On November 5th, The Apothecary Diaries episode 5 was released and it focused on the palace’s preparations for the royal garden party. The chemistry between Jinshi and Maomao is further showcased, leaving fans yearning for more. The ancient Chinese setting also continues to mesmerize us with its brilliant backgrounds and music.
In this episode, Maomao seems to be settling into her place at the palace so well that her skills have attracted the attention of many of its residents. A man asks for Maomao’s help in curing a nasty rash that he believes was caused by a curse. Maomao explains that he developed this rash from various spices and substances that were present on certain wooden writing tablets he had touched.
This is where some of the mystery within the episode lies — the burnt sleeve of a woman’s dress, the man’s rash, and Jinshi taking an unexpected interest in the situation. There’s not much evidence to clarify the meaning behind all of this but even Maomao is curious about the peculiar circumstances surrounding these writing tablets.
While the first half of The Apothecary Diaries Episode 5 sets the stage for a serious mystery, the last half is just plain fun. I absolutely loved getting to see our precious Maomao learn about the garden party, a gathering of celebration and food for the palace’s higher-ups, and then get dressed up in formal attire– something she’s not accustomed to.
I enjoyed the scene where Maomao skillfully crafted useful items, like the cozy body warmer, for using it herself at the garden party. However, people from all corners of the palace start flocking to her, begging her to make these creations for them as well. It goes to show that Maomao is fairly well-trusted within the palace despite being a complete outsider. I enjoy this dynamic since we often see people of low class get badly treated in places of royalty. It’s refreshing to see Maomao being treated with some sense of respect — if you can call begging for her crafting skills respectful.
The final scenes of the episode are some of the best we’ve seen in the anime so far. Not only are the enchanting music and colorful backdrops a perfect way to display the exciting energy within the garden party, but the interactions between the characters make it even better. Maomao gets dolled up in formal wear and makeup, which is how she reveals that her freckled face was a lie all this time. I, along with every other Maomao fan, adore her for these freckles. We don’t often see freckled faces in anime — much less are they displayed on the main character! I was a little disappointed to find out that these freckles aren’t actually natural, but she gives a vital, although sad, reason for painting on fake freckles every morning. We are reminded of the reality that Maomao grew up in, and it’s one no child should ever have to deal with.
It almost goes without saying that the best scene in The Apothecary Diaries episode 5 is when Jinshi lays eyes on Maomao and her dolled-up face. The way he’s stunned to see her surely sets off Jinshi fans in the best way. Maomao shares her motives for pretending to have freckles, evoking a sense of sympathy from Jinshi, and revealing a previously unseen side of him. I’m eager to keep seeing Jinshi and Maomao’s interactions as the season continues.
It’s fair to say that we are in for an exceptional episode next week, as there can’t be a royal party without some royal troubles. We should see just how these mysterious wooden tablets come into play and why they were made a vital point in the first part of episode 5. The Apothecary Diaries episode 6 airs on November 12th, and we’ll be waiting with anticipation. Meanwhile, check out what’s going on in a completely different type of anime, Girlfriend, Girlfriend, which is also airing this season.
Images via Crunchyroll
©Natsu Hyuga, Shufunutomo / “Kusuriya no Hitorigoto” Production Committee