The Spring 2022 Preview Guide
Don't Hurt Me, My Healer!
How would you rate episode 1 of
Don't Hurt Me, My Healer! ?
Community score: 2.5
What is this?
The "isekai burnt-out adventurer comedy" centers on two adventurers: the hopeless swordsman Arvin, and the sarcastic dark-elf healer Karla, who seems to be more talented with ticking people off than healing. (from manga)
How was the first episode?
Full disclosure: Before getting to the premiere of Don't Hurt Me, My Healer!, I watched the new film Everything Everywhere all at once, and without derailing this review to cover a completely irrelevant and non-anime project, the film left me on Cloud Nine, so much so that I was guaranteed to enjoy practically anything in my post-masterpiece haze. You could have walked up and socked me right in the face, and I probably would have given the experience at least a two out of five. So, take my relatively positive score here with a grain of salt.
I'm not going to pretend that Don't Hurt Me, My Healer! is a great anime, or anything. A lot of its tryhard manzai-style humor is the kind of stuff that I usually find pretty grating, since so much of it boils down to one person acting like a manic lunatic for no particular reason, while the straight-man of the group explains in excruciating detail how their partner's behavior defies conventional expectations. “Wah, I tried to heal you, but I accidentally cursed you instead, because I'm grossly incompetent at my chosen profession!” “Well, that isn't how it was supposed to go!” Insert slide-whistle sound effect here. Still, “comedy is subjective” and all that, and it's my job to be honest with you, so here it goes: This incredibly stupid show made me laugh a few times, and I was never actively bored while I watched it.
In retrospect, a lot of my appreciation of this episode comes from the befuddled bear-thing simply trying to keep the two numbskull humans that it has only just met from self-annihilation-by-way-of-shenanigans. Arvin and Carla are, themselves, not especially hilarious, so a lot of the show's potential will depend on whether the characters they meet every week can balance out the altogether-too-muchness of the pair's whole shtick. Will everyone enjoy Don't Hurt Me, My Healer!? Lord, no. But it might prove to be a decent way to kill a half-hour if nothing else is on.
You know how they say humor is subjective? Well, for me, this anime is less funny and more like pulling teeth: long, drawn-out, and painful. However, this should be no surprise; it's right there in the title, after all. In Japanese, this show is called “Kono Healer, Mendokusai,” which translates directly to “This Healer is a Pain to Deal With.” And holy crap do I feel that after watching this episode. In fact, it's not just the healer but the warrior and the bear as well; they're all a pain and I didn't enjoy a single moment of this episode.
Honestly, more than anything else, watching this episode felt like reading a particularly volatile comment section on a subject I cared nothing about. Instead of addressing each other's points, they change the subject, passively-aggressively attack each other, move the goalposts, and drag other people into it. It was at the moment the bear started talking that I realized what we were in for—that this argument was going to be our entire episode—and my heart filled with dread.
The only thing that got me through this episode (you know, besides being paid to watch it) was thinking about the simple question: “Is Carla really that dense or is she just messing with everyone?” Because, while it's presented as the former, I'm starting to think it's the latter. The real reason she doesn't have a party is not that she's incompetent, it's that she's a born sadist who gets off on causing people emotional pain. Every move she makes is calculated to get what she wants—be that a new mace or a person to torture. I doubt the so-called “curse” even exists; it's just her way of keeping her new punching bag at arm's length (though, I wouldn't put it past her to put an actual curse on him for the same reason).
Luckily, I am not cursed to remain around Carla nor do I have any reason to watch—much less think about—this series ever again. Good luck, Alvin. I wouldn't wish this hell upon anyone.
There's nothing objectively offensive about Don't Hurt Me, My Healer!. It's just incredibly annoying. Or rather, Carla, the eponymous healer, is incredibly annoying. The premise, as I understood it prior to going in, is that dark elf Carla is a pretty terrible healer, doing the opposite of helping people despite her class. That may be true, although we don't see much evidence of it in this episode apart from the bit where she curses Alvin instead of healing him. What she is instead is intensely irritating, the anime equivalent of that mosquito that you can hear buzzing around your head in the night but can never quite find to squash. Somehow this is made worse by the fact that she's clearly meant to be funny; her attempts to be cutesy instead come off as grating and her every action is plainly self-serving. When she says that she's never been in a party before and Alvin remarks that, given her personality, that's not surprising, it's the truest statement in the episode.
Carla basically weighs the entire thing down, which is a shame because the show's not without other merits. Bear, the horned bear magibeast Alvin is initially fighting, is at least moderately amusing with the way that she can't seem to settle on a cute verbal affectation, cycling through “kuma,” “gao,” and “bear” with each new utterance. The fact that we never get to see Alvin's entire face is also pretty good, and watching the show come up with new ways to ensure that it's mostly hidden is both a fun poke at censorship via strategically placed item and just generally fun, especially since both Mostly and Carla are under the impression that his face is some sort of horror show of dullness. I also appreciate that Carla's healer outfit is perfectly normal and fully covering, which is unusual for a fantasy show; that it's practical as well is especially nice.
It's just too bad that Carla is so grating, and since she's the main character (or at least one of them, though who knows how long Alvin will last), that's a real problem. This has the unfortunate combination of very little plot, a thus-far uninteresting RPG-inspired fantasy world, and a character who just really rubbed me the wrong way. Your mileage may vary, but this wouldn't be my first choice for something to watch this season, even if you're hurting for any of its purported genres.
There's nothing quite as unbearable as an unfunny comedy, is there? There have been some stinkers this season, some of them quantifiably worse than Don't Hurt Me, My Healer!, but nothing has felt quite as protracted and interminable as watching this premiere hammer its weak, wafer-thin premise into the ground for a full 20 minutes. It has one joke, which is at best mildly funny on paper, and it proceeds to flub telling that joke in what feels like the most excruciating bit of sketch comedy ever made. That it's actually a scripted, fully-animated TV show just makes it harder to sit through.
Ok, there was one joke that kind of got me to smile. The reveal that the generic rhino/bear monster wasn't just some random monster, but a character in her own right and basically the mediator between our two leads, was kind of funny. But the longer it went on the less funny it got, and by the third minute the gag had just folded itself in with the unfunny manzai banter of Alvin and Clara. Thus the one spark of comedic hope in this premiere faded into the night, never to be seen again, and there were still 14 minutes of this sucker to get through. And every joke from then on followed the same formula: Carla says something rude or arrogant, Alvin gets upset. At one point there's a gag about Carla not being able to properly heal his face (which he doesn't actually have) that lasts for eons and repeats the punchline a dozen times before it mercifully ends.
This is just the antithesis of charming comedy for me. It's rote, boring, and repetitive. Half the jokes are just Alvin yelling that Carla is being rude, as if shouting the point of a scene is inherently funny. And since the show is so barebones in art and animation, there's nothing to distract from how unfunny it is. It made for a miserable time, and unless you have a totally different sense of humor, there's nothing here for you.
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