While having a somewhat unique direction for a isekai title with exploring a reincarnated young pharmacist trying to aid the kingdom's citizens against health problems, Parallel World Pharmacy still has many of the typical trappings of an isekai title with our male lead being conveniently overpowered and able to easily win over many relevant characters within the series, while characters are largely two-dimensional character types without much in the way of fleshing out. Despite the somewhat different premise, this is still largely no different from many recent entries in the isekai genre as far as storytelling and characters go.
Last updated Friday, November 03 2023. Created Friday, November 03 2023.
(All episodes watched):
I had sort of assumed that this show would be primarily a comedy, what with a pharmacist of all trades winding up in an isekai situation, but no, it seems largely serious. As usual he conveniently turns out to be fantastically gifted when it comes to magic (that compensates for his lack of knowledge about this world). He is so gifted, in fact, that he sort of scares some people, which might portend future events and be a touch of novelty in this show. Also typical is the way he readily adapts to a mind-blowing experience without any significant angst, as if he had seen it all on TV. For now, I was neither thrilled nor felt disappointed by this premise set-up, which seems pretty average and generic. I remain curious how Farma will make a life for himself as a magician/pharmacist in this alternate reality. The premise loosely reminds me of Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu; maybe this will be a more lightweight story with a similar tack. The thought occurred to me at one point that what would be freaky and intriguing would be if Falma found his dead sister also alive and well in this new world; but that is unlikely to happen. Or, he might wonder if he switched places with the original Falma, who would be alive in Japan. Something odd and curious does happen to him at the end of episode one, however.
Eleonore has been seriously freaked by the fantastic, verging on the supernatural, skills that Falma possesses and fears to be anywhere near him. He convinces her that she can trust him. He also makes use of his real world knowledge of relatively simple medicines to treat the mansion staff who suffer from a variety of maladies. People notice that he has changed somewhat since getting hit by lightning. I wouldn't say that I was enthralled by this show but I remained curious where this story was going. Again, something happens at the end of the episode which made me strongly wish it would continue for a few more minutes.
Episode three uses a mix of magic and real world medical technology in an attempt to thrill us as Falma realizes that he knows the cure for the critically ill Queen while his father and all other doctors are mystified. I don't know how well the two synchronized; which has priority here, magic or the laws of physics and chemistry? At one point astrology is used in hopes of helping the Queen, but for all we (or Falma) knows, in this world it might be quite effective. If magic works here, why not astrology? So, it seemed kind of hard to take the part where Falma amazes everyone seriously. Nevertheless, he is rewarded for his miraculous cure by being made a full-fledged 'Pharmacian' (despite him being only 10 years old) and given his own pharmacy, which is built from scratch to his request. Now he can try to accomplish his dream of bringing the benefits of his medical knowledge from our world to the people of this one, regardless of their class. This does not please the established Pharmacian guild, and Falma is warned that they may go so far as to try to kill him. This show could definitely be better, but I remained curious how these strands might work out and felt fortunate when it was this series' turn to be watched.
Falma's new pharmacy doesn't exactly take off like a rocket. Ordinary people have a hard time grasping the concept of a high quality pharmacy headed by a Royal Pharmaceust that serves them. Using his 21st century knowledge, Falma fixes a problem with stylish but dangerous cosmetics. But he is declared a 'heretic' after he uses his magic to perform a miraculous rescue of his sister. I had a hard time getting excited by this turn of events; despite Falma being abducted I just know that he's not in any real danger, and if he can't talk his way out of trouble he'll just call upon his incredible magical powers. These have come to feel like a sort of a cop-out. Still, there was a hint that maybe he really will encounter his real-world late sister in this alternate reality. I don't know if it will be very good (or even if it will happen at all), but it might be interesting.
At any rate, Falma's run-in with the heresy squad of the church works out surprisingly well for him. He saves a person's life with a mix of magic and 21st century medical knowledge and is well rewarded. You sort of wonder which is supposed to thrill us the most. I sort of liked episode eight, in which a traditional, undistinguished lower class pharmaceutist is amazed by Falma's professionalism and dares to question the dogma of his trade. Episode nine, in contrast, seemed predictable. If you ask yourself 'what major disease is being saved as the crown jewel of Falma's efforts to modernize healthcare?' you could largely guess what will happen. The bizarre, zombie-like character who has been appearing in the OP sequence since episode one makes his first appearance. This person, 'Camus', seems to be a once brilliant pharmaceutist himself who has gone off the rails and adopted a strange philosophy regarding joy and suffering. No doubt he will interfere with Falma's carefully planned efforts to prevent a catastrophic epidemic. But not immediately; in episode ten Falma must nip in the bud a outbreak of the plague. It seemed almost laughably corny, as if it had been designed for elementary schoolers. Things like the identity of the Commodore of the imperial navy or Falma's near accident with a tree were completely unnecessary for the plot but children might enjoy them. Perhaps the problem is that on the one hand this show is trying to 'wow' us with real-world medical breakthroughs, like the discovery of Penicillin; but on the other, magic is involved. Why not just wave a magic wand and use some spell to put an end to the epidemic that is raging? The two elements don't work well together. Why conduct exhaustive research if just the right spell would do everything, and do it faster and better? So, the final arc of this show was disappointing but in general it was more fun than I had expected and I tended to look forward to new episodes.
Last updated Wednesday, November 02 2022. Created Monday, July 18 2022.