Saeko Busujima (毒島 冴子 Busujima Saeko) is a student at Fujimi High School, a member and unofficial point man of the survivor group led by Takashi Komuro and the daughter of Master Busujima. Before the apocalypse, she was in her Third year and was also captain of the Kendo Club at Fujimi High School. 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 Miyamoto, Saeko is an athletic fighter and talented combat specialist whose forte is in melee attacks, which is one of the reasons why the protagonists have managed to survive as far as they have. 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".
Saeko has straight and shiny thigh-length straight purple hair that has a triangular fringe at the front which barely touches the ridge of her nose. She has blue eyes and sizable breasts. She is quite tall for a Japanese girl and her relatively long limbs contribute leverage to her powerful sword swings. In the manga, one of Saeko's physical features which are often 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 Rika Minami (Shizuka Marikawa's friend) house, Saeko wears nothing but an apron with a black 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 lacy 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.
In the non-canon Drifters of the Dead, she is shown wearing a white strapless bikini which accentuates the tops of her breasts.
Throughout the series, Saeko is shown to be a very kind, caring, strong and reliable person that is pointed out by other characters, but she is also calm and collected as she almost never freaks out or loses her cool in combat, which is an almost frightening degree. As the second oldest of the group after Shizuka Marikawa, Saeko 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.
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 Miyamoto in many ways; while Rei gets very jealous whenever Takashi Komuro gets close to another girl, Saeko is more mature and she doesn't have a problem with it that she even tells Takashi that girls can be weak sometimes.
However, later on, 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 young woman. Her sadistic tendencies manifested four years before the story when she fought off a would-be molester. At first, it was self-defense, but soon she realized 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 realized 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 never gets used to killing "them", Saeko states that she's at least better off than her.
Saeko is also shown to have little modesty when it comes to showing off her body, as she had no problem with wearing only an apron and a thong in front of the rest of the group, and even fell asleep next to Takashi while wearing the outfit.
Four years prior to the story, 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.
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 Komuro, as she always blushes when he talks about her clothing, begin using his first name and asking him to use hers. 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 were to die, she would most likely commit jigai (female ritual suicide).
During the initial outbreak at Fujimi Academy, Saeko is first shown meditating in a shrine, then appears when Shizuka Marikawa 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 Takagi and Kohta Hirano 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 Koichi Shido's group. After being separated from Takashi Komuro and Rei Miyamoto, Saeko and the others leave Shido's group to meet up with Takashi and Rei.
The group later take up residence at Shizuka's friend's apartment where they wait out the night. Saeko bathes with the rest of the girls and later changes into an apron and a thong, which were apparently the only clean clothes. 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 and in exchange for the Kendo/Iaido training he received from Saeko's father in the past.
Soon after, "they" start to attack the vista. Souichiro 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 from 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 are last shown fending for themselves, while the gang flees from the crowd of "them" on an 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-defence." 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 (to imply to Saeko that he is attracted to her) 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.
They later meet up with the others where they rest at a mall. After Saya Takagi mentions that Takashi and Kohta are the most likely to "lose it and become a danger themselves", Saeko simply replies that she will try to help them out as much as possible as companions. This raises some doubts from Rei and Saeko responds by "don't forget I'm of the female sex". This leads to a scene where there's a lot of tension between the girls. Later, Saeko is seen sitting next to Takashi and talking to him in a flirtatious manner, while Rei tries to fight over Takashi, she accidentally gives him a sexual stimulant, causing an awkward moment between the three. After the awkward moment, they decide to leave the mall and formulate a plan B, in which they do. After their escape and in the latest chapter, Saeko asks Takashi "where are you taking me now" in a seductive way with a grin. This causes Saya and Rei to be disgruntled. She is later seen fighting some of "them".
After they arrive at the police station, the group discusses how the police must've left in a hurry, judging by the skid marks on the ground. Inside the station, Takashi orders the group members to go search for the weapons cache. En route, the group encounters a pair of "them". After Saeko swiftly dispatches them, Takashi notes how they were a couple and at least died together. Saeko, shocked that they are a couple, looks at Takashi nervously. After locating the room and breaking down the lock, the group goes in while Saeko clears off the oncoming wave of "them". Once they find nothing usable in the cache, the group decides to go to the storage room to look for illegal weapons the police might have collected.
As they make their way to the storage room, Saeko talks to Takashi in a seductive way and licks her lips as she says that they can maybe find what they're looking for in the storage room. Just before they reach the door, Saeko kills a fully dressed police "Them". After killing the policeman, Kohta pounces on the police's weapons and gives Saeko a pistol. Saeko only replies that she doesn't know how to use it yet, but Kohta says that he'll teach her later and tells her to strap it to her leg. After the group is done grabbing supplies from the storage room, Saeko walks in proudly displaying her new holster on her right thigh, leading to Takashi and Kohta blush. Not only does this garner a positive response from the guys, Shizuka and Alice strongly approve of it as well. The only ones who are angry at Saeko showing off her new pistol strap is Saya and Rei, who claim "What the heck is that?! Aren't you embarrassed showing like that? I can't believe you're walking around like that!". After the compliments end, the group decides to go to the communication room.
The group reaches the communication room, and, after Kohta makes sure it is clear, they enter. After Saya finds the working computer and says the J-alert system is working, Saeko asks where it is getting power and suggests that a power plant nearby could still be working. Saya tells her that is "inconceivable," and it is probably running on backup power. Saya finds the information on the evacuation, and they leave the communication room with Saeko leading the way down the stairs. When Saya mentions that the evacuation is taking place at Shintoko Third Elementary School, Saeko smiles as she notes that the elementary school is where Takashi's mother is supposed to be and says it is lucky. Rei abruptly stops and angrily asks about her parent's, thinking they intend to abandon them. Saeko turns and reminds Rei that she told her before that all she wants to do is be useful. She then reassures Rei that, as a member of the Busujima family, she intends to be true to her word. Takashi tells Rei that her father comes first, and she leads them to the office where her father works.
After Rei bursts into the Public Safety Division office and is shocked to find it empty, Takashi turns to ask Saeko if she can guard the door. Saeko tells him she is not the one he should worry about now, indicating Rei's need for his comfort. Saeko stands by as the others search the room and eventually find the message from Rei's father saying the survivors have gone to the elementary school. As they prepare to leave, Takashi tells the group that they will go to find Rei's mother first, then go to the elementary school. He is urinated on by Zeke, and, as he doubts his right as their leader, Saeko tells him he is perfect for the job. They leave the police station, and Saeko notes that the weather is looking gloomy. They decide to go to a convenience store to find ponchos before it starts to rain.
After finding the appropriate raingear and getting some supplies from the Sevenson Station convenience store, the group sets off to find Rei's parents. On their journey, Saeko tells Takashi that she should lead the way, but Takashi tells her that he knows these roads better so he should lead, but Saeko tells him that because he knows these roads, they might encounter people that used to be his neighbors, and neither he nor Rei can be able to pull the trigger when the need arises. After hearing what Saeko says, Takashi switched the lead with her and the group continue to keep walking but found themselves to be trapped between two large groups of "them". Seeing a house he used to know, Takashi leads Saeko and the rest of the group through a fence to escape from the horde of "them". After seeing Saya have all sorts of troubleshooting down a single "them", Saeko finally steps in as a number of "them" were closing in on Saya without Saya noticing. Once the fight is finished, the group notices that the house beside where they are is filled with "them" and it'd would be a good idea to move to a different location. They almost get to Rei's house without trouble when they hear someone yell. Rei recognizes the voice as her mother's. They find Kiriko standing outside of a barrier and yelling. After some reuniting and introductions, Kiriko explains how she had been living with her neighbors, and they had sent her out to get supplies but wouldn't let her back in now. Takashi invites her to accompany the group as they go to the elementary school for the evacuation. Kiriko tells the neighbors about the evacuation, but they don't believe her. After a while, Saeko notices a group of "them" approaching, and the group prepares to leave. Takashi tells them not to run since they can't see well in the rain and to not shoot until he says to, then leads them as they move down the street.
Saeko is a melee combat specialist who is physically strong and extremely agile that she is a master swordswoman highly masterful in the art of Kendo where she can perform forceful sword strikes of immense precision even with a wooden bokken she can kill a living man with a single strike. She initially uses the bokken, but she upgrades to a Murata-tou when they arrive at the Takagi Estate. After the gang raid the Police Station, Saeko takes a M92 Vertec pistol on her thigh as a secondary weapon despite of the fact that she has yet to learn how to use it.
- "Protecting a man's pride... is a woman's duty." (to Shizuka Marikawa before killing Kazu Ishii)
- "It made me feel good to make him suffer! After realizing I had the overwhelming upper hand with my wooden sword, his frightened movements seemed inviting... I attacked without any hesitation! (to Takashi Komuro).
- "All I mean is that I don't intend to forget that I'm of the female sex." (to Rei Miyamoto and Saya Takagi).
- "If I remember correctly... I told you some time ago... that all I want is to be useful. As a daughter of the Busujima family... I intend to be true to my word." (to Rei).
- The name Saeko means "be clear, serene, cold, skillful" (冴) (sae) and "child" (子) (ko).
- In the English dub, Saeko's name is pronounced "psycho", which highlights her sadistic side.
- Saeko's surname Busujima means "poison" (毒) (busu) and "island" (島) (jima/shima).
- Saeko is the captain of Fujimi Academy's Kendo Club.
- Saeko is the first character to realize that knocking "Them" over is almost as effective as killing them.
- According to Morita, Saeko is ranked as the sexiest female student at Fujimi Academy.
- In Morita's Report, he shares his fantasy with Takashi Komuro about Saeko wearing nothing but an apron and a thong. But ironically, Saeko actually wears this attire later in front of Takashi.
- Saeko has been known to drool when she sleeps.
- Saeko's interests involve cultural Japanese things such as Koi fish and cherry blossom trees.
- Saeko dislikes it when Rei Miyamoto addresses her with the honorific "Senpai" as the two should be in the same year.
- Saeko ranked 3rd in the latest (Nov 9, 2011) Monthly Dragon Age character popularity poll.
- In the Lolipop Chainsaw video game, Saeko is an unlockable costume as well as Rei's unlockable costume.
- Saeko seems to be sexually aroused when killing something, or at the very least when killing "Them". As when she's killing a group of "them" at a shrine, she exclaims "I'm wet".
- In Episode 11, it was somewhat implied that there is a possibility that Saeko and Rei may have a professional or familial relationship.
- In the OVA, it is implied that Saeko is shown to be immune as she was not hallucinating from hydrangea, a plant with intoxicating properties which induces hallucinations.