Akira and co. are back again in the next volume of Zom 100, and the series is just as fun as it was in the first volume. While trying to complete a Spartathlon (a 246KM marathon) to reach the most northern point in Japan, the group come across a hotel that’s not only still has electricity and a fence that blocks out the zombies, but is also completely self-efficient and run by robots with advanced A.I. They’re wined and dined at no costs, since the robots know that money has no value anymore, and everything seems to good to be true. Which is because it is, as things take an unsurprisingly dark twist.
Much like the previous volumes the latest volume is full of fun and wacky adventures. The characters are brilliant, and we do get some good character development in this volume. There are loads of moments that had me laughing out loud, and I raced through it wanting to see what happens next. The story in this one is pretty much self-contained with only a couple of callbacks to previous events, and would be a good jumping on point, although it would be best to go back to the beginning if you haven’t read this series so far. It’s a light-hearted story for the most part, and very easy to read. The art by Kotaro Takata is brilliant and very easy to follow.
While it’s a lot of fun throughout the story, there is a few deeper themes touched upon. Most notably the use of automation in the workplace, and what people will do for work when automation starts replacing more and more jobs. It’s an interesting side to the manga, which has from day one had a focus on the work/life balance. The bonus manga, which crosses over with Haro Aso’s other manga Alice in Borderland, also touches upon this idea with Akira working incredibly long hours, and seeing a literal torture chamber as a happy alternative. I’ve not read Alice in Borderland, but I will be picking it up soon based on that 10 page short alone.
Zom 100 is one of my favourite ongoing mangas, every volume has been a blast to read and they go by so fast. I love the characters, the wacky humour, and the more serious elements. While the story arcs are quite short, none of them feel rushed at all. There’s a live-action Netflix adaptation in the works, which could either be really good or really bad, either way the manga is brilliant and I think everyone should try it out.
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