ZOM 100 anime follows the life of a twentysomething graduate who is released from his nine-to-five corporate job because of a zombie apocalypse. ZOM 100 released its first episode last Sunday and it is already considered by the community as a major new series of the season, even possibly the best. The show is set in the real world and continues to explore the Japanese work-life ethic.
It also examines the traditional elements of an isekai, although it isn’t one. But the shift from the normal Japanese work culture to a fantastical zombie apocalypse is enough for the show to gather such reviews.
How does ZOM 100 portray the Japanese work life?
- ZOM 100 portrays and navigates through the life of a young Akira Tendo, the main character, as he tries to figure out his life and his interests while working in an advertising agency.
- It is shown as a biting critique of the work culture in creative industries, as Akira tries to understand his life as he keeps working his ‘dream job’ at an advertising agency.
The first episode also feels more apt with this critique, given that the show is produced by Bug Films, whose former employer OLM is directly parodied in the beginning. The first episode is also stunningly beautiful and has been elegantly directed, which shows that working in a production company might simply be worse than a zombie apocalypse.
Akira’s realization as he leaves his job – an important element of the first episode
The setup of ZOM 100 is very clever and it goes beyond expectations to deliver a plot that is unique and real. We are at first introduced to a very grainy static world, but as we progress through the first episode we see that this has been replaced by vibrant colours as Akira leaves his job.
The realization that he doesn’t have to go back to work again makes Akira happy and alive, despite the looming darkness over his head and the impending doom of an apocalypse. Akira was unhappy at first, and we see a gloomy undertone in the sequence, but as he leaves his corporate work life, we see that he is not worried about the zombie apocalypse but is happy that he doesn’t have to return to that hellhole ever again.
Is the portrayal of the Japanese work life accurate in ZOM 100?
ZOM 100 portrays the Japanese work life pretty accurately. We see that the main character Akira is worried because he is tense at work, and even though it was his dream job he feels trapped in the environment where he works. The deliverance of output and results in such a critical working environment makes it impossible for a person to do anything enthusiastically.
The Japanese work life is hectic and it drains a person from the inside. They are made to work under tons of deadlines and the well-being of a person’s mental state is often not taken into consideration. Moreover, the fast pace of life makes it impossible for a working professional to have a decent personal life. ZOM 100 addresses these concerning edges of the work life and therefore it is appropriately placed in a capitalist work culture.
The work and imagination of ZOM 100 make even a zombie apocalypse seem insignificant and less frightening in front of the work life in Japan. This is because a working professional under such grave conditions feels that they are trapped and enslaved in such an environment, and in these situations, even a life-threatening apocalypse seems insignificant.