‘Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead’ (2023) Review – Don’t Give Up Hope Even When The World Is Zombified

Japanese movies can do it all; they could be thought-provoking and real-life-inspired films like Plan 75, which addresses the growing older population in Japan, as well as mindless anime adaptations like Assassination Classroom. In short, Japanese cinema boasts some of the most fantastic actors and talented directors in the world today, and Yusuke Ishida’s Zom 100 is no exception to the rule. Adapted from a manga by Haro Aso, this live-action movie is a young man’s journey towards freedom from corporate slavery and learning to follow his heart amidst a world infested by zombies. Starring Eiji Akaso, Mai Shiraishi, and Shuntaro Yanagi, among others, the movie shines as a horror comedy with a tinge of slice-of-life mixed into it, as Akira Tendo (Akaso) rediscovers himself when his surroundings are overrun by zombies. Read on for an exhaustive review of Zom 100, we hope this is right up your alley.

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What Is The Movie About?

Tendo is a 24-year-old young man who’s super excited to join a new workplace with amazing coworkers, supportive seniors, and a cute woman who he instantly has a crush on. He’s extremely excited to start working in such an amazing place. However, not even the first day passes before he’s forced to pull two all-nighters as his exploitative boss Kusagi begins working Tendo to the bone, to the point he’s dragging his feet from home to office. Before he knows it, a year passes in this drudgery, and just as he’s contemplating how much he hates having to go to work, all the residents in his flat chase him as zombies. What’s saddest here is that the only thing that passes through Tendo’s mind while being chased by the horde of zombies is that he’ll be late for work.

However, when Tendo looks around Tokyo and realizes the entire city’s going up in chaos, he relishes in the fact that at least he won’t have to go to work. Thus begins his bucket list of the 100 things he’d do before the zombies snacked on him, and soon he was crossing items off his list. It was saddening, sure, to learn that Ohmori San, the cute senior he’d had a crush on, turned into a zombie before his eyes after she killed the company‚Äôs chief, with whom she was having an affair. Tendo quickly realized that loneliness can never lead to fulfillment in life, and he patched up with his best friend Kencho and saved him from certain death by zombies. Later, the two men accidentally met with a young woman who was struggling to keep a bunch of zombies off her. Tendo had previously met her in a department store, and she’d blown off his offer to cooperate, but this time, the need to survive was stronger than her personal beliefs.

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Soon, the other survivors that Tendo and Kencho had brought into a store turned, and the two of them and the young woman escaped in a van. She told them that her name was Shizuka, and Tendo quickly won her over with the promise of sake, which she absolutely adored. The trio lived an excellent life on the road for the next 7 days, crossing off most of the things on his list, including doing SUP yoga, trying a natural hot water spa, paragliding, and bursting crackers together. They were heading towards a marine aquarium where a new shark-bite-proof suit had been developed, and Tendo hoped to get his hands on it because the most important goal on his list was becoming a superhero. It was going to be smooth sailing right into the aquarium until the tires of their van were punctured by spikes placed on the road, and when Tendo opened his eyes, his awful boss Kusagi was peering into his face.

Tendo’s joyous spirit quickly crumpled, seeing how Kusagi and his men ran dictatorial supremacy over the people who’d sought shelter in the aquarium, and he made everyone work severely for bare scraps of food. Worse still, Tendo saw Shizuka and Kencho having to drag heavy boxes because everyone needed to earn their keep under the tyrannical Kusagi, including Sumire, the pregnant neighbor of Tendo who’d come here with her husband. Kusagi showed Tendo their security system: a fenced area full of zombies to keep out thieves, while his men worked to bring in more and more supplies. Kencho and Shizuka could only watch as their friend was made into a slave once more, bowing and abiding by the commands of an awful man.

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However, no empire runs forever, and soon, one zombie broke into the safe house, and quickly, several of the survivors had turned into zombies. But more than any zombie, the most nightmarish shock anyone could receive was that of a zombie shark, a massive great white, which had eaten a zombie and had turned. It leaped onto the land, and just as everyone was thinking this monstrosity wouldn’t be able to move, it sprouted human legs! Legs of the people it’d devoured, and the nightmare fuel started chasing all the remaining people. Would Tendo be able to regain his spirit, which had made him want to become a superhero? Will he also find in himself the courage to tell his abusive boss that he wants no part of this awful slavery? Will he, along with his two friends, be able to save the day? This is one horror comedy that you shouldn’t miss.


‘Zom 100’ Review

The biggest observable fact of Zom 100 is the toxic and abusive workplace culture of Japan. You read about it in papers or see videos about it on YouTube, but you never realize how exploitative a workplace can be until you find Tendo eating lunch at his desk, washing his hair in the office bathroom, and coming home to crash like a log. Such is the condition in the country regarding occupation that even with a horde of zombies chasing the protagonist, all he can think of is not coming late to the office. Thus, Ishida brings in some very serious topics concerning Japanese youth today under the umbrella of a zombie invasion.

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The plot, be it because it was adapted from anime or because of the talented cast, delivers perfectly. In case someone didn’t know about the anime and went in to watch Zom 100 as a standalone movie, they’d have absolutely no problem understanding the characters and their development. Each major character gets sufficient room to grow, and the director spends ample time singling out the three characters to give them individual screen time. This not only ensures that they’re not one-dimensional characters only there to serve as props to the plot but also proves they possess sufficient personality to be considered an important part of the movie. Eiji Akaso earns special attention as the cheerful and light-spirited young man who learns to love life and the joys it has to offer only when civil society goes down in turmoil. The young actor has quite a successful career ahead of him.

The production is stupendous; it’s definitely not easy to gather a massive crew of extras and give them zombie makeup individually. “The Walking Dead” was able to pull off such a feat for years because it was a flagship of AMC, but Ishida managed to do the same and still have enough budget so that none of the other scenes look underwhelming or poorly set. Especially the shark with human feet, CGI has been made with some care because it actually looked real and terrifying. In short, Zom 100 is a movie where zombies, horror, comedy, and friendship co-exist, and it’s one movie that you shouldn’t skip if you’re a fan of these tropes.


Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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In short, Zom 100 is a movie where zombies, horror, comedy, and friendship co-exist, and it's one movie that you shouldn't skip if you're a fan of these tropes.'Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead' (2023) Review - Don't Give Up Hope Even When The World Is Zombified