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|“||Protecting a man’s pride… is a woman’s duty.||„|
|~ Saeko Busujima|
Saeko Busujima is the secondary female protagonist of the manga/anime series Highschool of the Dead. She is a student at Fujimi High School and a member of the survivor group led by Takashi Komuro and is the daughter of Master Busujima. Back in Fujimi High School, she was in her third year and was also captain of the Kendo Club. It is shown that Saeko has intimate feelings toward Takashi. Likewise, Takashi shows a level of attraction to Saeko.
She is voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Taylor Hannah in the English version of the anime.
Saeko has long, straight and shiny purple hair along with a triangular fringe at the front that barely touches the ridge of her nose, and she is also shown to have blue eyes and sizable breasts. She is quite tall for a Japanese girl. Her relatively long limbs contribute leverage to her powerful sword swings. One of Saeko's physical features which are often shown in the manga is her lips, which have a shiny pink appearance. Over the course of the series, Saeko mostly wears her school uniform; however she has changed her attire more than once in the series. At Shizuka Marikawa's friend's, Rika Minami, house she wears nothing but an apron and a thong, and she also puts her hair up into a single ponytail. After leaving Rika's house, her clothing changes to female battle boots with heels, long lace purple stockings, purple gloves, her school uniform top, a skirt that shows the string of her thong and her entire right thigh, a purple lacey bra, and a special belt to hold her sword.
Later at Saya Takagi's house, Saeko wears a kimono. After reaching the East Police Station, Saeko adds a gun holster with a loaded M9 Vertec strapped to her right leg.
Throughout the series, Saeko is shown to be a kind, caring, strong and very reliable girl, which is pointed out by other characters. As the second oldest of the group after Shizuka, she acts as something of a big sister to the group, often considering the feelings of other members of the group and ensuring their well being. She falls in love with Takashi shortly after the Apocalypse, beginning to use his first name and asking him to use hers. She is very calm and collected, to an almost frightening degree, almost never freaking out or losing her cool in combat.
Saeko, following her familial samurai lineage, strictly follows what can be interpreted as Bushido code; her character, behavioral patterns, and frequent sayings (e.g "it's a man's decision after all") provides evidence of her strict following of Bushido code. She is the opposite of Rei in many ways; while Rei gets very jealous whenever Takashi gets close to another girl, Saeko is more mature and doesn't have a problem with it, even telling Takashi that girls can be weak sometimes.
Later on, however, Saeko reveals sadistic tendencies while fighting "them", often smiling whenever she's in combat. It can be assumed that Saeko's existential conflict manifests itself by cloaking her troubled, sadistic, malevolent and violent nature with the facade of a well-mannered and cultured girl. Her sadistic tendencies manifested four years before the story, when she fought off a would-be molester. At first, it was self-defence, but soon she realised that she enjoyed causing pain and having control over somebody's life. Ever since then, Saeko has grown to see herself as someone unworthy of love, and even becomes something of a "death seeker" until Takashi snaps her out of it. After this, Saeko learns to embrace her violent nature, having realised that it's essential for the group's survival.
Despite her sadistic tendencies, Saeko does still have morals, as shown when she couldn't bring herself to kill a pair of zombie children, something Takashi was able to do without any hesitation. Additionally, even after accepting who she is, she still shows a certain degree of self-hatred; when Rei states that she hopes she'll never get used to killing "them", Saeko states that she's at least better off than her.
Relationships with Other Characters
Saeko's romantic history has been rather lightly touched upon. She only speaks of liking a boy in the past but never being able to convey her feelings.
But it is shown that Saeko has developed intimate feelings toward Takashi, as she always blushes when he talks about her clothing. While in the mall (in the manga), she can be seen fighting with Rei Miyamoto over Takashi after declaring that she should comfort her friends as companions to the best of her ability.
Takashi became Saeko's reason to fight when she lost her will to go on. Saeko often shows jealousy when Takashi and Rei are getting intimate. Rei herself sees Saeko as her rival for Takashi and is also jealous when Saeko is around Takashi. Without Takashi, Saeko will have no other reason to live as he is the only person that keeps her alive. If he suddenly died it shall be presumed she will most likely commit jigai (female ritual suicide).
Four years prior to the story, a 14-year-old Saeko was attacked by a man on her way home one night; however, she was able to easily overpower the man since she had her wooden sword with her. After severely injuring the man, the police released her due to the circumstances, but the events of that night left Saeko with a profound revelation.
She discovered a sadistic side to herself that enjoyed inflicting pain and suffering. It is also implied that at some point in the past she had liked a boy. But she was never able to tell him how she felt, feeling that her dark side meant that she did not deserve to confess her feelings.
The Outbreak at the Academy
During the initial outbreak at Fujimi Academy, Saeko is first shown meditating in a shrine, then appears when Shizuka and another student were about to be attacked in the infirmary. She comes to their rescue by swiftly killing "them" in the room, but the student was bitten before Saeko could manage to kill them all. After finishing up the last of "them", Saeko proceeds to introduce herself and asks the student if he knows what will happen to him if he gets bitten. After hearing his reply, Saeko asks him if he wants his parents and friends to see him in such a state, to which he replies no and Saeko tells him that she will help him to commit suicide. After crushing his brain in one swift hit, Saeko and Shizuka leave the infirmary in search of Shizuka's car keys so they can escape the school. On the way to the faculty room to get Shizuka's keys, Shizuka trips over and Saeko informs her that her attire isn't fit for running and proceeds to tear up Shizuka's skirt. After hearing Shizuka's complaints, Saeko asks her what Shizuka values more, a brand name skirt, or her life, to which Shizuka replies both. Later, both Saeko and Shizuka are still seen trying to reach the faculty room, but they hear a loud scream, which belongs to Saya. They rush to the source of the scream to find Saya and Kohta surrounded by "them". Luckily, Rei and Takashi arrives as well and they split up the job of killing "them". After some introductions, the newly formed group heads to the faculty room and they locate the school bus car keys as Shizuka's car won't fit the entire group. On their way to the school bus, the group encounters another group of students and they decide to escape together. Takashi, trying to test out Saya's theory about "them" not being able to see or smell, but only hear, tries to go into a group of "them", but Saeko stops him and offers herself up, but Takashi tells her that he'll need her help if things go awry. As soon as Takashi finds out Saya's theory to be correct, he opens a door and signals the group to move out, but as the last student was going down the stair, a metal staff he was holding hit the staircase railing by accident, thus causing "them" to flood towards the group as the sound of the impact echoed throughout the area. Defeating vast amounts of "them" as they get to the school bus, the group sees another group trying to get to them, and the group waits for them to join them at the school bus. After everyone is safely secured in the school bus, the group drives away from the school.
Tokonosu City Streets
At the beginning of the series Saeko escapes with the other main characters and Shido's group. After being separated from Takashi and Rei, Saeko and the others leave Shido's group to meet up with Takashi and Rei.
In Rika's House
The group later takes residence at Shizuka's friends apartment where they wait out the night. However Takashi decides to go save a young girl in a nearby house. While he is rescuing the girl, Saeko along with the rest of the group decides to pack all their things and supplies into Shizuka's friends Humvee. After finding out Takashi is surrounded by "them", they all go to save him. Saeko, armed with her bokken, tries to secure a safe area around the Humvee so Takashi can reach the Humvee safely. Once they had successfully retrieved Takashi, they decide to cross the river in the Humvee. On the way to the river, Saeko falls asleep and starts drooling on Takashi's lap, only to be awakened by Rei. After they reached the other side, Saeko gets dressed along with the rest of the girls. Once they all get dressed, the group decides to drive to Saya's house. On the way, Saeko hears Rei saying that there are wires on the road and they must stop the car. Saeko also notices this too and tells Shizuka to put the Humvee sideways. After an immediate braking, the car stalls and Rei falls off the back of the Humvee, causing the group to get out of the car to help her. As they keep fighting only more of "them" appear.
Seemingly doomed, Saya's mother and a group of people come to their rescue. Saeko and the group is saved. They stop at Takagi's parents house and gathers supplies as well as a good rest break. Here, Saeko and Rei have their first heightening of tensions as they fight for Takashi's affections. Takashi blushed when he saw Saeko in a kimono, to which Saeko blushed likewise.
Souichiro Takagi (Saya's father) gave her a katana as a gift for protecting his daughter Saya Takagi and in exchange for the Kendo/Iaido training he received from Saeko's father in the past.
Soon after, they start to attack on the vista. Mr. Takagi orders that they close the gates at once to the vista, but "they" are in too great of a number and bust down the gate. Hirano is soon shown using his gun skill against "them" and the adults are amazed. Souichrio and his men throw dynamite in an attempt to clear a path of "them", but it simply attracts more of "them." In the fighting Saeko once again shows her skill with the sword. During the fighting one of "them" comes at Saeko form behind, but she is saved by Rei; this shows that while the girls are rivals for Takashi, they will continue to help each other stay alive. Souichiro and Yuriko Takagi are last shown fending for themselves, while the gang flees from the crowd of "them" on a ATV, saying they are glad the group left and that they regret nothing.
As the gang tries to flee on the highway, they are surrounded by "them." Takashi and Saeko devise a plan to meet up within a day while they distract "them". Afterwards, Saeko and Takashi drive off to the riverbank to get some rest. Later, Takashi decides to use the ATV's amphibious feature. In the resulting splash when they landed in the water, both Saeko and Takashi gets wet. When Takashi turns around to check if Saeko is alright, he is mesmerized by her see-through wet clothing. Saeko and Takashi are soon found on a sandbar in the middle of the river to distract "them", because "they" cannot cross the river. After Saeko changes shirts, Takashi drives the ATV to a nearby park where there is a fountain in the middle. The ATV then continues to go around in a circle in the fountain attracting "them" to it. When it comes to fighting though, Saeko is shown that she does not have the will at the moment to kill two children that have been turned into "them". Takashi rushes over and shoots the children in the head, saving Saeko. Saeko and Takashi flee to a nearby shrine for the time being.
In the shrine at night, Saeko explains to Takashi her sadistic side about how she nearly killed a man in "self-defense", and how she enjoyed it. Takashi responds by saying how ever since "they" showed up, he too has gained a sadistic side and begun enjoying killing "them", but Saeko argues that he only became that way after "they" appeared. It's implied that the two have sex. When morning comes, Saeko and Takashi are surrounded by "them" when they step outside of the shrine. But still, Saeko has no will to fight. Seeing this, Takashi tells Saeko to make himself as her reason to fight if she has no reason at all. Takashi gropes her left breast and says that he will always think Saeko is the greatest girl ever and he'll accept her faults and sadistic nature. After that, Saeko snaps into action and dominates "them" around her. The quote "I'm getting wet" then follows, possibly due to the fact that she is cutting up so many people or she is enjoying the sensation of cutting up "them." After the fighting, Saeko asks Takashi if he will "Take responsibility" to which Takashi replied: "Your wish is my command." It is heavily implied that Saeko has developed strong feelings for Takashi for he is the only one who accepted her faults and sadistic nature. One of her reasons to continue to fight is because of him. When Saya said that she wonders what makes the pain bearable for her and Rei, Saeko for herself thought of Takashi.
Abilities / Powers
In the group, Saeko is considered the most reliable of all fighters, and everyone can count on her combat skills to pull them through a tough spot if need be. Like Rei, Saeko is an athletic fighter and talented combat specialist whose forte is in melee attacks. She is one of the main reasons why the protagonists have managed to survive as far as they have.
Saeko is a close-range specialist. At the beginning of the series, she uses a bokken (wooden sword) that she used to fight "Them" with, but she was later given a sword by Souichiro Takagi to fight "Them". Later on, she was given a M92 Vertec pistol as a secondary weapon, despite her lack of experience with firearms.
Saeko highly specializes in melee combat and mostly uses close range weapons. She initially uses the Wooden Sword, but she upgrades to a Murata-tou when they get to the Takagi Estate. After the gang raid the Police Station, Saeko takes a M92 Vertec pistol on her thigh as a secondary weapon in spite of the fact that she has yet to learn how to use it.