What’s it about? Healing is a method in which music and song can be used as medicine. Ever since she was saved by a Healer as a child, Kana has been determined to follow in that stranger’s footsteps and become the best Healer she can be. She’s one of the most eager apprentices at the practice where she works, though as a trainee she’s not allowed to use her newfound skills to help people… yet.
Like a strawberry shortcake sitting in a bakery window, Healer Girl draws you in for a cute, sweet, simple treat with tried-and-tested ingredients. The recipe is a mix of familiar tropes: a plucky newcomer, a stern but fair mentor, wholesome motivations; and a situation in which said plucky novice has to break the rules to Do the Right Thing, revealing her above-average talent along the way. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing new, so how much this premiere grabs you will depend on how much you enjoy this particular combination of flavors.
The cast is archetypal, but has room to grow, and I hope they do. Kana is a go-get-‘em protagonist who just wants to Do Good, and her classmates Hibiki and Reina are fun if a tiny bit flat. Hibiki is the designated calm and collected one, at least when she’s not getting spooked by the idea that her room is haunted. Reina’s main personality trait seems to be her obsession with her mentor, practically jumping out of her skin every time the pro Healer walks into the room, waxing poetic about how cool she is, and going bananas at the idea of staying in the same room as her.
The coding for this being an awkward gay crush aren’t quite there, but even if it’s not uncomfortable it’s still… a little annoying. But again, there’s room to grow and reveal more layers as the story goes along. The preview for episode two suggests we’ll be meeting new characters, so here’s hoping the cast stays small enough that the titular Healer Girls have the space and screentime to develop.
What’s most charming and intriguing to me so far is the system of Healing itself. Kana’s narration explains the concept pretty straightforwardly, but the show also seems content to drip in deeper details about the way it works. We’re treated to a few moments with the mentor characters at a conference, deep in a combination of music theory and medical research. The apprentices play around with a gramophone and discuss how recordings of Healing song can still work their magic, but it’s always more effective when performed in person and tailored to the patient’s needs.
Honestly, it’s nothing groundbreaking but it’s pretty fun, and I appreciate the level of detail to the worldbuilding so far. Each Healer seems to be able to conjure their own set of magical imagery, drawing patients into a stylistic and colorful world as they sing, which lends us some fun visuals as well. Much as I understand it fits a certain formula, I’m kind of bummed that Kana is so amazing at Healing at this early stage—I want to see how training works, how her technique develops, and how skill level and personality are reflected in the magic images!
The other novelty Healer Girl offers is that sometimes it’s a musical! Obviously when your characters sing to work their magic that offers the opportunity for plenty of insert songs, but at one point the apprentices are goofing around and start singing their feelings, accompanied Broadway-style by backing tracks that appear out of nowhere. It threw me for a loop, but honestly I’m excited to see if it keeps doing this and gives us an Original Anime Musical.
I think this will be a fairly fun, standard magical girl show, not the most riveting thing on earth but perfectly charming to dip into every week. There’s something nice about the idea that an artform like song can have physical, literal healing powers—maybe that’s the vibe the series itself is going for. A little bit of simple, yet effective, emotional healing against the backdrop of the world, perhaps. I can’t argue with that.