Is ‘The Apothecary Diaries’ a Romance Anime? (& Is It Worth Watching?)

Is 'The Apothecary Diaries' a Romance Anime? (& Is It Worth Watching?)

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The Apothecary Diaries is a Japanese light novel series written by Natsu Hyūga. Originally published in 2011, the series was acquired by Shufunotomo, who published it in a hardcover volume released in 2012 and then republished it in 2014 as a light novel series. The work was adapted into a manga series published in May 2017. An anime produced by Toho Animation Studio and OLM has been broadcast since October 2023. In this article, we are going to tell you what kind of series The Apothecary Diaries is and whether the new anime is worth your time or not in our short review.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • The Apothecary Diaries is a Japanese light novel series written by Natsu Hyūga that started publication in 2011, and has been adapted in the form of a manga, as well as an anime.
  • The Apothecary Diaries is a work that can be primarily classified as a romance drama, but there are some mystery and history elements in the story as well.
  • If you’re a fan of shōjo and josei works, The Apothecary Diaries is definitely going to be a series you will enjoy, as it is primarily aimed at these two groups.

The Apothecary Diaries is undoubtedly a romance anime

The Apothecary Diaries is a very intriguing work in more ways than one. It focuses on the young female protagonist Maomao, who is an apothecary and, while pursuing her own career, has to deal with the court intrigues of her fictional country, as well as her own personal problems and relationships. The visuals are truly stunning, and the anime adaptation has been a silent hit ever since its premiere. Now, what is the series about in detail?

The girl Maomao has already experienced a lot at a young age: as a little girl, she worked in a brothel and was trained by a pharmacist with whom she also lived. Until she was kidnapped and sold to the imperial court as a maid. At first, she worked as a simple laundry maid. She also doesn’t want her knowledge to be known, as a higher position would only mean more money for her captors. But when the emperor’s two favorites and their children, the crown prince and the princess, fall ill at court, Maomao secretly writes messages.

She realized that the powder was poisonous, just as it was for the women in the brothel. Although the crown prince dies, the princess’s mother, Highness Gyokuyo, takes the warning seriously. The eunuch Jinshi tricks Maomao into revealing her knowledge. So, she becomes Gyokuyo’s maid. And this can also prevent the kidnappers from profiting from it. In order to use her knowledge of medicine and poisons, Maomao is made Gyokuyo’s taster. Since she has already exposed herself to many poisons in her own experiments, Maomao is not worried about herself. But the other maids feel sorry for her.

Jinshi, on the other hand, tries to further use her skills to his advantage. Despite his attempts to seduce Maomao, she is disgusted by the handsome but devious young man. But Jinshi has a high position at court and is even entertained by her unruliness. And so Maomao has to allow himself to be harnessed by him. She meets his adjutant Gaoshin, who, unlike his master, is conscientious and hard-working and works with him.

Officially, The Apothecary Diaries is classified as a drama, mystery, and romance anime, and we can really confirm that The Apothecary Diaries is a romance anime. They have a lot of historical elements as well, but the focus is on the romance and the drama between the characters, so we can actually confirm that it is a romance anime.

The Apothecary Diaries is a nice series for shōjo and josei fans

Now that we have explained the genre of The Apothecary Diaries, we can also tell you whether it is worth watching, and we can immediately confirm that it is, but only if you’re a fan of shōjo and josei works. The Apothecary Diaries combines several different elements, but it is primarily a work for female readers and viewers. It is quite wholesome, and while there is a lot of mystery and even action there, fans of shōnen works won’t find much to enjoy here, as the plot is simply not structured in that way.

On the other hand, the visuals and the atmosphere of The Apothecary Diaries are truly wonderful, and if you like a beautiful work with a plot that focuses on interpersonal relationships and character development, then The Apothecary Diaries is definitely a series you should check out. Maomao is a beautiful protagonist, a very atypical heroine, and that is what makes her such a great character and so loved.


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The Apothecary Diaries is not a groundbreaking work, but it is a truly beautiful work in which a lot of effort and emotion was put in. This is why we highly recommend it, but with a note that if you’re not a fan of shōjo and josei works, you probably won’t be able to find much in it. But if you are, this will truly be a beautiful experience.

Score: 7/10

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