Japanese manga is known across the world, and it is a staple of J-culture that spearheads the nation's economic growth. So it's no wonder we have seen many movies from Japan based on manga and anime.
Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead is another combination of ideas put together by manga artists (Haro Aso and Kotaro Takata) who published their manga version a few years ago, which Netflix recently picked up and made an anime alongside a live action version. So right now you can actually watch both the anime and live action version of Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead.
The live version of Zom 100 is directed by Yusuke Ishida and tells the story of a young man named Akira Tendo (Eiji Akaso), who is excited after getting a new job at a dream company. However, he soon realises that his enthusiasm is being used by his boss and colleagues at work to exploit him to work around the clock.
While preparing to go to work one morning, Akira suddenly finds himself in the middle of a zombie outbreak all over the city. But rather than being horrified by the situation like others, he's elated at the idea of not having to go to work anymore because of the zombie apocalypse. To celebrate his newfound freedom, Akira decides to make a bucket list of all the things he wants to accomplish before he dies, or ends up a zombie himself.
Although I have never read the manga this movie is based on, I can say Zom 100 is definitely one of the more unique zombie movies I've seen in recent years. Despite it having some issues with pacing and presentation, the movie has interesting characters and some funny and thrilling moments along the way.
Our protagonist Akira is kind of a pushover when it comes to work, but when the apocalypse breaks out, he turns out to be fearless. He's out riding his bikes around in the city where zombies are all over. Sure he's being careful, but for the most part, it seems like he's careless. When he meets a couple of friends along the way such as Shizuka (Mai Shiraishi) and Ryuzaki (Shuntaro Yanagi), things become more interesting. They don't understand why Akira's not scared and so he kind of ends up leading them in some way and showing them that life can be pretty good even in the apocalypse.
While the design of the zombies is not much different from usual, there's still a convincing and terrifying threat for Akira and friends to deal with. The make-up, blood and other practical effects look great and the sounds are also creepy. Despite how scary they can be, the zombies also prove to be a good source of comedy since they have a weakness in the form of being easily distracted by loud noises and music, which the characters often take advantage of to get to safety. It's hilarious to see zombies just drop everything to chase after music speakers.
However, the movie becomes more ridiculous later on, especially when the plot starts to involve a bizarre creature. It is pretty jarring how relatively grounded the rest of the movie is only for things to suddenly become insane in the final act, and it kind of took me out of the movie. But considering this film is based on a comic book, it is understandable.
As for the real message of the movie, Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead is the type of story that resonates with a lot of people in the workforce, especially those who overwork. Akira sets out to do things he never could because he was basically imprisoned by his job. This seems to be a problem everywhere but is probably more prevalent in Japan.
The movie explores a very serious issue in Japanese culture where people overwork themselves and ignore their own passions over financial security. We work to great length, and it's like we forget that we have a life that we could be living and I find that the message of the movie here is probably one of the more endearing things in this live action version.
- Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead
- Starring Eiji Akaso, Mai Shiraishi, Shuntaro Yanagi
- Directed by Yusuke Ishida
- Now streaming on Netflix