Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is another zombie apocalypse manga in a genre that's never going to end. Fortunately, it offers a new and hilarious take on how certain types of people survive in a zombie apocalypse.
Akira Tenna is dying inside. He's gone from a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fledgling salaryman eager to work and contribute to society to a depressed burnout trapped in a black company. Black companies are an ongoing labour scandal in Japan, companies that work their employees to the bone without overtime or benefits, exploiting the Japanese trait for loyalty and keeping one's head down to stop them from reporting these illegal companies. He can't bring himself to quit or report his corrupt boss and company and is on the verge of suicide when the zombie apocalypse hits. It turns out the zombie apocalypse is the best thing that ever happened to him!
Instead of escapist power fantasies where he goes around killing zombies and feeling like a badass, Akira just wants to check off his bucket list and live his best life unencumbered by a dead-end job. He can exercise, get fit, eat whatever he wants, and just chill. The zombies peppering the streets are just deadlier-than-usual people to sidestep and avoid while on his way to the grocery store. You could say his chipper insistence on persevering is a coping mechanism in the face of the apocalypse, a form of denial or a kind of mental breakdown, but he seems to be doing okay. He has no desire for bloodlust or killing zombies. He's an average Japanese dude who hasn't completely lost it. Or maybe he's just lost it in a much more benign way. He doesn't want to hurt anyone. He just wants to get on with his life like it was normal. How long that "normal" is going to last forms the tension in his story. How much longer can he cope with a zombie apocalypse that's not going to end? How long can he last without human contact? Though that seems to be the first problem, he sets out to solve, and it doesn't seem as hard as it seems to him. It seems there are other survivors out there who are very similar to him.
With Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, creators Haro Aso, and Kotaro Takata have found a unique new comedy wrinkle in the zombie apocalypse that offers some fun social commentary about Japanese mores.