So, we have run into another isekai. They are everywhere, like flies and cockroaches. And they seem to be just as difficult to get rid of. I’m not against them per se, but it feels like every other anime series release IS an isekai. Can’t we have something else? No? I have to wait for the craze to die out, like with food shows? OK, I guess. So, the latest offering is the oddly worded “Parallel World Pharmacy” (“Isekai Yakkyoku”, or “Alternate World Pharmacy”).
We start out in our world (as some of them start out with the main character already there and then we back-story things). Kanji Yakutani is a world-famous medical researcher at T University. (What is their mascot? Earl Grey? “I’m such a Hot ‘T’!”) He works obsessively to finds medicines and cures to the world’s ills, as he lost his sister in childhood to a brain tumor. Well, he works too hard and dies in his sleep from all the overwork. Quel dommage. However, however, however….
He awakens in another land at another time, although by our calendar, it’s still medieval. He is the son of a famous pharmaceutist, and learns that the body he inhabits was struck by lightning, so he has been in a coma for some time. He, now known as Pharma de Médicis (the new him in the middle), initially can explain away his ‘memory lapses’ as a side effect from the strike, but father grows suspicious of him, as his disease knowledge outstrips whatever is in this new world. The series showcases the adventures and challenges Pharma encounters during his (approximate) two years in this land.
It is an interesting series, as the land is still in the thrall of legends and potential heresy. I mean, no one wants to be burned at the stake, right? But the awareness of medicine that Pharma has allows him to both challenge and upset the balance of medical knowledge and the medicine guilds in this land. He also wants to do the unthinkable: make health care affordable. It’s not for the rich only. He also tackles things like unsafe cosmetics (white lead give you that pale look and will eventually kill you) and bloodletting (that procedure killed George Washington), so all can be allowed to revel in good health.
Things come to a head when a neighboring country decides to use germ warfare to destroy our happy nation.
If you put aside the isekai aspect of it, it becomes an intriguing medical drama, with enough behind-the-scenes machinations to make this also a political thriller. Pharma is far too naïve in the ways of courtly intrigue, but his honest approach and the fact he has the queen on his side helps a great deal. Oh, yeah, the Bishop of the local church is also a great supporter of Pharma, so if Pharma says this is this, action is taken to make it so, despite him being a mere 10 years old (Psst! He’s actually 31, but no one can tell).
I did enjoy watching this show, but, in the end, it is still a slight offering. True, he does bring them forward regarding medicine and health with great leaps, as when he introduces microscopes and better sterilization techniques, but things come along a bit too swimmingly, even with the end-episodes arc. It’s just we have this confluence of science and magic, so I can ride a magic staff (like a broom) to be able to dispense levofloxacin. I guess magic can only do so much. Now, can it bring us to a second season?
As to the binging aspect of it, it helps with the story flow, as both father and son learn to reconnect with each other and Pharma has to understand the world into which he has been thrust. It also helps with the tension aspect of it, as he runs afoul of merchants (“Don’t mess with my money!”) who will do anything and everything to bankrupt Pharma. It’s just I would split it and catch everything beforehand, rest and then take the Germ Warfare Arc by itself (that’s an 8-4 division).
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Are anime eyes getting bigger?)
Plot 8 (Rather ‘meh’, but it does take a good turn)
Pacing 8 (Builds nicely, especially at the end)
Effectiveness 7 (Not enough resistance from the old guard)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a coupler point, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 8 (Especially the latter episodes)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Can I have more Sailor’s Candy?