It’s not often that I’m reminded of the manliest anime character in the history of the medium, but Takashi Komuro of High School of the Dead has just managed it. Say hello to Mr. Badass, Summer 2010 Edition.
More after the jump.
High School of the Dead‘s episode 04 has a strong Mad Max vibe going in its favour. After recapping the earlier episodes, it focuses on Rei and Komuro’s motorcycle journey after they were separated from the rest of the group, whom we see little of this week… Except for a certain someone’s creepy side coming out. If Rei’s dislike of Mr. Shido wasn’t enough for you, well, there ya go.
Daijooooooooooooobu. But hang on, this post isn’t about Pedo-Sensei.
Komuro is, on one level, just a teenager who acts like a badass, but in a delightful twist we’re privy to his inner monologue at several points during the series thus far, so that we can discern that his bravado is often a facade to mask his own fears – which is how real people behave, after all. I always harken back to Now and Then, Here and There as an example of the opposite, delirious fantasy in which anime protagonists (including children!) are all possessed of an indomitable spirit and peerless courage that eventually triumphs over evil. Of course, it can work if you’re shooting for a fantastical fantasy universe in the first place, but in a realistic drama like High School of the Dead? Shu would have been zombie chow three and a half episodes ago. Watching protagonists who are prey to doubt, fear, self-pity and so on humanizes them to a degree that anime rarely capitalizes on.
And there’s something else going on with Komuro that I haven’t nailed down yet, but if you recall episode 03 and the random blonde dude’s rant, it seems like the high schoolers outside the main group don’t hold him in high esteem. For what reason? Maybe it’s nothing special, just stress or internal dissent… then again, he had to have a reason for moping around as episode 01 began.
But no one watched episode 04 for the riveting characterization or oppressive atmosphere. No, you watched because you wanted to see Rei get molested by some crazed gangster who sneaks up on her after she and Komuro stop at a gas station to fill up. Unfortunately, I like Rei. She’s frank and always cuts to the chase – which are qualities that may or may not help in the post-Z-Day world, but are still admirable. Seeing her descend to the level of damsel in distress was, well, distressing. I hope she doesn’t catch a bout of Princess Toadstool Syndrome. I want my sniper school girl, damnit!