One of the most-talked-about anime shows in the Winter 2021 season is Redo of Healer, which is based on a Japanese novel titled Kaifuku Jutushushi no Yarinaoshi or simply Kaiyori written by Rui Tsukiyo. The show has come under fire from Western critics since its January 2021 release. If you've seen this revenge-themed dark fantasy anime, it's easy to see why Redo of Healer is the most controversial anime series of 2021 yet, and if you haven't watched the show, read further to find out why.
Note that there will be major spoilers from the series ahead, so here's a SPOILER ALERT warning
Released in January 2021, Redo of Healer is about a healing magician named Keyaru who is used and tossed around by his fellow adventurers on the assumption that healers cannot fight on their own. After suffering through years of abuse at the hands of his enemies and supposed allies, he uses his abilities to travel four backs in time so he can enact revenge on those who wronged him, particularly the sadistic princess and Magic Hero, Flare Jioral (You can read my review of Episode 1 here for more plot details).
Here's the official trailer for Redo of Healer:
Why is Redo of Healer so controversial?
Redo of Healer is controversial for its use of sexual assault as a major plot device, as Keyaru is both raped by his captors and himself rapes a brainwashed Flare to enact his revenge after going back four years. Not only are there multiple scenes featuring rape and sexual assault, the show also depicts abuse and brutality.
It's also easy for some fans to root for the main character despite his dark intentions because viewers can justify that he is just doing to them what they deserve. Although the extent of this controversy is not clear in the first episode, I was shocked at the rape scene in the second episode of this revenge fantasy anime. Keyaru also erases Flare's memory by the end of Episode 2, and keeps her as a companion as they go on an adventure throughout the series.
Is the censored version of Redo of Healer less controversial than the uncensored version?
Redo of Healer has a censored version suitable for TV, a "Redo" version only available for online streaming, and an uncensored "Complete Recovery" version. Most of the major streaming platforms currently don't have any of the versions of Redo of Healer available, but there's one legitimate way you can watch the censored version of the series online. The uncensored version of Redo of Healer is said to be available in the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release of Season 1, but fans have found ways to watch it online.
The sex scenes in the censored version are toned down, with a significant portion of the sex scenes concealed by dark space. In the uncensored version, the sex scenes show boobs and ass but not genitalia so they're considered softcore compared to hardcore hentai shows that actually show genitalia. However, Redo of Healer's controversial scenes are still shown in the censored version even though they're not as explicitly graphic as the uncensored version, so that's probably why Netflix, Crunchyroll, Funimation, and other major streaming services refuse to add this series to their library of films and TV shows despite its wild popularity.
Are the Redo of Healer light novel and manga versions controversial?
On Jan. 23, Rui Tsukiyo, the author of the Redo of Healer series, said that despite having "received several inquiries about buying the English version of Redo of Healer," a translated version of the series "doesn't exist."
"We tried to publish the English version, but it was refused by an overseas publisher," Rui said. "The situation may change if many requests reach overseas labels."
Although Rui did not specify which version he was talking about, it's assumed that both the light novel and manga versions of the series have been subject to rejection, so if you're looking for official physical copies of the English version of the series, you won't find them anywhere.
However, the anime adaptation of Redo of Healer has been licensed in English speaking countries by Sentai Filmworks, who plans to release the series in both home and digital video formats.
What are the critics saying about Redo of Healer?
Back in December 2020, a month before the release of the Redo of Healer anime, Anime News Network editor shared her thoughts about Redo of Healer, sparking discussions about the controversy online.
It started on ANN's forums:
(Screenshots via Animemotivation.com)
ANN CEO also weighed in:
"This series is certain to cause a lot of controversy, and Anime News Network welcomes and encouraged discussion of this anime and even the social issues that it touches upon. However rape is never an acceptable punishment and we will not tolerate any posts that even remotely suggest that it is.
Furthermore we will not tolerate posts that take glee in the controversy that this show is likely to cause, nor will we tolerate any posts that appear to be trollish or baiting in nature." – ANN CEO
Critics have also shared their thoughts about the anime on Twitter
What do you think about Redo of Healer's controversial themes? Do you agree or disagree with the critics? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. For a full list of Redo of Healer episode titles, click here.