I watch these things so you don’t have to.
Earlier this year I caught wind of a particular anime show that had been getting a lot of attention for it’s supposed HORRIBLE, SEXIST content and, naturally, I had to investigate, mostly because the way the Far East and the West categorize HORRIBLE, SEXIST content has reached a point of divergence. While in the West “cat calling” or “wolf whistling” at a woman is now sexual assault, Japan still holds to the ages old definition of actual, physical assault being defined as assault. I don’t think I need to go into a lot of detail to convince readers that the West has gone off the deep end in this regard. Because of this the anime and manga industry has come under fire by Westerners for not hopping on the train of wokeism and changing the way anime and manga are written or, more importantly, drawn. Where Western comics have embraced drawing women like ugly men, anime and manga are still rely very heavily on curvy, busty, scantily clad young women for their heroines and protagonists. This has caused many in the West to howl in agony and frustration, but Japan has, thankfully, stood strong against the onslaught of requests from Westerners to change their ways.
Redo of Healer takes place in a world where some people are assigned a hero status by some unknown source. Our protagonist, Keyaru, finds that he receives the hero’s mark of “healer”, meaning he is basically support for more combat oriented heroes. Keyaru, however, is a particularly talented hero in that he can heal anyone of any wound, no matter how grievous, but his power comes at a stiff price, for every time he uses it he experiences all of that persons experiences, pain and agony. In the end it is too much for him to bear, and he gives up healing, much to the chagrin of his employer, the kingdom in which he lives. The king’s daughter is a hero herself, and she, along with her little clique of kingdom heroes, must have the greatest healer in the land and so they imprison Kayeru and drug him so that they can use him, basically, as a healing whore. Unfortunately the kings daughter is quite the deviant and she takes advantage of him in his drugged state, only to find that the aftermath of raping him leaves her feeling empowered, and she makes it a regular habit. Once word gets around of this power boosting technique it isn’t long before her friends, both female AND male, start to partake, and soon it seems nearly everyone in the castle is taking their turn at him.
Kayeru finally forces himself to stop succumbing to his addiction for the mind-destroying drugs the princess has been feeding him and finds that the same curse that makes his healing abilities awful also has the side effect of increasing his knowledge and power until he finds he can use he can basically “unheal” enemies, doing extreme damage to them, and can even heal time itself, essentially travelling back, if he so chooses.
It is with this discovery that Kayeru decides to take revenge in a fashion most foul, depending on your point of view. Rather than merely escaping and living out the rest of his days as a free man he chooses to go back to the point where it all began and exact a wicked plan. He will travel back to the time just before he received his hero’s mark and from there take revenge on all those who hurt him. With foreknowledge of events to come he destroys each and every person who, in his previous life, degraded him, humiliated him and took advantage of him…
And it isn’t pretty.
Probably the biggest gripe from people about the story is Kayeru’s use of sex to destroy the women who took advantage of him in his first life, and the cringe is understandable. The first tale of his revenge is exacted upon the princess, Flare, the person who, really, got this whole ball rolling. His treatment of her is abhorrent as he sneaks into her room, assaults her and then promises he won’t kill her if she can keep quiet while he breaks each of her fingers (which he does), only to, in the end, heal them and start all over again. Eventually he forces her to have sex with him in return for her life only to wipe her memory out completely, leaving her only with the false memory of her being his slave and serving him….in many ways.
Along the way through the 12 episodes that comprise the first season we watch him obliterate other members of the princesses hero party through similarly horrible means, buy an actual slave (a cat girl named Setsuna who wants revenge on the men who killed the people of her tribe), battle and memory wipe princess Flare’s sister, battle another powerful hero that used to run with Flare’s party, make a harem out of all four of them and take on the job of protecting a demon girl, whom he actually fought in his old life in order to go back in time.
Taken in as a standalone show I can see why some people got their feathers in a ruffle, but taken in as part of the whole of moviedom and tv its not bad at all. The big gripe with people, however, is that its the tale of a MAN getting revenge against the women who hurt him in life, both physically and mentally. These gripes, however, should be ignored, since there are already plenty of movies that use the same kind of plot but with a woman as the protagonist rather than a man. Look at 1978’s I Spit On Your Grave, which got a 2010 remake of the same name along with several sequels (I Spit On Your Grave 2, I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance is Mine and I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu). It, too, along with most of its sequels, involve revenge plots against people who committed sexual assault against the protagonist, yet, as you would expect, these films would be hailed as triumphs, with the original film having the original title Day of the Woman.
I suppose some of the complaints come from the fact that, over time, Kayeru becomes a likeable character. Are his actions wicked? Who’s to say? The people he exacts revenge against were far more wicked, and if not for their wickedness, Kayeru likely would not be the person he is. Yet even in his revenge the show indicates that he has growing feelings for his little harem, which at first were purely carnal and hateful in nature. In the beginning every time he takes Flare it is with anger and hatred. Even if she has no memory of the atrocities she committed against him they are burned into his mind and are initially the driving force behind his sexing her, but over time he starts to develop real affection for her. Now, unfortunately because of his wiping her memory he is not falling for the REAL princess Flare, but for her alter ego, which may or may not last. The real princess Flare is an arrogant, selfish and cruel woman, the same woman who allowed her fellow soldiers to rape Kayeru over and over, night after night, with nary a care, while her alter ego is a subservient, playful and happy woman, grateful that Kayeru takes care of her. Who knows what will happen in the end.
Overall the show is an interesting character study when focusing on Kayeru. Is he truly evil or just a vindictive person pushed past the brink of humanity? Sure he does evil things, but the moments where he looks at little harem and his face softens, his eyes change and his stance goes a little less rigid tells us he is still a normal person who wants what would probably have been a normal life. No hero’s mark, no healing, no revenge – just, normalcy.
I don’t recommend watching this if you are squeamish about graphic violence or sexual abuse. As far as violence goes we get to watch some pretty messed up stuff like the breaking of Flares fingers, which would really make anyone cringe, but also some of the battle scenes and other revenge scenes get pretty graphic. Maybe not blood and guts graphic, but certainly they will make you want to turn away over sheer brutality. The sexual violence is much less graphic, but the implication is clear. You won’t see anything more than boobs in the show, but the implication of rape, along with the use of sex for revenge and Kayerus romps with his harem (which really come off more as cute) may be too much for some people to handle. Visually I would say Redo of Healer is nothing particularly special. The animation and visuals are good, and on par with a lot of the other anime I have watched, but I can’t think of anything that really wowed me, visually. Not saying its bad, just saying its nothing that breaks the mold.
Anyhow, watch it if you want, or don’t. I just figured I’d post about it since there was such as stink made over something so benign, really. After all, its been done before, and plenty.