After being announced over a year ago, the anime adaptation of Redo of Healer is finally here.
When it was originally announced over a year ago, some fans feared that western localizers wouldn’t pick it up at all. Others feared that it would be and then go the way of Interspecies Reviewers and get canceled (which it did in Germany).
It has been two weeks since the premiere and Redo of Healer is going strong on Sentai Filmwork’s HIDIVE streaming service. Does Redo of Healer deserve the hype? Is its only selling point its controversy? How does it stack up against other fantasy and isekai series?
Redo of Healer
Publishers: Lantis, Glovision
Director: Takuya Asaoka
Translation: Sentai Filmworks
Premiere: January 13, 2021
Author’s Note: This review will make reference to sexual assault, torture, and other extreme subjects. Reader discretion is advised.
Redo of Healer is a fantasy anime based off the 2017 light novel series by writer-artist duo Rui Tsukiyo and Shiokonbu. The series, while not an “isekai” series still follows many of its trappings, including a protagonist who’s given a second chance with unprecedented power.
Due to the painful feedback of conventional healing magic, Keyaru is a disgraced member of the hero party as the pain normally makes him reluctant to use his magic.
However the cruel princess and Magic Hero Flare assures Keyaru’s obedience through an induced addiction to drugs. Keyaru is forced to travel on the quest to beat the demon lord, all the while being sexually and physically abused by his three comrades; the Magic Hero Princess Flare, the Sword Hero Blade, and the Cannon Hero Bullet.
While not a traditional isekai, Keyaru gets his opportunity using the Philosopher’s Stone which has bound with the core of the demon lord, a black winged demoness. Using the stone, Keyaru empowers his Healing skill to actually “heal” the entire world, reverting it to a previous state and effectively going back in time.
Though like everyone else, he lost his memories, he hoped the grudge scarred in his heart would remind him he needs to prepare for his revenge. Thankfully this time comes and his memories return to him soon enough for him to begin leveling his Drug Resistance skill so he can remain lucid when Princess Flare aims to manipulate him.
Once he has a foot in the door to foil the princess’s plans, he can start his revenge and change the future.
Even some fans of isekai series are probably sick of the cliche where the protagonist simply steamrolls everything he faces with cheat0like abilities. However while this is the case with Keyaru in Redo of Healer, his abilities are oddly consistent.
Healing, buffing, and debuffing tend to go hand in hand. So it’s not a far stretch for Keyaru to learn to use his healing in different ways. Especially when the setting establishes that at its core: healing is simply returning something to a prior or natural state, in addition to its ability to grow and warp flesh.
Combining these two properties, the potential of Keyaru’s healing power are almost limitless. Destroying someone’s memories, paralyzing them, implanting false emotions can all be done with nuanced “healing” on the target’s brain. Changing someone’s appearance is child’s play when flesh twists at the whim of his magic.
This isn’t to mention the nuances of his debuffing abilities. Keyaru’s able to use his healing to drain “experience” from others. Another overpowered trick but still thematically appropriate.
Lastly the feedback from his healing is him being forced to experience the pain and trauma that created the injuries he’s removing. But this intrusion of someone’s memories is also an education and he can pick up skills from those he heals through this connection.
Keyaru is most definitely a cliche fantasy protagonist, but to the show’s credit it’s almost forgivable because of the consistency in the rationalization of his powers.
Redo of Healer comes in three different versions because of how erotic and violent some of the content can be.
A fully censored version intended for TV broadcast in Japan, a partially censored version intended for digital streaming services, and finally a wholly uncensored version exclusive to the Japanese AT-X premium broadcasting station. The version on HIDIVE is assumed to be the partially censored version intended for streaming services; and as such the review will be based on this version.
The censorship is probably the worst thing about the anime right now. Random black blurs covering naked body parts and violent injuries are annoying and immersion breaking.
However despite the censorship, the willingness of the studio to create a series that portrays extreme content like this should be praised. Especially their intention to release it to such a wide market. It would have been the easier thing to create the uncensored version and release only an adult version however hopefully we’ll still be able to see it in the west.
A joke has popped up recently about viewers being forced to watch the screen pan over a fireplace while the sounds of sexual assault play in the background. Unfortunately the joke is entirely accurate and viewers are unable to watch an entire scene for over a minute.
Unfortunately this makes it difficult to judge certain parts of the animation like their attention to detail with gore. But what we are allowed to see looks great.
Unlike a good deal of anime series nowadays, Redo of Healer lacks any obvious use of 3D animation for low-detail scenes. Every scene appears traditionally animated and surprisingly even many particle effects lack obvious 3D effects; fire, lightning, magical sparkles, nothing breaks drastically from any of the show’s scenes.
In addition to displaying a lack of any obstructive 3D effects, the 2D effects have weight and detail. A scene where Keyaru cuts off an enemy’s head results in a veritable fountain of blood.
The voice cast does a fantastic job and Yuya Hozumi’s range as Keyaru is impressive. Hozumi can transition from degenerate begging, to smug stoicism, to crazed laughter easily within a single scene.
Meanwhile Ayano Shibuya achieves a similar effect with her role as Princess Flare. Most haughty “ojou-sama” type characters tend to still have a smugness to their voice even when backed into a corner. Shibuya is able to capture a different effect and really sells the change in tone someone might experience when faced with a man’s sadistic revenge with utterly shattered pride.
The opening theme is fantastic, Zankoku na Yume to Nemure (Cruel Dreams and Sleep according to Google Translate) is the kind of J-Rock song that hits the right notes with its dramatic breakdown. The sweeping melody of the song is reminiscent of JAM Project’s songs.
The ending theme Yume de Sekai wo Kaeru nara (If You Change the World with your Dreams according to Google Translate) is a more calm J-Pop sounding song. It makes light use of instrumentals and relies on the vocals to carry it, it’s not bad but it’s not particularly memorable.
Ultimately, Redo of Healer is a high quality series that transcends its controversy with its fantastic animation, incredible voice acting, and an unapologetic story. It’s unfair to the production put into it to dismiss the series as simply “edgy” and deserves to be watched for its own merit rather than irony.
Isekai fans who enjoy stories about overpowered heroes will find Redo of Healer a familiar, if eccentric story. However the show is a good chance for fans of sadistic thrillers such as GANTZ.
People can turn their nose up at the extreme content in Redo of Healer; but they can’t deny that it’s the logical product of popular revenge plots in mainstream titles like High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World and at its core has much in common with mainstream isekai fantasy.