Zeba's Backstory: A Whole Load of Nightmare Fuel!!!!
Zeba's backstory in Hikari Sentai Maskman is one of the most well-written horror stories ever conceived in Tokusatsu for me. For one, you are kept guessing what he is and who he is and while it's obvious he's not human but you just can't guess what he is until later... and you realize he's not human so he must be some dark entity out of nowhere. He is always one horrible dictator that only thinks about himself. Doing anything to undermine his rule like demanding to ask where in the world he came from, you're dead either he sends you to the ice coffin or he will well, send you to be tortured for long periods of time and it's not a pleasant way to go away from this world. And I even think he's afraid of his identity being disclosed because... it also contains the secret of his downfall. In fact, I even dare believe he sent Baraba to his death hoping that his secret won't come out otherwise the Maskmen may exploit his greatest weakness!
Maskman 35 REALLY scared me when I was a child. I mean, all that secret of Zeba is terrifying to the core. Every thunderstorm made me imagine Zeba was there. Anything slimy... I would imagine Zeba's blood was there. During that episode, the day when the sun hits Lethal Dobler's pyramid, Zeba starts to teleport away which he is seen secreting some green slime. Again, that was a hint that Zeba could be some form of malevolent being. The speculations were right and it goes on with a very nightmarish way you cannot imagine. Anagbas was left clueless and even found out that a page was missing in the archives. Zeba must have had been so brilliant to shred any information about him because it will give hints to his downfall.
The Fencer Unas arc started to hint more of what Zeba could be and who he is really. In episode 46, it provides more nightmare fuel. Godai Dobler reveals to Igam something eerie that Lethal Dobler was born out of the Pond of Evil suggesting that Zeba is born from negative energies, a concept later taken into Queen Grandienne in GogoFive. So it's later revealed that Zeba is not Lethal Dobler so... it can leave the question hanging, what is he then? Some kind of demon? Maskman episode 50 answered that question in a rather nightmarish story. And believe me, it just got even scarier than it already started. It's already bad enough that he's making everyone's lives miserable, he's not easy to overthrow and the reason behind why he's not easily overthrown is definitely not for the weak! I would admit that I hid under the blanket a lot as a kid!
What we learn later is that Lethal Dobler attempted to rule over ALL of the Tube. However the Igam family of his time, defeated him and sealed him in the Pyramid. However, he still had some energy left and from his hatred, sired a son without a mother. Now there were female monsters (such as Kotsuhi/Cranium Dobler) BUT Zeba had no mother. In a way, Zeba was the the personification of the hatred of Lethal Dobler. If Lethal Dobler were born from the Pond of Evil, Zeba was born out of the hatred of the original beast. I kinda wanted to puke knowing Zeba ate up his "parent" the original Lethal Dobler, becoming Emperor Zeba a monster of pure hatred and malevolence. While I kind of wish they kept him as Lethal Dobler but the nightmare fuel of eating his own creator... was absolutely terrifying to the bone... and literally because we saw the bones of the original Lethal Dobler left behind after Zeba ate the dying corpse, becoming an even more hateful creature than the former!