Ever since I started blogging, almost two and a half years ago. I made a decision to not do episode reviews of anime, simply because I don’t think they work. To judge a show based on a single episode is, in my view, un-constructive. Great shows can have clunkers, and bad shows can have homers. To praise a show (Demon Slayer) or rip one apart (Darling in the Franxx) because of one 20 minute chapter just doesn’t feel right.
However, I had I feeling that I would eventually come to something that would challenge that idea, and while I still believe in not reviewing anime episode to episode. I feel like I finally reach that moment. So today, I break my rule this one and hopefully only time to talk about this. No hyperbole, no bullshit, no ideological pandering. After the cut, let’s dive into the second episode of Redo of Healer: The Hero Ruins Princess Flare!
((The following contain disturbing images that are NSFW. Please read with discretion))
“I can feel your anger. It gives you focus, makes you stronger.” – Emperor Palpatine, Revenge of the Sith.
This episode was vile.
It was cruel, it was disturbing, it was disheartening, and it was relentless.
It was all of those things, and because that is EXACTLY what it said it was going to be. It was also perfect.
Ever since news that Redo would be getting an anime adaptation, people who had read the manga or light novels waited with bated breath on how the show would handle it’s content. Would there be tasteful edits? Would things be toned down from the source material? As this is not a hentai series, it was believed that such a thing would be the case, and like many people, I expecting a tastefully edited version of what was on paper.
But that was before Interspecies Reviewers came out.
Instead, Redo of a Healer’s second episode (and we are talking the uncensored version here) is a no holds barred, 20-something minutes of some of the most cruel and revenge-filled actions put on display by a normal anime series, with the animation and direction that goes beyond most hentai. In the span of this single episode, we see rape, we see torture, we see brainwashing, and we see a cruel twisted version of justice, as our main character Keyaru enacts his plan for vengeance on Princess Flare. By the time it is over, not only has Flare been defiled, humiliated and destroyed, but her memories have been wiped and a new personality put in place. The loyal and soft spoken Freya, who will not only warm his heart, but also his bed.
Now, I’ve been around the hentai sphere quite a bit, so I’ve seen my fair share of depraved unsettling moments, and from that angle, this episode of Redo of Healer was nothing special. There are plenty of hentai that delve into rape fantasies and some even do them quite well. Yet it is important to remember that Redo is not a hentai. It isn’t trying to give people pleasure, but tell a story, and where you might have expected the scenes in question to be toned down, it was quite the opposite. By framing the scenes within the story itself, there is a sense of desperation and cruelty that is absent in many hentai. Because we go into those shows knowing what to expect, that it is a pornographic kink enabler. For Redo though, that isn’t there, or at least I didn’t go into the episode thinking that.
So when the carnage begins, when we watch Keyaru ruthlessly breaks Flare’s fingers, promising her that he’ll stop if she never screams. Only to heal her hands and then start again, it is unsettling. How she takes off her clothes, presents herself and begs pitifully for his member (when the other choice was red-hot iron) there is no “oh hentai, you did it again!” Instead there is only feelings of shock, and perhaps a vindictive since of justice. Because as we see before, Keyaru too has been tortured, he has been raped, and he has been abused, not just once, but twice, because his plan for vengeance involves submitting himself to that hell once more. His answer to the horrors inflicted upon him is to return that back tenfold, and he does. The proud and haughty Princess Flare, arrogance and sadistic, to see her broken down into a sniveling coward, begging for her life, and then his body is both pathetic and strangely satisfyingly. And it is made only better by the pitch perfect voice acting, (seriously, Flare’s seiyuu went above and beyond in her performance. This should win an award)
There will be many who dismiss this show. In many ways they are not wrong. This isn’t a show for the faint of heart, and if this commitment to the brutal nature of the source material is any indication, things aren’t going to lighten up anytime soon. This is a cruel show, meant to satisfy the most basic animalistic urges of man. It is not about finding forgiveness or closure. It is about getting even. About not how two wrongs don’t make a right, but how a wrong should be repaid by a similar wrong, and be paid in full. As a person I did not enjoy what I saw on the screen, yet as someone who firmly believes that anime’s greatest strength is its ability to tell any type of story, good or bad, happy or cruel, regardless of what people may say or internet pressure. I can’t help but salute this second episode of Redo of Healer for that courage and commitment to being what it is.
The journey goes on, and I look forward to giving you my thoughts when the series concludes.