Zorua is a slate gray, fox-like Pokémon with red and black accents. Its ears are triangular with dark insides, and it has a large tuft of fur tipped with red on top of its head. It has greenish-blue eyes with red eyelids. There are circular, red markings above the eyes that resemble eyebrows. Its muzzle is short and tapered with two small fangs seen in the upper jaw when its mouth is open. Zorua possesses a ruff of black fur around its neck and four short limbs tipped with red. Its tail is short and bushy. Zorua can change its physical appearance, though this transformation is merely an illusion as it keeps its own type and moves.
Zorua is said to have a timid nature which led to the development of its illusion abilities. Zorua keeps its true form hidden to ensure its safety and takes on the appearance of other Pokémon to frighten off enemies. Sometimes it will take the form of a silent child in order to search for food. It has been known to occasionally replace normally talkative children. As seen in its movie debut, the tail of an unpracticed Zorua may remain when it takes on a human form, and if the tail is touched, it will revert to its true form. Zorua is mischievous and loves to surprise others. Prior to Generation VII and in Generation IX, Night Daze is its signature move.
Exiled from other lands by humans because of their illusions, and unable to survive in the Hisui region due to the harsh environment and conflicts with other Pokémon, the souls of deceased Zorua linger on in a new form, reborn by their malice towards humans and Pokémon alike. Hisuian Zorua's fur is mainly light gray with red and white accents. Its ears are primarily gray with split cuts and a slight red tint at the tips. Its eyes have golden yellow irises and pink eyelids, and its limbs are tipped in black. The tuft of fur on its head, the ruff around its neck, and its tail are all white at their bases, with long wisps of fur that fade to red at the tips, and they are all smoother in appearance. Unlike Unovan Zorua, it has a melancholy expression rather than a mischievous one.
Hisuian Zorua retains its ability to cast illusions but accomplishes this by constantly unleashing its spiteful power of malice through its ghostly fur, specifically atop its head. This power comes from Hisuian Zorua's own resentment of everything. If it encounters a lone human or Pokémon, Zorua may appear to them masked in a horrifying illusion of their own likeness. It seems to draw strength from the terror it inflicts on its victims. Hisuian Zorua tends to reside in the cold areas where it lingers onto. Like its Unova counterpart, Hisuian Zorua can make its illusion of other Pokémon, to the point of easily fooling anyone in order to get food.
In Pokémon GO, Zorua will appear in the wild disguised as the player's Buddy Pokémon. Players will only find out whether a Pokémon is a Zorua if successfully captured, upon which a cutscene will show the Pokémon transforming back into Zorua. The Buddy Pokémon does not need to appear on the overworld for Zorua to spawn.
Zorua can appear disguised as a Shiny Pokémon if the Buddy Pokémon is Shiny, without it being Shiny itself.
Prior to Version 1.2.0 of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Hisuian Zorua's base stats were the same as Unovan Zorua's. This change was undone when Hisuian Zorua became available in those games. Similar occurences happened to Hisuian Zoroark and Kleavor.
Prior to Version 2.1.0, Hisuian Zorua was able to learn Spite at level 28.
Zorua appears to be based on the kitsune of Japanese folklore, a mythical fox capable of shape-shifting. The concept of a Zorua still having its tail while in human form may refer to how a kitsune has difficulty in hiding its tail when it takes on human form in some stories. Its facial markings may draw inspiration from Kabuki and Noh theater makeup.
In addition, Zorua's habit of replacing children with itself is similar to Irish folklore about the changeling, a fairy-child that replaces human children kidnapped by fairies or, in some tales, the devil. Zorua also resembles the trickster characters of many cultures in both appearance and behavior; such characters are often depicted as foxes.