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Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Review 2023 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Akira Tendo is one of the most relatable characters in manga. Created by Haro Aso as the central character in ZOM 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Akira is a 23-year-old wage slave at an abusive company where he sleeps under his desk and is worked to the bone, all while being harassed by his boss. Contemplating his own death as a way to escape his hollow existence, one morning, it’s the world and not him who dies. Akira is celebrating as his city is overtaken by zombies, leaving devastation in their wake. Because, guess what, when the world is ending, you don’t have to work.
Showing his innate positivity, Akira comes up with a list of 100 things he wants to do before he becomes a zombie, including cleaning his home and camping on his balcony, dying his hair, wine and dining a flight attendant, and doing SUP yoga. Instead of dying in the zombie apocalypse, he chooses to really live in it and sets out to complete his bucket list, finding his best friend Kencho (Shuntarô Yanagi) and fellow survivor Shizuka (Mai Shiraishi) along the way. Already a hit anime and manga sharing the same name, the former produced by BUG FILMS and the latter by mangaka Haro Aso and Kotaro Takata.
This also isn’t the first live-action adaptation of Aso’s work, with Netflix also the home to the Alice in Borderland series. Unlike Alice in Borderland, which had two seasons to tell its story, the Zom 100 live-action needs to condense a large story into one film while competing with the version of itself that is one of the hit anime of the Summer 2023 season. To do this, Zom 100 director Yûsuke Ishida and writer Tatsuro Mishima choose a breakneck pace for the film, moving quickly from one large story beat to the next. While this causes some of the larger character moments to ring slightly hollow or maps two large moments in Akira’s growth into one, it ultimately pays off for a two-hour runtime.
Like any adaptation, live-action or otherwise, the Zom 100 movie makes some fairly substantial changes to the manga, with Akira experiencing a lot alone before meeting up with others. At the same time, the differences in the film accentuate some of the larger themes of the manga (and now the anime), like how truly living requires more than just yourself. That said, what the Zom 100 live-action does well, is that it differentiates itself from other versions of the story, and thanks to Eiji Akaso‘s performance as Akira, the film is something special.
As Akira, Akaso captures the vulnerability, joy, and tinge of loneliness that we see in our lead character, which is necessary to show Aso’s original message of the story. He’s emotive when he needs to be, and when it comes to action, well he shines, especially in the film’s final act. Akira is a 23-old man who has essentially had his youth stolen from him and a lot of his life with it. He recaptures it from the world. Akaso maps that immature bliss onto moments of banality that showcase just how hard Akira had it before the zombie apocalypse. It translates into his overall bucket list item to become a superhero, but with that immaturity comes a reminder we should let those pieces of ourselves thrive.
Akira uses his bucket list items to fulfill his dreams, as small as they may be, but also to connect to people, especially Shizuka and Kencho. For Shizuka, we see Akira learn how to open up to someone new and act on his romantic emotions that he often pushes deep down. He gets to have a crush. But with Kencho, that’s where the real connection happens. The two of them are able to reconcile and reconnect, getting past their own hang-ups of adult life. This is the core of Zom 100 as a movie, an anime, and a manga. Thriving at the end of the world and teaching its audience not to wait for zombie armageddon to start choosing themselves and the comforts of life.
That said, the way that this adaptation handles the larger story elements is interesting, to say the least. One of these is its choice to reimagine the Flight Attendant section of the story, where Akira and Kencho meet a group of survivors get drunk and have different success with the women there. In the manga, Kencho sleeps with one of the women while an extremely drunk Akira gets let down by the other one, leaving him to think about his childhood dream after a conversation with her. Instead, in this version of Zom 100, Kencho, Akira, and Shizuka are all present with the new survivors and Kencho is an absolute dumbass who has no idea how to really talk with women, and Akira spends time bonding with Shizuka.
While the change condenses the timeline and accelerates the pace, it does so by fundamentally who Kencho is as a character. A charismatic womanizer who loves to show off his body, Kencho is always the person that Akira is constantly just a little jealous and here, he’s replaced with a goofball who is more idiotic than charismatic, making him laughable in a different way than in the manga series. This doesn’t just change his dynamic as a character but also how he relates to Akira and ultimately removes some of Akira’s insecurities in the process.
That said, Kencho is the weakest spot of the film, but he’s not enough to steal too many points from this fast-paced story that absolutely rocks a stellar finale bringing the iconic shark zombie to life. With that, it’s true to say that if you don’t know what the story is outside of the film, this adaptation is fantastic. It hits the main beats while being unique in its own right, making it a great zombie film for anyone to watch regardless of their exposure to the material.
The condensed storyline helps keep the pace breakneck, but at the same time, it sacrifices some elements of character development that are necessary. Ultimately though, Zom 100 works in its own right, primarily in how it brings to life action, the joy and vulnerability of Akaso as Akira, and its dedication to going big or going home in some of the craziest fight scenes. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is another fun adaptation that adds to its source material instead of taking anything away. The only thing better? There’s plenty of room for a sequel.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is streaming now exclusively on Netflix