Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead – Anime Analysis

Some History

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Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead 🔗

Series Premiere: July 9, 2023
Licensed by: Viz Media
Episodes Commissioned: 8 (Pending)
Studio: Bug Films
Manga: 14 Volumes (As of September 2023)

Ah yes, anime. We may have fallen out this past year, but you’ve been swinging some serious home runs this summer season, with epics like this one sinking your teeth into my meaty brain, like a starving zombie in an apocalypse. Yes, starting a returning analysis with a terrible pun is always fun but here I am, excited to be back into anime and it’s only taken two episodes to enthral me into the comedy-horror adaptation, that’s already making waves as one of greatest. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, comes from renowned and acclaimed manga artist and author Haro Aso, known for his most popular battle royale-based mangaka, Alice in Borderland which was recently given a live-action adaptation that has been heralded as one of, if not the greatest thrillers likened to it such as Squid Game.

Aso retired from Illustrating in 2016 after completing the last chapter of Alice in Borderland, to focus solely on creative writing, and began the serialisation of his next smash hit, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead. The Manga’s popularity soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw many comparing the epidemic to the world’s dormant status. While the zombie genre had been overdone at this point, Aso remained adamant in producing a quirky comedy-horror, relatable to popular feature films as the Zombieland franchise, with a central focus on its four key protagonists, rather than about the gore and violence the aforementioned movie exhibited. Aso wanted his characters to be as relatable as possible, but have his main character be socially awkward to the point that a zombie apocalypse would be the last thing on his mind, regardless of his situation.

⚠ Main Plot (Warning: Spoilers)

Meet Akira Tendo, an ambitious hopeful that begins his career producing commercial campaigns for huge conglomerates. Initially excited for all prospects, the company he signs up to welcomes him with a warm and friendly welcome, almost too good to be true. Well those instincts were on the money, as he became acclimated toward his surroundings, it was clear that he had signed up to exploitative entity that’s almost considered slavery. 72 hour work-days, never leaving the office, eating rations and too frightened to speak up, he continues to spiral into a depressive state, almost under the illusion that his job could be worse than it is. While his career is held hostage by his employer, he continues to work there for the sake of seeing his crush while on the verge of admitting his feelings, only to find out that she is CEO’s mistress.

Spinning his wheels, the youngster continues to leave his trash-filled, unkempt apartment, wailing about the thought of leaving to go back to the office. Dark thoughts begin to creep into his mind, almost to the point of being suicidal but he carries on. That is until one fateful morning, Tendo arrives to an abandoned train station. He investigates the conductor’s office to find an figure feasting on a dead body. The person lunges toward Tendo, with devious intent sending them into a complete selfless frenzy while the youngster makes a getaway. As he parkours his way through the city, more swarms of the undead are alerted causing a stampede to ensue. While the threat of a hoard chases Tendo, the only thing on his mind is getting to work on time. Coming close to his demise, it then occurs to him that Tokyo had been overrun by zombies.

An unconventional reaction to this news, Tendo was elated as he sped through balconies of buildings, celebrating the fact that he was no longer committed to his job. While the undead loomed, Tendo laid atop a high rise, reflecting on all the activities he could possibly do now that he’s free, but the one that he was most hopeful for was to visit his “love”, Ohtori, and confess his feelings. Covertly sneaking his way to the front door of her apartment, he convinces himself that this was a simple welfare check but nobody answers the door. He opens it to find the CEO, already zombified and in his underwear, mutating into an unearthly being. Tendo spears his boss out the apartment window while tendering his resignation, with the CEO plunging downward, smattering his corpse into a bloody pool. Tendo finds Ohtori, confesses his feelings toward her, only to find her zombified.

She leaps towards him, but Tendo makes a getaway while saying goodbye to his first love. While Tendo begins to accept his reality, there’s still a part of him that tries to live his life regardless of the world’s dire situation. Cleaning his living space, and day drinking while watching movies, he suddenly runs out of beer and has to make a quick run to the convenience store. He is met with a young woman that is also searching for food and water to survive the outbreak. He makes an attempt to connect with her, only to be shutdown and told that he was not going to survive the zombie apocalypse, so she had no intention of getting attached. While zombies begin to flock toward the store, a truck crashes through the front window, narrowly avoiding both Tendo and the girl after she saves him. Tendo thanks her, as she rides off on her bike. Upon arriving back to his complex, Tendo is  confronted by the suspected death of his neighbours. It was the wake-up call he needed to realise the gravity of his luck.

Commentary & Highlights (Warning: Minor Spoilers)

A rollercoaster ride from initiation, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is already engrossing. While it was a slow burn, the hook of its premiere was simply how its protagonist was placed into this unworldly situation, not by choice, but of luck. The world has turned into a scary place, but after working in a sweatshop, he experiences life in full colour, rather than in a monotonous, bleak outlook. The weight of his entire living situation would have anyone question their sanity, but after being a slave to society, conforming to the Top 1% and their demands, he is living life for him, and that’s the positive takeaway. However, as someone viewing this through a lens, there’s always an uneasy feeling that quietly looms. It’s almost like I’m waiting for our hero to meet his demise at any minute. But the fun never stops, while learning new things about Tendo, and the characters he meets.

While only assessing the first two episodes of the series thus far, it’s safe to say that Zom 100’s qualities are of the highest calibre in overall presentation. From its strong narrative, eccentric characters, fluid animation and vibrant aesthetic, the expeditious pacing on screen matches that of a Mob Psycho 100 cross My Hero Academia, with the added horrors and quirks akin to Zombie Land Saga. It’s a refreshing take on the sub-genre that distances itself from being a thriller, without the expected despondence of a hopeless outlook from a team of creative hopefuls. Already an incredible thrill ride, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead has a bright future after serialising the manga, and attaining sky-rocketing notoriety, that a live-action film has already been released on Netflix, coinciding its anime premiere.

It speaks volumes that the series’ successes from its source material has been stewing since the early pandemic, not to mention its popularity simmering to boiling point and has expanding beyond the manga. It’s interesting to note, Bug Films was established September 2021 with Zom 100 being its first credited production from the studio. However, it should be mentioned that the newfound animation team is fronted by former Pokémon animation lead Hiroaki Kojima of OLM, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone of the insane amount of polish put in place for this adaptation. There’s a balance of beauty, mixed with elements of horror placed within this anime that’s all-round perfection. Comedic timing, jump scares, enthralling action and an indelible plot points simply showcase what’s expected out of this excellent adventure.

Noteworthy Mentions (Warning: Minor Spoilers)
  • Hate your job? Who doesn’t? Penmanship of a relatable narrative behind our protagonist makes him connect more with the audience. An overworked and underpaid, ambitious hopeful leads our crew in this amazing horror-comedy that’s choc-full to the brim with unexpected excitement in every twist and turn.

  • Aesthetic and animation are quality. I’ve only seen this level of depth placed from AAA animation studios out of Japan, akin to GREAT PRETENDER, My Hero Academia, Promare, Weathering with You, and the simplicity, yet captivity of Summer Wars.

  • An emotional joyride. Its disposition from conventional horror tales gives off a fearful vibe for our heroes, as a viewer. Nail-biting at times, but laugh out loud moments wash away any concerns.

  • Awesome OP and ED. Heavy Metal rocks the opening, with Song of the Dead by Kana-Boon, contrasting the endearing closing credits, backed by Happiness of the Dead from Shiyui.

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead – Bug Films

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WORTH THE WATCH?

VERDICT: HELL YES🔥

With three years under his belt at the company from hell, Akira Tendo is mentally and physically spent. All at the ripe old age of twenty-four. Even his crush from Accounting, Saori, wants nothing to do with him. Then, just when life is beginning to look like one big disappointment, it happens. The zombie apocalypse descends on Japan! Surrounded by hordes of hungry zombies, Akira comes to a realization that will forever change his life… “Wait, does this mean I never have to go to work again?” Confess to… party like it’s… travel Japan coast to… Now, with his nightmare job no longer, Akira’s got his mojo back. Let the bucket listing begin!!

Summary: Crunchyroll

“Anime Analysis” provides reviews and impressions for the first two episodes of each Anime, and are not reflective of the entire season.

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