The Apothecary Diaries- Season 1 Complete Recap And Reviews | Otaku Fanatic

The Apothecary Diaries- Season 1 Complete Recap And Reviews | Otaku Fanatic

Feb 10 , 2024

The Apothecary Diaries is a Mystery anime set in 15th-century China. The anime has two cours. Here is the recap of the first part of The Apothecary Diaries. The second part comes out on 6th January,2024! 

So far, we know that Maomao, a common girl with an amazing mind, lives with her adoptive father, Luomen. She followed his footsteps and has great knowledge of medicine.

Episode 1 

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Our main character, Maomao, was collecting herbs from her garden when her father told her to deliver medicine to Verdigris house. He warns her to be careful due to the frequent kidnappings of girls in the town when she is alone at the herb farm.

The worst happens, and Maomao is kidnapped and sold to the emperor's Eastern palace, which holds all the emperor's most loved concubines.

Maomao is a small maidservant who handles menial tasks like laundry and changing sheets

But she is thankful that she gets paid a salary even though the kidnappers claim a large part of it. She doesn't reveal that she is educated so she can be paid less, thus leaving her kidnappers at a loss of money.

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In the palace, two heirs of the emperor are born, suffering from an illness rumored to be a curse.

Maomao predicts that it's a reaction to poison and secretly leaves a clue to heal the babies. Her sly attempt is found out by the manager of the palace, Jinshi. Our smart protagonist is now promoted as the Lady-in-waiting for the emperor's consort, Lady Gyokuyou, as a poison taster. 

Episode 2 

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This episode of The Apothecary Diary, Mamao is introduced to the Jade Palace to her newly appointed status. She is a unique aldy in calling due to her expertise in medicine and her apothecary profession.

This job is Maomao's favorite because she gets to follow her passion and taste test delicious food for poison detection. As she takes the tour of the palace, the other attendants of Lady Gyokuyou see Maomao's bandaged hand ( on which she tests poison and remedies) and assume that she is from an abusive family. They immediately feel pity and promise to take extra care of her.

In the next scene, a mystery unfolds: soldiers are dying in a camp due to food poisoning. Jinshi calls Maomao to evaluate the situation. She speculates that using branches of certain plants as chopsticks can act as a poison when these branches are heated. Her predictions saved an innocent chef in the soldier camp.

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This episode also reveals Jinshi's real job: eliminating disloyal servants and keeping everyone in check.

Among the other tasks, Maomao is an extraordinary employee; she creates a stimulant to be used with loved ones, as requested by Jinshi, proving her importance at the palace.

Episode 3 

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Episode 3 of The Apothecary Diaries starts with a mystery and gossip. The rumor of seeing a ghost dancing on the walls of Eastern Palace at night hits Maomao's ears.

After talking to Jinshi and his eunuch, Maomao is led to the walls, where she sees concubine Fuyou, who will be bestowed upon a soldier in a few days. Fuyou was a good dancer. However, she made a mistake while performing in front of the emperor, leading to no visits from the emperor.

Maomao accessed that Lady Fuyou acts like she has a disease called Somnambulance, in which the diseased person acts like a completely different individual at night, having no recollection of their conduct.

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She also suspects Lady Fuyou was faking the disease by giving an example of a similar case of a lady in a brothel; after presenting her case to Jinshi, she learned that concubine Fuyou was later prohibited from being out of her dwelling until her bestowment.

The apothecary discussed her speculations of the sudden onset of Lady's disease with Lady Gyokuyou. Fuyou was in love with her childhood friend (the soldier), and to remain chaste for her love, she purposefully butchered her performance. Judging from the relieved expression of concubine Fuyou upon her departure, Maomao's speculations were spot on.

Episode 4 

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The words of the emperor are words from heaven. Anyone who denies them could be beheaded. 

Due to worsening condition of Lady Lihua, the emperor visited the Jade Pavilion requesting Maomaoto cure his concubine's illness.

This episode of The Apothecary Diaries only tells us a little about the emperor besides that his orders are absolute. Maoamao was unwelcome by Lady Lihua's attendants (even when she was following the emperor's orders) because she was Lady Gyokuyou's attendant.

With Jinshi's help, Maomao gets access to Lady Lihua and uncovers the cause of her persistent sickness: the poisonous face powder banned for use.

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After knowing the cause, concubine Lihua's lady-in-waiting (woman in charge of her presentation) was punished with house arrest; meanwhile, Maomao worked hard to develop an elaborate diet and care plan for Lady Lihua.

In two months, Lady Lihua recovered enough to walk around the palace.

Before returning to Jade Palace, Maomao taught Lady Lihua a technique taught by her big sister at the brothel to attract and lure the emperor to her dwelling.

Just as Maomao predicted, the emperor's visits to Lady Lihua increased.

Episode 5

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Maomao's day starts with a rumor about the stimulants she created. Her friend informed her that they were used to seduce an eunuch who was famous for hating women.

In the next scene of The Apothecary Diary, a new mystery unfolds: a man comes to Maomao asking to be healed from a curse. He was going about his normal duties of burning the trash when he came across wooden tablets and burned them as usual. Later, he found a severe rash on his hands as he witnessed the flames change colors.

In the next scene, the preparations for the garden party start, with the emperor and all the higher-ups gathering at the court garden to enjoy performances and meals. The emperor was unmarried and had no consorts; thus, he was to take the 4 highest-status concubines. 

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Maomao is smart and knows the event will be windy and cold so she prepares orange ginger candy and undercoats to keep warm stones in, so she won't catch a cold.

At the event, we learn that Maomao's freckles are not real. She uses them to remove herself from attention. She tells Jinshi how she was kidnapped, even with her freckles, leading him to give Maomao a promised hairpin. Everything goes according to plan at the garden party until the food is served. 

Episode 6

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 As the garden party continues, Maomao learns that hairpins have different meanings. The hairpins are used to recruit talented people at parties like these, but they symbolize promise and love. 

Maomao is given a courtesy hairpin Lihaku and Lady Lihua. Due to Maomao's hairpin collections, Lady Gyokuyou's attendants suspect she might get angry and act possessively.

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In the next scene, the lunch is served. And Maomao gets to do her favorite job, poison testing.

As the soup is served, Maomao's expressions change to the feeling of pleasure and ecstasy, leaving observers in awe and imagining how delicious the food might have been. The concubine's soup is poisoned.

Jinshi and Maomao carry out investigations and request to meet young Lady Lishu. They discover that Lady Lishu is allergic to seafood, leading to rashes on her arm. Lady Lishu is allergic to mackerel. Her attendant was responsible for not letting the allergy-triggering food be served. Maomao warns Lishu's lady-in-waiting that this mistake can hold her accountable for poisoning the emperor's concubine.

Episode 7 

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This episode of The Apothecary Diaries starts with a flashback of Maomao and her grandfather in the girls, collecting medicine.

Maomao felt uneasy showing up to work without her freckles, so she asked Lady Gyokuyou to keep wearing them. The Lady agreed since her Lady-in-attending is in high demand, so it's better to keep Maomao's freckles.

In the next scene, Gaoshun and Maomao examine the bowl used to serve the poisonous soup. They find the imprints of fingertips on the bowl using powder and cotton. The bowl handlers could be identified from areas the bowl was held.

A third party who touched the bowl's rim is the culprit that poisoned the bowl. This person wanted to poison Lady Lishu. However, her bowl was swapped with Lady Gyoukuyou's bowl, causing their plan to fail, but the mystery remains. Who tried to poison Lady Lishu?

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In the next scene, Maomao learns a new meaning for hairpins: they can be used as a token to escape the palace temporarily. This means Maomao can visit home. She convinced Lihaku to accompany her to her town, and in exchange, he would be treated generously by her sisters at the luxurious brothel, The Verdigris House.

She returns home, visits her father, and talks to him until dark.

Episode 8

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This episode starts with a rushed morning in The Apothecary Diaries. Maomao is taken to the brothel by a young girl, where she saves a wealthy-looking man and a courtesan's life. 

The next scene plays along smoothly until Maomao catches the little girl trying to kill the man at the brothel, to which she discovers that the man is a spoiled son of a rich merchant who would lure courtesans towards him with sweet words and then abandon them after being bored of them.

Maomao later solves the mystery of the scene. The courtesans used an elaborate plan to murder the merchant's son using two types: alcohol and tobacco.

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The lighter-density alcohol sits on top of higher-density alcohol. The courtesan drank the lower-density alcohol using a straw, while the man drank both layers of alcohol that reacted with the tobacco. The courtesan drank a small amount of top-layer alcohol so she would survive without being suspected of murder.

In the next scene, Maomao returns to the palace. Jinshi is upset that she used Lihaku's obligatory pin instead of his hairpin. Jinshi interprets a different meaning and gets traumatized when Maomao tells him she paid Lihaku a "night of his dream."

Episode 9

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This episode of The Apothecary Diaries starts when Jinshi learns that a higher-up bureaucrat, Kounen, died of an alcohol overdose, and he wants Maomao to find the real cause of his death.

The bottle of alcohol-containing Kounen's drink was knocked over and spilled out so it could not be checked for poison. Maomao tasted the same type of alcohol to access Kounen's death and found that he drinks a weird mix of sweet and salty alcohol.

With further inspection, Maomao found the broken alcohol bottle, and it had dried salt deposited on its inner surface, meaning Kounen died of a salt overdose. Kounen never added salt to his drink because he lost his taste sense due to an illness.

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In the next scene, a new mystery unfolds: the guards find a food maid's body, and Jinshi wants Maomao to find the reality behind her death.

Maomao's speculations about the maid's death led her to make an odd request to Jinshi. Maomao wants to be executed with poison if she is charged with something unexpected.

Episode 10 

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Concubine Ah-Duo is 35, a year older than the emperor; she lost a baby and lived in the Rarer Palace. 

Jinshi and Maomao discuss the unconcluded poisoning attempt at Lady Lishu that occurred in episode 6 of The Apothecary Diaries with the suicide of the young maid. Jinshi suspects that the maid who committed suicide is the same person who tried to poison the concubines. To prove his theory, he sends Maomao to Lady Ah-duo's Garnet Pavilion to investigate.

Upon meeting Lady Ah-Duo, Maomao thinks she would look like Jinshi because of her masculine features.

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Maomao returns from the Garget Pavilion and discusses her experience with Jinshi. Something clicked, and she scheduled to meet with Lady Lishu as Maomao talked about Lady Lishu's distaste for honey. We discover that her wet nurse forbade her from using honey when she got sick as a child. Maomao asks about interaction with the Lady-in-waiting of Garnet Pavilion, Ms. Fuming, which leads to a distasteful change in Lady Lishu's expression.

 Episode 11

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After a little chat between Maomao and the lady-in-waiting, Ms.Fuming reveals that Lady Ah-Duo will soon leave the Garnet Pavilion to make room for another high-ranking concubine because concubine Ah-Duo cannot have children anymore.

Digging back into the past, Lady Ah-Duo's baby was born on the same day as the child of the empress, but her child wasn't prioritized over the empress's child, leading to the loss of her uterus.

We learn that the essence of many flowers contains poison, so when flowers like Aconite and azalea are mixed with honey, it creates a poisonous serum; if Maomao's speculations are correct, Ms.Fuming unknowingly fed Lady Ah-Dou's baby honey infused with the essence of such flowers and Ah-Duo's baby passed away.

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When the dots connect, it is revealed that Ms. Fuming tried to poison Lady Lishu to stop her from meeting Lady Ah-duo, revealing the harm of eating honey as a kind and blowing the cover of Ms. Fuming's mistake.

The next scene turned up, and Ms. Fuming's execution was completed. We see Maomao sharing a drink with Lady Ah-duo, mourning the loss of her maid and Lady-in-waiting. The next morning, Lady Ah-duo turned in her crown and left the Garnet Pavilion. However, Maomao suspects that her dead baby might still be alive.

Episode 12

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After the execution of Ms. Fuming, her relatives were robbed of their wealth and sentenced to different degrees of corporal punishment; however, Ah-Duo wasn't questioned for her actions.

The Apothecary Diaries episode 12 starts with Jinshi sitting with the list of eighty people who will be laid off because they had different businesses with the family of Fuming. Even the kidnapping of Maomao and her being sold off to the palace had connections to the family, which led to Maomao getting fired.

After being laid off, Maomao started working with the old Lady as a minor courtesan who only entertained the guests. The party of best courtesans was summoned at an event held by the nobility. 

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At the Nobel event, Maomao finds Jinshi sulking alone at the corner. As he recognizes Maomao, all his energy looks regained, and they chat about each other's lives. Maomao's sisters from the brothel witness their cute interaction; they giggle within themselves.

A few days later, Jisnhi visits the brothel with enough money to make the old woman happy and a rare herb to make Maomao happy and wishes to take one girl from the brothel.

This ends the recap of the first part (first cour) of the anime. Season 2 of The Apothecary Diaries (second cour) will be released after a week's break on 6th January,, 2024! The trailer for the second part of The Apothecary Diaries is available on TOHO animation! Follow Otaku Fanatic for more Updates!

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