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My Manga Shelf Presents: Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead Volume 1

Time to FINALLY use up all that PTO!

Collage of the manga cover and a panel

Sometimes, I’m in the mood for the kind of zombie story that makes you really feel for the characters, making you sympathize with their struggles as you host continuous prayer circles in the hopes that they survive. Surprisingly Zom 100; Bucket List of the Dead is that kind of story … just not in the way I was expecting.

You can pinpoint, almost immediately, that this is gonna be a comedic take on the undead. The humor is there, and you care for the main character, but not because he’s trying his best to protect his family or is two seconds away from being chomped on, but because he DOESN’T care, not in the way a dude in the middle of the zombie apocalypse typically does.

So what is Zom 100 about? What is the Bucket List? And why is this guy smiling about the city being on fire?

Synopsis of Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead

Cover for Zom 100

One day, on his way to work, Akira Tendo notices a zombie casually nomming on a victim in his landlord’s office. Oops. Akira bolts back to his apartment, stressed about the zombie apocalypse putting a damper on his commute to work, until he realizes, hey, he doesn’t HAVE to go to work anymore! The zombie apocalypse has become the perfect opportunity for Akira to do everything he’s put on hold thanks to his soul-sucking job. He’s got himself a bucket list, a cold beer, and a potential lady crush who raises her eyebrow him and asks, “WTF are you DOING we’re in the middle of the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!”

That’s great and all, but right now, as the world falls into complete chaos, Akira’s got his whole life ahead of him.

Akira racing off to meet Kento again


Let me just say that it’s wild to read a manga that’s about embracing the bright spots in the middle of a disaster considering the state we’ve been in since last year. Civilization as Akira knows it is falling apart, but he’s biking through it all with a smile on his face because this is the first time he’s truly able to breathe. The commentary about that combined with how the manga opens (showing how Akira’s job unapologetically stole three years of his life) is not at all what I was expecting when I started this, but here we are.

The fact that it takes a whole ass zombie infestation for this man to get a day off is frustratingly relatable, ESPECIALLY considering last year. I will never forget the absolute panic I felt about job security when the pandemic hit. Much like Akira running for his life, one of my biggest concerns was, “Shit, what about work?”

Of course, in Akira’s case, he was overworked before the z-words showed up, but the sentiment was still felt, especially since he was so optimistic about his job. Three years of stress, represented by bags under his eyes and an absolutely trashed apartment? I think many (and I mean MANY) of us can relate to getting a gig you’re excited about, only to have it be so demanding that it feels abusive. But by the time you fully realize that’s what’s happening you feel like you can’t leave. Finding a new job can be hard, it might not pay as well, or (and this is the real kicker that I feel we don’t talk about enough) you’ll let your team down if you leave. There is definitely this thing that happens in some workspaces where you’re encouraged to stay the course because we need you and we’re family and you’re gaslit into thinking that if you put your self-care first, you’ll sink the entire ship.

After all, on Akira’s first day, his coworkers take him out drinking to make him feel welcome.

So yeah, it takes zombies eating the neighbors for Akira to catch a break, and even if the world is being devoured, you’re like, “Yeah man, go ahead and clean your apartment, vacuum away the stress!”

Akira enjoys the day

The other thing I really enjoy about this story is Akira’s bucket list. He’s got 100 things he wants to do and some of them are just so… simple, which kinda speaks to the normal tragedy of being worked so hard that you don’t get a chance to have a day where you sit back and binge-watch your favorite shows. Those days off are crucial, yet Akira only had time to eat and sleep. The work grind destroyed him so much, so really, what the hell is a zombie gonna do to him?

There are also goals like telling off his boss, confessing to his crush, and saying all the things he’s been hesitant about saying to friends and family. This becomes a running theme throughout the story where Akira makes sure he says how he’s feeling instead of holding back, even if his confessions have the worst timing to everyone else around him.

Akira’s the only one who sees these circumstances as an opportunity to improve his life.

This isn’t the first time a zombie story has had a protagonist who’s kinda meh about having to outrun an oncoming hoard of the undead, but I personally haven’t seen a story where that protagonist decides to actively go out and do all the things he’s been missing out on because WORK was worse than this. Akira’s not looking for a solution to the outbreak, nor is he all that worried about it. He does run into characters who are, but I get the feeling that those characters are gonna end up learning from his bucket list instead of him suddenly going to a Resident Evil style lab to create a cure.

One thing I’ll mention is that the manga does have its fair share of fanservice. There are some naked zombie boobs every now and then, and the main female protagonist we meet (Shizuka Mikazuki)  has some definite moments where the panels emphasize her body as she’s minding her business in this here zombie-filled market.  However, she also serves as a character who starts to get Akira to put things into perspective. Before meeting her, he didn’t have any sort of plan, the bucket list comes after she tells him to really analyze the situation he’s in and the risk factor of it all.

I’m hopeful that she’ll be more than Akira’s dream woman (especially since there’s a chapter dedicated to her daily routine). Even if I feel like the manga is definitely gonna have folks get on board with this bucket list thing, characters like Shizuka have the opportunity to, at least, help Akira decide what he REALLY wants out of all of this while figuring out what they themselves want, too.

It’s great to go after the things you want, but first, you gotta really sit down and figure out what those things are.

Akira meets Shizuka

All and all, the zombies are a hilarious set piece in a story that’s about looking at your life as a whole and figuring out how to live it in the best way.

I recommend giving this manga a shot. The first volume is available from Viz, and there’s even a preview up on their site so you can check out.


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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)