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

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Volume Three gives some much needed character development for both Akira Tendo and Shizuka Mikazuki.

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Volume Three
Written by: Haro Aso
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 17, 2021

At the end of Volume Two, Akira made a comment about going to see his parents in Gunma. However, when Volume Three opens, they haven’t quite left Tokyo yet. The volume starts with Akira achieving one of the items on his bucket list: getting a solid gold watch. But considering most of humankind has been turned into zombies and no one’s working at the stores anymore, getting that solid gold watch was a pretty easy feat. It’s after this that Akira and Kenichiro lose power in the apartment, and Akira comments on going to Gunma and seeing his parents.

However, as they start to head out of Tokyo, Akira decides it’d be better to ride in style across a zombie wasteland in an RV. As we later see, traveling in an RV is on Akira’s bucket list, and I’m sure that’s why he brought up this idea. When they go to a dealership to look at RVs, they come across Shizuka, who is also trying to find an RV to travel in. Akira invites her to join them, but she refuses, as usual. However, she critiques the various RVs the guys are admiring. But the zombies find them, and Shizuka is forced to travel with Akira and Kenichiro in order to survive. Nobody really gets the RV that they want, but they have to grab something quick in order to escape from the zombies.

There’s an interesting conversation between Akira and Shizuka as they drive in the RV. They talk about the zombie infection, and how it has spread even more rapidly than Ebola or the Spanish Flu. They then talk about if it’s a virus, and how an analysis the outbreak and its transmission could help find a countermeasure… and one of the things they talk about is creating a vaccine. In the pre-COVID world, this would have just come across as something scientific they were talking about. But reading this during the COVID pandemic, this dialogue had more of an effect on me as a reader. Of course, I couldn’t help but have this snarky thought: even if this is a virus and you could come up with a vaccine, good luck getting people to take it. Considering the reactions and hesitancy I’ve seen about taking the COVID vaccine, it’s not surprising I would have thought of that.

But then we have an interesting twist. The group is stopped by a spike strip, and Kenichiro (who was riding the motorcycle), is hurt. It turns out that Akira’s former boss, Gonzo Kosugi, is now running a truck stop with supplies. However, he forces people to work for him and keeps them there. Here, we see how much Akira was unable to stand up to his boss when he was in the workforce. Kosugi wears him down to the point that they make an “oral contract” where Akira will work for him for two days so their RV can be fixed and Kenichiro can get treatment.

The rest of the volume focuses on this plot point, and this is where we get the character development for both Akira and Shizuka. Through flashbacks, we see that Shizuka’s father was a terrible person, and how he treated Shizuka since childhood. He would always tell her what she would need, rather than letting her do what she wanted. She couldn’t hang out with friends, because they were beneath her station. She couldn’t keep a stray dog… and her father went so far as to call animal control and have the dog put down when she wasn’t around. Through these flashbacks, we finally get to know more about Shizuka and why she acts the way she does. But through reliving these experiences, she sees that Kosugi is treating Akira the same way that her father treated her. When it seems like Akira is going to completely crack and cave in to Kosugi’s demands to stay and work for him forever, it’s Shizuka who helps him snap back to his senses. But Kosugi gets an unexpected surprise concerning zombies… and we see that Akira may not be happy with Kosugi, but he’s still willing to try to save his butt. It was great to see Kosugi get his comeuppance though at the end of this ordeal.

Right at the end of the volume, we see a sign for Gunma Prefecture, so it looks like Akira and the others will finally make it to their destination in Volume Four. I have to admit that I thought we were going to hit this point during Volume Three, but when the storyline about Kosugi came up as I read this volume, it became clear that reaching the destination wasn’t going to happen.

The strongest part of this volume was the character development we received for Shizuka, and I came to like her as a character. Prior to this volume, I really didn’t know much about her, so I couldn’t really form an opinion. But it appears Shizuka is going to serve as the “realist” of the group, while Akira is going to be the one to jump into situations without really thinking about them. Kenichiro kind of falls in between the two of them. But I think that Shizuka’s realism is going to be a good asset for Akira and Kenichiro, because it should help to keep them out of trouble more than if they were traveling without her. It’s going to be interesting to see just what kind of an influence Shizuka is going to have on the other characters and on the overall story.

After reading Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Volume Three, I’ve truly become interested in this series and I want to find out what happens to these characters as their story continues. I think that readers who have read the first two volumes will enjoy Volume Three as well.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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