Zetman (ゼットマン Zettoman?) is a manga series by Masakazu Katsura. The series started as a one-shot in a series of four published in the Shueisha Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between 1989 and 1994, and collected into a tankōbon released in 1995. A more mature and full-fledged series started in the seinen Young Jump magazine in 2002. The initial volumes were positively reviewed while the later ones have been criticized for losing some of its initial originality.
The story starts off with a face-off between two rival heroes, ZET and Alphasz, and then traces their origins - Jin Kanzaki, a young man born/created with the ability to transform into a superhuman being known as ZET, and Kouga Amagi, a young man with a strong sense of justice who uses technology to fight as Alphasz.
The fates of these two men and those around them intertwine as they fight to protect mankind and destroy monstrous abominations known as Players, who ironically are the creations of the Amagi Corporation, the company founded by Kouga's grandfather, Mitsugai Amagi.
Jin Kanzaki (神崎 人 Kanzaki Jin?, or ジン Jin)/ZET: The main protagonist. A mysterious young man bearing a circular lump on the back of his left hand, Jin was a result of the Z.E.T. Project by the Amagi Corporation to create the perfect being to fight and destroy the escaped Players. He was however released by Gorou Kanzaki, who wanted nothing more for Jin than to grow up as a normal human. After the death of his 'grandfather', Kanzaki, Jin stayed with Akemi Kawakami until he witnessed her 'death' under the hands of the Amagi Corp., in an effort to retrieve their creation. He has been living in a slum alone ever since, monitored closely by his creators, especially Mitsugai.
Jin is able to transform a creature known as "ZET", a mutant possessing superhuman abilities, but often mistaken for another Player. The transformation is slow, though it may be accelerated due to extreme rage and conditions. He had lost this ability briefly, but regained it with the use of a special gum (Chapter 67). The source of his strength appears to be the mysterious lump on his hand.
The design of ZET was based on an anime character created by Amagi Corp..
Gorou Kanzaki (神崎 悟郎 Kanzaki Gorō?): A pioneer in both the N.E.T. and Z.E.T. Projects in the Amagi Corporation, Kanzaki escaped with an infant Jin in defiance to turning his 'child' into a killing machine. Later diguised himself as a homeless old man and posed as the grandfather of the growing Jin. Was killed in a bid to protect Jin from an awakened Player.
Kanzaki's head was however retrieved by the Amagi Corp. and hooked up to a computer so as to obtain unknown information about ZET/Jin. Their efforts were in vain however when a crying Jin, unable to bear seeing his grandfather in such a state, pulled off the life support plug, with Kanzaki asking Jin if he had been taking his meals regularly as a final greeting.
He managed to make Jin lose his powers of ZET by tricking Mitsugai, but it was brief when the Amagi Corp. came up with a gum which allowed Jin access to his original abilities.
Akemi Kawakami (川上 明美 Kawakami Akemi?): Foster parent to Jin after Kanzaki. Always addressed as 'Oba-chan/old lady' by Jin, Akemi was an ex-hostess who had a child she lost custody of to her ex-husband. Her face was slashed by a crazed client, who in turn suffered near fatal injuries by a young Jin, having recalled how his grandfather was killed. Started selling crepes at a roadside stall ever since.
Was seemingly killed right in front of Jin's eyes in a bid to let Jin return to the Amagi Corp., but was later revealed by Mitsugai to be alive. Received a box of money saved by Jin as a parting gift.
Kouga Amagi (天城 高雅 Amagi Kōga?, or コウガ Kouga)/Alphasz: Konoha's elder brother, and grandson of Mitsugai Amagi. Both academically and sports-inclined, especially soccer. Due to his attraction to an anime 'Ginga Choujin Alphasz', Kouga has developed a strong sense of justice since young. Urged by his encounter with Jin during a fire accident (caused by a Player) to become a hero of justice. He had been depending on a trio of researchers since middle school for gadgets which could assist him in his escapades. Lost his right forearm during his captivity by a bitter ex-researcher of Amagi, Jirou, together with his sense of justice. He is then fitted with a smart prosthetic arm, which required several months of rehabilitation.
During this time, Kouga regains his composure, and after learning about the Players and his grandfather's involvement in the project, he initiates the Alphasz Project with the Trio, who created a high-performance combat body suit resembling Kouga's childhood hero, complete with high-tech weaponry and gadgets, to combat his grandfather's creations. Very protective of his family, especially his sister, Konoha.
Konoha Amagi (天城 小葉 Amagi Konoha?): Sister to Kouga and granddaughter of Mitsugai. Bears a distinct dislike to her grandfather due to childhood trauma. Konoha first met Jin during her secret volunteer work with her mother when they were still small, and has been harboring feeling for him ever since. Addressed Jin as 'Tenshi-kun/Mr. Angel' after seeing him fall from the sky to her aid when she was bullied by a group of hooligans (Jin's friends), and only learns Jin's name after.
Unaware of Jin being ZET, nor of her family's involvement with the Players. Was recently involved in a life-threatening attack by the Ebizou/Lobster EVOL.
Mitsugai Amagi (天城 光鎧 Amagi Mitsugai?): Founder of, and ex-CEO of the Amagi Corporation. Believed in a distinct divide between the rich and the poor.
In the pursue of his dream to create the perfect artificial humans, he initiated N.E.T. Project, but it eventually led to the escape of his creations, named 'Players'. Having a heavy sense of responsibility for the incident, Mitsugai then commenced Z.E.T. Project to set things right, though again his plans were foiled by the betrayal of Kanzaki. Became hell-bent on retrieving ZET back after countless failures to create a new one.
Mitsugai's methods were often hard-handed, but after the destruction of his laboratory a second time by Players, he seems to have soften up, now giving Jin a choice of either becoming ZET or living as a normal human, though it is still unknown whether it is just a facade.
Seizou Amagi (天城 清造 Amagi Seizou?): Son of Mitsugai, and father to Kouga and Konoha. Current CEO of the Amagi Corporation. Was named to be one of the masterminds of the Player Project by Jirou, but he feigns ignorance to all the various secret Projects under Amagi Corp..
Youko Amagi (天城 葉子 Amagi Yōko?): Seizou's wife, and mother to Kouga and Konoha. Was chastised by Mitsugai for doing volunteer work in secret, resulting in Konoha's childhood trauma. She then ran away from home while continuing her volunteer work, and never returned since. However, she and Seizou are not officially divorced yet.
The Sweeper Little is known about him except for his appearances to kill off defective Players. He also shows some interest in ZET and wishes to fight with him(chapter 70). Jin/ZET is now known as "the Black Sweeper"(Chapter 88).
Players Creatures that were created as an intent to create artificial humans. The project became more than just to create the perfect artificial human, it became more of a hobby for the rich men to bet on them, gambling as they were pitted against other monsters to fight.It went on until the players finally gained awareness and killed off everyone in sight. Because of this, many players feel that humans mistreated them and that they are far superior and deserve better.
Evol Similar to players but a higher ranked class. They follow rules and avoid needless killing, and do not meltdown so easily like other players. They would also be known as non-defective players. Most evol take pride on their rank and are offended if they are ever called or mistaken as players. Evol is also the name of a club along the storyline, it is build specifically for players who disguise themselves as humans within society. Evol could also mean the player organization.
The manga was first a one-shot from a set of four published between 1989 and 1994 in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. Other one-shots compiled were "Shin-no-Shin", "Woman in the man" and "Shadow Lady". Zetman started serialization as a full-fledged series in the seinen magazine Weekly Young Jump from 2002 and is still ongoing. As of June 2010, the serial chapters were collected into 14 tankōbon, the first one released on November 19, 2003, and the 14th one on April 19, 2010.