Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead continues to be one of the hit anime of the season. Last episode, Akira met Shizuka Mikazuki (Tomori Kusunoki) while on a beer run. Now in Zom 100 Episode 3, “Best Friend of the Dead,” Akira (Shūichirō Umeda) meets another person, his best friend Kenichirō Ryūzaki (Makoto Furukawa), Kencho for short. Animated by studio BUG FILMS and directed by Kazuki Kawagoe, based on the manga by Haro Aso and Kotaro Takata (published in English by VIZ Media), this leg of Akira’s adventure solves his loneliness.
Zom 100 Episode 3 starts with Akira crossing “Grow a cool beard” off his bucket list. Then, Akira gets his internet back, and his phone starts buzzing. When he realizes that the internet is back he starts scrolling through the people in his phone’s contact log. There may be hordes of hungry zombies outside, but for Akira, he’s realizing how many people he turned down grabbing a beer with because of work. Corporate exploitation didn’t just deteriorate the state of his apartment, nor his health, it also eroded his friendships. As Akira texts everyone he can, it becomes real that the internet is working because there aren’t many people trying to use it.
This third episode of Zom 100 brings comedy as every previous episode has, but at the same time, it refocuses the core of the series, Aso’s unique take on the end of the world being the only time that a wage slave can thrive. When he reaches out to Kencho, his best friend from college who implored him to quit his soul-sucking job, the future isn’t a lonely one. Only Kencho is holed up in a zombie-filled love motel in the middle of Shinjuku with nowhere to go.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Episode 3 is all about Kencho and Akira’s relationship as they come back together after a year apart. And in their reunion, the audience sees that even when you have it all together, capitalism is grinding you into the ground. Akira was jealous of Kencho’s life as a real estate agent with girlfriends and all the time in the world. But on the inside, Kencho was struggling.
The plot of Zom 100 is about this exact thing. That work…is, well, work. That extends to Akira’s supporting cast, first with Shizuka as we see her life outside the convenience store and now with Kencho. Akira had his moment of falling in love with life again in Episode 1, but Kencho, embracing his dream and letting go of his career, is what Zom 100 Episode 3 is all about. Shedding his job and expectations—along with his clothes—Kencho is going to bring more out of Akira, and it’s exciting to see.
One of the interesting things that this anime adaptation of Zom 100 does is that BUG FILMS has taken time to weave in somber zombie apocalypse survival stories. In this episode, it’s hosts from a host club fighting through zombies to protect their clients and it doesn’t turn out so well. These small vignettes are more somber in tone and more reflective of traditional zombie stories that we’ve seen. Where does Akira fit in? Well, he just zooms by them on his motorcycle as his joy for the end of the world continues to build. The series uses the more somber moments to point out just how bad Akira had it to get to his current happiness. While Aso does this some in his manga, the Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead anime has expanded on it.
We’re only three episodes into Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Season 1, and in that, we’ve seen Akira grow. Akira Tendo has gone from being a big disappointment in a trash-filled apartment with a nightmare job to a man completely dedicated to living. In fact, Akira’s dedication to living is what allows him to take substantial risks, like jumping from the roof of a building. Happy Akira takes risks to stay alive, and it’s beautiful to see. Now with Kencho in the main cast, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is streaming now on Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Hulu, with new episodes every Sunday.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Episode 3 — "Best Friend of the Dead"
We’re only three episodes into Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Season 1, and in that, we’ve seen Akira grow. Akira Tendo has gone from being a big disappointment in a trash-filled apartment with a nightmare job to a man completely dedicated to living.