The ZQN are a zombie-like creature featured in the 2009 manga I Am A Hero written by Kengo Hanazawa and the 2016 film adaptation of the same name produced by Sninsuke Sato.
According to the Manga, the ZQN are implied to be the result of an alien invasion attempting to weed out Humanity without destroying infrastructure. The growing infection assimilates its victims into what eventually becomes a hive-mind, with the end-goal being a merging between Humans and their invaders. (And possible breeding thereof)
The 2016 film adaptation of I Am A Hero does not focus on the origins of the virus or its goals, opting instead to portray the infected as more typical (albeit quirk-heavy) zombies. It is unknown if the movie's zombies are a different version of ZQN or if it will be expanded upon at a later date.
Transmission and Symptoms
The ZQN virus is transmitted in typical zombie fashion: Biting, contact with ZQN fluids, ETC.
Infected victims show few symptoms at first other than a state of panic; Infectees often characterized as growing more paranoid and fearful as they turn. At some point, the veins of the body's neck turn pitch-black and begin to swell (often causing them to ooze blood from orifices in the process) while the eyes change into a sickly red-green hue. The infected then enter a hyper-manic state (Portrayed in the manga VIA the stretching-out and distortion of speech-bubbles) and turn from there as their heartbeat accelerates to a point fatal for most. If their body enters a sudden mutation, it is usually at this point. Some ZQN with enough willpower can delay the eroding of their humanity during the turning process and take final actions. (For example, one of Hideo's co-workers attempts to slash his own throat as he turns in the film adaption)
While there is no known cure to the ZQN Virus at this time, there are a select few people who are infected by odd circumstances that prevent them from fully turning. These people have each gained an odd augmentation that benefits them in some way.
Once turned, most ZQN enter an odd mental haze fueled by their urge to eat human flesh. Some are shown to be carefree and whimsical while others immediately go berserk. Once in the presence of food, the urge to eat overwrites most other thoughts and they pursue their prey. Most ZQN are rather durable and cannot be dissuaded by fear, lending further to their aggressive mentality.
ZQN retain a fair amount of their intelligence and emotions after turning; Some crying for loved ones as they eat while others mindlessly mimic past habits or routines when idle. (For example, a ZQN salaryman is shown in-film to be hailing a cab that will never arrive, while a ZQN athlete goes on regular jogs and practices his acrobatics) This can even extend to attachments in certain cases. (In the Manga's initial chapters, Hideo's girlfriend Tekko bites a door-frame so she can lose her teeth and be unable to infect him; In the film adaptation, Abe's infected wife Kyouko briefly recognizes him before succumbing to her urges and biting him)
While the ZQN have fairly universal zombie traits, the virus also adds mutations into the mix. Many of these mutations are aesthetic and do little more than contort portions of flesh. Some however mutate their host in grotesque ways, allowing them to perform feats of movement few other zombie types can achieve. Such feats include:
- Stretching of the jaw
- Enlargement of limbs
- Acrobatic prowess
- Fusion with other ZQN
- Communication with other ZQN
- The term "ZQN" is a portmanteau of the Japanese slang-term "DQN," (spelled "Dokyun") that can be loosely translated to "delinquent" or "idiot."