H.o.t.D.D. – Saya Takagi

What are you doing now? I imagine you’re probably full of turkey, alcohol, and goodwill, so why not sit back and join me for another dive into the characters of Highschool of the Dead.

Yesterday, I spent the day with Saeko Busujima. For today, Saya Takagi is going to be the subject of my scrutiny. Saya is often misunderstood and rubs people the wrong way but without her the group wouldn’t have been nearly as successful.

Age 16 / Height 5’1” / Weight 115 LBS

Bust 36″ (F) / Waist 23″ / Hips 34″

Empathy: Takagi is introduced as the unlikable character. Our first interaction with her is her telling Takashi off for hiding on the stairwell. From this interaction, it becomes clear that they have known each other for quite some time.

That generally continues when she grabs Hirano and uses him to help her escape the school, ordering him around and belittling his ideas. To be fair, she was right with each rebuttal. Takagi may come across as harsh and abrasive, but she is very clever and quick to analyse the situation.

Character Arcs: You would think that Takagi would soften as the story goes on, but she doesn’t and I’m glad of that. What we do see is more and more examples of how she is understanding the new world and breaking down the problems. She is incredibly astute and doesn’t crack under pressure.

If anything, I think the rest of the group become more used to her harsh attitude. They appreciate what she brings to the group and doesn’t look down on her despite her being one of the younger members.

Goals: Takagi is an interesting one when it comes to goals. She’s very practical and doesn’t have the same emotional drive to find her family. It’s funny that she then gets mad at her parents for doing the same thing when they do finally meet up.

Her main goal is to survive, using whatever and whoever she has to to do so. She has feelings for Takashi too, having grown up together but I think he sees her more as a little sister and she knows it.

Obstacles: Takagi isn’t a fighter in the same way that Saeko, Rei, and Takashi are. She’s not even that good with a weapon like Hirano, but that doesn’t stop her from stepping up when she needs to. I’m referring to the drill incident in the school and the dark moment when all appeared lost and she got out of the Humvee to join the hopeless fight.

With regards to Takashi, while it still bothers her, I think she is developing a soft spot for Hirano as evidenced in the mall when Hirano appears to be smitten with Asami and she gets jealous, although she does show enhance maturity too.

Traits: Takagi is incredibly clever. It’s an interesting twist to have one of the younger members be the brains of the group. She does struggle with the social aspect, not in a sense of not being able to talk to people, but more that she doesn’t know how to talk to people. I think she gets this from her parents.

She is very blunt and harsh, even if what she is saying makes sense. I think that makes it hard for characters and sometimes readers to relate to her, but I think she’s fascinating.

Motivations: Takagi is very analytical. She assesses every situation to the fullest, even stopping to run some tests on the zombies as she was trying to escape the school. This came in incredibly handy more than once.

Flaws: It’s definitely Takagi’s social skills. There was a point once the group had made it to Takagi’s house where she was having a discussion with Saeko. It came off as almost confrontational when that was clearly not what she was trying to do, and if you’re going to accidentally pick a fight with anyone it wouldn’t be Saeko.

Vulnerabilities: She’s not as physically strong as the others, so while she is the brains of the group, she is reliant on others for protection. It’s something she is more than aware of hence why she attached herself to Hirano at the beginning.

Attitude: Takagi has a very high opinion of herself, and whilst it may be true, it can rub people the wrong way. She could definitely work on being a little more humble, but that said it has worked for her so far.

Past Influences: Takagi’s parents have played a pivotal role in her life, whether they tried to or not is a different story. Her mother is a successful stockbroker and her father is the head of a right-wing political organisation.

This has meant that they often weren’t there for her. She has had to make it on her own, which has obviously helped her out a the start of the zombie outbreak.

She grew up in the same neighbourhood as Takashi and Rei, although I think she’s much closer with Takashi. Despite being younger than him and long time friends, she get frustrated when he loses focus and wallows.

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