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Zom 100 Episode #08 Anime Review

5 min read
Zom 100 is so packed this week, it feels like a variety show.
©Haro Aso, Kotaro Takata, Shogakukan/Zom100 Project

Japanophile of the Dead

What They Say:
“Sushi & Hot Springs of the Dead”

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Our favorite biweekly-at-best-and-even-then-always-delayed-another-day-anyway show of the season is back, and while most shows would be wrapping up soon, we’re not too far past the halfway mark of Zom 100. We get new material for the opening in this episode – perhaps a bit surprising since it doesn’t seem like a production with the bandwidth to do anything extra – ironically just as we’re finally introduced to a character we’ve been seeing in the opening for the entire series. It’s Beatrix time.

Although one can’t be certain in anime, it did seem like this character might be a foreigner, and indeed she is German. If she’s also dressed in samurai armor for some reason, that combination can only point to one outcome: she’s a big old weeaboo. We may be faced with something of a cruel mirror as Bea regales us with her beautiful tales extolling the flawless virtue of glorious Nippon that made her absolutely need to move to the country… only for the zombie apocalypse to start that very day. When even Akira and Kencho play straight man to the absurdity Bea brings to the table, you know she’ll fit in just fine, and indeed she’s part of the crew as if that had always been the case within seconds.

Beatrix’s samurai armor is surprisingly effective against the zombies, and she’s an extremely capable combatant overall. The team begins to form a solid RPG party with each member having their specialty, from Kencho’s naked taunting to Shizuka acting as not just any strategist but very specifically a Three Kingdoms figure anime fans grew quite well-acquainted with last year. With Bea’s samurai gear and Akira’s shark suit turned samurai costume, they look like they actually planned this all out and aren’t just a group of goofballs (75% of them anyway) on a holy mission to eat some great sushi.

The entire action sequence is quite impressive. You wouldn’t think the series had so many production problems with what they still manage to pull out every episode. The fact that at least one of the zombies is wearing a Bug Films hoodie is probably just another example of companies throwing their logo on random stuff in their work, the fact that they used OLM very directly as the company model in episode 1 and have now become the very thing they were satirizing makes me want to believe that this was an intentional commentary on the state of studio and how zombified the workers have become.

As the title implies, the episode is split half and half between sushi (well, mostly Beatrix’s introduction and zombie fighting with the end goal of sushi), and the even more serious matter of hot springs. I suppose in anime, spending only half an episode on its hot spring story is a form of restraint, and the circumstances surrounding the hot springs are varied enough that we don’t really stay in one place for too long. It’s never been a show short on nudity, though unusually for clearly male-focused content, it has actually been much heavier on male nudity, albeit for comedy rather than titillation, thanks to the Grand Blue character that Kencho is. There’s plenty more of that, from the zombie battle to the hot springs themselves, but it’s no accident that this plot line arose as soon as the second of the two female characters joins the crew, one whose breasts are falling out of her clothes and accepts the very convenient scenario of only one hot spring being usable thanks to her appreciate of Japanese culture and its history of mixed bathing.

The episode doesn’t end with zero seriousness, though. When Akira mentions dating, Shizuka brushes him off in the way that she would when we first met her. Now we know that’s more of her father talking, so it’s unfortunate to see her still repeating that kind of rhetoric despite reflecting on how cruel a monster he was. However, the final scene of the episode focuses entirely on this in a very tender (though still very nude, more than ever in fact) manner. Anime has a bad habit of having characters not say how they feel and their relationships becoming much more problematic than they need to be as a result, so it’s refreshing to see Shizuka quickly recognize that she was just echoing her father and openly apologizing to Akira. It’s a beautiful moment to cap out an otherwise bombastic episode and potentially does a great deal for advancing their relationship, though it still falls back on annoying anime tropes to kill it in the end.

In Summary:
Zom 100 is so packed this week, it feels like a variety show. We finally get our final protagonist, Beatrix, a ton of zombie fighting, a sushi plot, a hot spring plot, and some sincere romantic progress. With its regularly irregular scheduling, the series manages to maintain its surprisingly strong production values on the output we get to see, especially in big action spectacles like this. After a couple episodes of trauma, it’s not such a bad thing to have a mostly mindless episode of fun and joy, though it’s definitely appreciated that it does sneak in a bit of genuine character material by the end, even if the usual trappings still hold it back from breaking any new ground.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix