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Healer Girl Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

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Healer Girl Episode 1 Review – Quick Summary

In Healer Girl episode 1, “Kana Fujii, Healer (Apprentice),” Kana Fujii was on her way to class when she came across an injured child. The boy just had a little scrape. What harm would it do if she sang his wound away? When she got to school, however, her teacher, Ria Karasuma, already knew about the incident. And she had no illusions about what could have gone wrong. Will Kana still be in school by the end of the day? Or has she sung her last song of healing?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Healer Girl Episode 1

Kana’s poker face needs work. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I think Kana was under the impression that she’d gotten away with treating the small boy on her way to school. She knew her teacher, Ria, had ordered her not to heal until she had been trained and had her provisional license. But she couldn’t just let the little boy cry from a scraped knee, could she?

Well, she probably should have. Her friends Reimi Itsushiro and Hibiki Morishima even gave her useful hints later. Basic things like using a bandage or a compress. But no, Kana had to sing her song of healing.

We don’t know yet what could have gone wrong. But Ria’s position showed no compromise: She forbade Kana and the others from healing before they were ready.

Ria completely blasted Kana’s illusion that she had gotten away with it. Reiterating Kana should absolutely not heal before she was ready, she added (05:17), “Even if, hypothetically, a little boy was crying with a skinned knee, you would not be allowed to treat him. My network of informants is quite extensive.”

Like I said, we still don’t know what could go wrong. But the series is taking the idea seriously, and I really like that! It feels consequential.

Best in Show Moment for Healer Girl Episode 1

This show just might succeed where so many others have failed. This moment was just breath-taking. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Working with Music is Hard

Since Marvel published the Dazzler comic series back in the early 1980s, and since the movie Xanadu came out, I’ve wanted to see music do more. Like, become a weapon, or a means to convince a god to grant a desperate plea. Neither Dazzler nor Xanadu were perfect. Okay, I’m covering for just how cheesy they were. But the idea stirred my imagination. 

So far, the most perfect articulation of this idea came from the Silmarillion, which might well be J. R. R. Tolkien’s master work, depending on your perspective. In it the most gifted and beautiful of all the elves, Luthien, upon the death of Beren, her beloved, went before Mandos, the one who judged all spirits. This is the passage:

The song of Lúthien before Mandos was the song most fair that ever in words was woven, and the song most sorrowful that ever the world shall hear. Unchanged, imperishable, it is sung still in Valinor beyond the hearing of the world, and listening the Valar are grieved. For Lúthien wove two themes of words, of the sorrow of the Eldar and the grief of Men, of the Two Kindreds that were made by Ilúvatar to dwell in Arda, the Kingdom of Earth amid the innumerable stars. And as she knelt before him her tears fell upon his feet like rain upon the stones; and Mandos was moved to pity, who never before was so moved, nor has been since.

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Silmarillion (p. 221). HMH Books. Kindle Edition. 

Ria isn’t Mandos. But Kana’s song sure seemed to move her! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

“And Mandos was moved to pity…” I cannot tell you the impression that left on me. Mandos, the one who judged all spirits, felt pity because of how she had expressed herself in music. That is wonderful and beautiful and inspiring and heart-breakingly sad all in one paragraph.

A lot of television shows, movies, and anime series have tried to make music work. But none have done well. Listeners tried, but, well, let’s just say that it will never make the Caw of Fame. Same thing with take.op Destiny. But Healer Girl showed me something in this episode that got my attention.

Delivery: Healer Girl’s Kana Fujii Might Have the Secret

The show kept me entertained. The animation feels like it’s trying hard, with dramatic angles and camera movements that the animation struggled at times to make feel smooth. But I like what I’m seeing; I appreciate the effort. I feel a kinship with the animators that are clearly putting their heart into this.

Then we got to the point where Kana tried to help the grandma who experienced difficulty breathing. To that point, the show had generated some intrigue when Reimi talked about how recorded song could heal, but only like over-the-counter drugs. It took tailored in-person singing to really heal. That’s cool – it lends a depth and texture to their powers. 

But then Kana knelt beside grandma. She remembered Ria earnestly cautioning her against healing before she was ready. I figured the show was going to elevate youthful enthusiasm over years of professional experience. I prepared myself to be disappointed. Because let’s face it: Self-indulgent fantasy aside, experience does matter.

It did here, too. Kana did not try to heal grandma. Instead, she used her power to comfort her.

She thought hard and honored her commitment to her teacher. And in so doing, elevated the show, at least for me. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

“I can’t treat her,” she said, trying to quickly think through her options (17:03). “ But I can hold her hand and rub her back.”

So she sang. Not a song of healing, but a song of comfort. I kid you not, it was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. Not just the song and the animation, which by themselves were wonderful to hear and see. But that wasn’t all! When Ria arrived, she gasped at the intricacy of what she called Kana’s Image – something that the clinic’s welcomer, Shouko Nagisa, didn’t seem capable of even seeing.

I have no idea where this show is going. But seeing Ria’s reaction to Kana’s singing and Image sold me. I decided in that scene that I’d review it. I really hope it lives up to its promise! But even if it tries and fails, I’ll be happy. Even the attempt matters!

What did you think of Shouko’s viper alcohol? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to share in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Healer Girl Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

  1. Ok. Yeah Dazzler was an X-Man for awhile. Surprised she was never done by the Japanese. Her being a singer and Star and all that.

    So I take it this is going to be awhile before I can find Healer Girl. No DVDs. No digital release outside of what I assume is Crunchyroll… How much is their premium nowadays anyway… And no manga. So… I put it on my watch List and I’ll look for it from time to time. Thanks.

        1. I’m on the $9.99 a month because it gives me 3 vs 1 simultaneous stream. But I don’t use the second very often, and I might downgrade at some point.

  2. On the seasonal preview charts I pretty much ignored Healer Girl. It sounded like a bog-standard idol show that put it’s typical purity ideology into a metaphor. We’ve had this type of show before; I’m thinking of a particular one, but I can’t remember what happened and I can’t remember the name. I sort of enjoyed it, and I think it aired some time in the last five years. It’s not rare, so it’s not exactly important whether I remember the show.

    What I got did feel a little like a seinen CGDCT show, but I thought the shouje magical girl show vibes were stronger. That was a surprise. The character are charming. The sudden musical makes in-world sense (if you ignore that the grammophone record suddenly stopped and we get background instrumentation for the vocals), and is fun. And above all, the singers all have trained voices. That’s rare in anime. Now I like and even prefer the less trained voices we usually get (I’m not sure “trained” is the right word; more volume – maybe stage voice vs. mic voice?) Also, the songs are pretty well arranged; there’s a nice spread of instruments used well.

    It’s a much better premiere than I expected, and those were pretty nice scenes you described here, too.

    1. I had the same reaction to it LiveChart preview. Even Random Curiosity’s preview didn’t capture my imagination.

      I hope the rest of the reason maintains this level of musical performance.

      The details of how the musical healing works seemed interesting, too. I hope they build on that.

  3. Hmm… Hey! A new series is being reviewed from Crow! Let’s see…

    Crow set me on the path to review Princess Connect Re:Dive… Even though he was on Season 2 and I finished Season 1… And my DVD is a Chinese Bootleg. Still… Good recommendation.

    Crow set me on the path to review Unbreakable Machine Doll and My Dress Up Darling. One I think I got an official DVD. The other I got digitally. The second I also added the manga to review. Both coming in the future.

    Now we have Healer Girl. About a girl with the magical power to heal others by singing to them… And the world that can’t decide whether to persecute her or not. Because X-Men. Or that series with robotic females called Raised By Wolves. Or the creator saw Sing 1 & 2 and Mana Mia and Cats in theaters and hates musicals… I’ll see if I can get this. My snark aside it sounds interesting. Thanks Crow. Once again you inspired me to be a better reviewer… No matter how hard I resist change.

    1. Dazzler was with the X-Men for a while, wasn’t she? I had forgotten that. I remembered her as a standalone series!

      I really didn’t think I’d like it; I hadn’t planned to watch it. But there was something honest about it that appealed to me.

      I’d be interested in hearing what you think if you decide to watch it!

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