Review for Kusuriya no Hitorigoto/The Apothecary Diaries, Vol.1

Review for Kusuriya no Hitorigoto/The Apothecary Diaries, Vol.1

Kusuriya no Hitorigoto - The Apothecary Diaries, Vol.1 by Nekokurage, Girl making medicine, historical fiction, chinaA fun manga about a girl, who is an apothecary, who gets to live in the inner court with concubines and has to taste food (yum poison), discover new medicines, and more!

At time of writing the anime is around 10 episodes in and I am loving it so far! So I decided to get the first two volumes in ebook on Amazon so I could see if the manga was just as fun (plus, see if there was anything that the anime skipped, haha).

In this one we meet a girl named MaoMao, she got kidnapped and is now working at the emperor’s court. In the beginning she is a laundry maid, but due to her solving a mystery/”curse” she is promoted to food tester/lady in waiting for one of the concubine. And so begins new adventures for her. It was fun seeing MaoMao again, this time in manga form, see her try to solve mysteries and think about cures, she is a trained apothecary after all. The cases we see in this volume are pretty much one on one that the anime handled as well. From food tasting (and hoping that there is poison, yes, she loves poison a bit too much) and the other ladies in waiting helping her out (they were just so sweet to her) to the mystery of the girl who dances at night to aphrodisiacs and how good MaoMao is at making those (had such a laugh at the scene in the anime and it was funny in the manga as well, especially when MaoMao just flipped the skirt and announced the girls to be still pure, oh girl). I have to say that not hearing MaoMao speak helps me. By the episode I am I am more used to her, but it took me a few episodes. I found her a bit annoying and at times pretentious. Her reactions in the manga are still at times silly (or adorable given how she fawns over poison, medicines and the likes), but less over the top than the anime. It really made me like her more. Or I should say, made me like her faster than in the anime.

I love that the manga (and thus the anime) take place at the inner palace of the Emperor’s harem. Learning about eunuchs, about the emperor, about the concubines, and more. I love the time period.

The manga has stunning artwork and that made me happy because the anime is just gorgeous.

But, I have to say I am not sure if I will continue the manga after the second volume. While it is a good manga, it is fun, it is interesting. But now that I have watched the anime I just missed so many key moments. I missed the connections between the stories. In the anime we get to known MaoMao before the kidnapping, yes it is short, but it sets the stage. Here it is just a small flashback, oh yes, I got here because I was kidnapped. We also miss out on seeing her work there and the months pass by. The whole prince/princess is sick also missed that emotional punch you had in the anime. And the manga just skipped a whole emotional part during the girl who dances at midnight and is sold to a soldier/childhood friend. And there were other moments that I missed the connection. The anime really weaves these stories together into one thing, gives it more emotional punch, whereas the manga felt more like x thing of the week. It just misses that spark.

All in all, I am still happy I gave the manga a chance, I would still recommend it because it is pretty, but be sure to also check out the anime.

Star rating, 4 stars

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