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High School of the Dead Episode 9 Review – Best In Show

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High School of the Dead Episode 9 Review – Quick Summary

In High School of the Dead Episode 9, “The Sword and the Dead,” Saeko Busujima and Takashi Komuro had been gotten separated from the rest of their friends during Saya Takagi’s mother’s Yuriko Takagi rescue. As Saeko and Takashi fought the zombies in a park near Saya’s house, dread overcame Saeko, and she froze. Takashi was barely able to rescue her and get the two of them to safety. What had caused the powerful Saeko to freeze? Is there anything Takashi can do to help? And if he can’t, what does that mean for their chances for survival?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from High School of the Dead Episode 9

High School of the Dead Episode 9: Saeko seemed to be enjoying herself

Saeko seems to be playing the long game with Takashi! And he has no idea… Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Remember back in episode 6 when Rei Miyamoto went on about how boring Takashi was? Saeko remembers.

She and Takashi had just found the 8-wheeled amphibious vehicle, and they were trying to get to Saya’s house. They came up on a T in the road, where going straight would take them down a bank to the river bank. She almost playfully asked if he had a plan, and he answered that of course he did.

“You never bore me, you know that?” Saeko said (04:04). Now she wasn’t “almost” playful; she was flat out messing with him. 

I bet she remembered what Rei had told Takashi. I think this was Saeko making a bold statement — if Takashi was paying attention!

Best in Show Moment for High School of the Dead Episode 9

High School of the Dead Episode 9: Takashi's confession was unorthodox

Being surrounded by zombies has an impact on Takashi’s confession to Saeko. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Setup: The Sub and Dub Diverge — Again!

I’ve talked about the differences between the dub and sub before. For example, in episode 6, Kouta Hirano’s reaction to the news about the deteriorating situation on the bridge was very different. Even more dramatic was the difference in episode 5 in the conversation between Saya and Saeko. That conversation in the sub painted Saeko as an introspective woman hoping to live up to her obligations. The dub made her sound arrogantly overconfident. Certainly, Saeko has every reason to be confident. But arrogant? That didn’t sit well with me.

There were two more examples in this episode. In the first, Takashi had just driven the amphibious vehicle into the river. Most of the splash went over his head to soak Saeko’s shirt. They navigated to a sandbar. He hated seeing her shiver, and he found another shirt for her in their pack. He faced away while she changed. When she told him she’d finished, he looked at her and could not hide his appreciation. In both the dub and sub, she asked if he didn’t like the shirt, and he said that to the contrary, he felt a huge appreciation for how she wore the tank top.

High School of the Dead Episode 9: Saeko seemed to enjoy Takashi's attention

Saeko asked if he didn’t like her shirt. Saeko was messing with Takashi again! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

In the sub, the conversion went like this: Saeko said (07:28), “You always view me as a girl, Komoru.” “Oh, I guess you don’t like it. I’m sorry,” he said. Then Saeko said, “That’s fine! I am a girl.”

In the dub, it went like this: Saeko said “God, you’re such a sucker. Can’t you tell when I’m just fucking with you?” “You’re what? Oh, yeah, I’m sorry.” he said. ” Then Saeko said, “No reason to apologize!”

From the perspective of the plot, it’s not a huge difference — but it really paints a different picture of Saeko.

But that’s nothing compared to my favorite moment — in the sub, that is.

Delivery: A Pep Talk — or a Desperate Confession of Adoration?

Saeko’s Past Haunted Her

I can’t believe I missed this during the first dozen times I watched this. I’ve watched both the dub and the sub, so I should have caught it. But that’s part of the fun of re-watching something to review it!

I really enjoyed how the show wasn’t content just making Saeko a badass. They made her a flawed badass. At least, she saw herself as flawed. In the park, she had frozen as they fought the dead, not because she saw little kid zombies. She had frozen because she’d begun to let go, and seeing the children reminded her of how terrified she was of her own heart.

When she had been younger, an older man an had tried to force himself on her as she walked home from kendo practice. “Of course, I didn’t get hurt because I had a wooden sword with me,” she said as she told the story. She played along to make him think she was helpless. Then she shattered his shoulder blade and one of his femurs. The police gave her a ride home.

High School of the Dead Episode 9: Even as a middle-schooler, Saeko was dangerous

Did she have anything to feel guilty about? Have you ever trained a dog? Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Not a problem, right? She had treated the attacker perhaps better than he deserved. Saeko, however, felt that she was tainted because she hadn’t just been calm. She had felt ecstatic as she administered the beat down.

Takashi’s Desperate and Twisted Confession

When she spilled her secret to Takashi, she seemed like she expected him to recoil in horror. She had apparently forgotten everything he had seen in the last few days. Instead of rejecting her, he took her hand and the screen faded to black. He showed her how much he supported her in one of the most basic human ways possible.

The next day, though, her doubts still consumed her. When they faced a growing throng of zombies, she froze — again. Takashi, knowing what would happen if she didn’t fight, remembering the night they had just spent together, grabbed her from behind.

High School of the Dead Episode 9: Takashi should really learn to watch his hands

Dude. That’s not a handle. Sheesh — where did he learn his manners? The Grabbey Institute of Inappropriate Grabbing? He must have a Masters degree… Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

This is where the dub was merely dramatic, but the sub was my favorite moment. In the dub, he screamed at her that they would not die here and that she had to fight. The typical stirring stuff. It was okay; before I watched the sub, I had liked it. Then I watched the sub.

I’m going to quote his dark confession in its full glory (18:23): “No matter how tainted you think you are. I’ll keep on admiring you as long as I live! I’ll always believe you’re the best woman ever! So don’t die on me! And don’t let me die! Please, for me… You stay true to yourself with all the sins you’ve ever committed!”

That’s one raw and intimate confession! Was it love? Necessity? Desperation? 

Is there a difference in this case?

What did you think of Saya’s reaction when she saw Saeko and Takashi return — their arms wrapped around each other? What were your favorite moments in the episode? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “High School of the Dead Episode 9 Review – Best In Show

  1. One other sub/dub/dialog difference was at 20:46. Saeko grabs Takahashi’s hand and says
    Sub: you will keep your word, right?
    Dub: you meant what you said?
    Dialog: What I heard was (I think) “Sekinin totte kure”/責任とってくれ, which the google says means “take responsibility?”
    I can’t swear to it, because my Japanese was never good and is now woefully out of date, but I think I remember a prior reviewer mentioning this (which is why I paid attention).
    “Will you take responsibility” seems to be something the girl says to the boy after they’ve had sex and she’s worried about getting pregnant.
    I suppose she could be referring to that pep-grope where he says he’ll respect her now it’s morning, but it looks to me like that fade-to-black back in the shrine wasn’t just the candle burning out. IIRC this did not appear in the manga.

    1. Thanks for the translation! From the context of the scene, I thought it meant what you suggested — that they’d been intimate after that fade to black, and she wanted to confirm he was there for her.

      Dude gets credit for his enthusiastic response!

      It’s been too long since I read the manga, but the scene in the anime felt right. I’m glad they included it.

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