Manga Review: Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Volume One

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Volume One takes a look at how one man tries to survive a zombie apocalypse.

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Volume One
Written by: Haro Aso
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 16, 2021

The main character of Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is a young man named Akira Tendo. Three years prior to the beginning of the series, he’s excited to start working at a production company. He also develops a crush on one of the young women that works in accounting. However, Akira quickly learns some realities about the production business, such as constantly pulling all-nighters and having a boss who’s basically a slave driver. On top of that, it turns out the girl he has a crush on is the boss’ “side piece.”

When he hits his second year with the company, it’s clear that his hopes, dreams, and ambitions have been crushed. And when he hits his third year, he’s really gotten to a point where he doesn’t want to go to work anymore. When he hits his lowest point, he suddenly discovers that a zombie apocalypse is underway when he discovers his landlord has turned into a zombie. Not only that, but his boss and his crush have also turned into zombies. Even though so many people around him are turning into zombies, Akira keeps managing to not get caught by zombies.

With the zombie apocalypse going on, Akira realizes that he never has to return to work… which makes him incredibly happy. At one point, there’s an amusing scene when Akira is climbing down the apartment building and comes across his downstairs neighbor. When he mentions he’s going to the store, Akira asks the neighbor and his wife what they need. I kind of chuckled when one of the items mentioned was some double rolls of toilet paper. After the run on toilet paper during the COVID-19 outbreak, this felt so appropriate to include. Even in a zombie apocalypse, people are still thinking about toilet paper.

The next day, even though there’s zombies swarming around nearby, Akira is still determined to make a beer run. While at the store, he encounters a young woman who chastises him for making a beer run in this situation. I had a feeling when we saw her in the manga that she’s going to become important. Right at the end of the volume, there’s a mini-chapter that features this character. This mini-chapter only reinforced the idea in my mind that this character is going to somehow become important to the story. This volume, however, focuses on Akira and getting him established as a character.

After the beer run, Akira starts working on a bucket list of 100 things he wants to do before becoming a zombie. He makes this decision with about 40 pages left in the volume, so it’s not until near the end of the volume before the reader truly understands what the title of this manage series is referring to. As he’s making it, the early items on the list are crossed off right away, because he’s already accomplished them. However, there’s still a lot of things left on the bucket list for him to do. At this point, my guess is that the series is going to focus on Akira trying to accomplish everything on the bucket list in one way or another.

The final chapter of this volume sees Akira working at trying to complete one of the items on his bucket list. The item in particular is “drink and laugh all night with my best bud.” He goes to Shinjuku to find an old college buddy of his named Kenichiro Ryuzaki, and the two of them have to work together to escape from some zombies that are coming after them. Along the way, Akira learns some truths about Kenichiro… but it somehow works out in the end that the two of them can drink and laugh the night away. So there’s one more item crossed off of Akira’s bucket list.

The goal of Volume One was to establish Akira and the situation going on around him, and I think that Aso succeeded in this goal. I hope the next volume will have more of an emphasis on Akira and his attempts at crossing items off his bucket list.

The art style definitely works for this quirky story, although that are the occasional panels where I swear that Akira’s face looks a little to suspiciously close to Luffy from One Piece. When those panels showed up, my brain would try to tell me I was seeing Luffy, and I’d have to remind myself that Luffy isn’t in the world of this story, that the person I was seeing was someone else.

Overall, I thought that Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Volume One showed a lot of promise. It sets up a character that a reader will become invested in, the premise of the story is interesting, and there was even some good humor mixed in with the seriousness of a zombie apocalypse. I also appreciated the idea of how Akira basically became like a zombie while working for the production company, and how this zombie apocalypse has freed him from the “zombie-like” life he’d been living for the previous three years.

I would recommend Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead to readers who enjoy reading stories about zombie apocalypses and can appreciate a zombie apocalypse infused with some humor.

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