An actually serious volume of Zom 100 for a change? Incredible! I mean, Akira just wanted to continue crossing things off his bucket list. Get a gold watch? Well, it’s merely a case of what watch and how expensive the watch he and Kencho wants to put on! Ride in an RV? The options are plenty! But with Tokyo losing its power and thoughts on his parents in mind, Akira figures it’s time to go to Gunma to see them.
There’s only one problem: on the way there they’re set up. While on his motorcycle Kencho runs into a spike trap and is injured while the RV Akira’s driving crashes. They then run into a group of people, and one ugly, familiar face appears before Akira, and that’s his former boss, Chief Kosugi. He’s managed to survive the apocalypse, and with few options with Kencho hurt, Akira timidly decides to accept Kosugi’s help, knowing it’s going to end with overwork and mental anguish.
The only way he’s getting out of this one is with the help of someone who’s experienced something similar. And also a familiar face in Shizuka.
Yep, Shizuka took no time whatsoever to see Akira and Kencho again, though her thoroughness (in a zombie apocalypse, an RV is the optimal ride to have) and Akira’s impulsiveness leads to the three meeting and then suddenly admiring all the RVs left at an arena. And despite what they eventually did want, they took the lamest looking RV as their waffling about cool RVs drew the zombies to them. And whether she wanted to or not, now she’s essentially with these two idiots, and now they’re in a crisis. She’s with them when Akira essentially crumbles emotionally in seeing his former boss and Kencho in dire straights.
They then stay with Kosugi and the people he’s (also) set up, but while they were supposed to stay for two days, Kosugi’s doing everything he can to make sure Akira doesn’t leave. That doesn’t sit with well with Shizuka, who understands just how dealing with someone who has one mindset is like. This volume not only goes into her past, it also goes into the general type of aggression those in power have that wear on your psyche. We know the employer-employee relationship, but in following Shizuka, we see the father-daughter relationship.
In her case, her father was a powerful businessman routinely obsessed with one way of success. And if something got in his way to that, it was useless. Shizuka had to grow up with her father controlling just about every aspect of her life (who she should date, what occupation she shouldn’t be), and how she found out how she couldn’t escape it was when she was nursing an abandoned dog back to health. She felt like becoming a doctor might be what she’d want to do with her life. She soon enough learns from her father that she can’t, and putting the dog down only adds to her feeling the fear of trying to overcome someone that cruel.
The general crux of Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is this fool Akira doing what he wants to do despite a zombie apocalypse, not what he needs to do. This volume for sure harps on need at every opportunity, and I’m sure it’s something everyone has to do when the time is right. Shizuka couldn’t tolerate her father’s cruelty, but she needed to listen or else she would be kicked out. But she found the right time to say enough is enough and eventually said goodbye. For Akira, he never did find the time to say enough to his boss, and then even when seeing him again, he couldn’t say it. But all it takes is the right words and the motivation (the Bucket List), and that can be enough to make you realize you want to make your own future and not be dictated by someone else.
So yes, there is still some wacky humor (especially in the first chapter) but volume 3 shifts to the ramifications of people abusing their powers that somehow in some circles exists in companies today. It may bring this up again, but I’m thinking based on the climax, probably not. After all, hard to commit to having a group when everyone up and quits on you…Anyways, between the still great art and excellent all-around localization, this manga continues to be a page-turner, and there’s always much to look forward to in this series.