H.o.t.D.D. – The Sword and the Dead (Episode 9)

What did you watch? This was episode nine of the Highschool of the Dead anime series. As I close in on the final series, I can’t help but feel the sense of dread hanging over me. Why does it have to end? I was thinking of making this a regular December thing for me, but I don’t think I can wait that long.

What happened? Most of the group is with Takagi’s mother thanks to the timely rescue at the end of the last episode. Takashi and Saeko, however, are trapped on the far side of the zombie horde. With no chance of getting through, Takashi leads Saeko through the back streets.

Unable to get close to Takagi’s house, they search for a motorbike but instead find an amphibious military vehicle. Takashi uses it to lure the zombies away from the house. They take to the river and park on a sandbank, waiting for the horde to disperse.

To kill time, Takashi asks Saeko about whether she had a boyfriend or even a crush. This seems to open up a part of her that she had repressed, but luckily the horde disperses and they make their way back to the streets. The sun has set and rather than fight through the night they take refuge in a temple.

Saeko reveals her past and how she believes she has always been a killer, even before the zombie outbreak. Takashi consoles her and then in the morning convinces her to continue to fight at his side. This seems to be enough to bring her back and now armed with a real sword, she takes the fight to the zombies.

What hooked you? This was a very intimate episode, focusing entirely on Takashi and Saeko. As my two favourite characters in this series, and Saeko being one of my all time favourite characters, it was exactly what I’ve been waiting for.

It was the first time we’ve really seen them talk. Sure, they’ve had conversations before, but never alone. All of their most notable moments have been fighting the zombies as the vanguard, so to speak.

As always, Takashi is kind and respectful of his friends. He doesn’t take them for granted or abuse their trust. All in, he’s a stand-up guy. Saeko’s revelations about her past could be enough to scare some men away, but not Takashi, and frankly, if you’ve not fallen in love her by now, I’m not sure what show you’re watching.

Once again, Takashi delivers another gem in his internal dialogue at the end of the episode. He talks about how he accepts Saeko and all of her darkness, but he then also says because it will help him stay alive. Possibly the first glimmer of Takashi thinking about himself for once.

What was your favourite thing? I really loved all of the interaction between Takashi and Saeko. Their conversations felt natural and candid, something that he’s not done with Rei or Takagi. I think the fact that they didn’t know each other before the zombie outbreak helps.

Saeko confiding her darkest desires with him could have gone either way, but Takashi stepped up and proved to her that he needs her. Also, is it just me or did they kiss? The camera panned down and then it became dark. Damnit, I need to know.

Also, it’s about time Saeko got a real sword. Watching her allow the darkness to take over as she mercilessly obliterated the zombies was awesome. She truly is incredible.

Takashi has got to get some sort of players medal. I wonder if anyone else broke the ice by giving a girl a disposable porter potty? Legendary tactic if it works. Bet it would have got a different reaction from Takagi.

What was your least favourite thing? I can’t think of anything that stood out as being anything other than awesome. My two favourite characters getting an episode to themselves, what more could I ask for? Maybe a second season!

Who was your favourite character? This one goes to Saeko without a moment’s hesitation. She opened up about her past, revealing a more vulnerable person, denying herself happiness because of what she did. Plus, I think that has to be the most elaborate anime bra I’ve ever seen. Top marks for the animators.

Who was your least favourite character? In an episode with only two characters, how can you possibly ask this of me? By default, it will have to be Takashi, but that just seems ridiculous. There’s nothing to see here, move along!

Are you ready for more? Both completely ready and utterly distraught that I’m coming to the end. Having watched it again, I can say with one-hundred percent certainty that this is my favourite anime. It’s even better than I remember!

2 thoughts on “H.o.t.D.D. – The Sword and the Dead (Episode 9)”

  1. This is the highlight of the series, and probably the best episode of the 12. Saeko’s and Takashi’s story is just really good and their chemistry is solid. Though years ago when this was coming out, it is also where I dropped the series.

    I also heard that the author, before his death confirmed that Saeko and Takashi were going to end up together..so that’s good.

    1. Yeah, they have the best chemistry. His has too much history with Rei and Takagi to completely discount them, but this episode showed how well suited they are.

      I’m going to reread the manga once I’ve finished the anime which goes on for another three books after the series. Will watch for more signs of them growing closer.

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