Episode 10 – Healer Girl

How would you rate episode 10 of
Healer Girl ? Community score: 4.4

It’s fair to say that, among our main girls, Hibiki’s kind of been the weak link. Sure, she works alright in a group dynamic as a supportive force for the more chaotic personalities to flit around, but her only real focus episode amounted to a field trip devoid of any conflict or thematic pillar to build around. Compare that to Reimi’s solo episode, Sonia’s contributions across the school festival, or all of Kana’s various personal conflicts, and Hibiki’s been kept pretty stagnant. While episode 10 here doesn’t entirely fix that problem, it does make some solid strides in giving her more texture.

Weirdly, we don’t actually get a full episode focused on Hibiki, but rather spend the first 10 or so minutes inside her head, flashing back to her childhood idolizing her cousin Ria and struggling with confidence about becoming a healer in her own right. It’s solid stuff, and offers some much-needed emotion to Hibiki’s place in the story so far. For all that she plays the reliable group mom, she’s still got her own insecurities, especially when her personal measuring stick is The Witch of KMU who has seemingly advanced the science and acceptance of healing by decades all on her own. I especially liked the detail that she purposefully used her responsibility to her siblings to justify backing down from her dreams. It’s an extremely human thing to rationalize fear rather than admit to it.

It’s the kind of conflict you could probably fill a whole episode with, interspersing these flashbacks with some conflict where Hibiki has to once again face her feelings of inferiority and throw away the crutch of other responsibilities. That…kind of happens, in that it culminates with her volunteering to be the Center when the apprentices sing at their upcoming Halloween party. But that entire concept pops up moments before it’s resolved, and that’s roughly halfway through this episode. Kudos to Hibiki for learning her lesson the first time and taking a step forward, but it feels pretty rushed to just get there without any muss or fuss, especially when the rest of the runtime is dedicated to patented Healer Girl Fuckin’ Around time.

Granted I’m still a sucker for said Fuckin’ Around. I don’t care if they’ve reused that particular tune multiple times now, I’m always going to smile when the girls just start singing their way through mundane daily life, especially as they prance around random people who absolutely aren’t singing . Who needs a quick montage of shopping when you can turn it into a musical number, y’know? Just the image of these characters dancing and singing in the middle of crowded streets and disinterested bystanders brings back memories of the Love Live! girls dancing in the middle of traffic all those years ago. And the song during the Halloween party is just ridiculously fun all on its own. Granted it’s not particularly Halloween-y, even by the standards of anime’s rather low-key relationship with the spookiest of holidays. Get some pipe organ samples or a thunderclap in there for ambiance, girls. Or at least don’t hold this party in the middle of the day! These creepy and/or crawly deficiencies are mildly offset by Witch Ria, but still, do better y’all.

Then there’s the big step in the final minutes. It actually took me a minute to figure out what was going on when Ria briefly stepped damned in during her apprentices’ song, since that Mona LiSA grin of hers is so enigmatic, but context suggests they were at risk of full-on activating some serious Healing Power on an unsuspecting crowd of onlookers. We haven’t seen any actual out-of-control Healing yet, but based on Ria’s concern I assume the effects would have been more negative than the old people in the crowd feeling less achy when it’s about to rain. It also prompts her to push them to test for their C-level licenses, the same practitioner level as Sonia, which also hints that Ria’s days as a healer – or at least their mistress – are numbered. It’s also unclear if she thinks they’ll actually succeed, or if this will be a teaching lesson for them to rein in their own eminent progress.

That’s all pretty intriguing, and if the next episode(s) can deliver on that promise I’m willing to chalk up Hibiki’s truncated character episode as a necessary loss. As-is though, I do feel a little disappointed. While I’m far from Hibiki’s biggest fan, I have a soft spot for characters who bury and sideline their feelings, and I’d like to see more of that from her as we enter these last few episodes. Maybe that’s still in the cards, but what’s here just isn’t enough on its own.

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Healer Girl is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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