Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead episode 7 aired after another delay but it didn’t matter much at all. The latest episode proved to be yet another gem just like all the previous episodes have been. Despite the vast amounts of delays the series has faced, Director Kazuki Kawagoe and staff continue to give us one of the best anime of the year. Now past the halfway mark of the season, Shizuka steps up to the plate and proves to everyone why she’s a frontrunner for the “Best Girl” award for the Summer 2023 season.
Shizuka – What’s Not to Like?
Shizuka could’ve easily been nothing more than a love interest for Akira in this series, but she’s proven to be oh so much more. For starters, I couldn’t be happier with Tomori Kusunoki’s performance as Shizuka, especially in this episode of Zom 100. Shizuka was already a favorite character of mine reading the manga but Kusunoki’s performance in this episode just re-solidified my fandom for her character. The reserved attitude finally let loose all of that pent-up frustration ever since she was a kid and it was wonderfully shown from a storyboard perspective and even more so thanks to Kusunoki’s performance.
Shizuka’s backstory was at the forefront in this episode and it was a brutal one at that. Her father may possibly be one of the worst fathers in recent anime history if not one of the worst in the past 20 years of anime. He isn’t Shou Tucker, but he certainly isn’t a father any viewer could defend. The culmination of how Shizuka was raised, what her father put her through, and experiencing her own past trauma through what Akira was going through hit its boiling point at the perfect time.
Shizuka isn’t one to forgive those who treat others like garbage, no matter how cold she was at the beginning of the series. Perhaps it was her own line of defense to save herself. While she was talking to Akira about the future at the end of the episode, it felt like not only did Shizuka write “Tell off my boss” in Akira’s bucket list for his sake, but for her sake as well. It represented her own desire to do the same thing to her dad that she wasn’t able to do before. That feeling of freedom Akira and Kencho had already felt finally got around to Shizuka. This, once again, proves Zom 100 is a lot more than just its funny antics — it’s a seinen series with first-rate character development. I’d go as far as to say Shizuka is portraying that much better than Kencho has at this point.
I was worried at first about how this episode would play out because it’s a very big moment for Shizuka in the manga that helps her character get to where it is currently. But I think Kusunoki hit it out of the park proving why she’s a veteran voice actress. That pent-up anger felt in her voice during her big monologue in this episode felt like it came from a personal place and that’s something that can divide good voice actors and actresses from great ones, Kusunoki being the latter.
I like to think that Shizuka saw Akira as the puppy she couldn’t save when she was younger. While I’m not sitting here saying Akira is a dog, there’s a reason why this particular part of Shizuka’s backstory was the one to really be portrayed. We saw the time skip off when she got to high school and past that. But the particular instance with Roo (the dog) was specifically chosen at this moment in the story and I think that’s why — it was a chance for Shizuka not to stand by and let the same horrible thing happen again to someone she actually cares about. My favorite shot of the entire episode (below) held a lot of meaning. The fact her father looked like Akira’s boss from the back, the fact she was not only defending Akira in this moment but also her younger self that wasn’t able to…just an all-around perfect moment.
Shizuka has a deep appreciation for life. From wanting to take care of Roo all by herself, and even studying ways to immediately help him even as a little girl, to creating a list in contrast to Akira’s bucket list on how to do different things in order to stay alive, the signs have always been there. Not to mention, her aspirations to become a doctor were a tall-tale sign from the very beginning. But her attitude in the present shows that even she isn’t giving up on her dream.
Another Superb Storyboard
I think the timing in Zom 100‘s plot is something to be acknowledged. Every event seems to happen at the perfect time and place in the story. Nothing feels rushed, forced, or too slow, and that in turn elevates the potential for the cast to really give their best in big moments like we had in this episode. But in order to convey the writing for the series properly, the visuals also have to be on point. Luckily for us, that’s exactly what episode director Kazuya Monma and episode storyboard artist Hanako Ueda managed to do.
One thing I really loved about this episode the second time I watched it was the quick shots of Shizuka and her father that are similar to the shots used for moments with Akira and his boss. A lot of times, characters are relatable on a singular level. It’s very rare nowadays in anime where one character seems to relate on the level that Shizuka and Akira do. If you look at the images below, you’ll see from just a few shots how this episode really portrayed each other’s trauma.
I said in my article for last week’s episode how perfectly it captured Akira’s PTSD from working under his former boss again and the way reliving past trauma can make any normal person react. And I think this week’s episode did the same with Shizuka but as a bystander and someone who knows what it feels like. The episode had a lot of close-up shots of her chest and mouth rather than her entire face to really show off body language and her reactions to certain moments, whether it was witnessing Akira going through what he was, what she experienced as a kid, or even thoughts she pondered about in her own time.
But what I loved most about these camera shots is that if you take close notice, the moment after she spoke out to Akira’s boss and saved Akira, we never once saw those camera angles again. Every shot of her from there on out was clear as day and showed her face full giving that feeling of freedom and happiness. Again, it’s noticeable at first but the build-up here was another brilliant way of visual storytelling on Monma and Ueda’s parts. Notice how the colors are darker and the shadows are heavier in those moments compared to the vibrancy of those after the fact.
While the entire episode could be viewed as Shizuka saving Akira, I thought the episode always had Shizuka at the center of it all. We constantly see the impact Akira has on those around him. So it was nice to see the impact Shizuka had on Akira and even everyone around in the camp when push came to shove. She’s just that great of a character and isn’t the simple fan service that Akira’s boss saw her as. She’s “Best Girl” for more reasons than one and I encourage someone to find me another who could best her from this season of anime.
Zom 100 Episode 7 Wrap-Up
This episode proved there are always layers to be peeled back when production has a perfect combination of substance and creativity. Even despite the delays, Zom 100 really hasn’t shown us that production issues are drastically apparent. It continues to be visually pleasing and the story hasn’t taken any hits whatsoever. Under Kawagoe’s direction, everything is moving along in smoothly. The best part is that Shizuka is only going to continue to prove to be a fan favorite with more events to come.
Episode 7 rating: 10/10
If you enjoyed episode 7 of Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead then be sure to vote for it in our weekly poll!
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
© Haro Aso, Kotaro Takata, Shogakukan / Zom100 Project