Highschool of the Dead (Character Analysis) – Kohta Hirano

Kohta Hirano… you remember him. He’s the gun crazed otaku from Highschool of the Dead and not one to be taken lightly.

What are you doing now? It’s another look into what makes the characters in Highschool of the Dead tick. Yesterday, I got yelled at by Saya Takagi. Well, today I’m going to spend my time breaking down Kohta Hirano. He’s the gun-loving sharpshooter with a serious crush on Takagi.

Age 16 / Height 5’2” / Weight 196 LBS

Empathy: Hirano starts out as just some geeky otaku who happens to be in the right place at the right time, although he wouldn’t have known it at the time. In the absence of Takashi, Takagi grabs Hirano and uses him as her shield while the other students attempt to escape from the school.

Even though Takagi constantly berates him, he continues to follow her every move. However, once they are locked up in a room and assessing the tools that Takagi has gathered, Hirano shows a new light. He quickly customizes a nail gun to become a ranged weapon. He may be a geek, but he’s also deadly and things are about to get interesting.

Character Arcs: Hirano possibly showed the most growth of all of the characters. I say possibly because it’s possible that he was always that way, but only surpressing his true side. He tells Takashi later in the story that he trained with a former Black Ops agent in the States. It’s obvious he has a real love of guns and knows how to use one.

His biggest growth comes at the Takagi house when a group of adults attempt to take the guns from him. It’s then that he realised that without the guns he would go back to being another geeky otaku.

He has a darker side, like Saeko, and that gets pushed to its limits when he is forced to kill Asami, rather than see her become a zombie.

Goals: Hirano’s parents and extended family are all abroad on business so he has little chance of finding them at present. He focuses on keeping Takagi safe since she told him too and as he’s got a soft spot for her anyhow, it’s no big deal.

There are a couple of times that he butts heads with Takashi, but I don’t think he has any real desire to break away from the group. After everything they’ve been through together, they’re more of a family than a group of students.

Obstacles: Without his guns, Hirano would struggle, sure, he could fashion a weapon out of a nailgun or something similar, but it wouldn’t be as good. It also affects his confidence, which could potentially see him spiral back to shutting himself in and hoping it all passes him by.

Traits: Hirano isn’t physically gifted, but is an ace shot and know a lot about weapons. He’s calm under pressure and good at giving instructions. His love of guns have given him a unique insight, but also prepared him for dealing with the aftermath of such events.

Usually, Hirano lacks confidence in himself, but with a weapon in his hands, he turns into someone else entirely. The group don’t appear to judge him as you would expect, with the exception of Takagi, who we already know doesn’t know how to talk to people.

Motivations: Like Takashi, Hirano is driven to do what he thinks is right. He is quick to assess the situation and act appropriately, guessing what his friends are going to do before they even do it. He knew that Takashi would try to save the girl when he took that first shot with the sniper rifle.

Flaws: Hirano’s weakness is his physical strength and stamina. He’s an amazing fighter with a gun, but without one he would struggle. His fitness could use some improving, and the way things are going, it’s only a matter of time before that happens. There’s only so many days you can run from zombies without losing weight or improving stamina.

Vulnerabilities: Girls are Hirano’s Achilles’ heel. After all, he’s sixteen years old and surrounded by beautiful women. He will do whatever they ask of him and it can make him blind to certain situations, for example at the mall.

Attitude: Hirano is determined and focused, for the most part. He has realised that he changed when the dead started getting up and attacking the living. Like the others, I think he would struggle if the world returned to normal.

At times he gets frustrated with Takashi, especially when it comes to the attention he gets from Takagi, but they are becoming close friends who can discuss the serious issue when they need to.

Past Influences: Hirano’s parents live colourful lives with jobs that require them to travel a lot. I think Hirano has benefited from this with his trip to the States where he trained with former military veterans and learnt about guns. Without that training, it would be hard to say if he would have even survived the first day.


  1. David Boone (moonhawk81)

    Nothing wrong with knowing your way around a weapons system!

    • Hirano is the unsung hero. I think the author and artist identified with him most.

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