Healing Through Singing – Healer Girl Episodes 1–3 Thoughts

Singing feels good. It can positively affect your mental state, even if temporarily. Healer Girl takes it a step further by presenting a world where singing also heals physical wounds and is a separate scientific branch of medicine. I like the idea in itself because it takes a fantastical spin on a rather common thing we know, and also because singing is based. It’s emphasised with imagery that emerges when people sing and also in the OP. The series starts immediately with a simple demonstration of this.

What’s really interesting though is that this imagery can literally be seen by healers and healers in training. In these first 3 episodes at least, it’s also implied that no one else can see them. This raises one of many questions I’ve asked myself: how can you train yourself to see it? Kana — the red-haired main character — was helped by a healer as a kid, but it’s not clear if she could see the imagery already. I’ve also asked myself if some people can naturally see it, but that hasn’t been brought up and might not ever be. Furthermore, the projected images vary in vividness depending on how good the healer is. The healer’s abilities can also visibly improve in real-time. Kana’s teacher — Ria (voiced by Ayahi Takagaki, very dark blue hair) — witnesses an evolution when Kana sings at the end of episode 1, which is quite interesting. The series also shows a case where the healing performed by two characters doesn’t work, which involves one of them falling off a crumbling cliff. That’s cool and demonstrates how involved the process must be.

There are a lot of aspects to healing that make the mechanic feel relatively grounded. Healing doesn’t fully solve every problem. In episode 1, Kana can only help the old lady not feel anxious. In episode 2, the pregnant lady’s pain is only calmed. They still need to go to the hospital (just in case). This makes me wonder how long the effects of healing last and what their current limitations are. It’s implied that healing still has some mysteries or at least has more room for improvement. For example, songs are developed to treat certain symptoms. Yet some of them don’t work on specific individuals, much like how certain medical treatments don’t work for some people. It’s also implied that it’s dangerous to perform healing when you’re not qualified. Moreover, even recordings of healing songs have positive effects, although with limited potency. The world also still uses records for some reason. In addition, there are composers who write songs and sheet music that healers practise with.

Another step beyond that Healer Girl takes is how characters talk while singing in specific scenes. It’s fun and funny in itself, also with how in an episode 1 scene they switch back to their normal voices very quickly. For almost all of episode 3, the main characters ensure that their voices are in some kind of tune, which must’ve been a tough time for the voice actors. At first it’s appropriate as the characters want to get into a groove for studying. But it’s even cooler that they continue to do it while they’re feeling depressed; talking to a non-healer; and running.

In the running scenario, Hibiki (the character with “periglacial blue” hair; I had to look that up) runs in the same groove that she sings in while healing a small wound. She’s in tune with herself at that moment, which complements how Ria previously tells Kana that she should follow the baton of her own heart to change keys more easily. Changing keys can indeed be awkward, and difficulty in doing so may have to do with self-doubt. I like that Healer Girl explores singing in itself in these ways.

There’s some good comedy and character interactions in general. Kana is a goofball, but she has stronger healing powers than meets the eye. Yes! I’m so down for MC’s with hidden potential; it’s hype. Kana’s answer when facing the crisis in episode 1 is good. From what I gather, your mental state has an effect on your body’s processes, so removing anxiety really does help. Kana also doesn’t try anything drastic. I like Reimi (blonde hair) and Hibiki more than Kana to be honest though. Reimi has a figurative orgasm whenever she sees Ria, which is pretty funny. But I also like how Reimi and Hibiki can work together. Sonia (silver hair, big forehead) is alright and Shinobu (black hair) is good. I like how Sonia’s initial bossiness is actually reflective of how she tries to help Shinobu open up and be more confident. Sonia makes a mistake early on and she shows signs of growth too. This backs up how healers are required to have age and experience, regardless of skill level, in order to earn higher-level qualifications.

Hibiki wonders in episode 3 about the nature of healing powers. She thinks it might have to do with how much a person wishes to heal another. Reimi responds by saying that it might have to do with how much a healer cares for the patient. Well I’VE GOT YOU FIGURED OUT ALREADY HEALER GIRL: healing comes from the heart. And although that’s still not confirmed yet, that raises another question: how do you maintain compassion and hope over a long period of time? Perhaps doctors have thought of that very question during a difficult operation.

Healer Girl looks okay overall. On a technical level it can be rough. The worst part so far is the fast cuts, which sometimes gives scenes a blistering pace that could be slowed down. It would help in digesting what’s happening and lending some scenes more impact. For example, the cuts to the ED in episodes 2 and 3 are quite abrupt and unsatisfying. That’s funny, because the characters talk about breath control being fundamental to healing and the anime doesn’t practise it itself. Instances of characters moving with the background and some zooms are also unpleasant.

The scene where Sonia tells Kana to beg to be taught to sing with more emotion is great though.

In summary, the first 3 episodes of Healer Girl are good.

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