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Why I prefer Takashi x Saeko

I can’t explicate based on logic as to why I like High School of the Dead, but I can unequivocally say I love it. Much of that love is towards Busujima Saeko, who, aside from being terribly attractive, can fight and is very useful. I mostly love High School of the Dead because of her.

Most of my top anime involve love stories: I’m really just a guy who likes a well-told romance. While romance is not the focus of High School of the Dead, there is an explicitly implicit tension among Saeko, Takashi Komuro (the main protagonist), and Miyamoto Rei, a close friend of his in the past. I recognize that the creation of a couple probably isn’t even in the mind of the mangaka writing the story, but if I were to choose, I hope that the ending will have Takashi and Saeko as a couple.

First, I understand that Rei has suffered much due to Shido’s actions. She had gone back a grade even though she was an excellent student, and to her, Takashi wasn’t around to comfort her. It can be implied that Takashi probably told her to face reality, as he was never the kind of guy (as we see more and more of his character) to placate women: he’s more of the guy who tells it straight even if people don’t want to accept it. Rei explains that she got tired of waiting for him, and as Hisashi was a more caring guy, she just went out with him instead.

I utterly loved this scene.

I utterly loved this scene.

The problem I have with this defense of Rei is that if one really loves someone, one doesn’t let anything limit him or her from expressing that love. The same can indeed be said of Takashi, but I think any guy would get turned off from a girl who acts bitchy towards that guy, even if he tries to understand that girl. Rei did not clear things up and she did not have any intention to until Hisashi died. This alone is enough to condemn her actions. Had she truly loved Takashi, she would have told him straight up that she was struggling with the events in her life and that she loved him despite everything. She didn’t do it.

But Takashi is a guy! He should be the one to make the first move!

The problem with this is that you don’t want to anger a raging lion. Rei verbally abused Takashi, and it showed even in the post-apocalypse. Any guy would be irritated, if not downright pissed off with being cursed and bitched upon, and I think Takashi just walked away. Takashi may have problems with his ability to show his feelings, but Rei had the bigger problem with the inability to control it.

As I see it, it was Rei who traduced upon their pinky promise. Takashi just suffered quietly and persisted. Not even her current flirting or words could change what happened in the past.

In contrast, we have Busujima Saeko.

Saeko is pretty much someone newly introduced to Takashi, and were it not for the apocalypse would probably never have been acquainted with him. Saeko is pretty much the positive antipode to Rei: she’s quiet, deliberate, and cunning, but she also has her problems.

This is purely personal, but I think she is more physically attractive than Rei. Having said that, I admire her qualities, both good and bad, as evidenced more clearly by the ninth episode of the anime series (and the later chapters of the manga). I do believe that there was only some attraction to Takashi due to his manliness, but her feelings developed later on and was made more obvious in the anime counterpart of the series.

She is not needy, unlike Rei. Most of her conversations with Takashi end up pleasant, with her not asking anything from Takashi. In her emotions, however, it is quite obvious that she is invested with Takashi, and it only becomes more and more perceptible as the series progresses.

Much of her character can be deduced from her sharpness in understanding other people: during Rei’s recovery in the Takagi house, when Rei was flirting with Takashi, she quietly waited outside and for her turn. In the anime, this was after that night in the temple, where maybe something more than saliva was shared between them. Did she berate Takashi? She just entered and stayed quiet.

She understands that it is the apocalypse, and that loyalty between a man and woman is pretty much very difficult to maintain. So what does she do? She recognizes that she is a woman, and if there is ‘anything that Takashi needs, I can present my womanhood (paraphrased).’ It’s the kind of love that is not suffocating or wanting, but ever-present. It’s that kind of love that is quiet and pensive, yet passionate. It’s a love that’s quite opposite to what Rei currently shows to Takashi: it is devoid of jealousy or of need for compensation.

This happened because Takashi saw her true self and accepted it (maybe in more ways than one). Her simple recognition of who Takashi was and her acceptance of him and her self is just a delight to watch. Besides, it would be a more special ending by going against the grain, right?

Reflections on High School of the Dead

Yesterday was a holiday due to the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr, or the end of Ramadan, the Moslems’ holy month. Being a Christian, I did not celebrate with them, but I celebrated due to the free time it gave me. Instead of using the free time to study, I watched until the most current episode of High School of the Dead. I think it’s a great series for what it brings: it has gratuitous amounts of hot women and violence.

I could say that it’s a bad show because it doesn’t appeal to me philosophically, but that would make me both a liar and a hypocrite, because I love it and enjoy it. Aside from the improbable physiques and beauties of the girls (and Saeko’s near-impossible antics with her body), the show is as gritty as it gets: when there will be a global catastrophe, the only law is anarchy. I understand that the girls were illustrated to titillate its prospective (male) watchers, because while it would be quite interesting to feature mediocre-looking girls with the same guys struggling through the zombie holocaust, it wouldn’t be as inviting. I certainly cannot hide the fact that I’m enjoying the show because of the female bombshells that inexplicably collected themselves in Takashi’s group, but I am also enjoying it due to the character dynamics that evinces itself in the different personalities within the group.

I think it says a lot about my preferences when this is the only picture on HSOTD on my folder.

I think it says a lot about my preferences when this is the only picture on HSOTD on my folder.

I also cannot hide the fact that I’m particular toward one girl, and that girl is Busujima Saeko. Among the group she is the most useful; she is also level-headed and can cook. She’s also the most attractive to me. I liked the ninth episode because it explored her history a little bit, and also because of the dynamic sexual tension that just oozes (from the ‘wet’ jokes to her confirmation that she was, really, sexually aroused). Whether it was resolved or not is still up in the air, but I’m more inclined to think that the zombies clustered around that area because of a certain occurrence that was prefaced as the background faded to black (I would have loved to hear her moans).

I would like for Saeko and Takashi to end up together and there’s already a quasi-confession from him, but in my experience these kinds of ladies (beautiful, cool, untouchable) end up shafted or dying at the end of these kinds of series for the sake of the childhood friend or the previous lover. I was aroused with the sixth episode, but the ninth episode was just more stimulating to me. As they progress on their journey Takashi unknowingly has three beautiful women in competition for him.

It’s not intellectual; sometimes, it’s even quite farcical. But it is a most entertaining watch.

On Left 4 Dead, the anime

As I have said in my previous posts, I really haven’t intently followed any anime series this season. First, nothing really ever caught me the way that Tatami Galaxy did last season, and second, I was feeling the rigors of medical education more and more to really mind. (I have a pending exam in Microbiology as I write this.)

It shouldn’t come as any surprise, thus, that I have not really been consistently watching anime this season. High School of the Dead didn’t occur to me as my cup of tea as well, as I am more oriented towards well-written romances rather than actionfests. I really didn’t plan on starting it in the first place, but certain denizens of /a/ have called to my attention the recently-aired sixth episode and how it was effusive with huge, nearly naked breasts.

Best friends for -

Best friends for -

I had to watch it, of course. I did, too, on raw.

I must admit that I was aroused with the different women, and I hope that the DVDs arrive sooner rather than later. I hope they’ll also fix the animation of the breasts so as to make it look more real, but beyond the aesthetic and sensual appeal of the different girls in various states of dishabille I also appreciated the emotional impact of the episode from what I understood of it. These were indeed teenagers thrown into an unpredicted and grisly situation, and while Takashi and Saeko exhibit a lot of maturity (from what I remembered in the manga, anyway), their ages still show. I especially liked how different Saeko, Rei, and Shizuka flirted with Takashi: it’s obvious that nearly all the girls in their group are attracted towards Takashi, but Saeko is a lot more subtle than the rest.

Of course parallels can be drawn between the Left 4 Dead franchise (great games, by the way) and this series. There’s a group of people that have little to do with each other (although it was taken to the extreme in Left 4 Dead games) who have to work together to live through an apocalypse of zombie infestation.

However, I appreciate the emotional core of this show more than its novelty in its genre, the women, the violence, or the badassery. In the sixth episode, the girls were drinking to at least be able to forget the reality that they currently face. When one is drunk the ego is somewhat dulled, and the id has a tendency to rear its ugly head (I think this is one of the foremost reasons why I never want to be drunk. People act stupid when they are, and while they are entertaining spectacles to watch, they are not to be emulated). Rei was the most obvious perpetrator of this, clearly affirming her desire for Takashi, although he didn’t even kiss her.

[Most of you may notice that I’m not as specific as my Tatami Galaxy posts and am more topical than exegetical. I merely enjoy watching series like HOTD and don’t really think of them as food for thought, which is the reason that the posts are more diffuse than those in the past. ]