The Wandering Witch Reviews Redo of Healer

Posted on Feb 24 2021

Welcome, all, again. 2020 was a rough year the world over, and almost everyone I know is feeling lingering effects in some way. I myself lost relatives, coworkers, and colleagues to COVID-19, and have watched my profession be demonized. Frankly, I’d love a do-over. And that’s the premise of Redo of Healer: a youth who has suffered horribly gets the opportunity to rewind time and try to make his life better–or at least different. And, boy, does he ever have reason to do so! Keyaru is a young man from a small village who is chosen by fate to become a Hero; he is an especially powerful healer. The trouble with healing is that it is not actually a martial skill. So if an armed party need a healer, they’ll likely procure one, however eager or reluctant that healer might be to join them. Either pay him or enslave him, but bring him along! And sadly, the underlying logic of this strategy is evidenced throughout human history–transcending boundaries of culture and time–with such frequency that it immediately lends a desperate realism to this dark fantasy.

As already noted, Keyaru is especially strong in his craft of healing, and is even able to restore lost limbs. But he also seems to be an empath, someone who can feel the pain of others and often mitigate it by sharing it–that is to say, relieve the victim by absorbing and assuming some of the pain himself. That’s great for the patient, but pretty awful for Keyaru! In fact, he hates it. So much so that he’s resolved to escape his situation. Again. Because none of his previous escapes lasted. But as a member of the Heroes Party facing the Demon Lord, Keyaru sets himself up for the ultimate escape–let the Demon Lord wipe out the other heroes, then attack and defeat the Demon Lord one-on-one. And how you ask could a mere healer ever pull off such a brazen attack? Well, it turns out that since he was being forced to heal against his will, our boy Keyaru was doing something else besides–not only was he absorbing his patients’ pain; he was also absorbing their knowledge and skills, duplicating them within himself. Keyaru the healer is now also a master swordsman, alchemist, and more. Such as angry. Definitely angry.

You see, Keyaru doesn’t just want to escape–he wants revenge. Because it turns out that being the weakest member in a group of otherwise supercharged, hyper-agressive alpha warriors makes you the beta by default. And while all that “You don’t mess with your White Mage!” stuff is cute, it really only applies if there aren’t warriors around to beat him into submission. Keyaru is habitually degraded and denigrated by members of his own party, who use him as whipping boy, servant, and field mattress, repeatedly beating and raping him as the mood strikes them. All of which begins shortly after his arrival at the royal capital, when Keyaru miraculously restores the missing arm of the kingdom’s greatest swordsman, only to experience the full brunt of her pain. Disillusioned and terrified, he tries to renounce his appointment as the Hero of Recovery. And when flattery and cajoling can’t bring him around, he is drugged, imprisoned, and tortured. Keyaru survives all this the first time and prepares for it when he goes back four years into his past to when he was first recruited from his village by Princess Flare. He knows that he will still need to endure at least part of this agony before his plan for revenge can be acted upon, so he uses this second round of abuse to stoke the fires of his hatred even higher. And once Keyaru begins acting out his revenge, he is savage! In fact, his episode 2 rape of one of his primary tormentors is a demonstration of pure, malevolent sadism.

Redo of Healer is a writhing mass of ugliness, beautifully drawn and animated. But it’s also something that I think we need: an honest examination of the savagery of vengeance in much the same way that Goblin Slayer offered an honest interpretation of the brutality of combat. We’ve been through a lot IRL over the past year or so, making this show about revenge very timely, indeed. Who amongst us doesn’t feel hurt and disillusioned right now? A good revenge fantasy is rather cathartic in its own baleful sort of way, allowing us some emotional release. It just feels good watching evil folks get their comeuppance, and even better when those same folks were masquerading as the good guys. Yeah, Keyaru has stepped onto a slippery slope, and each act of vengeance sends him plummeting down even faster. But that’s okay. He paid in advance, so this ride is his!

You Might Also Like...

  • You must be logged in to comment. Log in