Highschool of the Dead (Episode 1) – Spring of the Dead

Highschool of the Dead Title

Takashi Komuro was skipping class when it started. He saw the teachers confront a man at the gates. One was bitten, and then they started to attack each other. He didn’t know why it was happening, all he could do was react!

Highschool of the Dead (Episode 1) – Spring of the Dead

What did you watch?

Has it really been a week since I spent an entire post gushing about the opening two minutes of Highschool of the Dead? Apparently so! It seems like so long ago. Well, at least I can talk about the rest of the episode now. If you read my last post, you’ll already know how much I love this series and are probably prepared, in part at least, for what I’m going to say about it. However, before I pick this episode apart, let’s go over what happened.

Highschool of the Dead Episode 1 Takashi Skipped Class

What happened?

Takashi Komuro was skipping class. He had recently been dumped by his long-time girlfriend, Rei Miyamoto. She had been forced to repeat a year at school and fell for Takashi’s friend, Hisashi Igou, who was also repeating the year. To make matters worse, Saya Takagi decided it was the perfect time to tell him how stupid she thought he was and how disappointed she was that he was moping on the fire escape instead of staying in class. She obviously likes him and doesn’t know how to say it. Anyhow, she left when she saw that nothing she said had any impact on him. Not long after she was gone, Takashi heard a sound coming from the gates. There was a man walking into them over and over again. Luckily, the gym teachers showed up ready to get rid of the trespasser.

Takashi watched in horror as the man beyond the gates bit one of the teachers. That teacher appeared to die but then got up and attacked the others. Takashi turned and ran straight for Rei’s class. He barged inside and told her they had to leave. She refused to believe him, but Hisashi could tell he was deadly serious. They ran out of the classroom and headed for their lockers. After grabbing their phones and some make-shift weapons, they heard an announcement over the intercom telling all the students to evacuate the premises. Then, they heard another sound as the teacher broadcasting the warning was killed. Panic erupted as students desperately tried to flee.

Highschool of the Dead Episode 1 Rei Takashi and Hasashi see a Zombie

Takashi, Rei, and Hisashi ran into a teacher as they took a different route out to avoid the mass panic. The teacher attacked Rei who then pierced his heart with her spear. However, that didn’t stop him. Hisashi put him in a headlock and tried to pull him away. The teacher turned his head in an inhuman way and bit down on Hisashi’s arm. After a moment of shock, Takashi ran forward and smashed the teacher’s head with a baseball bat. That stopped him. They continued to the roof as chaos filled the school.

From the rooftop, they could see that it wasn’t just happening in the school. The entire city had fallen apart. Several Japanese Self Defence Force helicopters flew overhead, however, they obviously had bigger problems than some high school students to rescue. Before they knew it, the school was overrun with zombies, several of them following them to the rooftop. They ran for the observation room where they could barricade the stairs. However, soon after doing so, Hisashi started to get sick. He observed that it was just like a movie – once you’re bitten, you become one of them.

Highschool of the Dead Episode 1 Hisashi asks Takashi to Help him End It

Hisashi asked Takashi to help him to the railings. If he jumped from this height the fall was sure to destroy his brain. He couldn’t stand the idea of becoming a zombie and attacking them. Rei was stunned. Takashi didn’t know what to do as Hisashi started to cough up blood. Then, he toppled forward and collapsed on the floor beside Rei. Takashi told her to get away from him as he tightened his grip on his bat. She threw herself on top of Hisashi’s body and refused to let him. She was sure he would get better. Hisashi started to move again, which gave her hope. Then, he climbed to his feet and stared at them with vacant eyes.

Takashi pulled Rei away and then charged. His bat made brutal contact with Hisashi’s head, stopping him there and then. The trauma of it was too much for Rei who turned on Takashi. She told him she didn’t want him to save her and maybe she would have rather become one of them than do that to Hisashi. She decided that Takashi must have been jealous of Hisashi because they were dating. Takashi turned and headed to the stairs. She obviously didn’t want him there, but when he started to climb over the barricade, she grabbed his hand, apologising and begging him to stay with her. Takashi climbed down and held her close. On the day it ended, he had killed his best friend and held the girl he loved for the first time…

Highschool of the Dead Episode 1 Takashi Hugs Rei

What did you think?

My heart is pounding. There are so many things they get right with this episode that it should be studied by anyone wanting to make a zombie movie or show. The tone was perfect. It had that air of mystery and tension that slowly builds as the episode progresses. The music almost dictates the speed with which your heart beats, and it gets faster as things get more intense. I mentioned how the opening two minutes set up the love triangle which was incredible because it made the impact of that final scene so amazing. I’m not talking about Takashi killing the undead Hisashi but what happened next…

Highschool of the Dead Episode 1 Takashi Plans on Killing Zombie Hisashi

What was your favourite moment?

It’s hard to call this my favourite moment because it was, and always is, hard to watch. Takashi just saved Rei’s life by killing Hisashi. It must have been awful for him as Hisashi was his best friend. Then, to be told by the girl he loved that she would have rather become one of them or that she was prepared for Hisashi to bite her was a massive punch to the gut, especially when he was already dealing with what he just had to do. The final nail was her calling him jealous, which he probably was, but that wasn’t a factor in this decision.

So, it was completely understandable that he would turn and walk away. She didn’t want him there and he didn’t need to be reminded of what just happened. At the end of the episode, however, when he embraces her after she had begged him not to leave, he says that he held the girl he loved for the first time, but the look in his eyes says otherwise. I think she lost him at that moment and that’s also incredibly sad.

Highschool of the Dead Episode 1 Rei Grabs Takashi's Arm

Who was the most impactful character?

I want to say Takashi as he drove the episode. He was the one who reacted to the threat and warned the others. However, without Hisashi, I don’t think Rei would have gone with him. Had Hisashi taken a different stance and told Takashi to leave, the episode would have been very different. So, from that point on, Hisashi is the one that brought about change in the episode. He was like a voice of reason guiding Rei and Takashi, and never more so than when he was about to die. He could see what was coming and he tried to prepare them for it. He even tried to spare Takashi the task of doing it. All he needed was help to the railing and he would take care of it himself. Unfortunately, he didn’t last long enough and ended up putting a massive wedge between Takashi and Rei.

Highschool of the Dead Episode 1 Helicopters Passing Rei Panties

What have you learned?

In this episode, Takashi did everything right. He didn’t rush in and fight a zombie before having some idea of how to handle them. Rei and Hisashi both did and it cost Hisashi his life. Takashi made the right decision to run and get his friends when he saw what happened at the gates. He was right to kill Hisashi when he reanimated. However, even though he did the right thing, it wasn’t good enough for those around him. I love how characters can perceive action in a different light such as seeing it as an act of jealousy and not heroic. Things like that can help bond the audience with the character that has been wronged. I certainly felt for Takashi as he faced Rei’s accusations.

Highschool of the Dead Episode 1 Rei Angry at Takashi

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  1. “I think she lost him at that moment and that’s also incredibly sad.”

    That scene was a punch in the gut. I don’t think this series gets nearly enough credit for moments like that, so I’m glad you’re pointing them out!

    • Absolutely. The characters are fantastic and they react as you might expect in an apocalyptic setting. Rei was hurt and she lashed out. She didn’t mean it, but they were going through a fairly traumatic moment so I don’t blame her. However, it’s hard to truly come back from things like that though. Once something’s been said, there are no take backs.

What did you think?