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Highschool of the Dead

Highschool of the Dead (学園黙示録, Gakuen Mokushiroku?, "Academy Apocalypse") is a manga series written by Daisuke Satō and illustrated by Shōji Satō. The story follows a group of high school students caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The series has been serialized in Fujimi Shobo's Monthly Dragon Age since September 2006 and has been published internationally in a number of languages. Highschool of the Dead was adapted into an anime television series by Madhouse which began airing in Japan on July 5, 2010. The first season ended on September 20, 2010.

Highschool of the Dead is set in the present day, beginning as the world is struck by a deadly pandemic that turns humans into zombies, euphemistically referred to by the main characters as "them". The story follows Takashi Komuro, a Japanese student at Fujimi High School who survived the initial outbreak along with several of his classmates and the school nurse, and occasionally jumps to the perspective of other characters.

The plot is initially concerned with survival and escape from the titular high school and zombies, but as the series proceeds it introduces the additional threats of societal collapse, in the form of dangerous fellow survivors and the possible decay of the characters' own moral codes.


Takashi Komuro (小室 孝, Komuro Takashi?)

Voiced by: Jun'ichi Suwabe[1]

A 17 year old sophomore high school student. Takashi and Rei are childhood friends who are in the same class. He has loved her ever since she made a childhood promise to marry him when they were older. However, due to Takashi's indecisiveness, Rei found comfort in their friend, Hisashi. As a result, their friendship was damaged. He was one of the first people to notice that something was wrong in the school and quickly took action to escape with his friends. His relationship with Rei was shaken further when he was forced to kill Hisashi after he had turned into a zombie. Rei accused Takashi of killing him because he was jealous of their relationship. When Takashi was going to leave Rei behind, Rei quickly rescinded her words and apologized. They hugged and their relationship was amended.

Though initially depicted as a poor student who often skips class, he's proven to be a very reliable and capable person. He has resolved to protect everyone, especially Rei, despite his own feelings of inadequacy. With this resolve, he has taken up the role as leader of the group. Saya Takagi has mentioned that he and Kohta are most likely to snap if things continue. He used a baseball bat for a while, then recovers a Smith & Wesson Model 37 from a dead cop, then a crowbar, and later finds a Ithaca 37. In Chapter 27, he throws away his Ithaca and swaps it for a Benelli M4 Super 90 which he found in police station.

Rei Miyamoto (宮本 麗, Miyamoto Rei?)

Voiced by: Marina Inoue

Classmate of Takashi Komuro. They have known each other since kindergarten. When they were young, Rei promised to marry him when they were older. She has loved him ever since but because of Takashi's indecisiveness, he was never able to honestly return her feelings. Heartbroken, she sought comfort in their friend, Hisashi, and ignoring Takashi at the same time in hopes of forgetting the pain. Rei was furious when Takashi killed Hisashi, even though he turned into a zombie. However, when Takashi was about to leave her behind, she quickly apologized and they amended their relationship.

Rei doesn't find it above herself to reprimand Takashi for acting carelessly. She worries about his well-being whenever he goes to fight "them". Rei has also proven to be a skilled combatant through the use of sojutsu ("Spear Techniques") and strong asset to the group.

Initially in the same year as Saeko, Rei was held back despite being an excellent student. Her father - a police detective - had been investigating the corruption behind the father of Shido, one of the teachers at her school. As a result, Shido purposefully failed her so she would have to repeat a grade. Rei bears a lasting grudge against him and feels uneasy whenever he's around.

Although Rei dated Hisashi, her feelings for Takashi never disappeared. In chapter 12, Rei shamefully admits that she dated Hisashi because he was cute and cared for her but says it is different now. She finally understands Takashi's personality and confesses that it is his selfless nature that she fell in love with. Rei also professes that she would do anything to be with him. Like Saya, Rei gets irritated whenever Takashi spends alone time with Saeko, even if they are fighting "them". As her feelings intensifies, her flirting has also become more aggressive on several occasions. She uses a Spear made from a broken Broom and later a M1A Rifle with a Bayonet attached.

Saeko Busujima (毒島 冴子, Busujima Saeko?)

Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro[1]

A high school senior and president of the school's kendo club, she is extremely skilled at close combat with a bokken. Calm and collected with a sense of pride in her skills, Saeko is among the most reliable of the group. Everyone can count on her combat skills to pull them through a crisis. Also throughout the journey, she begins to develop romantic feelings for Takashi. Not much is known about her family except for her father who had traveled abroad on a self-defense conference before the advent of the Outbreak. Saya's father, Souichirou Takagi, tells Saeko that her father once gave him guidance so to repay the favor, he gives her a very powerful sword, crafted in the Tokyo armory by General Murata during the Meiji Era.

Four years prior to the story, an assailant attacked Saeko. Armed with her bokken, she easily disposed of him, breaking several of his bones before the police came. Although it was claimed to be self-defense, this experience revealed her sadistic tendencies. Ever since the incident, she continually struggles with this part of her personality, which causes momentary weaknesses in her otherwise strong demeanor. After telling Takashi her story and encountering a group of "them" afterwards, Saeko considers, for a second, letting herself get killed. However, Takashi stops her and confesses his admiration for her, restoring her confidence and resolve. After this, she accepts her sadistic tendencies and promises to fight alongside Takashi. She also tells him that he needs to take responsibility for actions as a result of this, which he agrees to.

Saeko has faith in Takashi's ability to lead the group through a crisis. After Saya Takagi mentions that Takashi and Kohta are the most likely to "lose it and become a danger to themselves", Saeko simply replies that she will be there to remind them that she is of the female sex. She is later given a Katana by Saya's father. She is then given an M92 Vertec handgun which was found by Kohta in Chapter 27. Just like Rei and Saya, she seems to have feelings for Takashi, and the two kissed when they were briefly separated from the group.

Saya Takagi (高城 沙耶, Takagi Saya?)

Voiced by: Eri Kitamura[1]

Making her escape with fellow classmate Kohta Hirano, she is the daughter of an influential Uyoku dantai politician and her family is deeply involved in Japan's politics. A self-proclaimed genius, Saya's knowledge and deductive capabilities have allowed the group to escape from harm many times. She was among the first to conclude that "they" were attracted to only sound. Despite coming from a prestigious family, she despises her parents whom she thought had given up on finding her in this crisis. However, Saya was able to amend their relationship before leaving the mansion.

Slightly self-conscious, she detests the fact people, due to her status, only call her by her last name and never look her in the eyes when speaking to her. The only exceptions to this are Kohta, who she has a unique friendship with, and Takashi, who is her childhood friend. Saya acts as a mother figure to Alice in this crisis. Although Saya insists Alice calls her with the suffix "-sama", Saya has grown very attached to Alice. She does her best to keep intact Alice's innocence and will severely scold anyone who would dare attempt to tarnish it to any degree.

Saya is also a childhood friend of Takashi. Saya is hinted to have romantic feelings for Takashi but doesn't flirt with him as much as Rei does. However, she does get annoyed whenever Saeko gets close to Takashi. She uses a Drill, and a Luger P08 pistol.

Kohta Hirano (平野 コータ, Hirano Kōta?)

Voiced by: Nobuyuki Hiyama

A 16-year old sophomore student who was often bullied in school, Kohta is a gun otaku (enthusiast) and knows the ins and outs of the firearms and any military-related equipment that the group comes across. Basically, he functions as the group's long-range combat specialist. His skills as a marksman has proven to be an invaluable asset to keeping everyone alive. On a one-month trip to America, he was trained by the US military contractor, Blackwater USA, which furthered his obsession with weapons.

At the beginning of the story, his abilities helped Saya Takagi escape danger. Kohta has a crush on Saya and asked her out on various occasions only to be rejected. However, she does care for his well being. His crush has since ended and he has developed deep feelings for the police officer trainee, Asami Nakaoka. Because the feelings are mutual, they have expressed their love for each other and Kohta even managed to convince her to join the group. Kohta has also grown attached to Alice and will often be found playing with her. He also has a strong desire to protect her innocence.

Unfortunately, he was forced to kill Asami Nakaoka when she risks her life to save a person in danger and gets trapped between a big number of "them". She personally asks him to kill her so that she won't become a zombie and cause pain to others around her. Kohta later finds himself in horror for what he did and tries to get himself killed by them, though with the help of Shizuka-sensei, he overcomes this pain. With this situation, Takashi realizes that if one member of the group dies, everyone will die in a matter of hours.

His character may have been based on the mangaka of the same name as the two look similar. Since Kohta doesn't know any form of close-combat techniques, he uses a supply of different firearms such as a modified Nail Gun, AR-10 and the Smith & Wesson Model 37 that Takashi used before. He then finds a suppressed MP5SFK in Chapter 27.

Shizuka Marikawa (鞠川 静香, Marikawa Shizuka?)

Voiced by: Yukari Fukui[1]

A single 26-year old woman and the school nurse at Fujimi High School. At the beginning of the story, Shizuka was saved by Saeko. She is rather ditsy as compared to the rest of girls. Her large bust size is often used as a comical element in the story. She is close friends with Rika Minani, a sniper of Japan's Special Assault Team. Their home was used as a safe haven for the group after they escaped the high school. Despite being the only adult in the group, she is emotionally fragile and doesn't know what will become of her life. Like the rest of the main characters, Shizuka worries that she will never see her family or friends again.

Even though she's emotionally fragile, Shizuka feels a responsibility to "chaperon" the kids. As a nurse and the only adult in the group, she is responsible for the health of everyone in the group. Although she is still studying to be a full-fledged doctor, Shizuka has shown incredible medical knowledge. She was even able to bring Kohta to his senses after he was forced to kill Asami Nakaoka. She is the only in the group able to drive a car, even a bus and a two Hummers.

Alice Maresato (希里 ありす, Maresato Arisu?)

Voiced by: Ayana Taketatsu[1]

Only 7 years old, she was saved from being attacked by several undead by Takashi after her father was killed by members of a household who wouldn't allow them shelter. Innocent and passive, Alice is the only member of the group that maintains a cheerful attitude despite all their troubles and the loss of her parents. Looking up to everyone in the group as a bigger brother and sister, she is unwilling to leave them even if it's for her own safety.

Alice is often seen playing with a small dog named Zeke whom they had picked up while saving Alice and Kohta, to whom she has grown fairly attached. Presiding over her as a mother figure is Saya to whom she has also grown attached. Alice is also bilingual, able to speak in English and Japanese, and maybe multiracial. It was also recently revealed that she was the next door neighbor to Takashi's friend, Imamuru.

Despite being the youngest member of the group, she seems to be able to carry her own burden against "them". In a discussion between Takashi and Kohta, they made to the conclusion that they cannot protect her for long and she will need to learn how to defeat "them". She is yet to have her own weapon, though she did make use of fireworks and poppers that Asami gave to her (using those to distract "them" from attacking the group).

In the anime, however, During the attack at Saya's mansion, she attacks some of "them" using some things from the garage, such as a large wheel, to protect Shizuka. Saya, however, finishes them off for Alice.


Kōichi Shidō (紫藤 浩一, Shidō Kōichi?)

Voiced by: Kisho Taniyama[1]

He is Class 3A's teacher. Rei Miyamoto is afraid and is disgusted by him and Saeko Busujima says his name with a scowl, showing that he apparently is a sadistic and villainous character. Both girls have good reasons to do so as we see him leaving behind a student who has sprained his ankle and even kicking him back towards a group of zombies chasing them. He then makes a speech about how weaklings do not deserve to exist. It was implied by Hirano that Shidō allowed bullies to beat him up as he watched with glee[2]. It is assumed that the former's story is true because he pointed the nail gun at Shidō without blinking or hesitating to punch a nail wound to his face.

He has a desire to be a leader and some of the characters have theorized that he is trying to build a new religion with him on top as leader. Shidō is an apparent coward in the face of extreme danger, as seen when being threatened by a grazing head shot with a nail gun on Hirano's part[3], but nonetheless, proves to be a manipulative, villainous and sadistic character.

He is last seen by the main group when they abandon him on the bus, leaving him with only those willing to follow him. He reappears once more and is seen watching over an orgy between his followers on the bus at the end of Chapter 11, in a sort of Charles Manson-ish brainwashing (he allows his followers to do as they will, calling it "free time"). He seems to have a spy inside the base of humans set up at the mansion, who, as of Chapter 12, is relaying vital information about the morale of the people there. He is seen to keep his followers in line through intimidation, forcing them to follow him lest they incur his wrath or be left to fend for themselves. He sees the people that follow him as angels that will help usher in a new age, since they are youthful teenagers. Shidō then accuses one of the teens on board the bus of showing weakness, the boy having shown concern for the welfare of his family. He convinces the rest of the group to eject the 'weak link' for the sake of the New World. Highlighting how far Shidō has turned the minds of his followers, they callously throw the teen off the bus, going so far as to bid him farewell as he attempts to get back on the bus, only to fail and be subsequently attacked by a zombie. The teen is later seen in his undead form in chapter 15 when the dead break into the estate.

Later on, his history and background with Rei was shown when his father was involved in Japanese politics and had Rei retained as a favor of getting back at his stepbrother[4]. When threatened with a rifle-mounted bayonet by Rei, he seems scared witless until he realizes that no one would come to his aid before daring her to kill him. When she turns away and says that he is not even worth killing, his fury is shown. He is seen being ordered to leave the estate with the students he brought but ends up crashing into the forklift when the EMP Blast temporarily stopped the bus, removing the concrete blocks which served as the barrier against the undead. He recovers consciousness in time to see the undead horde advancing through the gap in the barrier.[4] While it's possible he was devoured by "them" it's unknown what has happened to him as his followers were seen leaving the Bus in chapter 16.

Rika Minami (南リカ, Minami Rika?)

Voiced by: Junko Takeuchi[1]

Rika is the chief of first squadron in the prefecture police and an expert sniper in the Special Assault Team sent to clear the nearby airport of any zombie stragglers. She is close friends with Marikawa Shizuka and has the desire to go and save her from the outbreak of zombies. Unknown to her, they had stayed at her residence and have fled in her Humvee. She has been held up in the same airport alongside surviving passengers who were supposed to fly out with surviving Special Assault Team and Special Security Team operatives alongside airport security guards, customs officers and firefighters in clearing the airport of any stragglers by reducing the zombie strength. When her partner/observer helped her use the jet fuel in a tanker to immolate the zombies. She later receive a phone call from Shizuka and they have a very brief conversation before the whole area goes into a massive blackout due to an EMP surge that cuts off all communications and vehicle engines. She has not been seen from since, and it is unknown what happened to her afterwards.

[edit] Other

Hisashi Igō (井豪永, Igō Hisashi?)

Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano[1]

Rei's classmate and boyfriend, he, Takashi, and Rei were among the first to try and escape the rampage at the school. On their way out of class he was bitten by an infected teacher and subsequently turned into one of "them" afterwards. Aware of his fate he instructed Takashi to kill him before he turned by throwing him off the rooftop of the school building, but died before Takashi could do so, and rose back up as one of "them". Takashi then gathers himself together and takes down Hisashi permanently. A brief bitterness between Rei and Takashi occurred as a result from his death. He was thought to be one of the main characters of the manga because during the first chapter being the cool calm headed leader type of character. Hisashi was responsible for "naming" the zombies as "them".

Souichiro Takagi (高城 壮一郎, Souichirō Takagi?)

Voiced by: Jouji Nakata

Leader of a radical Uyoku dantai group in the Tokonosu district, he is an extreme right-winger who showed his leadership to the survivors when he rallies them to kill the zombies in order to save Japanese society from collapsing. He added a rather pointed illustration by killing his zombified subordinate. Later on, he insists that Kohta give up his weapons. However, Kohta's friends (including Saya) rallied for Kohta and supported him. It is implied that he was impressed by their willingness to challenge him and allows Kohta to maintain the weapons he took from Rika's house.

It is also shown that Saya hates her father more than her mother because he didn't ensure her safety when the outbreak started in Japan. Souichiro seems to be a sword expert and is skeptical about Hirano's reasons of keeping his guns until he's confronted by everyone in the main group except for Marikawa, who defends his reasons for protecting his daughter. It is currently shown that he and his followers are preparing to leave the estate in two days time and is told by Takashi if he and his friends are not back with their parents by then, they should leave without waiting for them. However, when the zombies manage to enter the estate due to a gap from one of the barrier's inadvertently created by Shidō, the Takagis, their followers, and the remaining survivors fight to hold off the invading horde until they could go to other areas of the neighborhood that were not breached. Before Takashi & his entourage leave the estate, Kohta and Takashi swore to Saya's father to protect her and Saya tells her parents that she loves them before they attempt their escape. Souichiro and his wife were last seen fighting against the horde with rest of the estate survivors while saying that they were proud of their daughter and the friends she made. Their fate is currently unknown.

Yuriko Takagi

Voiced by: Yoshiko Sakakibara

Souichiro's wife and Saya's mother. Yuriko was once a New York Stock Broker who later married her future husband after she was impressed with his charisma and political skills. Thanks to her business connections, the Takagi family fortune rises significantly. She is very faithful to her husband and loves her daughter very much. She was last seen with her husband and other survivors fighting against the horde that breach their estate.

Asami Nakaoka (中岡 あさみ, Nakaoka Asami?)
A young traffic enforcer, Asami is in charge of guarding the Mall and protecting the group of survivors sheltering there. She also speak in a third-person speech pattern, such as replacing "I" in her sentence with her name instead, though this is because police in Japan refer to themselves in the third person (though she has yet to master this). Easily scared and intimidated by others, Asami's authority quickly waned amongst the survivors until Kohta and Takashi intervened by handing her a standardized police firearm and building up her confidence. She developed a liking for Kohta after he helped her subdue a civilian who was about to sexually assault Shizuka. Asami later accompanies Takashi to help obtain blood plasma for a sick survivor, and is forced to mercy kill Tamaru when he is bitten by "them". Asami firmly believed that her superior officer, Matsushima, who had left for the police station for help, would come back until she is shocked and horrified to see a zombified Matsushima walking towards the mall, utterly shattering her self-optimism. After running to the mall's roof while she was greatly upset, Asami was kindly praised by the same old couple that she helped in helping the old woman in having the blood transfusion, allowing her to rekindle her spirit. Asami is encouraged by Kohta into coming with him and his friends, which she gladly accepts.

Shortly after breaking out of the mall with the group she attempts to save a frightened student trapped in the parking lot. Despite distracting the zombies long enough for the student to escape Asami herself gets trapped whilst without any means of defending herself. As a nod to upholding her duty as a police officer she sacrifices herself by further drawing the attention of the zombies so the group can escape. Asami shouts out one final request for Kohta to not let her get turned into a zombie as they slowly converge on her. She is last seen tearfully confessing her love to Kohta while saluting as he aims his gun sight on her from a distance. It is revealed in the following chapter that Kohta killed her (as per her request that she die human and not turn into one of "them"), leading to him experiencing a mental breakdown.

Mall Survivors
A small of band of survivors who barricaded themselves in the mall when the outbreak began. With Asami's mental breakdown, some, like the man who attempted to assault Shizuka, believe that they are fine and safe inside the mall, and that they have everything thing they need where they are, while others, like an unnamed white-collar worker, argues that they aren't safe in the mall and should leave, to try to find a more safer place. They are clearly starting to fall apart as a group, possibly becoming dangerous, after realizing they can no longer rely on the police for protection. The situation is worsened when a crazed survivor kills another survivor and attempts to leave the mall(which gave "them" an entrance), an old couple that was helped by the main characters committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the mall, and the lone police officer that was sent to call for help was inevitably turned into "them".

It is then that the group sees the mall is broken through by "them" and escape to the roof and set up a final barricade. Although their fates were seemingly sealed, the Japanese Self-Defense Force arrives just in the nick of time after spotting their position from a UAV and decimate the surrounding undead with helicopter gunships and inserting a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with troops as a rescue. It is then revealed that the Japanese military is still active in the crisis, conducting many similar rescue operations all over Japan, searching for any survivors.

Yuuki Miku
One of the main characters' classmates and the most beautiful student in their school (according to Morita), she was known to have a "lot of weird talk" surrounding her at school. She escaped with Fujimi Academy's other survivors and stayed with Shidō's group, finding pleasure in their debauchery. She helped Shidō enter the Right wing group's compound by using her sex appeal, but was forced to leave like everyone else that came with Shidō. She survived Shidō's accident after the EMP and subsequently escaped. She is later seen walking in the streets as one of "them" with her eyes rolled back and her mouth torn open.

Tamaru Hiro
One of the mall survivors, Tamaru had assisted Takashi, Kouta, and Asami in getting plasma for an elderly woman from a nearby clinic, with Takashi asking why he'd come, with him amusingly wonders why. While the group manage to get the necessary plasma equipment, Tamaru bought the group some time to escape while the clinic is surrounded by "them" and almost escaped as well, but was bitten on his leg and requested that he be killed, which Asami did before knowing his name. His death caused the group to consider it their defeat.

Zeke is a dog found by Alice right after "they" started attacking her and Zeke, only to be saved by Takashi. Zeke is very energetic and also intelligent, being able to differentiate the living from the undead. Zeke's role in the group is to provide some company to Alice and to alert them of the undead.

Main article: List of Highschool of the Dead chapters

Highschool of the Dead began serialization in Monthly Dragon Age in July 2006, but went on hiatus from the end of 2008 until March 2010, with another short break between May and July 2010.

The manga has been licensed for international release in a number of languages and regions. It is published in Spain by Glénat España,[1] in Germany by Carlsen, in Brazil by Panini Comics, in Canada and France for French-language publication by Pika Édition, in English in Canada and the US by Yen Press[2] and in Taiwan by Kadokawa Media (Taiwan). The first volume was released in May 2008 in Spain, in March 2010 in Germany, and in April 2010 in Brazil. Shortly following the inception of the series, however, the manga became popular enough in English via scanlation to draw the attention of the creators, who included a message in English within the magazine printing of the fifth chapter.

Main article: List of Highschool of the Dead episodes

The March 2010 issue of Monthly Dragon Age announced that an anime television adaptation of Highschool of the Dead had been green-lighted. Produced by Madhouse under the directorship of Tetsuro Araki, the series began airing on the Japanese network AT-X on July 5, 2010 and rebroadcast days later on seven other Japanese networks. The series is also being simultaneously streamed by Anime Network in North America, although these airings are censored during explicit scenes.[4] and Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.Sentai Filmworks is licensor of the series in North America and will release the series with an English dub in the future.[6] while Madman Entertainment will distribute the series in Australia and New Zealand.[7] The seventh volume of the manga released on February 10, 2011 will include a 20 minute original video animation on Bluray disc.

The series opening theme song is "HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD" by Kishida Kyōdan and The Akeboshi Rockets.[9] The series closing theme songs will be different in each episode and each will be sung by Maon Kurosaki.

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