The Apothecary Diaries Ep 1

Eva’s First Impression

Heheheheh~ Apothecary Diaries has finally begun! Maomao is such a funny heroine. She doesn’t want to draw attention to herself, and yet she can’t help but stick her nose into things when it involves plants, poison or medical problems. Ironically it was getting distracted by plants that wounded up getting her kidnapped and sold to the palace where there she works as a servant. And then now after unable to ignore the dire situation of the consorts babies (and themselves) falling gravely ill, she has been promoted to serving as Lady Gyokuyou’s attendant!

It was a tragic situation all around that Lihua’s baby ended up dying due to the negligence of her personal attendant (of ignoring the note attached the flower without even checking it– though I can also understand why they’d opt to dump it), and Lihua’s unwillingness to listen to Gyokuyou when she tried to help her. As Maomao had put it, “Ignorance is a sin”, and unfortunately Lihua and many others before them had to paid the price for it. The cause of the illness was the white face powder. Maomao was familiar with it since many women in the Pleasure District succumbed to its poison for the sake of making themselves “beautiful”. That’s why she couldn’t ignore the situation and had hoped to give the diagnosis without drawing attention to herself.

There’s some major factors why Maomao doesn’t want to draw attention to herself, and for starters it’s the fact she does not want to give her kidnappers any benefit in her pay. That’s why she was fine with laying low among the laundry maid. The problem is that most of the servants don’t know how to read and write, so it was pretty easy for Jinshi to expose her, especially with his shrewd yet brilliant tactic of calling her out based on his suspicion. And now much to Maomao’s dismay, she has now been promoted to working as Gyokuyou’s attendant.

While Maomao had her apprehensions about being promoted to work as Gyokuyou’s attendant in the Jade Pavilion, it has certainly paid off in spades. Not only has she been given the responsibility as a meal tester to check for poisons, but she also gets access to all the ingredients to make things if requested upon. Oh and the icing on the cake? Gyokuyou and all of her ladies-in-waiting are a friendly bunch. The head lady, Hongniang was shrewd enough to understand Maomao’s intent of trying to avoid giving her kidnappers any large sum of her pay, effectively makes it so that they’ll never get a penny from her ever again. But because she is the poison tester, she gets a bonus for the risk, and that is a separate payment that would have otherwise gone to the kidnappers. So now Maomao is finally able to earn her own salary with more of a peace of mind, all while doing the job she loves. Talk about an unintentional huge win!

Maomao is such a riot in such a great way. Seeing her gush over medical ingredients, and bemoaning how she wants to find snakes to expirement with poisons on herself, her goofy dance and adorably creepy giggles of excitement, oh and the way she’d just randomly eat a flower to explain her point HAHA. I also love the way she absolutely roasts Jinshi, going on how he’s pointlessly beautiful, or gets the creeps when he tries to use his sparkly filter. She is certainly one of a kind, and I love her for it.

As for Jinshi, ha… He’s pretty full of himself when it comes to his sex appeal at the moment, though understandably so when you have the court ladies drooling every time they see him, with the exception of Maomao of course. Though we did see that there are certainly some drawbacks to that charm, as he has also attracted unwelcome tricks and traps, such as a gifted bao buns that contained aphrodisiac, just lovely. It was a good idea for him to lock up to be on the safe side of things. Still, yikesthough Maomao too dodged the bullet by the fact she was able to identify it just by smell! But even so, later on we learned that even if she had eaten it, it wouldn’t have affected her as much because she’s used to eaten larger dosages! MAOMAO PLEASE! I freaking lost it when she mentioned how much more effective it is to the point it actually made Gyokuyou dread the idea of the Emperor ever getting that amount. Well, the attendants weren’t as lucky as they kind of snatched Maomao’s high dosage snack she had made for herself, and that created quite a fuss. I freaking lost it when Maomao just casually lifted the skirts to check. But considering she worked along side her father who’s a doctor, makes sense this is just another Tuesday checkup for her, haha.

That said, it was pretty darn funny how Jinshi was convinced he could seduce Maomao like he has with every other woman, but he has quickly learned that his sparkly aura only gives her the creeps (rightly so, HA). Well in all fairness, he does act a bit like a creep with how he gets a little too close and personal (which he does all too often at the moment). I mean dude I like you and all, but back-up, you two literally just met and you’re in her bubble. But more than anything he seems to get a kick out of the fact she isn’t attracted to his visuals, which is why he is so popular among the ladies– to the point even the lonely consorts would go as far as to trying to get him in bed with them– to which he rejects. Though that puts them in a bad spot, especially since while everyone thinks he is the manager of the rear palace, his job is to serve as an investigator to measures their loyalty. The fact that he’s absolutely smitten with the way Maomao is completely unaffected by it and sees only him as an individual makes him so happy, that even being regarded in contempt pleases him.

But man, I absolutely love the banter between him and Maomao. You have two shrewd heads constantly clashing with each other, and way Maomao roasts him is real fun to watch. It was absolutely hysterical how simple yet effective Jinshi’s strategy was to weed her out by simply writing down his suspicion to draw a reaction from her to prove his point.

We got a bit of perspective in episode 2 as to why both Jinshi and Gyokuyou wanted Maomao on her side. Unlike Lihua, despite being the Emperor’s favourite, Gyokuyou only has four ladies-in-waiting. The way the rules work is that the more people they have by their side reflects their power status and Jinshi is concerned for Gyoukuyou’s safety as there has been attempts of poisoning her meals multiple times now. Although Maomao isn’t necessarily the best person to be the one to test it (as she has already built up immunity to many poisons), the one thing she can do is narrow down what type of poison it is, or even precisely identify it.

As for Episode 3, man I really loved the way they delivered the story for this one. The latest rumour-mill going around is about a dancing ghost lady on the Eastern Gates. Maomao knew that was baloney but Jinshi needed her to investigate the suspected case of Somnambulance with a consort that was due to be bestowed to be a soldier. The thing about this story is how both the women in the pleasure distract and in the rear palace both use this as a means to protect themselves. It is well known that Lady Fuyou had lost favour with the Emperor after she had messed up in her performance and hadn’t been visited since. That’s why Maomao likened her to a Chinese Hibiscus, a flower that changes color by day and night, which was really beautiful and poetic way to put it. The reunion between the two was quite emotional, it really hit my heart with the way the emotional embrace when they finally got into the privacy of the carriage, god that teared me up.

And this was a high risk strategy, because the man was putting his life on the line as a soldier, and Lady Fuyou had to make herself ‘undesirable’ as much as possible by drawing as little attention to herself as possible. And on top of that, she had to hope that the Emperor would not bestow her to anyone else beforehand. It was truly a race against time, and these two were the lucky ones to have made it back together again. It’s no wonder why Gyoukuyou couldn’t help but feel jealous. Though she is considered the Emperor’s favourite, that devotion of love just between the two of them isn’t something she can ever have with the Emperor.

Overall, this was a fantastic premiere and I enjoyed every second of it. It was fun to be able to watch the episodes back-to-back-to-back, and perhaps it was even better that it worked out that way. But I do wish I had more time to actually write up the post, because I feel like I wasn’t really able to dig into everything I wanted to, but at the very least I was able to get this entry out. Talk about crunch time!

Along with My Happy Marriage, this is a series I’ve been a long time fan of ever since I happened across the light novel translations years ago. It was big news to see JNovel Club it up, but man I really wanted a print edition so bad for SO LONG (still bought the digital in the mean time to support it, because god damn it I love this series)— but now if you haven’t heard (you probably have at this point): APOTHECARY DIARIES IS FINALLY GETTING A FREAKING PRINT IN ENGLISH. HOLY SHIT ABOUT TIME!!!! THANK YOU SQUARE ENIX HOLY SHIT, DIDN’T THINK IT’D BE YOU BUT THANK YOU! 2024 can’t get here soon enough! Oh man I’m so excited to finally have the books in my hands!

The good news is that I’ve actually exercised self-restraint, so apart from the manga, I haven’t reread the beginning of the novel in quite a while so for most part a lot of things will be foggy to my memory, but key things like the poisonus face powder, and the dancing ghost are among some of the few things that I remember quite vividly.

Oh and that’s not all, this series will be getting 24 Episodes! HURRAY! I’m so excited!!!!

Apothecary Diaries starts off with short blurbs of mysteries before it gradually diving deeper into the politicial affairs. So if that’s your bread and butter, then this is the story for you! I’m very excited to be watching this adaption, and now it pains me that I must wait three weeks before I get to resume watching it— NOOOO!

Possibility of Blogging: Guaranteed – I will resume the coverage as soon as I return from my trip!

In regards to that, please read the notice below!

NOTICE – PLEASE READ: No New Entry for the next 3.5 Weeks!

It sucks I have to put this on hold because the show has just launched, but due to travelling, I will not have time to do any entries for the next 3.5 weeks. So I will only able to cover episodes 4, 5 and 6 when I get back.

I’m going to have a lot to catch up to (6 entries when you combine it with Kibou no Chikara: Otona Precure ’23), and it will ultimately depend on my health on how quickly I will catch up to everything (be it jet-lagged, sick, or otherwise tired but healthy). The current plan is to get Episode 4 & 5 out by the weekend I return, and then release 6 & 7 together when episode 7 airs unless I feel it’s best written in a single cohesive entry like this one. We’ll see how I feel though. If I am dead tired (and I expect to be), then it might come out a few days after Episode 7 airs.

Thanks for your patience and understanding! See you when I get back!