Monday, 30 August 2010

Highschool of the Dead - Episode 9

While the fortuitous arrival of Takagi's mother has reprieved most of our bunch of feisty heigh school students from their fate, poor old Takashi and Saeko are left stranded from the rest of their party with little option other than to make their own way back to Takagi's home.

Realistically, I can't think of a better duo to be selected for this journey on-foot given their abilities, and indeed Takashi proves himself to be quite a smart thinker, stopping at a nearby motorcycle shop to find transport and provisions for them. Luckily for them this shop is stocking more than just bikes, and before we know it the two of them have a rather nifty little amphibious vehicle to make use of (available from all good bike shops in Japan, I guess), allowing them to make an escape via the river before later using the craft in a park fountain to distract nearby zombies. Some good thinking, that's for sure, although poor Saeko gets wet on numerous occasions throughout the episode in all of the connotations which the word suggests.

With just Takashi and Saeko left to their own devices, we get to learn some more about the latter, more precisely a little about what makes her tick. Despite her controlled and refined manner, it seems that Saeko is in fact a bit of a... well, psycho, enjoying the thrill of beating seven shades out of people with a wooden stick. Personally, I blame it all on video games. Anyhow, rather than admonishing Saeko's dark side, Takashi embraces and accepts it, allowing her to unleash her full ferocity on the zombies which surround them the next morning while also allowing Takashi to tick off another "route" towards his harem ending. Then again, I get the feeling that two-timing Saeko would bring us to an ending where that amphibious vehicle turns out to be rather a "nice boat", if you get my drift.

For reasons that I can't quite put a finger on, I didn't really enjoy this episode of Highschool of the Dead as much as I was expecting - perhaps I'd raised my own expectations too high for an episode of Takashi and Saeko kicking ass (and they did on a handful of brief occasions), but more likely I think I was just let down with regard to Saeko's revelations and the shift in dynamic of her relationship with Takashi. Our protagonist was right, Saeko was incredibly cool to watch in action and has been a pillar of the series from the very start, but it's exactly this which makes degrading her into a borderline psychopathic sexpot unable to think for or control herself so disappointing - it doesn't suit her, and it doesn't add a whole lot to the series as a whole when closing any distance between herself and Takashi could have been done in any number of more believable ways. I know "believable" doesn't sit well as a description of this series anyway, but regardless the developments of this instalment just didn't work for me.


ahchiew said...

I Do wish Saeko is always so cool and make her perfect, but this ep of HOTD did put a twist on to it.

I just realise that Saeko sounds like Kanbaru Suruga from Bakemonogatari. Same voice actress?

Hanners said...

Yep Miyuki Sawashiro voices both of those characters.

Robert said...

I find it fascinating that HotD, a series which is built on copious and unapologetic fanservice, can actually suddenly become quite sensitive and delicate - even romantic - when transitioning to the next level beyond that. The fade-to-black, the intimate loss of name honorifics, the "take responsibility" line - all those restrained indirect allusions to how the pair spent the night in the shrine make the scene more emotive (as opposed to us hooting at 12-Cert sideboobs, which would have certainly been fun but not quite as lasting in the mind) and elevate sex into lovemaking.

Although with that said, as the anime's adjusted plot is placing some manga events ahead of others, we've still got Rin's own confession to Takeshi yet to come.