MANGA REVIEW | "Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead" - Vol. 9
Even during a zombie apocalypse, the rich will find a way to get richer. As they do, the poor will do what they can to get by, settling for scraps and a bit of change to survive. (Replace “zombie apocalypse” with “pandemic”, and you’ve got the gist of what’s been going on these last three years!) In its ninth volume, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead demonstrates how greed can turn an honest person into a fiend.
Beginning the narrative of “Millionaire of the Dead”, Akira and the gang find themselves in Osaka, where a vaccine might be in the works. After dealing with a bunch of energetic zombies, they come across Akira and Kenichiro’s old college friend Takemina. He takes the gang to Osaka Castle, where the suvivors work in a flea market setting to sell goods for the city’s canned currently. Deep in the castle are the wealthiest of the citizens, who may know something about the vaccine.
To get to the rich folks, Akira and the gang will need to start making can. After thinking of one idea after another, they settle on building a bar. The idea sounds foolproof, until it becomes apparent that no one there is a natural Sam Malone. As such, failure looks imminent, until a visit to the casino shows that there’s a fate worse than a failing business.
Once again, Zom 100 goes out of its way to mirror modern-day problems with the zombie apocalypse. The idea of becoming rich sounds like a perfect plan, until one realizes the system sets almost everyone up for failure. What Akira and everyone else sees in the casino is people going through desperate measures to make big money, just as people do now in Vegas or Foxwoods. Only here, the biggest gamble can cost you your life, as evident by a Takeshi’s Castle-styled game that’s at the center of the casino.
This puts everyone — especially newcomer Takemina — in a tough position. But as Zom 100 has shown, quitting isn’t in any of these characters’ hearts. It’s taking Akira’s bucket list and making it part of the bar when things start to pick up. In both heartfelt and humorous fashion, the other shops start coming together to make a brand-new go-to place for all to enjoy. From showing zombie movies on a Jumbotron to creating a (failed) marriage proposal dance mob, the gang both checks things off the list while bringing life back to Osaka.
Of course, the dark side of success is found when Akira is bitten by the greed bug. It’s a cautionary tale on why you should never turn your back on the people who made you, as Akira does the unthinkable to everyone else. Without spoiling anything, what happens next is up to one’s interpretation. Did he do what he did because he saw yen signs in his eyes, or is it related to the reason why everyone is in Osaka in the first place?
It’s not revealed at the end of its ninth volume, but it does end at a pretty strong moment. Whether Akira “awakens” from his greed fixation or not remains to be seen. But knowing the tenacity of Kenichiro, Shizuka, and Beatrix, they’re surely find a way to snap their moron friend back to reality. It might take a large gamble, but Zom 100’s always about making the big chances and coming out on top. Who knows? Maybe the zombies will get to eat the rich for once!
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt and Mandy Earles of VIZ Media.