Movies often mirror our realities, and it’s no surprise that tales of world-ending catastrophes are a staple on our screens. “Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead,” which you can now catch on Netflix, offers a quirky take on the genre. It suggests that perhaps the end of the world isn’t the worst thing. The apocalypse is a chance to start anew for one overworked Japanese salaryman who turned into a literal corporate zombie.
Meet Akira Tendo, portrayed by Eiji Akaso, a Tokyo office drone trapped in an endless loop of work, so much so that he might as well call his desk home. He’s a zombie in his own monotonous life. But he finds a silver lining when society crumbles under a zombie outbreak. Suddenly, he’s got all the time in the world to tick off items from his personal bucket list! With newfound freedom, he embarks on a quest to make the most out of life, accompanied by his best mate Kencho (played by Shuntarō Yanagi) and a motley crew of survivors.
Eiji Akaso shines as the lively and somewhat goofy Akira Tendo. His performance perfectly balances a sincere protagonist and the comic relief we all need, making a film like this a delightful watch.
The humor at the heart of “Zom 100” is both straightforward and clever, carrying the film quite a distance. Imagine being so worn out by daily life that a zombie outbreak seems like a vacation! Unlike many films influenced by the pandemic that focus on the loneliness and fear of quarantine, director Yûsuke Ishida finds joy in the unexpected freedom that emerges when everything grinds to a halt. Although the movie’s momentum fades a bit as it stretches over two hours, particularly in a third act that takes some wild leaps, this vibrant manga adaptation consistently offers fresh and engaging twists within the well-trodden zombie genre.
“Zom 100” stands out for its originality in a genre often filled with repetition. Even if it runs out of steam as it progresses, the blend of laughs and scares, particularly in the beginning, makes it a rewarding experience overall.
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