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Healer Girl Episode 4 Review – Best In Show

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Healer Girl Episode 4 Review – Quick Summary

In Healer Girl episode 4, “First Steps, Horror, and a First Job,” Kana, Reimi, and Hibiki were trying to come to grips with combined exhilaration and terror of having passed their first exams. The achievement thrilled them; the responsibility sobered them. Then they got their first job – singing to support a medical doctor during his first surgery! Terrified at the thought of seeing real blood, they took Shouko’s advice and watched splatter horror movies to prepare. Was that a good idea? Will their nerves hold until the day of surgery? Or will the preparations prove too brutal for their sensibilities?

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

Favorite Quote from Healer Girl Episode 4

Healer Girl Episode 4: You know the movies were scary if Hibiki freaked out

The movies must really have been scary if they freaked out Hibiki! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I think for my favorite quote, I’m going to keep a trend of inarticulate noises going. The most recent example of that trend celebrated Rishia Ivyred’s reaction to the supposedly dead Ost Horai handing her a handkerchief. In this episode of Healer Girl, I think we got a moment of screaming that surpassed Rishia’s best efforts. And it’s all because of character.

Kana, Reimi, and Hibiki’s first job was going to be singing to support a surgeon leading his first operation (he’d been backup for other surgeries). That meant they’d need to see real blood. It’s not surprising that the girls seemed uneasy with the idea. I’ve known adults who would faint at the sight of blood. So, Shouko thought she’d help them get ready.

I still haven’t decided if Shouko’s motives were pure, because she seemed to really enjoy how frazzled and terrified the girls looked the next day. They looked even worse than they had after their exam! Reimi described, in a voice unsteady with remembered horror, how every time she closed her eyes, she would see one of the most terrifying moments from the movies.

Then the camera focused on Hibiki. The horror welled up to the surface and she just screamed (08:03). 

I laughed harder than I should have, but that was mostly because of who Hibiki is. She’s the calm one. She’s the more mature one. Seeing her only able to scream at her memories, knowing she was really safe and surrounded by her friends, just seemed funny to me.

Best in Show Moment for Healer Girl Episode 4

Healer Girl Episode 4: Reimi stepped up to take command

While Hibiki and Kana panicked, Reimi stepped up. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Establishing a Visual/Musical Vocabulary

Back in my review of episode 1, I talked about how comics like Dazzler, movies like Xanadu, and even more modern anime like Listeners stirred my imagination. They tried to interleave music and action and drama, but all three of them stumbled. Dazzler, as a comic book, could not bring the audible impact of the music itself. Xanadu was, well, 1980s cheesy effects can only carry so much load. And Listeners… let’s just say I appreciated its effort, and leave it at that.

I’m beginning to think that Healer Girl might have found the secret combination to making this idea work.

Kana’s first attempt to help a patient in episode 1 really worked  for me. Kana’s duo with Sonia in episode 2 expanded the world’s visual vocabulary and gave us an idea of how badly wrong songs could go. Episode 3 gave us an all around sense for how these girls could just spontaneously burst into song – in a delightful sort of way.

Episode 4 showed us what it’s like on the front-line of a medical procedure gone bad. In doing so, it began to stretch its dramatic wings. So much so that the moment is my favorite in the episode.

Healer Girl Episode 4: Hibiki, Kana, and Reimi prepared to sing for the surgeon and patient

The three prepared to sing for what they hoped would be a routine procedure. Except, there are very few routine surgeries… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The surgeon’s first surgery as lead doctor seemed to be going well. Kana, Reimi, and Hibiki sang to keep him, the surgical team, and the patient calm and focused. It was seriously cool how they would rotate off, first Reimi, then Hibiki, and finally Kana, to get a drink of water and rest their voices. That touch of realism helped me fully immerse myself in the scene.

Almost at the end of the procedure, everyone was getting tired. Suddenly, something went wrong with the surgery. The patient’s lesion turned out to be more extensive, and the inexperienced surgeon decided to go after it – despite his senior’s warning.

Delivery: Earlier Motifs Boosted the Impact

It was seriously cool how the animation portrayed the moment. Even while trying to project their calming effect through their song, Kana and the others could see the moment the patient was in danger. A red aura flooded their vision. The situation continued to degrade; the girls’ song faltered. Keep in mind: this was their first official job. They’d never even seen blood before.

That’s when Reimi took charge. In response to Hibiki’s panicked “What do we do?”, Reimi said, “We sing” (16:47). Watching the imagery only they could see, watching the patient sliding towards death, seeing the abyss open as it had opened in episode 2, Reimi rallied her friends. Kana’s voice was the most fresh, so Reimi asked her to take the lead. Kana said she’d sing to the surgical team, since only their calm could save the patient. She asked Reimi and Hibiki to sing to the patient, since their voices were exhausted.

Healer Girl Episode 4: Kana refined Reimi's orders

Kana suggested she focus on the surgical team while Hibiki and Reimi help the patient. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The visual and audio interpretation set this series apart from the shows that have failed before it. The way their song took shape as a series of blue-white streamers that pushed against the black and reds of the collapsing image worked perfectly. The way the animation portrayed the resolve of Kana, Reimi, and Hibiki as they leaned into the music conveyed their effort with visceral effectiveness. And the way the sequence incorporated the avatars of not only Kana, which we saw back in episode 1, but also of Reimi and Hibiki, added an emotional punch.

The soaring music and vocals put the icing on the cake.

I’ve not seen a series do a better job at expressing music as a way to convey power. We’re only four episodes in, and I’m already ecstatic at what this show has been able to achieve. And yes, I’m worried about how it’ll keep it up! But no matter what, these first four episodes are completed, and they’ve been a joy to watch.

What did you think of Kana and Reimi blowing their first attempts at singing after receiving their licenses? What were your favorite moments in the episode? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Healer Girl Episode 4 Review – Best In Show

  1. I, too, really liked the rotation. I had a split second of confusion, actually, and wasn’t sure what was happening, until it all made sense, and then I thought I should have thought of it. Operations can take quite a long time. (I never did figure out whether they were behind glass. They should have been, for hygiene reasons. And I really do think they were, but then I wondered about the acoustics.)

    I’m really impressed, though, how well integrated the music is in the world building. That really wasn’t something I expected. And I also find them all just so likable.

    1. I rewatched the scene a few times, and I don’t think they were behind glass. Maybe the holes on their platform were ventilation? But that didn’t make sense. Ria and Shouto had to scrub and put on gowns before they could get into the room.

      The seamless integration of music and the world has seriously impressed me. I think it sets it apart form previous attempts at the same thing.

      And yeah, it’s hard to find anything not to like about the main cast!

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