The second episode of Redo of Healer aired this week. Curious about how faithful the anime adaptation would be to the LN series, I waited until the uncensored version aired. In my first post about Redo of Healer, I heavily foreshadowed about that upcoming scene. Indeed, the second episode featured it and I have to say, "Holy s**t, those absolute madlads actually f**kin did it".
The Second Episode, Part I: The Motivations Behind Keyaru's Revenge
To briefly summarize the events of this episode, there are two major plot points. The first is where Keyaru was subjugated to use his healing abilities against his will while under a mind control drug. The second is where Keyaru managed to get his revenge on Flare, the person who was responsible for his nightmarish treatment. Not only did she make him use his healing abilities, but she had him get raped by both women and men so they could raise their level cap via... exchanging bodily fluids.
That's not all. Remember that this is the 'redo' timeline, meaning this is Keyaru's second rodeo. However, the difference was that he had memories from the original timeline. As such, he made preparations by getting the Halcyon Eye ability and developing poison resistance. When he healed his patients, he used his Steal Heal ability to gain the experiences of those people. One particular person he healed was an alchemist and he would use those abilities to escape.
The Second Episode, Part II: That Scene
A fair warning, the following content may be very disturbing. Trust me, this is not something to take lightly.
Obviously, the first thing Keyaru did after breaking out of his cell was to enact his revenge on Freya by disguising as Leonard, the commander, to infiltrate her (soundproof) room. Once he got in, he immediately killed the two maids to eliminate any witnesses and so the revenge began. Let me tell you, it was gruesome.
First, Keyaru proceeded to break Freya's fingers one by one in a fun little "game". If she managed to not scream after he breaks all her fingers, he would stop. Of course, being a complete sadist, Keyaru healed her fingers to start over and Freya lost the "game". Then came the punishment. I am not going to describe everything, but without going too explicit, Keyaru had Freya denigrate herself to turn him on before he did the deed. After he completed the deed, he used his heal ability to brainwash the princess and change her appearance.
Like said at the beginning of my post, "Holy s**t, those absolute madlads actually f**kin did it". This is something that you usually would only see in hentai anime. While there are regular anime like Goblin Slayer and Berserk contain some rape, the rape is done by the villains. With Redo of Healer, the protagonist is the one engaging in this act. Oh and by the way, what he did this episode is not even the worst of it.
I'm not going to into whether it is morally right or wrong to have greenlit this sort of adaptation. Personally, I advocate for artistic freedom including the types I vehemently dislike (as long as it's legal). I always care more about the pure storytelling aspects of fiction, and if the work does a good job weaving the plot, lore, and characters into a neat package.
Were Keyaru's actions at least understandable? I would argue that because of the hell he was put through from the original timeline and the current timeline, the answer to that question is yes. The protagonist went through massive amounts of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. In addition, when he caught Freya in his trap, she did not exactly respect him in a situation where she had no leverage. She nearly called him a "filthy cur" before correcting herself and made lame excuses for why she drugged him. Even in a real-world perspective, Keyaru's actions were (somewhat) understandable. According to psychology professor Elizabeth Jeglic, Ph.D., at New York's John Jay College, "While victims respond to sexual assault in a variety of ways, some do continue or begin a relationship to help them cope with the lack of control they felt during the assault".
Was the episode good from a strictly storytelling perspective? I have similar complaints as the ones I had for the first episode. There were a bunch of details that the second episode glossed over like how exactly Keyaru snuck past the guards when he broke out of prison. How did he beat Leonard, the commander, before he executed his switcheroo plan on Freya? Speaking of which, his healing powers apparently allow him to change his and other people's appearances, but the episode never delved into that mechanic. These are things that the anime must address in future episodes because as of now, it is basically riding on the shock value of that scene.
P.S. - You have to give props to Flare's VA. That took a lot of balls to act out those lines.