Zhivago is the current Consigliere of the Kuro crime family, serving as Cordell Kuro's lieutenant. He is also an infamous (ex-?)hitman and formerly served as lieutenant to the late Vladimir Von Helson. He was introduced as The Sniper and rose to infamy for the highly skilled yet unidentified assassinations and shootings he performed. He has been a major recurring antagonist since.
Zhivago is a sadist with a flair for the theatrical who finds undeniable enjoyment and satisfaction in not just carrying out but literally performing violence, reveling in his status as Gaia's resident vampire antagonist. His theatricality does, however, create a volatile combination with his otherwise straightforward nature and short temper, often complicating his job more than it has to.
His love of the theatrical is perhaps an extension of his difficulties dealing with unpredictability, his interactions with others suggest he rehearses or "scripts" his actions to some extent. This is best seen during scenes where he personally antagonizes a target, where he nearly always performs some kind of unnecessary but clearly premeditated action for its own sake. He has moderate to extreme difficulty adapting to significant divergence from these scripts. He reacts in a hastily improvised manner, has an abnormally delayed reaction, or in some cases has no reaction at all.
Despite evidence that he views vampires as superior, he still views himself as superior to other vampires. He actively dislikes fraternizing with them and refers to them casually and with disdain. Some of this is likely influenced by his notions of what a "real vampire" should be, as he presents himself as the archetypal vampire in opposition to more modern conceptions of vampires. Contrary to his unwillingness to socialize with them, however, he displays an accurate if uncomplicated awareness of the common sentiments of the vampire populace.
Zhivago is a a light brown-skinned, middle-aged looking vampire of a Russian background and unclear descent. He is slightly below 6'2"[b] with an out of shape but muscular physique and is missing his right arm from the shoulder down. There are two distinctive scars that resemble lightning bolts on the left side of his face. One starts at his jaw and ends at the corner of his eye, the other starts past his hairline and ends above his brow. As of Beast he also has a large claw mark across his chest and stomach.[c] He has large fangs and long, sharp fingernails.
He has thick, wild white hair down to his back and hooded grey eyes ringed with dark circles. His eyes change color at various points, the whites turning black and grey irises glowing yellow. This is most conclusively linked to strong feelings of violence. Notably, Zhivago exhibits this trait more often than any other character.
Zhivago's signature attire consists of a black English/Italian-cut suit, red tie, and bell-bottom or pleated slacks. Although his suit may appear identical between appearances, there are variations in the jackets. For example, the jacket in Lone Wolf has visible pockets and a notched lapel, and was an English cut as opposed to his usual hybrid English/Italian. In a number of his appearances he also wears a dark- or cool-colored cloak or overcoat over his shoulders.
What little is known of Zhivago's history prior to his time with the Von Helsons strongly suggests a Russian background and advanced military experience and training, particularly in espionage, possibly in a position of leadership. He is most likely an immigrant to Central given his foreign background and accent. It is sometimes theorized he may have been a spy for an intelligence agency in his country of origin.[source? >___>]
At some point after arriving in Central where he most likely resided in Durem himself, he began working for the Von Helson family, then tasked with defending Durem's West Wall. It is no surprise a man of Zhivago's skillset and background would end up in the position of Vladimir Von Helson's lieutenant. It is unclear how exactly he got to his position but it is evident he has deliberately obscured his past.
Zhivago, from his description of his experience as lieutenant to Vladimir Von Helson, originally proved dutiful and reserved, if outspoken, with a mindset that was straightforward to an extreme.
During the Von Helson children's childhood, Zhivago lived at the House on the Hill in Dead Man's Pass away from the Von Helson mansion. He didn't care for Louie and actively disliked Ian, referring to him as a "sullen little ninny."
- Assassin's Executioner: Zhivago's debut rifle as the Sniper later dubbed the Assassin's Executioner. Though it doesn't have any real-life counterpart, its size, silhouette, ammunition, and muzzle blast indicate a silenced Soviet anti-materiel rifle[source? >___>] mounted with a red-illuminated scope. This suggests but doesn't confirm military experience with firearms, as the main advantage apart from sheer firepower is the tactical ability to engage targets at any range that the scope enables. Zhivago's superhuman ability to absorb impact allows him to handle it with ease despite its massive recoil.
- Grappling gun: The grappling gun is exclusive to MMVII: Fight or Flight. It resembles a large scoped pistol and has a high firing velocity and middling range. The hook itself has three serrated claws and appears to take up a significant amount of the bulk of the gun. The gun likely has some sort of retractive device (possibly an ascension device) that holds the cable taut.
- Binoculars: Powerful long range night-vision binoculars utilized in Convergence and MMVII: Fight or Flight.
- The Masque #02 April Fools '05 (April 01, 2005)
- The Masque #10 The Trial of Ian (February 01, 2006)
- The Vampire Conflict #01 Convergence (July 16, 2007)
- The Vampire Conflict #02 Damian (August 31, 2007)
- The Vampire Conflict #03 Unveiled (September 28, 2007)
- The Vampire Conflict #04 Gun show (October 29, 2007)
- The Airship Saga #11 The Fall (March 05, 2010)
- The Airship Saga #12 A New Man (May 07, 2010)
- The Airship Saga #13 Leash (February 03, 2011)
- The Airship Saga #14 The Floating City (March 04, 2011)
- Mini Comic Archive #29 Lone Wolf (April 15, 2011)
- The Airship Saga #15 Beast (Jun 03, 2011)
- The Airship Saga #19 Out of the Shadows (April 20, 2012)
- The Airship Saga #20 Loyalty (June 25, 2012)
- The Airship Saga #27 Dark Moon (February 21, 2015)
- The Airship Saga #30 Bloodlines (October 11, 2015)
- The Airship Saga #31 Future (March 06, 2017)
- Zhivago (Живаго) is a masculine Russian name. It is a Church Slavonic word meaning the living, ironic for an assassin of his demeanor.
- The Sniper sparked both fan and in-universe speculation as to his identity for several years and inspired the long-running GCD Sniper Game and The Sniper's Game.
- Zhivago is one of the only characters in the Manga to have a unique speech bubble. The borders are irregular with clean linework in The Vampire Conflict and rough, highly textured linework in the earlier issues of The Airship Saga.
- Prior to losing his arm, Zhivago was most likely both right-handed. He always used his right hand whenever he handled weaponry and only used his left hand for trivial tasks.
- He is double-jointed.
- His depiction in MMVII, as with many of the other characters, has several inaccuracies: his scars are completely missing, his eyes are brown with circular pupils, and his his fangs look more like regular canines.
- Zhivago's character designer, sukinahito, on Zhivago:
the characters I had in my head when I designed them & the way the writers portrayed these character are not the same most of the time. Zhivago I had in my mind was more calm and cool and suave.. um.. lol yeah. When I draw these characters I always go back to the original personality I had in mind for them. — sukinahitosrc
- L0cke at the Anime Expo 2007 Gaia Panel, introducing Zhivago:
He's definitely a little angrier, he's got a little facial... scar stuff going on, you know. He's got attitude, he's got issues, so you know, he's gonna come with attitude and issues straight into the story. — L0ckesrc
- Lanzer, on Zhivago's original purpose in zOMG!:
I believe the team had reserved him for a much later chapter but never got around to it. It's a shame for his character design is really cool. — Lanzersrc
- Given that Gino is 30 years old and is Ian's junior by around 10 years, and that Zhivago is an adult in Ian's childhood memories, Zhivago is most likely at least in his late 60s. He shows significant signs of aging between his earliest chronological appearance and his recent appearances, suggesting he is relatively young for a vampire.
- He is taller than Cordell but shorter than Edmund, putting him between around 5'11" and 6'1". This is only an estimate and other factors may affect how tall he appears vs. how tall he actually is. For instance, his usual dress shoes probably add to his height and his poor posture probably detracts from it.
- He actually receives the claw wound across his back in Beast, but this has either been retconned or simply not shown in following issues.