Otaku USA Magazine
The Important Messages of the Zom 100 Manga

ZOM 100 is about much more than a zombie apocalypse

Deep down, zombie stories are rarely about the undead themselves. Rather, they offer an opportunity to examine humanity under a unique lens. And Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is no different… except it sort of is. Even though it looks like the end of the world, this series flips the script on what we’ve come to expect from the genre. And we can’t wait for the anime adaptation!

Curious what we mean? Here’s a little of what we’ve seen in the manga so far that sets it apart from other zombie titles:


Unabashed Optimism

Akira the hero

Lots of zombie stories are about finding hope in the midst of disaster. But Zom 100 seeks hope because of disaster. When Akira Tendou realizes the spreading virus means he doesn’t have to go to work, he changes his whole outlook. Rather than give in to despair, he immediately begins composing a bucket list of things he wants to do before he becomes a zombie.

As he teams up with a group of friends and traverses Japan, his goals get bigger and bigger. Sure, he started with “wine and dine a stewardess.” But now the party is digging deep and remembering their forgotten dreams.


Moments of Joy (and Self-Reflection)

Akira is in the money

Zom 100 deals with some pretty heavy stuff, as one might expect. But there are moments of sheer joy in both the big and little things our heroes do. Traveling to the very north point of Japan, starting a bar, and even learning to do nothing… It’s surprising to see legitimately happy faces all throughout the run of the manga. As they build friendships, they build memories. And the irony of a zombie apocalypse being better than their normal lives gives way to happiness on their behalf.

But with their own “new normal” achieved, old habits and feelings can creep in. For example, there are pockets of humanity where social strata still exists. And while he originally intends to create a joyful place for fellow survivors, Akira finds himself seduced by money. Or rather, canned food—the new currency of this settlement. Interrogating these urges, along with some forceful convincing from his friends, helps him recalibrate.



Down on the farm

What starts as a wholesome but ultimately self-centered journey in Zom 100 turns into something surprisingly empathetic. Once everyone has their immediate wants and needs out of their systems, they begin looking outward. How can they show kindness to their families and friends? Their fellow survivors? Heck, even to the people who walked all over them? The group’s bucket list soon stretches beyond paddleboard yoga and penthouse suites into doing legitimate good for the world.

As the story continues, one major goal makes its way into the notebook: finding a cure. And the reasons for it are genuinely selfless. All these motivations and moods put together tell a surprising story: in the midst of disaster, sometimes it takes unbridled hope and kindness to get us to the other side.

Check out more upcoming summer anime!

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.