Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (Episode 1) – Akira of the Dead

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Title

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.

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Episode 1 Akiras home

What happened?

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?

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Episode 1 Akira confesses his feelings to zombie Saori

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!

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Episode 1 Akira apologising to a mailbox

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.

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Episode 1 Akira is free

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.

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Episode 1 Saori Ootori

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.

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Episode 1 Akira running from zombies

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?

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Episode 1 Akira considering the future

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  1. Yeah, the first episode of Zom 100 really hit close to home for me! I used to work in a highly exploitive organization to the point that they broke labor laws often. The work environment was an office in an inner city location, and like many urban places in the US, security was a problem. A problem that the organization’s administration didn’t want to bother to deal with. So I had coworkers that were threatened with guns, crow bars, machetes ect. I had been pushed to the ground and spat on. It finally got to the point that I had become numb to the crime and constant threats of violence I had to work in. After one particular gun scare in which someone had come in with a gun and promised to return and kill the whole staff, I was getting ready for work and chatting with my brother. I was just chatting along, I mentioned the gun scare, and was just about to step out the door and said as a “Okay, I’m leaving!”, but instead I said, “If I die today, you get all my stuff!”. I didn’t mean to be dramatic or even as a joke, I had long ago accepted that I could likely die at work. And my work environment pushed employees to believe that it was normal and some kind of honor to die at work. My brother chased after me before I could hop in my car, and told me not to go to work. I was so numb to the situation, I honestly didn’t understand what he was talking about. I said I could take one sick day, maybe. He had to actually explain that I should quit my job. Money isn’t worth my life. It took me three days to wrap my head around the idea of not going into work. And when I finally did realized that I never had to go to that job ever again, words can not describe how happy I was! It was definitely like that moment in Zom 100! The sky looked so blue, everything was bright and full of life. Even though I made a lot of money working for that exploitive organization, I’ve never regretted quitting.

    • Wow! That is insane. So glad you made the decision to leave, and that you had someone like your brother to help you see just how bad it was.

      There needs to be a massive culture shift with regards to work and what’s acceptable, but then the States seems to be stubbornly against any sort of reforms. It was interesting seeing the impact the EU made on England when I was younger. I remember minimum wages going up quite considerably and everyone just got on with it. Business didn’t suddenly implode or fire everyone. We need to do better all around for everyone.

  2. “the only people that will remember that you worked late are your children”

    As someone closer to retirement than than the start of his career, I can say this with as much certainty as 1 + 1 = 2 (in a base 10 numeric system): that’s absolutely true.

    Ever read Animal Farm?

    I remember the looks I got when I went home on time, back in the day. One of my co-workers even went on to start a company and started his own business. Retired young with lots of cash. And no family.

    And I was one of the lucky ones. I had a skill that was in high demand. I see people around me now, now that the PC revolution has devolved into social media, and I have no idea what I would do if I was coming out of college now.

    I work some folks in the EU. They feel sorry for those of us in the US. And they should. We fight tooth and nail to make sure the boot stays on our neck. And if someone suggests, even quietly, that maybe we could breath better with that leather sole compressing our windpipes, we go on a rampage.

    Okay, the rant engine’s coming on line, so I’m going to stop now! But I’m very, very glad to see you understand this truth before it’s too late. Because once your kids look at you with disappointment as they’re moving out, it’s way too late.

    • I’ve been lucky in a sense that my wife is the primary breadwinner and I’ve been more focused on family. Obviously, I’ve still maintained a good job, but I have actively avoided promotions that would put extra burden on our lives. Family comes first.

      I’ve also been fortunate that most jobs I’ve had haven’t required too much stress or work out of hours. It helps that I specialise in optimisation so I usually end up saving myself and others loads of time. I find few people understand what I do and how I do it so they are just happy that I’m doing it.

      It’s not inspiring work, but it could be worse.

      I love that an anime about zombies has been able to stir up all these thoughts and feelings. It’s certainly something I’ve missed while not covering current shows. I think this one will give up all lots to talk about, if the manga is anything to go by.

  3. To be free from the burden of working a terrible job, especially if we don’t need to get another one, is a dream that is practically heavenly. The world may be burning, but to be suddenly free like that, especially from such a villainous company that treats its employees that way and keeps the pretty girl around just so the CEO can use her as he likes, would still be nothing but euphoric for quite some time.

    • Absolutely, and you can feel Akira’s joy when he finally puts it all together. He’s running for his life from zombies, but that grin says it all.

      I don’t know how companies like that keep going. At some point, people are going to quit or die and then what are they going to do? As long as people keep putting up with these sort of conditions though, they’ll keep bringing in fresh meat.

      Hopefully, shows like this will help people realise that they don’t need to work like this… they need a zombie apocalypse…Well, in all seriousness, they need to get out, start their own businesses, and do better for themselves and others.

    • Well, there was a moment where they actually had someone going into that on the news in the episode. People get so worn down and broken by terrible treatment that they lose the will to make the choice, until they reach some sort of breaking point.

    • Yeah, I guess they’re counting on that. There needs to be better regulations that are actually enforced. The EU was pretty good for enacting change.

  4. The work environment reminds me about something my best friend said about working in Silicon Valley, especially for the Big 4 tech companies (Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google). They make it seem glamorous to have work there with the big salaries, free lunches, convenient travel and living arrangements, fancy offices with auditoriums and all – but that’s just a façade for long work hours and internal turmoil. I’ve heard horror stories of tech leads working 100 hours a week (for a 200K/yr salary), parents losing family opportunities due to overtime, and of course, inter-employee competition. For example, Facebook employees have to use a company-specific version of those social media apps to post work-related stuff and get tracked by their superiors – probably, also to suck up and try to get themselves promoted. Then you have Twitter and how drama-filled things have recently been there, as well as how high the turnover rate for these companies were – Amazon especially.

    As a student, I remember my parents encouraged me to try for a position somewhere at Silicon Valley, and I immediately shot them down – because that life wasn’t for me. I’d rather just stick to having a flexible job and maybe another part-time fling at most, kind of like what I’m doing now.

    On the anime side of things… those are some colourful looking zombies I’ve gotta say!

    • Yeah. You see it with these “macho alpha bros” who seem to think good management is yelling at your employees and making them compete to see who can work longer.

      I did have one boss who made everyone wear a tie despite the office having a business casual dress code. He also demanded that no one left before he did and that everyone had to ask at least one question in every meeting. He was all about appearances and no substance.

      I’m proud to say I ignored every one of his rules and outlasted him, but if it wasn’t a quasi-government job I’m sure he would have found a way to force me out regardless of whether I did all my work or not.

      And yes, those are some colourful zombies. Although it’s more the blood splatters.

    • Well… I wouldn’t go into the “yelling” part, but the competition, I don’t get it myself either – what’s the point of all that? It only alienates people and defeats the purpose of things like team-building events, friendships, and doesn’t help anyone mature. That took me back to some students in university who were so overly conscious of their work, that rather than share their knowledge with everyone, they would shut themselves off from group collaboration or helping others to save their grades.

      Meanwhile, the Chinese kids in my classes, they had 7 people working on one assignment question, supporting each other, and pulling through – and that strong sense of brotherhood is one I’ll always admire to this day.

      I’ve always had the impression that government jobs tended to be more relaxed, so I’m surprised and sorry that you had a poor experience with your manager. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal too? Your boss shouldn’t be able to control your work life after hours, or force you to stay behind to do his bidding especially for no reason whatsoever. I hope things are much better now that your old boss has moved on.

    • It was an old job back in England and it wasn’t exactly government work. It was part of the energy sector so there were still lots of people and practices from when the government ran them. That guy was more of a private sector shill with no management or people skills.

      And yeah, creating competition between work colleagues is definitely counterproductive.

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