Since so many anime series are made each season, it’s natural that unrelated shows will accidentally feature the same themes. Like that time we had two different anime with “sexy suppository” scenes in the same anime season, or how Paripi Koumei and Kaguya-sama both had rap-themed episodes fall in the same week. In the current anime season we have two shows about healers, so let’s compare both and see which one you should watch: Healer Girl or Kono Healer Mendokusai. Time for a Healer Battle!
Healer Girl: An Anime Musical?
First let’s look at Healer Girl, which is a feel-good show about a world in which sickness and injuries can be healed with the power of singing. We follow Kana, Reimi and Hibiki, three young healers-in-training. It’s a zero-stress slice-of-life with good music and cute characters.
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) May 13, 2022
Watching Healer Girl got me thinking: is the traditional “musical” genre represented in anime? We’ve got every other kind of genre in the anime world, from horror to time travel to mystery, but the Western idea of a musical (as in, characters suddenly start singing as a way to express their inner desires to the audience) isn’t really a thing. There are plenty of anime series where music features strongly, like idol anime or shows in which classical music is a major component in the story, but not a true “musical.” Until now, that is.
So should you watch Healer Girl? It features
- A cute laid-back story about healing
- Lots of enjoyable music, but it’s not yet another idol anime
- Good, clean animation that’s not bargain-basement CGI from Netflix
- Some great yuri tension between Reimi and her teacher Karasuma-shisho
Kono Healer Mendokusai is Fantasy Manzai Comedy
The other “healer” anime that’s currently airing is the hilarious Kono Healer Mendokusai (aka This Healer’s a Handful). It’s the story of Karla, a dark elf cleric who is skilled at insulting people with her words and actions, and low-level adventurer Alvin, who is always reacting verbally to the hilarious situations Karla has set up.
I’m enjoying #KonoHealerMendokusai a lot, for the boke and tsukkomi humor, as lazy dark elf healer Karla sets up annoying situations which her party-mate Alvin must react to. It’s hilarious! pic.twitter.com/1KUDFNBiHD
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) May 13, 2022
The cornerstone of Japanese standup comedy is manzai, in which two comedians perform jokes in front of an audience side by side. There’s a dumb or simple-minded “funny man” (boke) who sets up ridiculous situations which the more serious “straight man” reacts to, verbally “butting in” (tsukkomi) to the first person’s statements. (Incidentally, boke is the same word as the “bokeh” feature on your camera or smartphone. The verb bokeru can mean “to be senile/airheaded” but also “to blur.”)
Kono Healer Mendokusai uses the manzai mechanic expertly in a constant stream of enjoyable gags. Karla does something lazy or socially inappropriate, and Alvin reacts to the situations she sets up. Since the story is set in a fantasy world, there are lots of jokes to be made about how similar their world of magic and monsters can be to our world.
So should you watch Kono Healer Mendokusai? It offers
- Lots of bust-a-gut humor that caused me to laugh out loud several times, enough to wake poor Mrs. J-List up
- Relaxing humor based on a 4-koma manga, which means there’s no complex story to follow, just sit back and enjoy the jokes
- Humor that blends the fantasy world the characters live in with observations about our world, not unlike RPG Real Estate
- The cutest dark elf character in years. And you know we love our dark elves…
Thanks for reading this blog post about the two “healer” anime series of the season, Healer Girl and Kono Healer Mendokusai. Which one will you be watching? Tell us below, or reply to us on Twitter!
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