Episode 4 – Healer Girl

How would you rate episode 4 of
Healer Girl ? Community score: 4.1

Something I haven’t been totally clear on so far is just how integrated the whole Healing thing is with the rest of the medical community. We’ve seen enough to know it’s for real, and regulated enough that you need a license to practice, so it’s not considered some fantastical pseudo-science. But at the same time there are still regular hospitals and doctors, so clearly there’s a need for medicine beyond the power of music. Considering how much competition there is between fields of specialization in real life, you have to imagine there would be at least some skepticism about being able to treat ailments or injuries with a sappy love song, yeah? I figured this would be one of those things we’re not meant to think about too hard, but this episode sees Healer Girl wading right into the topic.

I definitely can’t say I was expecting our newly-licensed trainees to kick off their Healing careers by having to accompany an actual surgery! Granted, they’re not the ones doing the cutting, but that’s still a lot of responsibility to drop in a trio of teenagers’ laps with less than a week to prepare. I also have to question Ria and Shoko’s horror movie training method, if only because John Carpet’s Hallowork isn’t all that bloody and mostly gets by on good staging and a great performance behind Mark Matthers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a classic and we wouldn’t have series like Nightmare on Elk Lane or Wednesday the Twenty-Second without it, but you’re way better off showing the girls Texas Chainsaw Manicure if you want to get them used to blood.

Scary movies aside, there’s a lot of interesting ideas in this first job for Kana and the others. Surgery itself can often be a test of endurance and concentration, and plenty of real-life surgeons do listen to music to keep themselves focused while over the table, so combining that with the central gimmick to put the opera in operation is a pretty great conceit . Seeing the logistics of an extended Healing session, with the girls having to take shifts and delegating certain parts to whomever is best suited for it, gives some welcome grounding to the whole Healing premise, while also letting us see the trio work together near-seamlessly . The moment in the beginning of the operation where Kana falters but the other two are there to catch her is really sweet, and it’s nice to see these girls really have eachother’s back inbetween all the relay race and horror movie hijinks.

Then there’s the reluctant surgeon our girls end up helping. Now the show kind of presents him as a hard ass, but honestly I sympathize with the guy. Imagine you’re a full grown adult who spent years going to medical school, spent countless hours in surgical simulations, then on your first job you’re telling some teenagers from the local church choir are going to be throwing you an assist and singing some chill beats to extract cancerous legions to. I’d be a little standoffish too. But of course our girls rise to the occasion and keep him – and the rest of the surgical team – from spiraling when an unexpected complication arises. It’s about what you’d expect as soon as the guy’s introduced, and while it’s a solid character moment for Kana in-particular, his story winds up feeling perfunctory. Like hey, good on him for saying thank you, but we also met him five minutes ago, and his approval or appreciation isn’t really critical to any of our major characters. Just watching the trio’s crup chat in the after credits was far more engaging.

But once again, the real star of this show is the Face Game. I don’t know how long the show can keep up this absolute embarrassment of riches when it comes to the cast’s ridiculous expressions, but this episode is littered with them, and it made just choosing an image for this review more difficult than it should be . There’s one close-up of Kana’s squigley eyes where you can see the individual lines intersecting, it’s amazing. It’s enough to actually overshadow the climactic Healing visualizer, because just so much personality and infectious energy comes through in the opening minutes. These characters feel alive in ways you don’t get very often in a TV production, and I’m going to savor it for as long as I can.

There’s also some interesting details that aren’t focused on much, but nonetheless add some welcome detail to the story. Like how Ria initially started as a regular medical student before making the transition into Healing as her specialty, and that’s given her some important contacts in the larger medical world and partially contributes to her being such a respected source. It’s cool that her old college friend, Ando, ​​is a respected and accomplished surgeon in her own right too, and the two have an immediate rapport that makes them feel like old friends. Plus a quick line from Kana suggests she’s familiar with this episode’s hospital, hinting at her still elusive inspiration for becoming a Healer. That one is probably going to come up later, but in aggregate they’re all just nice bits of writing that make these characters and the world around them feel more fleshed out.

Overall this is definitely a more serious episode than the previous one – thus the lack of singing obstacle course racing – but it’s otherwise business as usual for Healer Girl. I suspect we’ll be getting some more drama in coming episodes (though next week appears to be the requisite beach episode) but for now this show continues to be a charming, all-around pleasant time.


Healer Girl is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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