June 03, 2012

High School Of The Dead Ep09

Some of you may remember that, last episode, everybody was about to die when the fire brigade arrived, led by Saya's mother.  The Fellowship was saved, hurray!  Except for Saeko and Takashi. 

Them, they got separated in one final suicidal attempt to distract the zombie horde from their friends, which failed miserably, then when the Cavalry came riding over the metaphorical hill, they couldn't be rescued.  Way to go, heroes!  Now they've got to make their way across zombie-filled territory without supplies or assistance, all in an attempt to make it to Saya's house.  Still, they're the two best melee fighters in The Fellowship, they should have a decent chance if they're careful.

...and then they jump off a railing.  Takashi lands wrong, sprains an ankle, and is eaten a few moments later when he can't outrun a zombie.  Saeko, having no idea where she needs to go now that her "native guide" is dead, gets lost and is trapped in a dead-end alleyway.  Her corpse later reanimates and is casually shot in the face by Hirano, who doesn't even realize who it once was.  So she's got that going for her.  Which is nice.

Still... nimble little minx, isn't she?

Yeah, I got nuthin' here.  Whatever they were aiming at with this episode title just completely escapes me.  Well, it's not like it matters... we've got bigger fish to fry today, because Frodo and Sam Takashi and Saeko are on the move.  Sure, it's unlikely they'll make it to Saya's place alive.  Sure, it's doubtful that they'll even make it half-way there, but if they don't try, they won't stand a chance, right?  And if we all clap really hard, Tinkerbell will be okay!

Though to be fair, it looks like Saya's place is worth getting to!  Huge swaths of breastworks, solid peaks on the towers, massive walls jutting firmly into well-manicured gardens, crennelations protecting  the buttresses, even murder holes to pour hot liquid onto those standing below.  No soaring bergfried though, more's the pity.  All of it well-positioned on a nicely swelling hill...

Yes, right, sorry, sorry.  Anyway, Saya's house is something of a castle.  Moving on... the Terrific Twosome make a detour to a shopfront they had seen back when Humvee-kun was their mode of transportation... because  walking is slow.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's an 8x8!  Sure, it's noisy as all get out, but what the hell, it's all-terrain, it's got a winch, a light, and a really pathetic rollcage.  It's everything you could possibly want in a veehickle.  Except, y'know, for a muffler, because zombies are attracted to sound.  But Frodo Takashi has a plan: drive down a hill.

It turns out that zombies are part Dalek.  Who knew?  While many of the zombies are EX-TERM-IN-ATEd by falling down the hillside, enough are unharmed to remain a serious threat.  Which Takashi, that strategic thinker, has already planned for: go amphibious!

Now, many of you are sitting there thinking to yourself, "Aha!  Zombies can't swim, they're perfectly safe as long as they're on the river!"  But there are a small number of you, people who may, perhaps, have been watching anime somewhat longer than those others, who are thinking "I wonder if if the splash will make it to the crew cabin?"

This is High School of the Dead we're talking about here... of course the splash made it to the crew cabin.  Saeko soaked sufficiently?  See-through surely?  Sí!  Moving on...

A quick stop at a mid-river sandbar gives them a chance to rest, Saeko a chance to change clothes and flirt shamelessly with Frodo, and for the local zombies to move onto noisier pastures.  While the zombies try to build a boat ("keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel"), Takashi swallows hard and asks Saeko if there's someone she likes... and who can blame him, because A) she was flirting with him pretty obviously there for a while, and 2) I mean, DAYUM.

She answers that there is, in fact, a man that she likes and leaves it at that.  She doesn't specify who, and in case Our Hero hasn't noticed, there's a zombie apocalypse going on, but Frodo just gets a "dammit" look on his face and gives up.  Because sure, the other guy (if it isn't Frodo himself, mind) isn't likely to have been eaten by friggin' zombies, right?  And so much for resting, because she suggests they get a move-on, because it always makes sense to move around when YOU can't see well and the undead rely on sound.  Ah, but Our Hero has a plan. 

He drives the 8x8 into a fountain, incidentally splashing Saeko again, and tapes the steering bar and throttle in place.  Voila, instant zombie attractor!  Except there's only one problem... they've got to deal with all the walking dead it's bringing in.  Oh yeah, that.  Throw in Frodo's general reluctance to use his shotgun because it makes noise (what, the ATV doesn't?), and there's really only one answer forthcoming: it's Saeko time!

And she goes crazy on the zombie horde.  She even tells herself not to hold back, and suddenly the undead are being whacked upside the head and sent flying with a ferocity not seen since the old S-Mart days.  She's unstoppable.  If left alone, she could probably clear Japan of the undead scourge by herself.  Saeko's awfully damn good is what I'm saying... a fight between her and Tama-chan from Bamboo Blade would be quite entertaining.  Who do I have to kill to have this animated?  My money would be on Saeko, since she's stated to be a National Champion, and Tama-chan is "only" a regional champ (as far as I know; she may have gone farther in the manga).  Suddenly, I have this mental image of Tama-chan replacing Saeko in HSotD, and I can't stop giggling.  Oh, right, zombies!  So yeah, Saeko is going all crazy on their undead butts when suddenly...

...well, what else are you gonna get at a park?  Cute lil' zombie kiddies, but I repeat myself.  Awwww, who's a widdle undead horror?  You are, you're a widdle undead horror!  Yes you are!  And now Saeko-oneechan is gonna smash your widdle heads into next week, isn't that right, Saeko?

I'm sorry, but Saeko-san has stepped out for a moment.  Please leave a message and she'll get back to you as soon as her Mental BSOD has ended.  Oh dear.  What a way to go, killed by kiddiezombies.  It was a good joke, Saeko, but you can stop now and go back to being the ubercool warrior chick.  Any time now.  Go right ahead... um... she's not fighting.  She's really gonna be eaten by undead preschoolers.  HSotD, I think I hate you.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually glad to see Frodo show up.  He sticks the barrel of his shotgun right in the face of a kiddyzombie and boom!  No more kiddyzombie.  He grabs Saeko's hand, yells "Run!", and begins dragging her behind him.  As night falls, they take refuge in an empty and abandoned temple.

There, he asks what we all want to know: "Wha hoppen?"  Silence is the only response.  Even a change back to her now-dry school uniform and the discovery of a real sword does nothing to lighten her mood.  A chuckle is elicited by the formal presentation of a portable chemical toilet to her by Frodo, however, and suddenly the dam breaks.

Backstory time!  It turns out that while there is a guy she likes, she never told him so because she didn't think herself worthy of his affections.  "How could he like me, if I committed murder?"  (insert sound of screeching brakes here)

It was four years earlier, and she was wearing a ponytail walking home from kendo practice when a strange man accosted her.  Of course she had her training sword with her, and knew she was perfectly safe... so she pretended to be afraid to lure him in.

He lived, but only because she let him do so, though with a broken arm and femur.  She beat the guy to a bloody pulp, and she enjoyed doing it.  She could have killed him with no remorse, no hesitancy, but instead she hurt him.  And loved every second of it.

Which is why she didn't tell the guy she likes her feelings... a despicable person such as her doesn't deserve anything as pure as love.  And there, in front of the fountain, she realized that she hadn't changed at all, she was still the same old sadist psycho she had been before.  When Frodo points out that since the zombie apocalypse, he'd done some bad things himself (remember the unlamented Bob from Ep04?), she laughs and points out that she was like that before the undead began to walk.  And, she adds, she's getting worse.

Frodo reaches out and grabs her hand.  They stare at each other for a few seconds, then he leans in as the screen fades to black.  Aw yeah, Frodo and Saeko be gettin' jiggy wit it.  Do the kids still say that, or is there some new catchphrase amongst the youth of today for "doing the deed"?  Mind you, this isn't just implied either, it's pretty clear what's about to happen.  The next morning, they leave the temple, and...

...aw crap.  Even Takashi's stumped on how they realized there were living people up there... maybe the rustling of the leaves?  In any case, it doesn't matter, there be zombies here, and they need to be dealt with before they make the dash for Saya's house.  Except there's one problem: Saeko has BSOD'ed again.  Ohfertheluvva...

Frodo points out that, no matter what her perceived faults are, he still likes her and if she doesn't start fighting, he's going to be turned into zombie chow.  And c'mon, nearly beating a rapist to death is hardly a bad thing, particularly in a world where the undead stroll the earth, so get over yourself and go to town or he'll squeeze the heck out of your reset switch if you know what I mean and I think you do.

...aaaaaaand she's back, and now that she's armed with a real blade, she's Ginsu Action Saeko!  She breezes through the undead, and it's a simple trot to Saya's soaring buttresses.

As they approached the firm gates, Saeko asks Frodo if "(he'll) take responsibility?"  Now, perhaps it's because I'm from a different generation than most of the other reviewers, but almost all of them say that she's asking him to take responsibility for bringing her back from the edge and telling her it's okay to be the psycho Saeko we've all come to know and love.  Maybe... but what I heard was her asking him to take responsibility for the child that might arise from the previous night's frolicking.  Whichever question she's asking, he says "if that's what you want!" as they run to the gates... though he later admits he said everything he did in order to survive.

Saya isn't pleased to see them walking arm in arm.  Fade to black, roll credits.

A Saeko-centric episode indeed.  There are a lot of worse things, that's for sure... and it was actually entertaining and gave her even more depth than she had before!  A show about high schoolers vs zombies having characterization and plot?  Will wonders never cease?


Next episode: more zombies!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:08 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 1905 words, total size 16 kb.

1 To decide "who wins the championship", how about having the top two finishers face off in the OVA (assuming they both survive)?

Posted by: Siergen at June 03, 2012 04:20 PM (PuIGa)

2 Does "face off" mean "symmetrical docking"?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 03, 2012 06:23 PM (+rSRq)

3 Saeko's character Arc here was one of the things I considered to be the best part of the series.  Were it up to me, I'd have her win.

If you're going to live in a post-apocalyptic world, your taste in partners can't remain pre-apocalyptic.

Posted by: Mauser at June 04, 2012 12:44 AM (cZPoz)

4 This is actually taken from later in the manga, after the Takagi mansion arc. (The producers probably wanted to include the fanservice.)

The translator said the line about "taking responsibility" referred to a Japanese belief that pregnancy can result from any sexual tension. (In the manga, Takashi and Saeko didn't seem to be on the verge of getting intimate; they just talked.)

Posted by: muon at July 18, 2012 03:06 AM (JXm2R)

5 Muon: yes, so?

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 18, 2012 06:48 AM (T367D)

6 It clears up what she meant by "take responsibility". The translator called it a sort of common joke in Japan, so Saeko is making a joke about Takashi grabbing her breast and he's going along with it. If they can be light-hearted about the subject, it's fairly certain they didn't get intimate the previous night. 

Posted by: muon at July 20, 2012 01:06 AM (JXm2R)

7 Muon, that's great, it's a common joke in Japan.  But "taking responsibility" means something completely different in English.  So while the translator may have been exactly right in his translation, his localization sucks.  So you'll forgive me if it seems that the official translation leaves it open.

And if you think that you can't be light-hearted after "getting intimate", then, well, you're probably doing it wrong.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 20, 2012 07:59 AM (8KjSa)

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