An current manga serialization called The Apothecary Diaries is based on the well-known Natsu Hyuuga light novels. Even though the manga started in 2017, the series had not distinguished itself until the news of an anime adaptation, which caused curiosity to suddenly soar.
The Apothecary Diaries is a hidden gem among seinen fans. It features a strong female lead, memorable secondary characters, and a tale free of superfluous and uninteresting romance. Despite the lack of an official release date for the anime, The Apothecary Diaries manga is certainly worth reading; here's what it's all about and why it stands out among its seinen counterparts.
The Apothecary Diaries is a Mystery-Filled, Dark Manga
The Apothecary Diaries is set in a country that is very similar to China. While it may appear unusual to newer anime fans that a manga would take place here, it is not uncommon for mangaka to use countries other than Japan for the setting or inspirations of their narrative. The plot revolves around a young girl named Maomao, whose upbringing was anything from average as she grew up in Hanamachi, Japan's red-light area where geisha frequently reside and operate.
Maomao was raised in this neighborhood by a local pharmacist. She is close to the geisha that work at the brothel, referring to many of them as "big sisters" and considering them family. Maomao understands things that most girls her age do not because she grew up in close proximity to this lifestyle. Throughout the novel, though, she exhibits little interest in romance or sex.
Maomao is kidnapped and sold to the imperial palace as a servant one day while she is out on the streets doing her own thing. Despite the fact that she is in a difficult circumstance, she maintains her unique nature and passion for poisons and medicine-making. One of the emperor's consorts notices this and briefly hires Maomao as her food taster, testing all meals for potential poisoning. Along the journey, she attracts the attention of a eunuch named Jinshi, who is on a mission to unravel several secrets within the royal palace.
The Apothecary Diaries' Maomao Is a Powerful and Entertaining Female Lead
Maomao is the ideal lead for The Apothecary Diaries because she has such an intriguing and uncommon personality. Since she grew up with a pharmacist father, she often helped out at his shop and grew fascinated -- even obsessed -- with poisons. She would go as far as finding poisonous animals such as snakes, making them bite her skin to see how her body reacted. This helped her learn about the poison's effects so she could potentially create an antidote, if needed.
Although Maomao enjoys her hobby innocuously, everyone around her are understandably concerned when she willingly swallows poison, placing herself in risk. Nonetheless, she is unaffected by the reactions of others and pays no attention to them. Maomao will frequently attempt to test a newly discovered poison effect, but Jinshi will stop her. Yet, her odd ways and strange fixation with it are lovable, making her the ideal protagonist for this novel and an intriguing duo with Jinshi.
Maomao is likewise calm and restrained most of the time, never speaking excessively and knowing when to keep her ideas to herself. In short, this powerful female leader takes care of her own affairs, which is useful in an environment like the imperial court, with its numerous mysteries and perils. While there is no official release date for the anime adaptation of The Apothecary Diaries as of this writing, the hype is real — and the manga is definitely worth catching up on right now.