|This article is about a/an villain in Power Rangers Wild Force.|
- "I am the Duke Org Zen-Aku."
- ―Zen Aku introduces himself to the Rangers.[src]
- "Well then, lead the way... old friend."
- ―Zen Aku's final words as he leaves to travel the world with Merrick[src]
Initially, Zen-Aku displayed mixed characterstics of an Org and human because of Merrick's influence while they were merged. When Nayzor's bug erased Merrick's influence, Zen-Aku became completely under Nayzor's control.
After being free from the bug and separated from Merrick, Zen-Aku only wanted to merge with Merrick. It was hinted he did not want to be alone and lonely because he told Merrick he (Zen-Aku) was "cast aside, discarded, rejected". In addition, Zen-Aku was far more powerful now because his power was no longer divided between himself, Merrick, and Merrick's Wolf, Hammerhead Shark, and Alligator zords and fusing with Merrick again would have only served to weaken Zen-Aku once again.
After being resurrected a second time, Zen-Aku has mellowed out and is seeking redemption, no longer interested in forcing Merrick to refuse with him and when Merrick invited Zen-Aku to join him, he referred to Merrick as an "old friend".
No one knows much of Zen-Aku's origin, only that his Org spirit was locked within a Wolf Mask. When Merrick's friend Animus had perished at the hands of the original Master Org, Merrick made the decision that he had to stop their enemy once and for all. Based on local legends, Merrick headed into a temple searching for the cursed mask. On finding the mask, he was attacked by General Nayzor but Merrick, whilst fleeing, put on the mask and called out "Evil Spirit of the Wolf, fill me with absolute power!" When summing his Predazord, the power from the mask managed to unlock new abilities, namely the Predator Wave, which was used to destroy the evil Master once and for all.
However, after Master Org was defeated, the Wolf Mask had seized control of Merrick's mind, turning him into (or merging him with) the entity Zen-Aku. While he still had some of his humanity, he implored his fellow Animarian Guardians to kill him, but they refused and instead used their Crystal Sabers to seal him away in an underground coffin.
Curse of the Wolf
For 3000 years, Merrick, now Zen-Aku, remained in stasis until the Master Org of the present-day summoned a General Org named Nayzor, who released the Duke Org on the present-day Guardians of Animaria ― the Wild Force Rangers. Though he had no any memory of his former life, he knew that he wanted revenge on the Guardians who sealed him away 3000 years ago, and he tried to take it by capturing the Rangers' Wildzords and turning those he captured against their chosen ones.
Zen-Aku also revealed that his power came from the phases of the moon, as he was at his strongest when it was full. During the New Moon's phase, he was revealed to be human when Cole saw a young man in the river, accompanied by the wolf cub Zen-Aku had rescued.
Zen-Aku was able to control his own Wildzords, which he called the "Dark Wildzords", using his flute plate to summon them. He could also combine them to form the Predazord. Zen-Aku's primary weapon was his Crescent Blade, whose blade could open at two notches. While in that position, his weapon's attack was the "Crescent Wave", which was a blade of dark energy that could disable almost any of his opponents.
Over time, Zen-Aku's true nature had been revealed, as he began slowly acting more and more human, by starting out with caring for Alyssa, the White Wild Force Ranger and rescuing a wolf cub from an attack from another Org. The Rangers began to grow confused, and even more so, when the spirit of Animus appeared in the sky and urged Zen-Aku to simply "Remember." However, just as his human self (Merrick) was about to break free of Zen-Aku's curse, Nayzor arrived and turned him into his willing slave, making him unable to be reasoned with.
The Ancient Warrior
When Princess Shayla learned that Zen-Aku was really her faithful Guardian Merrick, she tried to piece together the events of the final battle in Animaria. She discovered that the source of the curse put on Merrick was not the Wolf Mask, but his Predazord. After Master Org was defeated, Predazord had turned evil, and its chosen Guardian along with it. She informed the Rangers that defeating Predazord was the only way to break Merrick's "curse". With a new Wild Force Megazord combination, they did so and reverted Merrick to his human form, destroying Zen-Aku's mask in the process.
Merrick thought Zen-Aku was gone forever when his Predazord was purified of the evil that poisoned it, but, a number episodes later, Zen-Aku returned with an agenda. Although he no longer needed a host to survive in the mortal world, he chose to attempt to remerge with Merrick once again. Whilst it is mostly believed that Zen-Aku did this for power, Princess Shayla herself specifically mentions that Zen-Aku is stronger without Merrick due to his ability to control his power without any intervention from Merrick's mind. This is also supported when Zen-Aku tells Merrick that on splitting he was left rejected, abandoned and cast aside. Based on the ending of the show, it almost seems that Zen-Aku is somewhat driven with an obsession to not break the bond.
With the return of the Wolf Duke Org, the Rangers began to question Princess Shayla about this event. The Princess explained that when Zen-Aku's spirit merged with Merrick, it was divided among the mask, Merrick, and his Predazord, but with the Predazord and Merrick now good again, Zen-Aku (who was now free because the purification of the Predazord broke both curses on the mask, including the one that imprisoned his Org spirit) possessed all the evil power that was once divided, and was now much stronger than he had previously been, proving it by holding his own against the Predazord and the Wild Force Megazord Striker while even being able to block the latter's finishing move. However, after Merrick used a new trick pool shot (taught to him by Willie at the Road House) involving the Predazord's Gator Staff and the Armadillo Zord to break Zen-Aku's horn and weaken him, the Wolf Duke Org was apparently destroyed by Predazord's "Revolver Phantom" attack.
After Master Org was defeated, Merrick traveled the world, and Zen-Aku mysteriously returned, offering to join him, since they were both "lone wolves looking for redemption". This act turns him from a villain to an anti-hero.
Powers And abilities
Unlike other Orgs, Zen-Aku has superhuman strength, stamina, resistance, agility and speed that exceeds that of the Wild Force Rangers. Zen-Aku is powerful enough to take on all five of the Rangers in close combat without too much difficulty. His primary attack is the "Crescent Wave", the only special attack of his blade, which was a blade of dark energy that could disable almost any of his opponents. Though he is a formidable opponent, his greatest strength comes out during full moons. Strangely, Zen-Aku also had his own set of "Dark Wildzords" and can also capture other Wildzords for his own uses. Zen-Aku can also grow to giant size, as he demonstrated after being separated from Merrick and losing the Dark Wildzords. In addition to his powers, Zen-Aku has proven himself several times to be an excellent hand-to-hand combatant and swordsman, capable of defeating the Rangers in every battle. He is apparently incredibly resilient as he lost his horn and was apparently destroyed by the Predazord yet he later managed to return.
- Strength: With Super-Human Strength, he can grab hold on a person and drag them with one hand, and even toss them far. He is able to block and stop the Red Ranger attack (wearing a lion claw-gauntlet) with just his arm and, when giant, he was able to catch and throw back the Armadillozord with ease.
- Full Moon Empowerment: Zen-Aku becomes virtually unstoppable during the phase of the full moon.
- Durability: Zen-Aku has extremely thick skin and armour on that allowed him to survive the Lunar Break finisher. When giant, he was seemingly destroyed by the Predazord, but later somehow returned alive.
- Hand-to-Hand Combatant: In addition to his powers, Zen-Aku has proven himself several times to be an excellent hand-to-hand combatant and swordsman, capable of defeating the Rangers in every battle. The only way that they ended up defeating him was by working all at once and overwhelming him without giving him a chance to fight back.
- Speed and Agility: When he was free and began his attack on the Rangers, he moved so fast that he appear to be a blur and jump around that no one can react or defend themselves from Zen-Aku's attack. During his fight with the Red Ranger, he dodges and avoids the Ranger's blasts with ease.
- Growth: Zen-Aku could make himself grow without the aid of Toxica's beans.
Zen-Aku's primary weapon which was a large double sided blade. Zen-Aku's signature attack with the weapon is the Cresent Wave. It appears as a yellow energy wave which he flings at his enemies with enough force to wipe out all six Rangers."Cresent Blade! Cresent Wave!" is the call of his attack.
He can also use this weapon to quicky strike an opponent, but it is primarily used to summon his Dark Wildzords in a similar manner to the Dragon Dagger.
Dark Wildzords (Former)
Zen-Aku was able to control his own Wildzords, which he called the "Dark Wildzords", using his flute knife to summon them.
- Alligator: It was the whole body of the Predazord.
- Wolf: It was the left arm of the Predazord.
- Hammerhead Shark: It was the right arm of the Predazord.
He was able to combine them to form the Predazord.
Zen-Aku could also freeze Animal Crystals and take them under his possession. He stole the Black Bear, Polar Bear, Giraffe and Elephant Wildzords. Like the Wild Force Megazord, his Dark Predazord could use the stolen Wildzords as arm attachments in battle.
He also has several weaknesses like:
- New Moon: As if it were a real werewolf, he loses all his power during the new moon and reverts to his human form, Merrick Baliton. However, since they are independent entities now, it is possible that he doesn't have this weakness anymore.
- His Horn: Like all the Duke Orgs, whenever he loses his horn, he loses his power and his life.
- Sacred water: Like all the Orgs, he suffers when touching the Sacred water of the temple.
- Zen-Aku's name means "good-evil" in Japanese.
- He may or may not have night vision, since his eyes are always glowing and he fights at night with ease.
- Zen-Aku uses a flute to summon his Wildzords similar to how Tommy Oliver summons the Dragonzord. Augmented by the fact they had similar roles in their respective seasons as the late addition to the Power Rangers team, beginning as an enemy controlled by the villains, breaking free of their control and joining the Rangers as an ally.
- He and Koragg share some similarities:
- Both have a wolf motif for their respective Megazords.
- Both have animal-based Zords.
- Both can grow to giant size on their own.
- He is one of only three Orgs in the series shown to be able to grow to giant size on his own, without the help of magic seeds, the others being Master Org and Retinax. Onikage appeared to grow to giant size without magic seeds in his first appearance, but it was later revealed to be just an illusion.
- In his final appearance, he was supposed to return without a horn, but the producers had forgotten to remove it before his scene was filmed.
- He was initially voiced by Dan Warren in his first three appearances but for unknown reasons was replaced by Lex Lang for his last five appearances.
- He is one of three Orgs to survive the finale, the others being Jindrax and Toxica. However, it's unclear how he survived his apparent destruction by the Predazord.
- The elephant zord is the only stolen zord he doesn't combine with for the predazord. Only the giraffe, black bear, and polar bear combine with his megazord.
- Duke Org Rouki - Super Sentai counterpart in Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger. See comparison page.
- Tsukumaro Ogami - Zen-Aku's Sentai Silver Counterpart from Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger.
- Merrick Baliton - Zen-Aku's Wild Force Ranger alter-ego.
- Fury - Villain who possessed a Ranger in Power Rangers Dino Charge.