up when he'd been away. Syrus made it to the top eight of the tournament, and though he is defeated by Chazz, Zane came to believe that Syrus had matured into a true Duelist. Zane is confronted by Bastion Misawa, as the latter is jealous of Zane's closeness to Alexis Rhodes, whom Bastion has a crush on. He would declare his intent to face Zane as "both a Duelist" and "as a man". Zane told him to win the tournament, as that would be the quickest path to Dueling him. As Zane witnesses Syrus, Chazz, Alexis, Bastion and Jaden Duel in the tournament, he is greatly impressed by how skilled the first-year students are. The eventual winner of the tournament was Chazz, and it was announced that he'll face Zane at an arena built into Duel Academy's volcano.
The cameo of Zane's "Hell Kaiser" outfit in the final chapterEdit
Chazz appeared to have an early advantage, with Zane calmly countering him. Zane Summons "Cyber Eltanin" with a combination of "Emergency Cyber" and "Born from Draconis". He defeated Chazz with this creature, with Chazz not even dealing him a single point of damage in return. He did compliment Chazz on the latter's skills, however, addressing him as "Junior Champion". Zane would watch the Tag-Team Duels between the American and Japanese students with Atticus. Zane witnessed Syrus and Alexis rushing towards the warehouse at the docks, and opted to follow them. He met Midori Hibiki there, who had followed the spirit of "Light and Darkness Dragon" to the same location. He would witness Tragoedia fall to Jaden and Chazz. Years later, he watched Jaden's world title match against Koyo Hibiki, while wearing his "Hell Kaiser" outfit from the anime.
Personality-wise, Zane is calm and collected, with a deep respect for his opponents and his own cards. He feels that the connection between a duelist and his opponent, as well as the duelist himself and his deck, makes victory meaningful. His dubbed personality is harsher than his Japanese counterpart, which is surprising.
Following his duel in the underground against Mad Dog, his personality is much harsher, crueler, and sadistic; as he enjoys watching his opponents suffer. Some people say that he acts a lot like Seto Kaiba in the sense that he is constantly wanting more power. In the dubbed version, he even rants about how the world is made of hurt, and that dueling is all about dealing with pain and inflicting pain on those who are weak. It was originally believed to be the electrodes that were the cause of Zane's heart problems but it was later revealed the cause of his heart problems was the use of his Cyberdark deck; the cards' desire to win at all costs were what inflicted the damage to his heart (in the original, Judai also mentions a wide variety of reasons why the cards might do so). This isn't very evident until his final duel against Jesse in the alternate dimension as he says he wishes to enjoy his last duel whether he wins or loses.
In the anime, Zane's Deck is described in the Japanese version as a Cyber Style Deck, though that term is not present in the English version. Regardless, it focuses on the Summoning and powering up of his "Cyber End Dragon" via cards such as "Power Bond", "Future Fusion" and "Limiter Removal". He later combines this deck with the Underworld Deck, which consists of Cyberdarks and Dragon-type monsters to aide in powering up "Cyberdark Dragon."
In the manga, he still uses a Cyber Style Deck, but this variation features different support cards, though "Cyber Dragon" is still included.