How many more Zombie shows, books, and movies can you enjoy? There’s the complete horror story where people try to survive an enclosed or trapped space until help arrives. Next, you have the more survival story where a group of people winds up coming together to live normally, outpacing the infection. Then there’s the magic cure somewhere locked up in a lab/site. How about the loser shut-in that redeems himself during the Zombie Apocalypse? Finally, you have the oddball tale that’s mixed with action and comedy. Are you tired of them yet? Don’t become tired because we have a new spin with Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead.
The story is written by Haro Aso, a thriller and suspense specialist, mangaka. He’s written a few mangas thus far like Hyde & Closer and has always done his illustrations. He also wrote Alice in Borderland, which now has a show on Netflix that can be seen across the country. His stories tend to be very graphic and don’t hide much in the way of censorship. A zombie story is perfect and right up his alley for storytelling. This time around, Aso-san isn’t doing the artwork himself and has added Kotaro Takata for illustrations. A reader might notice about Aso-san’s writing because he tends to slip in comedy/slapstick in the most random moments. It gives the reader a jolt away from the heavy suspense or dread for just a moment.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead tells the story of a 24-year-old man Akira Tendo. Tendo is a young man, a hard-worker, intelligent student-athlete, that just graduated from what one might guess is Kyoto University. He starts working for a company straight out of college. Quickly he learns what it means to work for a “Black Corporation” (An exploitative sweatshop-type employment system). Tendo also finds himself becoming another person in the plight of the Japanese Salaryman. We’re unsure if the author Aso-san is speaking from experience or has done his research on this subject matter. Aso-san conveys this plight in dialogue and scenes over Tendo’s three years at this black corporation.
After three years at this company, Tendo is an older young man zapped of his youth. His spirit is broken, his life upturned, and he must return the next day with zero peace. What can Tendo do about this situation? It was hard getting this job, the dream job that he fought many others to obtain. If he left this company, it would be twice as hard to get a job somewhere else. What would the company say about his employment there? Tendo thinks about this on a fateful night that he feels like he has run out of options in life. Yet, he musters up the courage to wake up another day and head to work, only this time, things are much different.
Before Tendo even leaves his apartment, he finds that Zombies roam the place and the streets. Realizing his situation and getting to safety. His only remaining thought is he doesn’t even have to go to work again. Tendo finds that he can do what he wants. All the exciting things that he has been missing from his life, both big and small. It’s almost like Tendo is grateful to the Zombie outbreak, it saved his life, and he vows to accomplish the 100 things he wants to do before he dies. What’s on the list? How will he handle zombies? Will he ever have friends and relationships again? Is it possible the list may get bigger? These events set off a zombie adventure unlike any ever told.
Haro Aso, this time around, is giving us more of his comedic and lighter side. He’s wrapping this around his usual suspense and thriller with a little horror this time. It’s like a bratwurst with an excellent pretzel bun. Will it remain this way throughout the story? Or will Aso-san ultimately drive us down an ultimate emotional dread? Only time will tell, and we’re very interested in finding out. You can pre-order the manga and get it in print and digital soon this month from Viz Media