Episode 12 – Healer Girl

How would you rate episode 12 of
Healer Girl ? Community score: 4.4

Well, that finale sure did sneak up on me. Maybe that’s my fault for not double-checking how many episodes this season would have, but in my defense, it’s a bold move to have your final episode involve splitting up the central cast and sending one of them to the other side of the ocean. That’s something you usually have to spend at least two episodes on! That surprise may also be why I’m kind of split on this final episode.

On the one hand, it does a pretty solid job of wrapping things up in a way that feels satisfying without precluding the possibility of a continuation. There’s no sequel baiting, because Healer Girl isn’t a show about plot to begin with, but it’s clear that while our Healer trio have hit a significant milestone in their journey, there’s still plenty more left for them and Ria to do. We do get one important reveal – that helping Kana on that plane all those years ago was what inspired Ria to fully dedicate herself to Healing – and that’s a great way to bring this whole story full circle, at least in a thematic sense. After all the times we’ve seen Ria working as their mentor, it’s a touching reminder that helping these girls grow is also fulfilling to her as well.

Likewise, our trio just happening to be on a plane with a young girl having an asthma attack stretches the limits of dramatic, but also this is convenience Healer Girl. If you have that much cynicism over something like that, you probably tapped out back when they had the catgirl maid concert. This show has long been willing to sever the reigns of realism for the sake of schmaltz, and I wouldn’t want it to stop in its final half-hour. Cheesy as it is, it’s also a sweet way to show just how far our girls have come from the start, and to signify them reaching a new stage of their journey where they can begin paying forward with the things they’ve learned from their mentors .

On the other hand though, this episode introduces a ton of cool ideas that just don’t get the time to breathe, because whoops we also have to end the series. They send Kana all the way to the United States for her month-long internship, and we see basically none of it. Hibiki spends a whole month sitting in on surgeries and studying with doctors, but it’s all shown in a brief montage. Reimi goes to Sonia’s clinic and they have a duet but we never even get to hear it! These are really exciting concepts you could build a whole story arc around, allowing the girls to grow and change while apart. Yet we just have to accept that it all happened off-screen because we still need to get these healer blobs on an airplane for the closing segment. There are still a few solid moments – Reimi’s reasoning for cutting her hair (and Sonia being adorably tsundere about it) stands out in my memory – but on the whole this is a bizarre way to tease really interesting story ideas that are just glossed over, and it definitely deflates this finale for me.

On the third, mutant hand extending out of my shoulder that’s constantly doing jazz hands, it’s hard to stay too at this episode/show when it has the gall to end it on a full musical number. And by that I mean it’s not just the characters dancing and singing, nor is it simply a Healing Image. Going by the eyelines and reactions of every non-Healer character, it seems like Kana, Hibiki, Reimi, Sonia, and Shinobu are flying over the city through sheer power of song. The cynic in me wants to complain about this weird break from literalism, but that part of me has been in the ICU since episode three, and the rest of my psyche was too busy looking out the window and seal clapping to listen to it. This is the perfect move for Healer Girl to end on, throwing realism out the window for a pure explosion of sentiment, music, and indulgent animation.

And that seems to be it for this colorful, fluffy bundle of cotton candy. A few times now I’ve compared it to Love Live!, and at the end that still feels like a pretty apt point of reference. While it stumbled more than a few times with heavier drama, at its core Healer Girl has mostly succeeded in being the bubbly, musical, unerringly sweet show it set out to be. Like anything sweet, it can definitely be Too much at times, but to belabor one last musical metaphor, it’s like a bubblegum pop song: simple, effervescent, and just the perfect kind of catchy to stay stuck in your head until the heat death of the universe.

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Healer Girl is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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