Following the premiere, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead continues to mine humor from the zombie apocalypse by showing how Akira’s previous life as an abused employee has turned him into the ultimate optimist. “Bucket List of the Dead” establishes the whole premise of the series as Akira realizes that his newfound freedom is an opportunity to live a life he was never able to before. He also encounters other survivors for the first time, coming to understand that freedom doesn’t equal safety in a zombie apocalypse after meeting a mysterious young woman in his quest to secure more beer. In contrast to Akira, there is a new survivor that follows a more standard zombie apocalypse playbook and is laser-focused on maximizing her odds of survival. By the end of the episode Akira and the mystery woman start to consider what they will need to endure this new existence.
“Bucket List of the Dead” picks up with Akira in disbelief that he has time to himself and still having nightmares about work. It’s a pleasant surprise when he uses his new spare time to engage in real self-care! Plenty of moments in “Akira of the Dead” demonstrated how Akira’s brutal work conditions had turned him into a zombie before any outbreak could. After being subjected to brutal working conditions for three years, Akira shambled around town, barely functioning and extracting zero joy from the world around him. One of the most distressing things about being exploited in that way is that the effects permeate beyond the workplace. It was a delight to see Akira clean up his apartment and shed literal tears as he kicked back some beer and lounged around.
Before Akira can get too comfortable, the realities of the zombie apocalypse strike, and he’s forced to go on his first supply run. The biggest laugh of the episodes comes during Akira’s encounter with his neighbors. The direction and editing are perfect, with the dramatic zombie attack interrupted by the neighbor spotting Akira hanging onto the drainpipe. Akira refuses to let anything spoil his mood until meeting another survivor in the convenience store throws him for a loop. Despite how lovable Akira is, it’s quite funny to watch him get roasted immediately by this pragmatic young woman. His final reality check comes when he tries to deliver supplies to his neighbors only to find a bloody and empty apartment. The mystery woman comments that Akira is no good at risk assessment but Akira has spent three years unable to even imagine doing so. He recognizes that there’s nothing holding him back anymore and this is the time to go out and take all those risks. Akira’s final scene of the episode as he jots down the first items on his bucket list is quiet but just as impactful as any of the zombie attacks.
The last third of the episode sheds some light on the mystery survivor and traces her path to meeting Akira at the convenience store. She’s quickly shown to be hyper-competent; while Akira spent the early parts of the outbreak racing around his building being chased by zombies and crashing into doors, she was observing the different zombies, their movements, and taking meticulous notes. She seems to spend every moment analyzing the situation and determining the best course of action to ensure survival but also unlike Akira, she never cracks a smile. She has all the resources she needs to survive but is barely more alive than Akira was before the outbreak. She has a list as well but it’s completely utilitarian.
“Bucket List of the Dead” meets the high mark set by the premiere. Akira continues to be a charming protagonist and spending time with him as he flails around trying to recapture his missing time is a lot of fun. The introduction of a new character that is a great counterpoint to Akira shows what kinds of main cast may be to come. The animation and overall production continue to shine as well.. The direction in particular does a fantastic job of bringing you into the perspective of the characters. When Akira is on his adventures every scene crackles with energy and embraces the silly moments that Akira finds himself in. On the other hand, the pacing slows down as Akira grows more pensive and when the new survivor is methodically assessing her situation. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead continues to be a masterful adaptation from Bug Films.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is available on Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Hulu.
Featured Image ©Haro Aso, Kotaro Takata, Shogakukan/Zom100 Project
‘Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead’ - “Bucket List of the Dead” - 9/10