Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
Akira Tendo is a young victim of the maddening oppression of Japanese work culture. When a zombie apocalypse occurs, he takes it as a liberating experience, and starts a list of 100 things he wants to do before becoming a zombie himself.
"Life's too short to avoid risks" - Akira
Well, I can understand the appeal of not working; tried it myself a while back. But I came to appreciate the wisdom of Akira's father here, that having a goal is important. Of course, if you still aren't really that enthused, one can make one's "goal" so lofty (and the steps toward achieving it so vague) that it could just be an excuse to continue one's long, LONG vacation. As for myself, I like to shoot for specific goals that can be achieved within a realistic timeframe. You could say I take issue with Akira's "strategy" (or rather LACK of one.)
It was suggested that Zom 100 might be a critique of capitalism, but that's not my take on it. After all, Akira and his entourage-of-the-moment pay a visit to an RV dealership, where they're practically drooling over the products of late-stage capitalism. Indeed, Akira and his first traveling companion, his old friend Kenchiro Ryuuzaki (AKA "Kencho") are perfectly happy at one point living on the roof of a building, where they apparently have water, electric power, phone service, and even internet, at least for a time. Ardent (and fanatical) defender of capitalism Ayn Rand would have declared them "moochers". (I never understood Rand's complaints about "moochers", when those are people following her own advice, and practicing total selfishness. I guess I'm not deep enough to understand Objectivism.)
A more pertinent observation is that you'd hardly expect public services to persist in a zombie apocalypse. Compare the situation here with that in School Live!, which I've always considered one of the more realistic considerations of zombie apocalypses, cute girls or no. The main group of girls there had water and power, but no communications; and only had what they had because their school was designed to survive this sort of thing. (They were growing their own crops, too, so they couldn't be considered "moochers".) The last girl to join their party didn't even have electricity before she joined them.
Here, in Florida, during summer thunderstorms we'll lose power (and with it, internet) for an hour or more almost daily. So Akira and Company are, in one way, better off than I am, at least in the summer.
I think the zombie apocalypse here might be better understood as a metaphor for Covid. Safety in isolation (with maybe one or two family or trusted friends); safety in isolated countryside communities (at least for a while) rather than the city; and so on.
I also noted Akira's observation, late in the show, to be yourself. The zombie apocalypse "frees" Akira from the oppressive workplace demands on his mind and body. That milieu had basically brainwashed him into being an obedient drone, willing to sacrifice his own health and sanity for the workplace. In the show's best story arc, Akira quickly falls back into that same mindset when he encounters his old boss, who's running his own private fiefdom, based on slavery, and enforced by thugs.
But as for Akira's recklessness- well, no, it doesn't work in the real world. There I have to agree with Shizuka Mikazuki's initial assessment. Shizuka completely dismisses Akira and his reckless behavior at first; but after he's saved her a few times, she begins to think it might be a good idea to hang out with him after all. (Late in the show, she tells someone that studies have shown that people who are socially connected have more "luck" than those who are isolated; but apparently those studies didn't influence her initial thinking about Akira at all, feeling that she WAS better off alone.) I really liked her character design, but I never really liked her that much. We expect she'll eventually become Akira's girlfriend; tsundere-turned-girlfriend is, after all, a VERY old anime trope.
As for Akira's friend "Kencho", he's mainly used for comic relief; he's often unclothed in the show, for one reason or another. We get a late addition to the cast, a German girl, named Beatrix Amerhauser, who's a student of Japanese culture. I would guess she's intended as an eventual romantic interest for Kencho (since Akira will probably be paired with Shizuka), and she's the giant-boobs-jiggler that is Standard Issue in anime.
The show has a fair amount of the simply stupid. The nadir of this is when Akira defeats a "zombie shark" by throwing batteries (I would guess they're D-cells?) at it. Look, if that's all that's required to fight sharks (zombie or otherwise), then Sheriff Brody, the citizens of Amity, and in particular poor old Captain Quint would have had a much easier time of it. (I guess the Captain was never ready with the Evereadys. Though, come to think of it, a Zombie Shark is really the only plausible explanation for the plot of Jaws The Revenge.)
The show is basically in two halves. The first 6 episodes culminate in Akira and Kencho's departure from their rooftop retreat, and Akira's departure to see his folks in the countryside. The immediate short arc that follows is the one where Akira again falls under his boss's sway (as I said, I found this the finest drama in the show); but when he finally finds his way to his folks, I felt that the story became often conventional. When some human villains are introduced, we get the usual anime sentimentality in their backstories- how they were driven to become evil, you know.
I also had no idea that zombie blood was parti-colored. I guess the animators thought it would be boring if it were just red.
The show never quite takes the zombie threat seriously, which I guess explains how Akira could survive despite the fact that he, also, never seems to take things seriously. I never really liked Shizuka, either in her early tsundere mode, or in her later Revised Version. Only Akira's initial oppression (and his later succumbing to a reprise of it) really caught my interest. By the way, in a happy coincidence, a friend gave me a battery carrying case for Christmas. Now I'm ready to take on zombie sharks. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Netflix rates this TV-MA. People get chomped (hey, it's a zombie picture); the zombie transformation of a woman Akira had an early crush on was rather startling. This is never quite at the intensity of some other zombie/monster shows, however (including the Recs.)
Version(s) Viewed: Netflix and Crunchyroll video stream
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead © 2023 Haro Aso, Kotaro Takata, Shogakukan/Zom 100 Project
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