There is a trope of female healers in role playing games. Aerith in Final Fantasy VII, Yuna in Final Fantasy X, Marle in Chrono Trigger, Estelle in Tales of Vesperia, and Yukari in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 are all examples of female party members whose role was primary healer. The medic in Valkyria Chronicles that runs on the field to rescue fallen soldiers is also a female character. This trope feeds from the stereotype of women as care givers and men as warriors and protectors. In general, the warriors in video games are male while the healers are female.
But not all games insist that their healers be female. In Mistwalker’s 2007 Xbox360 game Blue Dragon the main healer is a male party member named Jiro. The characters in the game each have a shadow that forms behind them in battle. Jiro’s shadow takes the form of a minotaur and he begins with White Magic/healing skills. This initial healer role is slightly tempered by the fact that characters can change their base set up and learn any class/skill set as the game progresses. But, that does not erase from the fact that he starts as the healer rather than the female character in the group taking that role. In the 2009 Nintendo DS sequel, Blue Dragon Plus, Jiro again plays the role of a healer and in this game the role cannot be altered. During the game he states, “Please just because you can use a Shadow, don’t forget I’m the only one that can heal you guys.” which shows his acceptance of his healer role. The role of healer is not weak; it is crucial to the survival of the group and has a power of its own.
There is nothing specific in the White Mage/healer that prevents either male or female characters from taking on the role. It is a powerful and important addition to many role playing groups. Yet, it is often seen as the domain of female characters. Jiro is a refreshing change from that mold. Are there other male primary healers in video games or is he an anomaly?