You know I have my gripes with The Apothecary Diaries. Because of how there are multiple versions of it out there, it’s hard to tell if the story is finished or not. No, you heard me right. Unlike a lot of other manga and anime that are being released, The Apothecary Diaries is unique in that it has multiple different variations out in the market. It isn’t just a manga that is getting an anime adaptation, like we normally see. But the problem with that is trying to keep track of how the story is progressing.
So, here’s the tea: The Apothecary Diaries started out as a Light Novel series. However, it has two different mangas out simultaneously. One is known as the Nekokurage adaptation, the other is the Minoji Kurata aadaptation. And yes, both are currently unfinished pieces of work. So is the Light Novel, for that matter. Even though the series itself has been going on since 2011, with the published light novel continuation starting in 2014, we are still not at the end. And now it’s getting an anime adaptation, to boot!
I haven’t really experienced a series that has two different versions of the same thing, and have different content. Like, when you think about it, it’s not common at all. Usually canon is so valued by anime and manga fans online, that having alternate versions of the same story is simply unheard of. Although, The Apothecary Diaries wouldn’t be an isolated case. A popular example of something differing from a pre-existing version of itself is Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which was not the original anime adaptation of the beloved manga series.
Other examples also exist, such as Hellsing: Ultimate and Fate/Stay Night: Ultimate Blade Works, where they have the same content as the original series, but with a few minor changes. And that’s sort of what is happening with The Apothecary Diaries. But the common thread between all its adaptations is that the story isn’t finished in any of them. And considering its plot, I think we’re in for the long haul. So today, let’s discuss The Apothecary Diaries and how its story is continuing forward.
Table of Contents
The Apothecary Diaries: A Medical Mystery Masterpiece!
So, what is the story here? Well, it all centers around one figure, Maomao aka our main character. Now, Maomao grew up in a fictionalized country that is clearly very inspired by China. There, she resides in the Pleasure District, where her father worked as a Pharmacist to those in the neighborhood. Because of her curious nature, she took great interest in her father’s work, taking up the mantle when she was old enough to do so and becoming a great Pharmacist in her own right. And with her personality, she retained her customers, the ladies and gents that frequented the area often stopping by to converse with her.
Though, maybe some of them also guessed that while Maomao might be gifted when it comes to medical maladies, she is also just a little too into poisons. Like, not just in an outwardly curious manner. No, our girl here goes the extra mile to research different lethal toxins by ingesting them, so that she can come up with the exact antidote it will need. So, when she eventually gets kidnapped and sent to the Royal Palace to work as a maidservant, she is concerned about her safety. But also just really put off by the fact that she can’t continue her research and development in peace anymore.
But Maomao is smart. She knows what she has to do here to keep her life, which is to lay low and attract 0 attention to herself. As long as her spirit stays strong, she can take whatever is coming her way and get out generally unscathed. But Maomao is the protagonist of a Seinen manga, so the plot finds her anyway. When the Emperor’s young twins fall ill at the same time, only Maomao could diagnose what was wrong, going as far as to secretly nurse them back to health. And really, that was going to be it, but the news of her amazing medical prowess does come forward and suddenly she finds herself thrust into the Emperor’s Inner Court, with no warning!
Okay that’s a lie. She does have one ally amidst the court of snakes, which is Jinshi. Jinshi is a Palace Eunuch who was the first to figure out Maomao’s brilliance, and hence used his influence to support her reveal. Now, he might be the only one who sees past the eccentric nature of this strange girl, and realizes that Maomao can easily rise above everyone, thanks to her incredible ability to solve medically related mysteries in court and beyond.
However, with all the political drama going around, combined with the medical conundrums that come her way, can Maomao truly survive the nobility and the enemies that lie in the shadows? And could there be something else brewing behind the scenes? Well, that’s for Maomao to uncover and for us to figure out.
The Story Isn’t Finished But The Pacing Works!
So, it’s clear that, despite getting an anime series airing soon, the story of The Apothecary Diaries is still ongoing. And perhaps that’s the very nature of its content. Seinen don’t tend to go on for as long as other genres do, such as Shounen. There are no Seinen manga out there that go up to a thousand chapters, and more. But that doesn’t mean they can’t continue for more than a hundred chapters.
Part of why The Apothecary Diaries works as well as it does is because, even though it has a female protagonist, it doesn’t fall into the usual tropes you associate with them. Like, lots of people kept asking if The Apothecary Diaries was a romance earlier and it’s usually because female-led manga and anime tend to be more Shojou in nature, so inherently more focused on a love story. But while The Apothecary Diaries does have a romance building up in it, it is not the main focus of the story.
The plot won’t resolve itself if Maomao gets together with Jinshi, for example. The story won’t be finished. Instead, it is highly likely that the romance bit will go to the backburner while the focus comes back to the mystery aspect. Because there’s always a new medical anomaly that requires Maomao’s complete attention, and that is what pushes the plot forward. The relationship drama, if you can call it that, barely registers as anymore than a subplot. The mysteries that need to be solved, the puzzles, that’s something that can continue for as long as the author likes.
Not to mention the fact that Maomao still doesn’t consider herself at home at the Royal Palace. She was always someone who would honor her roots, and most of what she’s doing is to survive long enough so that she can go back to her humble little Pharmacy back in the Red-Light District. So, there’s that plot point to resolve as well, not to mention the multiple other ones going on currently.
There is just far too much that is going on in the light novel and manga serializations right now. But that’s also because people are enjoying The Apothecary Diaries so much that seeing it end abruptly would be sad. The pacing is amazing here, with every characterisation growing organically. And when you’ve got a good thing going, well, there’s no real reason to quit it. But that’s all future talk, The Apothecary Diaries still has a long way to go.
Ultimately, The Apothecary Diaries is not finished, in any of its published versions. And that’s great for anyone just getting into the series, because you can follow all the updates in real time!