First Impression: The Apothecary Diaries

First Impact: The Apothecary Diaries

Maomao, a young woman working for her father in an apothecary, is abducted and made to serve as a menial servant in the imperial capital’s back palace. The emperor’s concubines there are at odds with one another as social pressure to produce a male successor increases, especially when infants start passing away suddenly and no one appears to know why. Maomao, who is knowledgeable about poison and medicine, is able to diagnose the problem and makes an effort to inform the two high-ranking concubines who are currently caring for sick neonates. Even though only one of them hears the order to preserve her child, that is sufficient to attract the attention of Jinshi, the eunuch in charge of the rear palace—and a handsome guy who seduces most ladies but not Maomao. She becomes much more closely connected with the affairs of the empire than she would have liked when Jinshi promotes Maomao to be a lady-in-waiting for the concubine she spared as well as her poison-tester.

Most girls might think of Jinshi as a Fairy-type, but Maomao regards him as simply another Weedle.

One of the season’s most eagerly awaited anime series has finally debuted with not one, not two, but three whole episodes, and it has not let fans down. The “Imperial China-esque rear palace” location, which this anime also uses, has been used in a few recent anime, so it might be enough to bring in some viewers who are curious about that particular setting or who simply want something different. The main focus of these episodes’ plots is creating the scene, and while it doesn’t get overly sad, it doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of life at the time, whether for prostitutes working in the town or concubines with varied degrees of political significance. Strong cast members like Jinshi, who is well aware of his charms and is perplexed as to why they don’t work on Maomao, and a supporting cast like Lady Gyokuyou and her other ladies-in-waiting who inject some humor into the episodes all contribute to the story’s setting.

She was forced to settle for imperial China because she was unable to attend the Breaking Bad tryouts.

Having said that, this story is unquestionably hard-carried by Maomao, as someone who has read some of the original light novels, I can tell with certainty. She has a wild side and loves to experiment on herself with poisons and make all kinds of medicines. She also sneers sarcastically at most of what happens around her that isn’t related to medicine and poison because she feels so out of place in the rear palace. This results in a fantastic combo where she can be all fired up about developing aphrodisiacs one second and throw down some excellent snark the next. She is also capable of demonstrating thoughtfulness, as seen in episode three when she investigates the situation of a concubine whose employment is going to be terminated. As far as the anime adaptation is concerned, Aoi Yuuki does a fantastic job as Maomao’s voice actor, and it totally nails the visual portrayal of Maomao and her reactions to everything that is happening around her. The rest of the anime looks fantastic as well, but considering how much the plot depends on the main character, it is wonderful to see that she receives the care and consideration she requires to make this anime adaptation just as fantastic as the light novels.


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