I would never have guessed that, just over halfway through the year, I would be committing to a second show about zombies in 2023. But after the first two episodes of Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, I’m as hooked as I was after watching the first few episodes of HBO’s The Last of Us. This new anime from Bug Films manages to flip a tired genre on its head by injecting color and humor into yet another shambling zombie apocalypse.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is an ongoing Japanese manga series that has been adapted into an anime as well as a live-action movie (more on that later). The anime started streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Crunchyroll on July 9 in the US, simultaneously with its Japanese release. The series was created by Haro Asō, who also wrote Alice in Borderland.
Before I share my take, I should say that I knew virtually nothing about Zom 100 before I started watching. Much of my enthusiasm is spurred by the surprise of the pilot episode, which runs the emotional gamut. If you would like to have the same experience, watch the first episode before you read on. If you need some more convincing first, then keep reading.
Zom 100 follows Akira Tendo, a young office worker who has spent the past three years in Tokyo working for a video production company that treats its workers like dirt. Just 24 years old, Akira is already completely disillusioned with the world, too exhausted and depressed to even apply for a new job. One morning, in a daze on his way to work, Akira finds a letter on his door and realizes that he forgot to pay for the parking spot for his bike. He goes downstairs to speak to the building manager only to find him gnawing on someone’s intestines.
Understandably, it takes Akira a minute to come to terms with what he’s seen, but before he can make sense of the situation, the zombified building manager spots him in the doorway, and then lunges. Akira takes off only to find his entire apartment building is teeming with the undead. But as he’s running for his life, chased by killer zombies down hallways and across the rooftop, he comes to a realization: He doesn’t have to go to work today.
The world may be ending, but Akira Tendo’s life has just begun. To celebrate, he starts a list of 100 things he wants to do before turning into a zombie, hence the show’s title.
It’s such a bizarre, joyous, gloomy, preposterous journey from top to bottom that I’d recommend everyone check out the pilot episode, even if you don’t plan to watch the entire series. That said, the second episode effectively fleshes out the world and introduces us to one other survivor that will clearly play a major role in the story going forward.
It’s been a while since an anime has grabbed me like Zom 100 did, and as oversaturated as the market is with zombie content, I can’t wait to spend more time in this apocalypse.