Upon finishing university, Akira Tendou landed his dream job, however, he soon learnt that it wasn’t so dreamy. Akira woke up one morning and discovered the zombie apocalypse has begun… at least he doesn’t have to go to work!
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (Episode 1) – Akira of the Dead
What did you watch?
So, I’m changing things up again on this site and one of the reasons is this show. I’m already reading the manga, but even so, I just can’t wait to watch it and since I’m watching it live, I’m going to write about it too. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m a huge zombie fan. I watch, read, and listen to everything I can about zombies. One of my all-time favourites is Shaun of the Dead so when I started reading the manga, I felt instantly at home here. This is a comedy. Or more specifically a dark comedy. People will die and it’s not all going to be laughs and warm feelings… it’s the zombie apocalypse after all, but you will find yourself laughing. I know I did.
Akira was fresh out of university when he landed his dream job at an advertising firm. He was keen to show everyone what he was capable of and the first day went really well. He was even invited to have drinks and dinner with his co-workers. However, when they were done, they stood up and headed back to the office to continue working. Akira didn’t go home for two whole days. That pattern continued for three years. The only thing keeping him going was Saori Ootori. Akira fell in love with her the moment he met her, and even tolerated her having an affair with the boss!
However, Akira was overworked to the point that he started to feel like he had nothing to live for. He regularly noted the safety features that were designed to stop him from jumping in front of a train. Things were getting dark for Akira. The next morning, he woke up as normal and got ready for work. Then, he discovered that he hadn’t paid for his bicycle spot so headed to the building manager’s office. There he found a zombie eating a woman. Before he could really think, he started running and was soon being chased by a horde of zombies. Normally, this might seem like a worrying situation. However, Akira used to play rugby at university and is pretty athletic. Of course, that just gave him the time to truly appreciated the situation.
The world was crumbling around him. Planes were falling from the sky. People were eating each other. He didn’t have to go to work ever again! Akira felt like he was breaking out of prison. The world was once more filled with colour and life. With his newfound love for life, Akira decided to go to Saori’s house and confess his feelings for her. However, when he got there he found his boss, already turned into a zombie. Akira resigned and charged, pushing his boss out of the window. Then, he turned to see Saori, also a zombie. He confessed his feelings for her and then ran. What else could he do now that he finally had the time to do it?
What did you think?
I loved the manga and was delighted to see that the anime was a pretty faithful adaptation so far. There were some little things, but nothing to complain about. Being a rugby player myself, it gave me yet another reason to bond with Akira. Luckily, I’m not in a soul-crushing job that works me to exhaustion, but I do occasionally daydream about a zombie apocalypse and how freeing that might be… Even if you don’t dream of zombie apocalypses or suffer from exploitive work conditions, I’m sure you find that something Akira goes through will resonate with you. If not, just sit back and enjoy. I can’t wait to see how far the anime gets in one season. Things are going to get wild!
What was your favourite moment?
There’s no question in my mind that it was the moment that Akira realised what was happening. I loved the way they animated it too. The colour palette was slowly getting greyer and greyer. All life was draining from the screen. We even had the letterbox format with black bands at the top and bottom of the screen, narrowing Akira’s world. Then, as he ran from the zombies, he realised he didn’t need to go to work. At this moment, he broke through the black bands at the top and bottom of the screen and colour started to return to his world. They nailed the feeling that he must have been experiencing.
Another quick note that I loved the way this episode used the zombie tropes of showing us the living acting like zombies, especially when Akira bumped into a mailbox on the way home and then said “Excuse me.” I knew he was going to apologise to it the second it happened and when he did I just burst out laughing. There’s just something wonderfully enjoyable about seeing those sorts of things play out even if you know it’s coming.
Who was the most impactful character?
You probably think that I’m going to say Akira and that would seem like the obvious answer, however, the truth is Saori Ootori is the character that shaped Akira’s story. Would he have quit his job if she wasn’t there encouraging him? It’s certainly a possibility, but it was her impact after the zombie apocalypse began that will shape Akira’s future. Had he found her alive and well, we wouldn’t have the zombie bucket list. They would have hidden away, maybe fallen in love, maybe not. Who knows? However, her being a zombie probably made it easier for Akira to confess his feelings, knowing that he will have to turn and run anyway. Her tragic demise freed him to pursue his dreams.
Was there any conflict?
Obviously, there were the zombies. They were attacking anyone they spotted and they were fast. No shuffling corpses in this series. We’ve got runners! That, of course, ramps up the tension as it suddenly becomes that much harder to survive. Had Akira not been athletic, this could have been a pretty short series.
On top of that, we saw the conflict that Akira was under with his job. He wanted to quit. There was no question about that and he seemed like he was prepared to die in order to escape from this hellish nightmare. Maybe, he didn’t have the conviction to do it, but that seemed like the only way out. The way the bosses had made it so that when someone leaves everyone else has to pick up the slack. That made Akira think that he couldn’t leave and do that to his co-workers. Classic manipulative practices.
What have you learnt?
I guess the big takeaway from this series is about using the time we have to enjoy ourselves. I often think about a quote that I’ve seen several times. I’m not sure who it’s attributed to, but it goes like this – the only people that will remember that you worked late are your children. Sure, it might get you a slightly better job where you’re expected to do even more of that. It might get you a little more money, but when will you spend it? The real moment of truth for me is that when an employee quits, the company just hires someone else. The same would be true if someone died. For me, those ideas play on my mind and drive me to produce this website and write my own stories. I want to work for myself and be able to have time for family and friends. I want to live life, not coast through it! Maybe, I need a bucket list?
Other posts in the series