|“||I'm an actor so there's not much I can do, but I'd love to help anyone who's discouraged by their difficult environment.||”|
—ZEN, Comment from RFA Orientation Guidebook
Zen (real name Hyun Ryu) is one of the main characters available through the Casual Story in Mystic Messenger. Zen is a semi-successful actor/dancer/singer. He can come across as narcissistic about his looks, often posting selfies and exclaiming how handsome he is. However, while it may seem he cares about his appearance the most, he wants to be recognized and appreciated first and foremost for his career skills.
On the surface, Zen is known for being a very eccentric and flirtatious character. He will often talk about his looks, praising and complimenting himself for how attractive he his, as well as how talented he is when it comes to singing and acting. Zen tends to compare others to himself when it comes to looks, frequently telling Yoosung to work out to look half as good as he does. Despite this, Zen can become very loyal and caring, especially to those he cares about. In all routes he cares deeply for MC. While Zen likes to compliment himself, he often flirts with the Main Character. He usually calls them "sweetie" or "babe".
In conjunction, deep down Zen self doubts himself, wondering if people only see him for his looks, rather than his talents. He can be easily upset if something affects his career, almost entering a depressive state.
He is known for pursuing larger and better musicals, offering up smaller ones or turning them down if the opportunity presents itself.
Like many of the members, he has scars from his past which can't be forgotten.
Zen is a tall young man with noticeable muscle tone due to regular training. He is 182 cm (5' 11") tall and his weight is 75 kg (165.3 pounds). He has silver-white long hair with short bangs falling slightly over his eyes, and his hair is tied in a low ponytail which reaches down his back. Zen's eyes are a pinkish-red and almond shaped.
He is shown wearing multiple outfits, including a grey jacket with large buttons and a logo feature, a black turtleneck, tight fitting pants and black formal shoes.
Zen is the youngest son in his family, and lived with his mother, father and older brother. His family is described as being quite conservative; his parents being teachers and his older brother working as a lawyer. During his younger years, he was harassed by strangers as they followed him to touch him or take pictures of him.
He would often be treated poorly by his parents, specifically his mother, who questioned who he got his looks from and frequently called him ugly, causing a rift to form between the two. Zen would often confide in his older brother, who would explain that his mother was only saying those things to 'protect him' from being used by others due to his handsome appearance. She also wanted him to think that he wasn't handsome, she feared he would follow the steps of her nephew and other handsome men in becoming unscrupulous and damaging the family name.
As he entered middle school, Zen gained a boost in confidence due to his looks, and he began finding his passion for acting and music, to which his mother strongly disagreed with, believing that he should become a doctor or lawyer like his brother.
During these years, he found out that his older brother had started siding with their mother for him to drop his silly hobby and diligently study to become successful like him. Due to this, Zen dropped out of school and ran away from home, renting an apartment, barely surviving with the rent while working small jobs here and there. He also admitted that he even did 'bad things' to survive, including threatening people for money.
After finishing work, he meets Rika, who has a bouquet of roses, and she praises him for his talents and states she's been watching him ever since his first musical appearance. Rika then persuades him to meet V and to get a photograph together, as well as telling him she knows someone who can help him become successful. He meets Jumin Han and instantly dislikes him, denying his offers. Later, Zen eventually joins the RFA.
The player and Zen instantly become very close, to the displeasure of Jaehee, who feels that their relationship may ruin Zen's career. One day, Zen is offered an opportunity to work on a project with the famous singer Echo Girl, which will considerably boost his popularity. Jumin, on the other hand, offers Zen a chance to star in a cat food commercial for his company. Zen disagrees with getting a foothold in the entertainment industry due to nepotism over his talent as well has having a cat allergy, and, after a heated argument, attempts to prove his worth by practicing.
On Day 7, Zen sprains his ankle from overexertion and becomes withdrawn, upset at the prospect of losing the role. At the same time, he continues to decline Jumin's offer. In the afternoon, he meets Echo Girl while buying goldfish bread in front of his house, and despite his consideration of withdrawing from the role, Echo Girl urges him to stay, using her influence to keep Zen in the production.
The rest of the RFA members agree to send the player over to visit Zen to cheer him up, and Jumin sets up an arrangement for transportation on the condition that she convinces Zen to model for his cat food commercial. When the visit comes to an end, Zen brings the player up on the roof to stargaze, and confides his past with her. He admits that he rejected Jumin's help because of his resemblance to his older brother, and feels that he can move on with her help. Right after the player is sent home, Echo Girl arrives at Zen's apartment intending to woo him; however, Zen rejects her advances and sends her back to her manager. The next day, Echo Girl meets both Jumin and Zen separately, threatening to ruin their images. This results in Zen being accused of sexually assaulting Echo Girl on television, smearing his name drastically, later followed by gossip that Jumin is gay.
Jumin is undeterred and enlists Seven to look for information to prove Zen's innocence. Meanwhile, Zen shuts down at facing the possible end of his career since he is only a low-tier actor tied to small-scale musicals. Jumin and the player encourage him to be confident, but he becomes more upset. He rides his motorcycle to a secret location to calm down. After contacting V, Jumin locates him for confrontation, and offers him a chance to act in a commercial for a teacup company that his father recently acquired to help bring back his reputation. Zen comes to terms with his family issues, realizing that Jumin was only trying to help him. He agrees to model in the cat commercial rather than the teacup commercial. He becomes grateful of the RFA, especially the player, who helped him understand the feelings of other people, and is inspired by her to reconnect with his own family. He tells her that he plans to officially ask her to be his girlfriend after the party.
The RFA opt to have Zen hold a press conference at the party. At night-time, on Day 10, Zen has a nightmare where Unknown enters Rika's apartment and kidnaps the player, planning to use her as a hostage to capture the rest of RFA. To his dread, the premonition becomes real when Seven reveals to the player in the morning that Unknown has hacked into the defense system of the apartment, modifying so that the bomb inside will detonate when any RFA member enters or exits. Though the others are reluctant to believe him, Zen becomes frantic to save the player.
Seven eventually disables the bomb, but Zen is even more alarmed that the intruder will approach the player. He quickly rushes over to Seven's place despite orders, and demands he give the address. By dusk, Unknown sneaks into Rika's apartment to avoid motion and heat sensors by breaking the window. Before he is able to do take away the player, Zen enters the apartment with the code to the lock. Unknown initially believes him to be Seven, but when confronted, he threatens Zen with a switch that will detonate the bomb in the apartment if activated. The player breaks away from Unknown, and, furious, Unknown presses the switch.
The apartment explodes as Zen and the player escape, taking shelter in Zen's home. While the player calms down from the events, Zen suggests that they live together from now on, as it is dangerous for her to stay elsewhere. While Jaehee agrees and approves of their relationship, Jumin is hesitant, as he believes that two unmarried lovers should not live together. Regardless, as the RFA prepare for the party, Yoosung reveals that he has found a witness that may prove Zen's innocence: the vendor of the goldfish bread.
Yoosung is a good friend of Zen, and it often stated that Yoosung is jealous of Zen's good looks. Zen often tries to help him quit gaming, encouraging him to find a girlfriend. Zen appears to feel as though he needs to look after Yoosung, and during 707's route when there is tension within the RFA, Yoosung goes to Zen's house to comfort each other, resulting in Yoosung getting drunk.
Zen and 707 are friends. Zen often encourages 707 to eat proper meals for his health, rather than his regular diet of junk food. Zen describes him as a crazy boy who has an exceptional talent in hacking, but he doesn't understand why 707 adores cats so much. Zen knows that 707 isn't a bad person, 707 takes care of Zen in Yoosung's route when he goes to stay with him to get away from his stalker. 707 has also significantly helped Zen's career by hacking into Youtube, and making one of Zen's videos go viral, as well as creating a 'Tripter bot' to regularly tweet Zen's selfies.
Zen and Jumin do not get along well. Zen often describes Jumin as a 'jerk' and a 'trust fund kid' who cares only about his money, and is unable to do anything without his father or Jaehee's help. Zen tries to avoid him, and dislikes talking to him. Zen hates how Jumin provokes him with pictures or talk of cats. However, Zen admits that he doesn't dislike Jumin as a person, and that much of his apparent anger towards him is misdirected anger towards his brother, due to the fact he feels Jumin's personality is similar to his.
Likewise, it does not seem like Jumin outright dislikes Zen, having extended offers of jobs/sponsors to Zen. It appears that Zen is simply a minor annoyance to him. He sometimes seems a little wounded by Zen's vehement refusal of his help. Zen and Jumin eventually make up on his route.
Being Zen's diehard fan, Jaehee cares about him a lot, and is concerned about the possibility of him getting into a scandal and ruining his career. Zen also cares a lot of Jaehee, as he is often seen reprimanding Jumin for giving Jaehee a lot of work without rest. At first, Zen doesn't believe that Jaehee is his fan, thinking that Jaehee only cares for him as fellow RFA members. During Jaehee's route they become close and exchange gifts as he helps you encourage Jaehee to follow her dreams and become happy. His allergy to cats also helps him sympathize with Jaehee when Jumin leaves Elizabeth the 3rd with her.
He and Rika met 3 years ago. Zen is very grateful to Rika for recognizing his talent even when he was a complete no-name.
V rescued Zen when he was in a severe motorbike accident, and Zen is grateful to V for saving his life. He also one of the people who helped Zen with his fame, by taking photos of him (claiming it's only for "testing").
Zen and Elizabeth 3rd never interact with each other, and Zen claims that he doesn't want to. He is allergic to cats to the point that just seeing a photo of one makes his nose itch. It is stated that at a previous RFA party, Jumin brought Elizabeth the 3rd with him which caused Zen's allergies to act up. Despite that, he stated that he doesn't hate Elizabeth 3rd.
The spaceship reveals
- Zen is a smoker, but he wants to quit.
- His favorite cigarettes are from "Black Angel" which may be a reference to the real cigarettes "Black Devil".
- He has a fan club.
- Zen's phone number is +82)10-9211-%#XZ
- According to the RFA Orientation Guidebook:
- His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
- His special talents include playing the piano, dancing and singing.
- His most used app is the camera.
- He likes ice cold beer fresh from the fridge and lamb kebab, and dislikes strange food such as snails and fois gras.
- He desires a girlfriend or a chance to act on a bigger stage.
- His favourite quote is: "You don't see love with your eyes, you see it with your heart."
- He has been in a love triangle both with two girls that were best friends. In the end, he turned them both down.
- His ideal type are go-getters.
- For a first date, he would like to go to a theater show and surprise his date with a bouquet of flowers.
- With women, he often looks at their hands to determine the type of job they do.
- V considers Zen to be one of his muses and is frustrated that Zen looks even more handsome in photos than he does in real life.
- Zen has psychic dreams which often come true.
- Zen breaks the fourth wall twice:
- When in a conversation with the MC he mentioned about having a weird dream in which they all were just computers, programmed to say certain things.
- In Jumin's route, day 8, the chat Jumin's Change (5.22pm), if you and Seven tease him about the stuff he watches, he says "Whichever genre it is, it doesn't suit this game's rating."
- He heals at an incredibly fast rate. It is noted by the RFA members that he has never caught a cold.
- He debuted as a musical actor at a small theater company when he was 16 and gained some publicity through the musical 'Tei's Tea Leaf' when he was 19.
- It is revealed in Casual Story, Day 1, that it's been 5 years since he last had a girlfriend.
- Zen's love of motorcycles may be a slight reference from a popular 1974 book titled "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
- In a phone call, Zen reveals that he was unknowingly the cover model for the French magazine, "Vague." In same call, he states a game company is creating an elf character based himself and uses his name.
- Vague is a parody of Vogue.
- Zen's Route has 29 visual novels in total from Day 5-11 (excluding the party visual novel), some being interactive and others being non-interactive.
- He has the most visual novels out of the Casual Story characters.
- Zen has the most visual novels on Day 7 (9 in total).
- Zen is the only Casual Story character to have interactive visual novels.