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Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead

Zom 100 season 1

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Sarah Rasmussen

TV Series Review

Blood covers city streets. People fall from tall buildings. Zombies rip innocent citizens to shreds.

“Compared to the office, that would be heaven,” mutters Akira Tendô as he watches a zombie apocalypse movie.

Akira didn’t always see his job this way. Three years ago, he began as a bright-eyed employee at a production company. He anticipated positive challenges, interesting coworkers and hard work. But Akira is horrified to encounter screaming supervisors, back-to-back all-nighters and workdays ending at 2 a.m. What he thought was an exciting opportunity becomes a spirit-crushing prison. And he feels like he can’t quit either. When Akira considers resigning, he worries, “If I leave, the team will have to pick up my slack.”

Saori Ôtori, Akira’s workplace crush, is his glimmer of hope at the company. Though his flirting skills are subpar, brief interactions with Saori encourage Akira. But otherwise, Akira is stuck in a soul-crushing cycle.

That is until a miracle occurs (at least in the eyes of Akira).

On his way to work, Akira encounters mobs of zombies. Yep, just like the movies. At first, he fears he’ll be late for work. But as Akira witnesses explosions, falling helicopters and policemen losing to mindless walkers, his perception changes.

“I’m free!” he exclaims. “I’m just so happy to have a day off from work!”

While this zombie apocalypse might be the end of most people’s lives, it marks the beginning of Akira’s. With a smile on his face, Akria picks up a notebook and writes, “100 Things to Do Before Becoming a Zombie.”

A zombie transformation might be inevitable, but Akira intends to live a full life before that fateful day.

A WIDE SPECTRUM

When I hear that a story features zombies, I’m inclined to place it in the same category as low budget B-grade movies, which tend to lean on gore to drive their stories, rather than good themes and plot.

As such, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (based on Haro Aso’s Japanese manga by the same name) surprised me.

This anime certainly contains gory elements, but its story makes articulate (albeit satirical) observations about passion and burn-out. Although he’s doing meaningful work, Akira feels exploited by his company. Eventually, the straining environment causes him to burn out, and Akira states that he’s unsure what his passions even are anymore.  

The creative animation style enhances this aspect of the story. When Akira begins his job, the colors are vibrant. But as he burns out, the color drains until everything is black and white.  Once Akira regains control of his life (during the zombie invasion), color saturates his world once more. Akira observes, “Until yesterday, I saw the world in monochrome, shrouded in a black cloud … I’d forgotten the world was so full of color.”

Although the art style and thematic elements are certainly creative, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead contains several content issues. The zombie scenes are macabre. Blood gushes from humans and zombies alike, and we see several scenes in which zombies feast on live human flesh. Often, zombies are partly unclothed, and sometimes humans wear minimal clothing, too. In a couple scenes, women’s breasts are shown. Characters speak in Japanese, but the English subtitles include profanity like “d–n,” “b–tard” and “h—.” And some scenes include heavy drinking and other substance references.

The thought-provoking themes and creative animation style make Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead an appealing anime. While its content might be navigable for older audiences, best approach Bucket List of the Dead with a bucketload of caution.  

Episode Reviews

Jul. 9, 2023 – S1, Ep1: “Akira of the Dead”

Three years ago, Akira was a bright-eyed new employee excited about his job. But now, the poor management and long hours have drained Akira’s passion. He believes anything would be better than going to work … even a zombie apocalypse.

Before the zombies take over, Akira considers committing suicide because of his soul-crushing job. Once the zombie takeover begins, the zombies mercilessly attack humans, throwing them from buildings or helicopters and ripping their bodies apart. These moments are very graphic and involve blood, human innards and grotesque depictions of zombies (who are sometimes unclothed). One scene features a zombie eating a human while his victim twitches. Akira runs while hordes of zombies chase him and things explode around him. Akira witnesses a man transform into a zombie, and the scene is macabre. The man’s skin bubbles while goo and blood pour from his body. To save himself, Akira throws the zombie from a window, and the body explodes on impact.

Akira has a crush on his coworker, Saori Ôtori. Before the zombies come, Akira learns that his boss (who frequently yells at his employees) uses Saori for sexual favors. In one scene, we see her shadow behind an office door moments before the boss takes advantage of her. The images aren’t graphic, but Saori can be heard begging him to stop. Several female zombies wear only bras, and one woman’s breasts can be seen as she transforms into a zombie.

Mentions of drinking and smoking are frequent. When he starts his job, Akira drinks alcohol with his coworkers, and used cigarettes are seen on the table. Once the zombie apocalypse begins, Akira considers taking up day drinking.

Characters consistently use profanity. There are five uses of “d–n” and uses of “p-ss,” “crap” and “h—.”

Jul. 30, 2023 – S1, Ep4: “Flight Attendant of the Dead”

In his quest to cross another item off his bucket list, Akira (accompanied by his friend Kencho) discovers a group of human survivors.

Gory depictions of zombie encounters are frequent. Akira shoots blood-covered zombies while zombie mobs chase him, and characters narrowly avoid being caught in an explosion. While a man transforms into a zombie, we can see his gashes dripping with blood. Later, this zombie bites a woman between her legs (which she originally interprets as a sexual advance). A zombie attacks another woman, and Akira defends himself by slamming a zombie with a suitcase.

Akira’s primary motivation is his desire to go on a date with a girl. There are scenes in which he attempts to “get cozy” with women. Although his advances are usually awkward and unsuccessful, one woman seems charmed and rubs his back. Kencho also employs several tactics to impress women. He dances naked for a group (though nothing critical is seen), and eventually he has sex with a woman. In this intimate scene, we hear the couple allude to the act beforehand, and we see them in bed together afterward.

During the opening theme song, a woman can be spotted in a sports bra and shorts, and we also see Akira and Kencho unclothed (though nothing critical is seen since their backs are towards us). One animation angle draws particular attention to a woman’s cleavage, and in another scene, we see an unclothed woman’s breasts. A woman walks around wearing her bra and underwear.

Survivors frequently down bottles of alcohol. To impress a woman, Akira chugs a full bottle of tequila (which later causes him to vomit).

Profanity such as “d–n,” “crap,” “b–tard” and “screwed” appear. Someone calls a character an “idiot,” and there is also some crude bathroom humor.

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Sarah Rasmussen

Sarah Rasmussen is the Plugged In intern for Summer 2023.

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