Highschool of the Dead (Character Analysis) – Saya Takagi

Often misunderstood, Saya Takagi is integral to the group’s survival. If only she wasn’t so blunt about everything!

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.

Highschool of the Dead (Character Analysis) – Saeko Busujima

Saeko Busujima is my favourite anime character of all time. No questions about it at all. Read on and I’ll tell you why.

What are you doing now? Firstly, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that jazz. Now, with that out of the way, Highschool of the Dead December can continue.

Yesterday, I looked into the character analysis of Rei Miyamoto. Today, as it’s a special day, I’m going to focus all of my attention on Saeko Busujima. She’s the undoubted best girl in the series and one of my all-time favourite characters.

Age 17 / Height 5’9” / Weight 123 LBS

Bust 33″ (D) / Waist 22″ / Hips 34″

Empathy: We first meet Saeko as she rescues Marikawa from a horde of zombies. Then she thanks the boy that was with her and offers to give him an honourable death as he’d already been bitten.

Now, if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about Saeko, I don’t know what does. She’s strong and independent, like a ronin samurai. You may not instantly agree with her approach to life, but you better respect her commitment to the code of honour.

Saeko leads Marikawa through the school, fending off zombies and only killing when necessary, showing how calm and considered she is.

Character Arcs: At the beginning, Saeko comes off as being calm and collected. There are a couple of moments where you see the glint in her eyes or the sly smile as she rushes into combat, but that doesn’t seem too crazy, yet.

By the middle of the story, you can see that she has developed feelings for Takashi, asking him to use her first name when he addresses her. She also doesn’t seem too phased by Rei’s interest in him. Her maturity, despite her and Rei being the same age, is noticeable.

It’s not until later that we find out more of Saeko’s past, about how she was attacked on the way home from school and then defended herself, putting the attacker in hospital. The thing that upset her most was how much she enjoyed it. It’s because of that that she was not willing to allow herself to find love. She felt that she didn’t deserve it.

Goals: With her only family, her father away on business, staying alive appeared to be her only goal. Then she made a promise to Takashi and with her code of honour, her word is binding. Later, her interest in Takashi grows until she confides in him about her dark past. When he accepts her unconditionally, it seals their paths together.

Obstacles: Saeko is unusually confident and calm, most likely due to her training and code of honour. It makes it appear as if she has no problems that she can’t overcome, but her past haunts her. She watches others transforming to become more like her as a result of the zombie outbreak, but she was already like that. Her biggest roadblock was believing that anyone would accept her like that, forcing her to guard her feelings.

Traits: With her manner and serious approach to things, she commands respect and even a little bit of fear. Saeko comes across as being very formal and proper, but given the chance, she has a wild side. We don’t see too much of it in the anime and only little more in the manga. She’s confident about who she is and isn’t afraid of anything. Riding on top of a Humvee in a thong and apron is clear proof of that.

Motivations: Saeko acts like a samurai. If there is an opponent in front of her, she will face it. She doesn’t run from a fight. Her code of honour is a big driving factor in her decisions. After that, Takashi gives her a reason to continue, accepting her as she is.

Flaws: Sometimes Saeko can be a little too straightforward. She will point out stuff that others prefer not to directly address. She doesn’t always mean what she says and because of her serious nature, that often gets missed by the person she’s addressing.

Her past haunts her, leaving her to suppress her feelings. In one way it helps her fight without distractions, but then she sees something in Takashi that gives her hope for the future.

Vulnerabilities: Saeko appears to be invulnerable, but she is afraid that she’s a monster and the more she kills they further she’ll descend into the darkness. Takashi offers her hope and a reason to live when he accepts her for who she is.

Attitude: I think she causes friction with the girls because of how well she holds herself. Also, the attention from Takashi doesn’t help. That said she’s taken on the role of the older sister, rushing into combat and doing what she must to protect the group. She knows how strong she is and isn’t shy about showing it.

Past Influences: The time Saeko was attacked on the way home from school left a pretty deep scar on her personality. It forced her to shut off from others, not from fear of being attacked or having to open up about it, but she realized that she enjoyed having power over another person’s life and didn’t want to slip back into that.

It also goes against her teachings and training in Bushido, although from what I understand of her father, he would not see this as a flaw, but merely her showing her strength.

Highschool of the Dead (Character Analysis) – Rei Miyamoto

Rei Miyamoto is one tough cookie. She’s more than capable of looking after herself, but can she make amends with Komuro or are they doomed?

What are you doing now? Yesterday, I looked into the character analysis of Takashi Komuro. Keeping to the same format and style, today I’m going to be talking about Rei Miyamoto. She’s the lead female character and potential love interest of Takashi… at least that’s what they want you to think, but I’ll get into that later.

Age 17 / Height 5’5” / Weight 110 LBS

Bust 34″ (E) / Waist 22″ / Hips 35″

Empathy: Rei starts off as the damsel in distress with Takashi running in and dragging her out of class. However, it soon becomes clear that she is much stronger than that, especially with her skills in spear martial arts.

Even with that though, she needs saving a couple times in the first episode, mostly from her judgement and unwillingness to accept the situation. It’s even harder when her boyfriend turns into a zombie before her eyes.

To make matter worse for Rei, she also recently dumped the hero for his best friend, which instantly puts her in a negative light. It makes for an interesting dynamic with their relationship. They’re long time friends and he appears to still have feelings for her, but it also seems to be too hard for him to completely get past what she did to him.

Character Arcs: As I said, Rei starts out looking like your typical damsel in distress, that was until Hisashi gives her the broken mop handle to use as a weapon. It’s pretty obvious from that point that she is more than capable of looking after herself. When Hisashi turned she struggled to come to terms with it, focusing her anger on Takashi who killed the zombie Hisashi.

For a while, Rei and Takashi butt heads, mostly because they both have feelings for each other but their past decision make it difficult. Even when they were separated from the group, they went back and forth. Rei slowly starts to realize that her anger has been misplaced and that Takashi isn’t the same guy he was before the outbreak.

However, later Rei realizes that she’s most likely missed her chance as Takashi and Saeko grow closer together. In a way, this seems to free her up to focus on fighting the zombies, similar to what drove Takashi from the start. She’s still not given up on him though, and struggles to hide her jealousy.

Goals: Rei’s main drive is to find her parents. After that, I think she’s determined not to be alone. In the first episode, after Takashi killed Hisashi, he threatened to leave but she begged him to stay. At that stage, I think it was less about it being Takashi and more about not being alone.

Sure, her feelings for him grew with every courageous act he performed, but by the time she came to act on it, it was too late. I also think, she still hopes that the world will return to normal. She has a more naive and hopeful outlook that most of the group.

Obstacles: The obvious obstacles are the zombies and other survivors slowing things down. As a group, they’ve already decided that they will look for each other’s family. With Rei’s father being a senior police officer, that will be harder as he’ll likely be involved in the survival operations.

Traits: Rei is the most hopeful member of the group. She finds it hard to come to terms that they will have to give up on saving or helping people. The only exception was with Shido, and given what he did to her that’s understandable.

She is obviously very clever, Takashi mentions how it’s impossible for a top student to get held back, but for whatever reason, she doesn’t confide in him at the time.

Motivations: It’s her desire to find her parents and somehow restore the world to the way it was. I think this what makes it harder for her to accept the zombie outbreak at first.

Flaws: I think Rei’s naivety is her biggest weakness, but I also think that she goes a long way towards addressing that as the story continues. It would be silly to say that dumping Takashi was a short coming, but it was obviously something she starts to regret as he proves his worth time and time again.

Vulnerabilities: Her anger towards Shido, whilst understandable does lead Rei to make some ill advised decisions. Again, she does work on it through the story, but I get the impression that not finishing him when she had the chance would have come back to haunt her had the story continued.

Attitude: Rei is confident in herself and also puts faith in those around her. She is respectful of others positions and observes all the correct addresses, often refering to Saeko as an elder, since she was forced to repeat the year even though they are the same age.

Others see her as dependable, although Saeko notices her insecurities.

Past Influences: One of Rei’s biggest influences on her life is her friendship with Takashi. They’ve known each other for a long time and even made future plans together, even if they didn’t quite go to plan.

She draws strength from her parents and doesn’t make a fuss when forced to retake the year even though it brought her father to tears. She has been quietly determined to make Shido pay but is prepared to wait for the right moment to do so.

The death of Hisashi in the first episode changed her outlook on life, making her realize that Takashi isn’t a bad guy and does have drive. Maybe it wasn’t visible before the outbreak, but it is now. Even so, she can’t help but compare him to Hisashi which hampers her attempts to reconcile with him.

Highschool of the Dead (Character Analysis) – Takashi Komuro

Takashi Komuro is the reluctant leader of the group of survivors, but he’s got his own baggage too. Let’s find out what makes him tick?

What are you doing now? Ha! You didn’t expect me to stop Highschool of the Dead December just because I had run out of anime or manga to consume, did you? From here on, I will be looking at each of the main characters. We’re going to find out what makes them tick (and I’m also grabbing their statistics from the Highschool of the Dead book 1).

First up, and it seems only appropriate as he’s the protagonist, with have Takashi Komuro. These are my observations based on the anime and the manga.

Age 17 (December 7) / Height 5’8” / Weight 128 LBS

Empathy: There isn’t anything particularly special about Takashi, even his design is plain and ordinary. He doesn’t have any special skills or training. He lacks confidence and when ranking himself, he can even be the best at being worst, ranking himself as the fourth least successful person.

He could be anybody, and I think that’s what makes him so relatable. That said he always looks out for his friends, no matter what, but he also has moments where he can’t verbalise his issues and loses his temper, something I think most can relate to.

Character Arcs: Takashi starts the series without any purpose. He doesn’t care about anything or has any drive, but when he sees the beginning of the zombie outbreak, he finds a purpose – save Rei, but their relationship is complicated.

By the middle, he is starting to realize that he is thriving in the new world. He almost admits to enjoying it. The fear and lack of purpose is gone and he charges into every situation without hesitation.

At the end of the story, he has accepted his role as the leader and will do whatever he needs to keep everyone safe, often making difficult decisions.

Goals: As I’ve mentioned before, Takashi started with no goals whatsoever. Rei had been his main focus until she broke up with him. Without her, he became withdrawn and lethargic. Then when the outbreak happened, even despite Rei choosing Hisashi, his first thought was to save Rei. Surviving seemed to come second to that.

When it became clear that she was mad at him following Hisashi’s death, he was prepared to leave her and face the zombies alone. I don’t think he ever got over that, volunteering for whatever dangerous situation they encounter.

Obstacles: Takashi’s first roadblock was Hisashi, his best friend who had started dating Rei, and killing the zombie version of Hisashi did nothing to improve the situation. Time will tell whether Rei’s feelings for him comeback and even whether he will still feel the same when and if they do.

Traits: For the most part, Takashi is calm yet determined. He will do whatever he has to for his friends, even at his own expense. He’s selfless, honourable, and controlled. I don’t think he craves the limelight and is often self-deprecating, but always kind and polite.

Motivations: Takashi is driven to find his family and save his friends. There doesn’t appear to be anything that he wouldn’t do for them. That said, he can see their strengths and weaknesses and will use them to his advantage. At first, I think it was subconciously, but now he seems to be more thoughtful of it.

Flaws: His biggest flaw at the start is the belief that he can save everyone. Sure, he was focused on his family and friends, but was not willing to turn away or giveup on anyone in need. By the end of the story, he’s become more realistic and makes decisions that may come off as harsh, but it’s always in the best interest of the group.

He’s also not the best at spotting subtle hints from the ladies.

Vulnerabilities: Takashi will put his life on the line for others, time and time again. He does seem to learn from this, but he still throws himself into dangerous situations without hesitation.

Attitude: I think Takashi is switched on. He’s surrounded himself with people he can trust and that have something to offer him. He accepts Saeko’s dark side because he knows that it gives him the best chance of survival.

Past Influences: The breakup with Rei hit him hard. They had known each other most of their lives and when she was forced to repeat a grade, they drifted apart until she broke things off and grew closer to his best friend.

I think that moulded his attitude to see himself as being unworthy, but that gave him the ability to charge in without hesitation. A trait that has formed the group around him and led to his survival. He’s ended up inspiring others and gaining their admiration.

Highschool of the Dead (Volume 7) – The Manga

It’s the final volume of Highschool of the Dead ever… excuse me while I go cry in the corner of the room for a while…

What did you read? And I’m done! I just finished reading volume seven of the Highschool of the Dead manga. It is the final volume of the series and due to the sad passing of the author Daisuke Sato, there will likely be no more. It’s been a hell of a ride and something I’m likely to repeat. I’m definitely not leaving it for another three years. So, let’s get on with the review.

What Happened? The group escaped from the mall, but not all was well. Hirano, struggling to come to terms with shooting Asami, loses control and starts to attack the zombies, firing his weapon in the open. Zombies swarm around them, forcing the group to change their plans.

Next stop is the Eastern Police Station where Rei’s father is based. They manage to all make it there, thanks in part to Marikawa helping Hirano deal with his post traumatic shock. The police station, however, appears to have been abandoned, but only recently. They head inside to see if they can find anything useful.

The armery has been plundered, but the storage room for all confiscated materials is intact. They find some more weapons and a note telling them where to go next. Apparently there is a potential rescue operation in the works.

There’s not sign of Rei’s father, but when they discover a handwritten note by him, Rei is sure he’s alive. The location for the rescue is the school that Takashi’s mother works at, so they head to Rei’s house looking for her mother before making their way to the school.

A quick glimpse of the school shows a locked down location with refugees and police. There’s also a glimpse of our favourite pantomime villain and a couple of his students. Damn it, that wily bastard is still alive!

How was it different from the anime? Again this section is redundant as it hasn’t been made into an anime. Someday, I hope it is, but it looks increasingly unlikely. That said it is another excellent volume with some great artwork and a fascinating story.

What was your favourite thing? Seeing the group continuing the grow together, getting stronger and more organized is great. Even if the story did continue, I find it hard to believe that they would reintegrate with the survivors. They are destined to continue together, battling zombies and lunatics for all eternity.

What was your least favourite thing? That it is the end. All great stories have an ending and it’s sad that this one will never really have one. It’s nice to think that it’s still going on somewhere, but that doesn’t help. I’m just going to have to rewatch it sooner than I had anticipated.

Are you ready for more? I’ve said it before, but I will always be ready for more. Whatever format it comes in, you can count on me being there. I know it is a long shot, but I at least believe there is enough material for a second season of the anime. Maybe my posts will have inspired enough people to grab a copy or rewatch it. Maybe the sudden surge in interest will make the studios take notice. Maybe that was my plan all along…