Ever since The Walking Dead TV Series started airing, and maybe even before that, I feel like the zombie genre has been done to death (pun intended). We all know the story: An unknown virus has broken out, turning humans into undead, cannibalistic creatures whose bite then turns you into one of them if they don’t finish eating you first. I have seen a lot of zombie films over the years, from George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead to the Korean masterpiece, Train to Busan, so you could say I’m a fan of the genre. However, I will admit that it is a rare occurrence that we see anything new from the zombie genre. Fortunately, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead just happens to be one of those rare occurrences.
In fact, Zom 100 is hardly a zombie story. Sure, it has zombies in it, but they are often an afterthought and hardly inconvenient to our protagonist, Akira. When we begin this story, Akira is a young man fresh out of college and excited to start his first big career at a production company. Cut to three years later, and he is burned-out, sleep-deprived, and has completely given up on his goals and having any sort of fun outside of work. He absolutely hates his job, and in a figurative sense, he feels like a zombie. Suddenly, without much explanation, the world is full of literal zombies. In many zombie stories, this is when the characters start to panic and lose all hope as they struggle to survive. But for Akira, this is his chance to live his best life!
After he encounters his first zombie and starts to watch the news broadcasts of the apocalypse going on outside, Akira is ecstatic that he doesn’t have to go to work anymore! For the first time in three years, he begins to return to the optimistic and carefree lifestyle he once had. With no more work and the end of society as he knows it, this gives him the time to do everything he wants. Hence, he creates a bucket list of things he wants to complete before he inevitably gets turned into a zombie himself.
Zom 100 is a fresh take on the zombie genre in ways that I’ve never seen. There were several things that made me laugh throughout. It has a similar style of comedy as Shaun of the Dead, but instead of waiting in a pub for this all to blow over, Akira decides to get out and experience life. He reunites with his friend, Kencho, who has seemingly always been the type of person who likes to take risks and live life on the edge. Later in the manga, he also continues to run into a girl named Shizuka who takes the whole zombie apocalypse very seriously. Rather than making a bucket list like Akira, she is seen watching famous zombie movies for research and making charts on how to survive. Between his friend and possible love interest, it will be interesting to see these opposing dynamics in Akira’s relationships moving forward.
In terms of story and humor, I am on board with continuing this manga, but unfortunately the art was pretty average. One criticism I have is that the appearance of the zombies conflicted too much with the characters who were still alive. Many of the background zombies looked like they were pulled from an American comic book rather than being drawn in the Japanese style. This may be a creative choice by the illustrator, but the scenes shared between the living and the nonliving sometimes feels like seeing cartoon characters in live action movies.
There are barely any frightening images that would deem this a horror manga in my opinion. Even though the zombies are covered in blood, you never see them tearing into a person’s flesh or pulling out the innards of their victims. But despite the minimal use of gore, I would still say this manga is more adult-oriented due to some partial nudity, swearing, and suggestive dialogue. For example, Akira encounters a few naked zombies that were participating in adult activities when they turned, if you know what I mean.
With only 160 pages and large panels on each page, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead was a very quick read. I enjoyed it though! If you’re a fan of zombie comedies with few scares, like Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, this is the manga for you!
In a trash-filled apartment, 24-year-old Akira Tendo watches a zombie movie with lifeless, envious eyes. After spending three hard years at one of Japan’s “black corporations,” his spirit is broken. He can’t even muster the courage to confess his feelings to his beautiful co-worker Ohtori. Then one morning, he stumbles upon his landlord eating lunch—which happens to be another tenant! The whole city’s swarming with zombies, and even though he’s running for his life, Akira's never felt more free!Add to CartLearn More