Back when the Redo of Healer anime adaptation was announced, I was rather surprised that it would happen considering the content of the light novel series. The protagonist, Keyaru, is not the most... kind person to say the least. Unsurprisingly, the Twitterazis and moral grandstanders complained about the adaptation's existence. As someone who witnessed the Goblin Slayer and The Rising of the Shield Hero outrage, I was like, "Ah shit, here we go again".
Anyways, all 12 episodes have aired. The adaptation covered the events from LN Vol. 1 through 3. My criticisms will be strictly on the storytelling and world building. Whinging over whether it's "morally right" to depict rape or slavery is a complete waste of time and the arguments I have read are Jack Thompson-esque.
A Lot of Telling, Not Showing
One of the recurring problems I had with the anime was the fact that there was more telling than showing. To cite an example, in my review of the last episode, Keyaru literally summarizes Norn's inferiority complex whereas in the manga, it actually shows a flashback of how Flare looked down on her younger sister.
The biggest issue of all was how the anime did not adequately explain the extent of Keyaru's healing abilities. While he is the Hero of Recovery, Keyaru constantly pushes the boundaries of the concept of "healing". He can do the traditional recover health spell, but he can also do things like change his (and other people's) appearance, gather intel from his enemies, shuffle around his stat points, and use Corrupt Heal to either kill or cripple his opponents.
I honestly don't understand why the anime left this out.
All of this sounds pretty interesting, but the problem was the anime hardly informs the audience of how these powers work. Whenever Keyaru used Upgrade Heal, the anime just shows a purple aura. In the manga, however, it actually shows exactly how his stats are manipulated. When he uses Corrupt Heal to kill his opponents, in the anime, they just blow up in blood. It would've been more informative if, for example, it shows the cells of his enemies break out into a rapid tumor before they explode as a way to display that Corrupt Heal is conventional healing on steroids.
One last problem I had in regards to the lore was Keyaru's ability to scan other people's stats and abilities with his special eye. In the anime, it just shows a bunch of gibberish. The audience has no idea what the text means and the information that his special ability conveys. I honestly don't understand why the director did not just display it in Japanese (or English for subs). The manga did this, no problem. To cite an example from another series, Rising of the Shield Hero displays Naofumi's UI in readable text.
This actually tells me Keyaru's stats.
This is just a bunch of gibberish. What does the fictional text even say?
It's lot busier in Shield Hero, but I can actually understand the information conveyed here.
Too Much Focus on Fanservice at the Expense of Character Development
Light novels disproportionately have more information and events than their adapted counterparts. Content will inevitably be cut when transitioning to manga or anime, so it’s very important to consider what to include and leave out. Unfortunately, the anime prioritizes fanservice over some of the important story beats to the detriment of character development.
The anime does not hesitate to show much of a Biggus Dickus Keyaru is. I understand that at least with Setsuna, she actually needs to have intercourse to boost her level cap. However, much of the time, I felt that the anime just churn out a sex scene per episode just cause.
When I reviewed Episode 7, I lamented how the anime decided to end the episode with a sex scene rather than a training session to showcase Freia and Setsuna's abilities. Freia, especially, has received the short end of the stick in terms of development. She is a very talented magician who is proficient at all elements when most magicians are only good at 2. In the light novel and manga, she learned how to combine two elements together to launch an even more powerful attack. Unfortunately, the anime never went there.
In a training scene omitted from the anime, Freia combined Ice Lance and Wind Bullet for a powerful combo spell.
Eve Reese also lacked the character development that was present in the light novel and manga. In my Episode 9 review, I highly criticized how the anime took out Eve's revenge kill. It was a very important turning point for Eve's character as up to that point, she was always hiding. As hell-bent at revenge Keyaru was, he played an integral part at hardening Eve's resolve and giving her the first step to not be passive anymore. Instead, we got animal copulation and more sex scenes...
Eve getting her revenge on the bounty hunters who tried to kill her and had killed her bretheren.
Some Nice Fight Scenes
The best part of the anime, in my opinion, were the fight scenes, particularly Keyaru vs. Kureha and Keyaru vs. Hawkeye. These scenes were when the anime was at its best. The anime did a decent job utilizing stretch & squish and different camera angles to provide a sense of speed and intensity. Of course, not all fight scenes were this good. The other ones either felt too static or were too short. All in all, though, the fights scenes were arguably the anime's strongest trait.
Changes To The Content Were Mixed
I did like how in the anime, Anna was still alive and she had the chance to see Keyaru one last time before passing away. In the original source, she committed suicide by biting her tongue off as she was getting raped by Leonard. I just wished that the anime did a better job portraying Keyaru's grief and guilt.
Replacing the Cake Lady with Karman yielded mixed results. I thought in the limited time, the anime did a decent job establishing Karman's character. However, I found Cake Lady's backstory to be more compelling as her goal of peacefully running a café felt more wholesome and relatable.
No offense to Karman, I do think he's a cool bro, but...
...I found Cake Lady's background to be more relatable and her death more impactful.
What I disliked the most, however, was how the anime tended to have Keyaru run a one-man show. Episode 11 was a good example of this where in the anime, Keyaru was the only person fighting the Jioral army in Buranikka. However, in the light novel and manga, the entire party was involved with each member making equal contributions.
Eve using her magic to take out the Jioral army's archers to aid Keyaru. In the anime, she didn't do anything.
Overall, it is a pretty disappointing adaptation. The anime had plenty of opportunities to round out Keyaru, Freia, Setsuna, and Eve's characters more. Unfortunately, it took the fanservice route. Much of Keyaru's abilities were glanced over when it would've been handy to explain how they work. In addition, while Keyaru has the ability to see the statuses of himself and other combatants, the anime just shows a bunch of uninformative gibberish.
If I were to give it a numerical score (and I don't like doing that), I would give it a 4/10. I was more disappointed than I was satisfied. There has been no news of whether Redo of Healer would get a second season. Personally, I wouldn't really care either way. I wouldn't be upset if it does get another season, but if it that's the case, then the anime needs to do a better job adapting the material.